February 2nd, 2019 — Shabbat Mishpatim
How can we reconcile the Torah’s most insistent moral message–that we must not oppress the stranger for we were strangers in the land of Egypt–with its unironic tolerance for the institution of slavery? Our tradition calls us to grapple with the reality that our human instinct is to take the advantage when we can. The moment we leave Egypt and we’re able to hold power over another, even former slaves will oppress and enslave. And yet, to take Torah seriously means to rise above even the most human of instincts and instead translate memory into empathy into ethical action.