# 2749 The Letter On The Law


Q. Referring tp Parshas Chukas. Is there a saying of Chazal that even the Mishpatim or the logical mitzvos are also Chukim or laws that we cannot understand?
A. Alshich on Parshas Mishpatim and others amply explain that the reason the Torah ordained that the Mishpatim should be set before the Jewish Nation and not before the Gentiles, even when they judge a certain law similarly to the laws of Israel, is because our Mishpatim are the laws of Hashem and not man-made.
On Parshas Behar (Vayikra 25:1) we read: “And you will do (va’Asisem) my ‘Chukim’ and my ‘Mishpatim’ you will guard (Tishmoru).” The Torah uses a different ordinance when referring to Chukim than when referring to Mishpatim.
Chukim are those laws in the Torah we apparently don’t understand the reason for, like the prohibition not to eat meat and milk together or wear Shatnez (linen and wool together). However, Mishpotim are rules that govern the relationships between people. They are decrees for which we presumably know their reason and they actually ‘make sense.’ Examples are the prohibition of killing, stealing and damaging others. These are laws that any civilized society and developed democratic country would enact. The human mind would have come to the realization that these laws are necessary to survive as a civilized society.
Everyone accepts that it is wrong to murder. A society cannot survive when people kill each other. Yet perhaps there will be a government that will rule that in special situations it is correct to permit killing others, as was so popular in Second World War Germany. In our days mercy killing is not unheard off.
Therefore, our Torah commands us, that when it comes to Mishpatim, we have to “guard” them. Do not tamper and meddle with them. Don’t rationalize and argue that they don’t apply in this special situation. They are after all, also the laws of Hashem.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a


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