Parashat Mishpatim 5777

Here are my answers. As a reminder, my answers are based on Rashi’s commentary.

1. This parasha begins, “When you will buy a Hebrew servant (eved Ivri) …” Who is selling this person into slavery?

d. A court. This Rashi on verse 21:2

2. How many years does the eved Ivri serve?

b. 6 years. This is stated in verse 21:2. Rabbi Hirsch in his commentary on this verse has a discussion about when the eved Ivri needs to make up time he missed because he was sick.

3. The eved Ivri can choose not to go free at the end of his servitude. If he chooses this verse 21:6 says “and he shall serve him forever.” How long is forever?

The best choices here are both (b) and (d). I gave full credit for either answer. See Rashi on verse 21:6.

a. It means literally forever, that is, until he dies. This is the opinion of the Rashbam.

b. Until his owner dies.

c. Until he saves enough money to buy his freedom.

Rabbi Hirsch has a discussion of this point. Here’s part of what he writes:

Furthermore, part of the meaning of “and he will serve him forever,” is that the eved must remain in service, as far as it depends on himself; he is no longer entitled to bring about his own release. Until now, his period of service was limited. In no case could it exceed six years, and even during this period he could at any time acquire his freedom by paying off the proportionate value of the remaining period of his service. … From now on, however, he does not have any legal right to free himself.”

d. Until the Yovel year.

4. God tells the Jewish people that He will use deadly wasps to drive out the nations. However, it will take more than 1 year. Why?

c. When the people are driven out the wild animals will move in.

This is stated in verses 23:28-30.

5. The end of the parasha describes Moshe going up to Har Sinai. Who did Moshe tell the people to consult with if they had any questions?

b. Aharon and Chur

This is stated in verse 24:14

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