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מִּשְׁפָּטִים / Mishpatim Parsha Overview: Treating Other People

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a “Q&A” format adaptable for kids of any age. Answers in brackets are traditional responses, from parsha text and midrash. But be open to anything your child might have to say! Please see the Vayeishev overview for how we use them in our homeschool! There are also copywork sheets to go with the weekly parsha… enjoy!

משפטים means RULES.  Let’s find out a few of them!

ה׳ gave so many rules because He… (wanted בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל to be special!)

Last week, we heard the… (עשרת הדיברות/Aseres HaDibros), ten special rules given straight from… (ה׳ at הַר סִינַי!)

The עשרת הדיברות tell us how to treat… (ה׳). 

This week, in Parshas משפטים, we learn rules for how to treat… (other people)!


Sometimes, a person had to work as an עֶבֶד עִבְרִי – a Jewish servant!

Was this the same as when בני ישראל were slaves in מִצְרַיִם?

·         No – in מצרים… (the masters did not take good care of the slaves!)

·         No – in מצרים… (the slaves could never go free!)

If a Jew had a servant, he had to know… (the rules for looking after him properly)

A servant was automatically free to leave after working for… (seven years)

But if a servant wanted to stay, the master could… (pierce his ear, and he was allowed to stay!)


In those days, if a non-Jew got hurt, their family might kill the other person!

image ה׳ said… (this was wrong!)  A Jew who hurts someone else… (has to pay to take care of that person!)

They have to pay for five things:

·         נזק/Nezek – money for how much less work the person can do now that he is hurt;

·         צער/Tzaar – money for pain the person felt from the injury;

·         רפוי/Ripuy – money to pay for doctors and medicine;

·         שבת/Sheves – money the person needs to live while he or she recovers;

·         בשת/Boshes – money because the person was embarrassed by getting hurt.

The family was not allowed to… (take revenge on whoever caused the injury!)


image Even if you didn’t hurt the person yourself, you might still have to pay!

Could a person say, “I didn’t hurt him; it was my animal!”  (no,  he could not!)

בני ישראל had to try to make sure that… (nobody got hurt, ever!)

They still had to pay, even if… (it was their animal who hurt the person)

They sometimes still had to pay, even if they didn’t… (hurt the person on purpose!)


ה׳ wants us to be extra-careful with other people and their things!

If someone from בני ישראל stole something… (they had to pay it back double)

·         If they stole one sheep, they’d have to give back… (two sheep)

·         If they stole five dollars, they’d have to give back… (ten dollars)

If you are taking care of someone else’s things, you have to… (guard them carefully)

Judges had to be extra-careful and not listen to… (one person because he was poor, or another because he was rich)


ה׳’s special people had to remember many special times and rules that made us different!

Every six days, בני ישראל had to stop… (working and keep Shabbos!)

Every six years, בני ישראל had to stop… (farming and keep the שְׁמִטָּה/Shemittah year!)

Three times a year, בני ישראל had to… (come to ה׳ to celebrate:  פֶּסַח /Pesach, שָׁבוּעוֹת /Shavuos, and סֻכּוֹת /Sukkos!)

One more way of being special:  ה׳ told us not to… (eat milk and meat together!)


There are three kinds of people ה׳ wants us to take care of!

They are: (a גֵר/convert, a יָתוֹם/orphan, and an אַלְמָנָה/widow) because… (they’re alone; missing people to care for them)

ה׳ says he will listen hard to these people and make sure… (they are not sad or upset!)

We have to take care of people who are (alone) because… (we were alone when we went to מצרים)


At the end of this week’s parsha, Moshe goes up on הַר סִינַי for forty days.

He’s getting ready to bring back some very special instructions –

for building the מִשְׁכָּן/Mishkan/Tabernacle!


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