Mishpatim – Equality in the Law

Mishpatim – Equality in the Law

Today we live in a society based on the motto, “All men are created equal”, We accept this concept as our motto and we have many laws to back it up. This concept is clearly addressed by the Torah in the statement, “Do not lean the law against the pauper in his litigation” Thousands of years ago when we received the Torah this statement was very revolutionary, since rights were always unquestionably in the hands of the wealthy, whether they were land owners, slave owners, or wealthy businessmen (all of these have verses commanding proper ways of dealing with them). Society has come a long way but we still have a long way to go in guaranteeing civil rights and the right to fair trial.
Our rabbis in the Midrash have further guided us in protecting civil rights in the following exposition on our verse: “If a wicked man and a law abiding citizen come in front of you {in the court} do not lean the law against the wicked person since he is pauper in mitzvoth”  This shows us that our rabbis had compassion for those who have committed crimes and warned against using their past against them, these people are also guaranteed a fair trial. By using the Torah as our guide we will come to guaranteeing rights to all.

 

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