Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)
This Week’s Torah Portion: Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)
And the People of Israel said: “All that God has spoken we will do and we will hear.” (Exodus 24:7)
With these words our people committed themselves to the service of God. In Hebrew we said, “na-aseh v’nishma” we will do and we will hear. Does it occur to you that the words we spoke standing at Sinai way back then… are backwards? Shouldn’t we have said we will “hear” God’s words before we agreed to “do” them?
Well, that depends on the nature of the relationship. If you are signing a contract with a total stranger, you might want to read it all first before agreeing to the conditions. On the other hand, if your mother, or father, or best friend, were to ask you to do something for them, you might reasonably say something like: Sure, what is it? “We will do and we will hear.”
In other words we were already in a relationship with God before we ever signed on to the covenant set forth in the Torah. We were already God’s people and God was already our God. This is what it means to be partners with God in an Eternal Covenant. It has always been and it will always be, God willing, and if, the People of Israel, we are willing to sustain it.