This maamor begins with the verse of parshas Mishpotim: “These are the statues that you shall place before them: if you will acquire a Hebrew servant…”. The Talmud Yerushalmi says that statues the verse is referring to are the secrets of Torah. This raises a question, since the term “mishpotim” refers to the basic statutes of the Torah which the human mind can grasp (including the nations of the world), but not the Torah’s hidden secrets. Furthermore, what is the connection with acquiring a Hebrew servant?
The defining element of a Hebrew servant is his acceptance of the yoke of servitude: his kabbolos ‘ol. The reason this appears at the beginning of the Torah’s many “mishpotim” (statutes understood by the human mind) is to hint even when we fulfill the Torah’s laws which we understand — we must be fulfilling them [as well] out of kabbolos ‘ol, like a servant who does what he is told without understanding. After all, the main thing about these laws is that they are the Will of Hashem, and Will is above reason and understanding. But haven’t we defined the mishpotim as laws which our mind does understand? In fact, it is not a contradiction: Continue reading