Friday, February 04, 2005

Parshat Mishpatim: Part Deux

And I’m not done with the parshah.

Once, a friend asked if I could buy him a siddur. I went to the local Judaica store and picked up a small, travelable Artscroll for him. I figured it was the best one because there are enough commentaries on the bottom to keep him interested and enough obscure brachot and different prayers in there to keep him looking through it. He was really happy with the gift I had given him and used to bring it to school everyday. (It’s possible he still does, but I can’t state that with certainty.)
One day in Hillel, this friend was packing up his things to go to class when someone noticed the Artscroll in his bag. A secular guy with an Artscroll??? Clearly, the guy was confused by what he had just seen. Actually, he made it clear that he was confused.
While walking to the elevators with said secular friend, he commented to me that sometimes he feels isolated in the Hillel room. One of the tribe and he felt like he didn’t belong among us. I don’t know if heartbreak would be the appropriate term for how I felt when I heard that, but if it isn’t, I felt something close to that.
In this week’s parsha, it says,

“You shall not abuse a stranger and you shall not oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not persecute any widow or orphan. If you will persecute him…! -- for if he will cry out to Me, I shall surely hear his cry. My anger will burn and I shall kill you by the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children orphans.”
And something to keep in mind always, not just when it's what we read from the Torah that week.
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