10 October 2011


That the Sefer haBris, which is parshat Mishpatim, begins with manumission indicates its priority in the spiritual-political system which is the Chumash's teaching. 
The biblical law is not about servitude but about the conditions under which the servitude is ended. 
This interpretation would argue away from translating Elohim to mean the court's door, as ChZL would have it, because the laws of servitude should prohibit the participation of any mundane ruler, even a judicial court. The offense of a man voluntarily submitting himself to servitude is against the Power Who freed the Israelite, which freedom the debt-servant in question, in the event, is rejecting. 
Israelites are equal not so much before the law as they are equal in each other's eyes. But for the usury laws, manumission is the civil law most frequently repeated in the Chumash. 

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