Parshat Mishpatim By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
Discover the Holy Presence in the Holy Land
The Law of Conservation of Energy
In physics and chemistry, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant; it is said to be conserved over time The law of conservation of mass states that mass in an isolated system is neither created nor destroyed by chemical reactions or physical transformations. According to the law of conservation of mass, the mass of the products in a chemical reaction must equal the mass of the reactants. The law of conservation of momentum states that for two objects colliding in an isolated system, the total momentum before and after the collision is equal. These laws of conservation suggest a general and consistent state of conservation in the physical world.
On a spiritual level, we may say that the prohibition against interest in loans, as mentioned in this Parsha, represents a spiritual “conservation”: the sum of the loan may not be altered throughout the period of the loan, unless the loan is forfeited completely or partially, considering the loan “as if paid.” This matter applies between individuals within the Jewish People, which parallels the “isolated system” in the physical laws above. Indeed, in Hebrew, the verb root for “loan” is “lava” which also means to “connect to”, “join,” or “escort with.” This suggests that a loan is a type of enjoinment of parties, becoming one unit in an isolated system, and therefore interest should not be taken, for the taking of interest exhibits a loss of one party to another, exhibiting disunity, and the loss of “spiritual conservation” mentioned above. This matter may also explain the teaching of our Sages that two Jews who establish an interest-based-loan between them have effectively denied the Exodus and the existence of the God of Israel, even if both parties agree with full resolve (Baba Metzia 61b). We can explain that in the Exodus Israel became one People through the “Hand” of the One God Who took them to be His People. By making an interest-based-loan the parties show that they do not consider themselves as a Divinely united People through the Exodus, and thereby they also deny the One God Who united His People through the Exodus. The relation of these matters to the “conservation laws” mentioned above can also be seen in the verse (Malachi 3, 6) “For I am Hashem, I change not; therefore you the sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
Parshat Shekalim, read this week, through the theme of the “half” shekel, also expresses the unity between all Jews who must all give this amount equally, and between the Jews and Hashem’s Holy Presence in the Mishkan, to which these shekalim are donated. The “half” theme represents that we are only half of the matter, while the other half is completed by our fellow Jew or by our enjoinment with the Holy Presence, the other “half” so-to-speak.
Hebron, the City of Unity (hibur), also represents the unity of our People through our common roots and Patriarchs under the One God, Who makes His Presence rest in this holy city and in the Land of the Holy Presence.
Miracles from the Holy Land: Sixth Day of Six-Day War:
The Israelis were originally reluctant to invade the Golan Heights. It would be an uphill battle against a well-entrenched and fortified position, protected by an army of 75,000 Syrian troops. The Syrian troops and munitions were entrenched in deep bunkers which were immune to air attack. One noted Israeli general estimated that such a battle would cost the Israelis 30,000 lives. Incredibly, though, after only seven hours of heavy fighting on June 9th, IDF commanders established strongholds in the northern and central sectors of the Golan. The next morning dawned with the Israeli forces apprehensively awaiting another day of fierce fighting. The Syrians, however, had other plans. In a sudden panic, before the Israelis even approached their positions, they pulled out of the Golan and fled in total chaos, leaving most of their weaponry behind. The mountain tops that were strategically utilized to murder Jews in the Holy Land were now in the hands of the Israelis.