In this week’s parsha, Parshat Mishpatim, the Jewish people are given many mitzvot regarding property, thieves, foreigners, and slaves.
In Shemot 22:8 Hashem gives the Children of Israel the following mitzvah: “For any sinful word, for a bull, for a donkey, for a lamb, for a garment, for any lost article, concerning which he will say that this is it, the plea[s] of both parties shall come to the judges…”
In the line itself, the word Elokim denotes “judges.” This is strange because other words are normally used to mean “judges” throughout Tanach, such as shofetim. Elokim is a name of Hashem. The fact that the phrase specifically says “Elokim” comes to teach us a lesson. Elokim usually refers to Hashem, and by including a reference to Hashem next to a commandment which seems to not have anything to do with Hashem, the Torah directly reminds us to keep Hashem in mind with everything we make, buy, sell, or own. Hashem is the One who created the world, which means that all of our belongings are really His. Through Hashem’s relationship with mankind, every shirt, desk, computer and TV come from Hashem.
We sometimes get so wrapped up in who has the newest pair of sneakers, has the prettiest dress, or the latest iPhone, and it is easy to forget who the items truly come from. No, Hashem did not physically sew us our clothing or construct our electronics, but He did create the person whose company, factory, or machine did.
We must try to involve Hashem in our physical aspects of life as well. Yes, it is a mitzvah to dress nicely for Shabbat and Holidays, but the core of the mitzvah is serving Hashem. The next time you go shopping, you should stop and take a minute to appreciate all that Hashem has given us and all that Hashem has created in His world.
By: Nili Lang (Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School, Class of ’20)