This week in Parshat Re’eh, the Torah in chapter 15, re-states the law of the Hebrew slave, “eved ivry”. In this chapter the Torah states that when the slave goes free, he does not go empty handed. In pasuk 14 the Torah says, you shall give the slave lots of “hanak tanak” which rash translates as ‘adornments to eye” Rashi says on these words something that shows you benefited from him. Also you give him cattle and flocks.
These commands are juxtaposed to the original commandment of the Hebrew slave found back in the opening of parshat Mishpatim. In Mishpatim, the Torah only says, at the end of six years he goes out with what he came in. There is no mention of adornments or flocks.
So which one is it? Does he go out as he came in or do we load him up with the goodies.
The Shikker Dovid would like to answer the question from the Haftorah, in our haftorah the word “Taanek” is also used. The word here means suckle like a child to a mother. It describes Hashem takes care of the Jewish people.
The answer is that, an eved or a person in need in our community must be treated with a baseline of respect and be given essentials to survive. That is the lesson of Mishpatim. However the Jewish values, the Jewish heart or emotion is more reflected in our parsha. We must not just give baseline to those in need or the vulnerable, but help elevate them. Adorn them so we may break through their problems. The Jewish way is to break the cycle of problem. We are to nurture those in need , like Hashem says he nurtured us as in this weeks haftorah. We act like Hashem in the manner prescribed in this parsha. Mishpatim is the baseline law. The Jewish heart is in this parsha.
Is this a veiled plea to vote for Obama since, as the Vice-President said, if you vote for Romney, they will “put y’all back in chains”? How timely and politically astute of you. My guess, however, is that the shikkurdovid audience will not be all that receptive to your implicit Obama endorsement.
September is almost here and we haven’t heard from the Shikkur Dovid in two weeks! Bring him back I say!
-Zach from München