Jake Epstein - Dvar Torah
Sabbath Shalom everybody. I want to thank you all for joining my family and I on this special occasion. I would like to thank Rabbi Greg and Chloe Kruger for their guidance and support I have received in order to learn and grow within the Jewish culture.
Thank you to my parents and brothers for all their love and support.
No-one would have imagined the circumstances that we celebrate our Barmitzvah’s, but I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so today and share our learnings with special friends and family.
The Torah portion we read from today is Mishpatim, meaning “laws” in the Book of Exodus.
This is where Moses details many of God’s laws to the Israelites. These include laws about worshiping other gods, kashrut, business ethics and treatment of animals. God also outlines the details of three holidays: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. Moses climbs Mount Sinai to meet with God for 40 days and 40 nights.
I want to talk about one element of the parashah of Mishpatim.
You must not carry false rumours; you shall not join hands with the guilty to act as a malicious witness.
This to me is an important lesson and ensures that we should always base the foundation of our actions on good honest intention. The Torah provides guidance on how one should carry out one’s responsibility to others, and the spreading of false rumours, and how it can have a very negative impact on others, whether directly or indirectly.
My dad taught me an important lesson when we discussed the impact of negative rumours. From a small fire on the mountain, it can spread very quickly if strong winds were to blow. One does not have control over the wind, and this could have a devastating effect on plants and animals and even homes on the mountain.
The same could be said for social media. When we decide to post messages on any social platform, we lose control over how it is used. We should therefore always be mindful of how we conduct ourselves on these platforms.
Once again, I thank you for joining me and my family today.