Kenneth Cohen

True Freedom

Parshat Mishpatim is filled with numerous civil laws. They demonstrate how the Torah teaches proper ethics and morality.

The initial emphasis of the Parsha, is that it is absolutely necessary for us to become free men. This is learned from the incident of the Hebrew slave that refuses to go free after paying off his debt.

The individual who insists that he loves his master, and likes his slave status, must have his ear pierced. The ear that heard at Mount Sinai that we were taken out of Egypt in order to end our slavery, is not listening.

Our society imprisons us to many different things. We can be imprisoned by our desire to amass a fortune, where we cannot break free from working. We neglect things that are important, such as our families, in our quest for money.

We can simply be imprisoned by the various lusts that are around us. This might be our desire for honor, or instant self gratification, not to mention the various addictions that are out there.

The Rabbis have taught us that one cannot be considered free, unless he is involved in Torah. When his connection to G-d and the study of Torah, is his main priority, he is truly free. He is able to prioritize and know what is truly important and what is not. It is not a given that we are free men. It is something that we must work hard to be free.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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