neither shalt thou favour a poor man in his cause.
This week’s parshah is packed with mitzvot and is a fine parshah to study if you wish to understand what Judaism is truly about in form and essence.
Thus you can’t fully understand the whole meaning and spectrum of these laws if you ignore the Oral Law and might quickly dismiss them as outdated; after all who owns a slave or even an ox nowadays?
A closer examination of the mitzvot will soon show you that numerous laws which are part and parcel of Jewish ethicq have derived from laws that were given to the Jewish people thousands of years ago. For more about this, check Rachel’s post.
One that particularly appeals to me as a teacher is found at 23:3. In the educational field I find that we often favor the “poor” (either literally or academically) to the detriment of other students with the disastrous effect that the latter find the system unfair with those who more or less respect the rules most of the time. In the end it makes them distrustful of both adults and the Law. Not exactly the kind of message a school is supposed to send.
I don’t mean that students with very particular circumstances should never receive special treatment but that, in the end, they should be helped to be held liable just like their peers. It is a narrow path for a school administration and for teachers but one that responsible grown-upss should feel it is their duty to follow.