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Mishpatim: There’s No Escaping Due Process (February 3, 2019)

1) #BibleStudyCoffeeTime starts now.

Exodus, “Mishpatim” (“Laws”):
Death penalty for human traffickers.

February 3, 2019.
3) Please forgive me for the starts and stops today, as I am excited to do this, don’t have enough time (as usual), and want to get it right.
4) The most important thing to understand, before we start, is that the Bible here is presenting the concept of slavery within a framework of law.
5) This is important, because the Biblical approach to jurisprudence stands in stark contrast to the modern tendency toward rule-by-hysterically-offended-mob.
6) Here is a classic example: “A new video shows a student at Yale University screaming at one of the school’s professors for allegedly failing to make the campus a ‘safe space’ for students.”


Halloween costume – “cultural appropriation.”
7) This is the problem when you abandon God, and you abandon the notion of due process grounded in the law.

Everyone’s personal offense becomes worthy of discussion.
8) Unfortunately, it is common to hate or deny God, hate or deny the Bible, and even to hate or deny the validity of the Constitution under which we all contract to live among one another.

To be a Patriot is to be a constitutionalist to the core.
9) People who hate God — generally want to elevate themselves to the status of a god.
10) People who hate God sometimes engage in stupid conversations about whether or not the Bible is good or not, and they say things like “the Bible condones slavery” and all other sorts of things, designed to make you shake in your boots and turn against faith.
11) This is NOT to suggest that questioning the Bible is bad.

It IS to suggest that there is an AGENDA behind some of the so-called “questions” we hear.

And that AGENDA is to evilly pose as a friend, in the hopes of terminating your relationship with the Creator.
12) Let’s talk about irrational, horrible managers.
13) A good manager promotes productivity.
14) The principles of good management can be found in many places, easily accessible, online or offline, in school or in life; they are logical, rational, and testable.
15)” In my research, beginning with a survey of 80,000 managers conducted by the Gallup Organization and continuing during the past two years with in-depth studies of a few top performers, I’ve found….”

You see?

The research, and the law, stands OUTSIDE the purview of YOU.
16) “While there are as many styles of management as there are managers, there is one quality that sets truly great managers apart from the rest: They discover what is unique about each person and then capitalize on it.”
17) The irrational, horrible manager is a tyrant, who tries to set themselves in the place of objective best practice.

THEY always know better.

THEY can always do the job better than you.

THEIR word is LAW.

Normal human beings cannot work very long under their thumb.
18) As a system of jurisprudence, Biblical texts (Old Testament, New Testament, Qur’an, the Sutras…) enable a common framework for human beings to transact with one another in a system of justice.

Justice that stands outside any one arbitrary person.
19) From a Jewish point of view, the 7 “Noahide Laws,” implemented after the Great Flood, are the underpinning of all laws of humanity.

It doesn’t matter what religion you are, or if you have no religion, as long as you follow these.
20) Sources:

Gen. 9:9: “As for me, I am establishing my covenant w/ you & your descendants after you, and with every living creature”

Jubilees 7:23: “And in the 28th jubilee Noah began to enjoin upon his sons’ sons the ordinances &commandments, &all the judgments that he knew”
21) The rainbow is God’s symbol of the Noahide covenant.

When you see it, know that God is angry and would destroy the Earth but for that covenant.

Never look directly into the rainbow.
22) You needed all of that run-up to understand.
23) The Bible is a system of law that is based on God’s omnipotence.
24) In Judaism, we speak of the “Abrahamic” approach to religion – God’s innate and unconditional love for us, given out of love:

* slavery and redemption
* inheritance of Israel. 
25) The “Mosaic” approach = Torah as it was delivered from God to Moses and then to the Jewish people.

We read the literal words, and interpret them based on the Oral Law (Talmud) and rabbinic consensus. 
26) There is such a rich and complex history of Biblical exegesis, across all the religions, that one has to approach the literal words of the Bible with some awe.

You don’t just read the words and understand them…at all.
27) Parshas Mishpatim presents to us the social institution of slavery as a given.

It is not “anti-slavery” or “pro-slavery.”

It simply discusses how this institution should be regulated.

Because slavery was a reality, & the Torah did not consider it inherently bad.
28) It’s hard to understand how the Bible could condone slavery.

My husband snapped this photo at the Sandy Spring Museum in Maryland of the actual, horrific shackles that our Nation unfortunately used on African-Americans while slavery was legal. 
29) Regardless of how we feel about it, the fact is that the Bible doesn’t say “slavery is abominable,” but simply tells us in this portion how to treat a slave.

And in fact, there is another portion that deals with women captured in war, presumably to serve as sex slaves.
30) “Deuteronomy 21:10-14 deals with the treatment of sexually desirable non-Jewish women who are captured in war….the sexual privileges of the captors…the legal rights and the process of the socialization into Israelite society of the captives.” 
31) So the Bible is not “politically correct.”

32) But one must ask: If slavery is Biblically allowed, why capital punishment for traffickers?

וְגֹנֵ֨ב אִ֧ישׁ וּמְכָר֛וֹ וְנִמְצָ֥א בְיָד֖וֹ מ֥וֹת יוּמָֽת

Exodus 21:16 “And whoever kidnaps a man and sells him, and he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.”
33) Logically speaking, isn’t “human trafficking” the same as slavery?
34) No.
35) I have six more minutes.
36) To oversimplify tremendously:

The Bible places the highest value on freedom.

Without freedom, we have no free will.

Without free will, we cannot choose genuinely to serve God.
37) But the Bible recognizes that there are, realistically, times when slavery may be the life condition of an individual.

As a result of war.

As a result of poverty.
38) Therefore, the Bible prescribes for human beings the ethics of managing reality.
39) Exodus 21:2: “Should you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall work [for] six years, and in the seventh [year], he shall go out to freedom without charge.”

(Please don’t tell me this is preferential treatment for Hebrew slaves…the Bible is not PC, again I am sorry.)
40) Look at what the Bible says about a slave who marries another slave.

This is incredible dramatic emotional stuff.
41) After the slave (yes the Hebrew slave) has served his term, he can only go free if he abandons the female slave he married, along with the children they had together.

If he wants to stay with his family, his owner nails his ear to the wall and drives a nail through it.
42) Exodus 21:5-6: “If the slave says, “I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go free, his master shall bring him to the judges, and he shall bring him to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.”
43) But kidnapping a person to put them into slavery REMOVES THE CHOICE from their hands, DEFIES the adaptation to poverty some must make, and DEFIES the laws of war.
44) In this world, you cannot just do what you want, arbitrarily, because you can.

Even the Church of Satan has its laws. 
45) The kidnapper, who then turns around and sells the victim, defies the essential principle of freedom.

The kidnapper defies the essential principle that human beings must operate by the law.

As such, the kidnapper surrenders his legal right to live on this earth.
46) I am a bit over time, but want to close this out with a personal story.

I’ve written about it before.
47) The point of the story is that God operates in our best interest always.

The purpose of punishing a person with death is not cruelty or the assertion of power.

It is to stop them from doing even more harm to their soul.
48) Sometime in the mid-2000s, I had decided that religion was not for me.

I hated God, and I hated Judaism.

I wanted nothing more than to be free of all of it.
49) Late in 2014, I started seeing the number 613 all over the place.

The time.
The number of emails I had.
License plates.
Rolls of dice.

My husband had a holiday party at his job, and rolled three dice, and they literally came down as 6 1 3.

50) If you’re not familiar with Judaism, 613 is the number of commandments in the Torah.

My family was scared, my father and mother were scared, and the usual rabbi we consulted could not help us.

He sent my father to consult with a mystic from Israel.
51) The mystic said — and this is someone who did not speak English and did not know what a “blog” was — he said to my father, during a 2 hour session somewhere in Brooklyn, where only very religious Jews know where to go…
52) The mystic said to my father: “Your daughter writes blogs. She is going to Barnes and Noble on Shabbos (Saturday) and not with the family to shul (synagogue).”

There was no way he could have known that.
My father did not know at all.
53) My father drove four hours from New Jersey to tell me what the mystic said, exactly as he had said it.
54) The mystic had said: “If your daughter does not do three things, God is going to call her home.”
55) Those three things were:

* Keeping the Sabbath.
* Keeping kosher.
* Going to synagogue WITH THE FAMILY.
56) Without being a fanatic, I do those three things, not perfectly but I do my best to do them.

I won’t lie to you – what the mystic said was terrifying.
57) The bottom line is this.

You can recognize God the nice way, or you can recognize God the not so nice way, but at some point in your life, or even on your deathbed, you are going to recognize God.

And His law.
58) I think about my tombstone, hopefully many years off, every day of my life.

And the same way I know death is coming one day, I am very certain of this:

If someone is trafficking in people, their end will not be a nice one.

Whether by the human courts or by God’s.


By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain. You can also read this thread online here.

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