Parashat Mishpatim: What to do when you don’t know

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Rabbi Marc Rubenstein
Rabbi Marc Rubenstein. Valley News/Courtesy photo
Rabbi March Rubenstein Special to Valley News Parashat Mishpatim, the 18th weekly Torah portion in Exodus 21:1 to Exodus 24:18, deals with the laws of robbery among many other matters. In Exodus 22:1-2, which is part of the larger discussion of robbery, it said, “If one finds someone who comes through a tunnel (into one’s house,) and one strikes them and they are killed, one is not liable for bloodguilt (murder.) But if the sun shone upon them, there is bloodguilt (it is murder if one kills them.)” When I was in rabbinical school, in one of my Talmud classes, we studied a section of the Talmud known as “haba b’mahteret” or “one who comes through a tunnel,” in the Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 72a, which commented on these verses. The section offered three possible in
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