This week’s Parsha is Parshat Mishpatim. The word Mishpatim means laws. This Parsha is accurately named because it contains virtually nothing except laws. Laws dealing with thievery, damages, rape, and kidnapping to name just a few are dealt with in this week’s Parsha.
Just two weeks ago we read of the Jewish People's miraculous Exodus from Egypt and the subsequent and equally miraculous splitting of the sea. Last week we were treated to a step-by-step recap of the revelation of Mt. Sinai. We would expect that this week’s portion would include some celebration, some holiday, or festivities to celebrate these amazing inaugural moments in our nation's founding. However, nothing of the sort is the subject of the Parsha, it is about laws the whole time. Why?
The Jewish people had been enslaved for many years and now for the first time are experiencing their first few moments as a free and autonomous people. While there may be a great temptation to celebrate and mark this occasion with festivities and joy, that is not what was most essential at that moment. What was essential was to carefully delineate at this moment the law of the land and the legislation necessary for a nation to emerge. A transition from slaves in a nation that wasn’t our own to our own free nation must indeed be celebrated and noted, but only in time, not immediately. The immediate concern was to set up a system of laws and government to ensure that this nation would survive and persevere.
This weekend, we are virtually joined by thousands of teens from around the world. Our Movement’s biggest moment––usually filled with hugs, live concerts, and seeing long distance friends––has been transformed into an immersive virtual experience that is more inclusive than ever before. Certainly we hope that future ICs can include those beautiful in person celebratory moments, but that was simply impossible this year. What was needed was a strong and powerful gathering of our BBYO Community from all over the word uniting as one and rising up together in support and love for each other.
The people of Israel underwent a complete transition into a new lifestyle. It was hard, but they persisted and created a community united under the same commandments. Our community has also temporarily undergone a transition from in person to virtual events. Nobody said this would be easy, but in the past few months, teens around the Order have persisted, just like the people of Israel, to uplift the united community we hold so dear. This weekend is not going to feel the same, but with this new set of guidelines, we have created something beautiful and unique; we have created International Convention 2021.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy IC!
Kelly Fagel and Daniel Perlman
Read commentary on this week's Parsha from BBYO teens around the world.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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