Mishpatim     And now to wet our appetites for the most mitzvah-laden parsha in the whole Torah –  Mishpatim.

1.         What did the last parsha close with?  Can we learn anything from the juxtaposition to our parsha?

2.         What subject of mitzvos does the parsha open with?  Why?

3.         How long is the term of a regular Jewish slave?  Non-Jewish?
Is there a way to extend his term? How, and How long?  And what is the significance of the specific procedure chosen to acquire him longer?

4.         In what way is the Torah more lenient on releasing goyish (non-Jewish) slaves?

5.         If you have a Jewish slave, and one pillow, who gets it?  What can we learn from how the Torah deals with slaves and careless murderers (manslaughter) – and how does this contrast with modern methods of rehab and socialization?

6.         What is the halacha if one knocks out another’s eye, or bruises him.  (i.e. how do we interpret the verse “an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, bruise for a bruise, etc.)?  Why is it written this way?

7.         What blinds the eyes of even the wisest and most righteous judges? How does the mitzvah-directive to the judges  “Do not kill an innocent person, or one who is righteous” make any sense – it seems totally superfluous, especially after all the subtle directives not to take bribes, or favour the poor.

8.         When Hashem promises to inherit us the land of Israel, He offers to help by removing its inhabitants before we even arrive – yet He claims that He will not do so all at once – why?

9.         How much does a robber (one who robs directly) have to repay? What about a thief (one who steals secretly)?  What about if he steals a sheep or ox?  What about if he sells or slaughters them?  Why?

10.       What is the punishment for striking or cursing one’s parents?  What mitzvah is placed between these two – Why?

11.         What is the law of one’s animal kills his friend?

12.       Is the mitzvah to lend money optional or obligatory?  Can’t we determine this  from the beginning of the preposition “IF you lend money…”?  (Bonus – if you looked at the closing mitzvah in the last parsha from Q #1 you’ll find a parallel example of this).

Good luck to everybody!!!!!!!!!!