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Law and Order

Parashat Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1 - 24:18)

URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/torah_portion/article/law_and_order_20080201

In his magnum opus on the history and development of Jewish civil law, "Ha-Mishpat Ha-Ivri" ("Jewish Law"), Israeli Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon remarks that basing a viable modern legal system on Jewish Law is no easy task -- "it calls for great intellectual effort, creativity and boldness." While the questions associated with incorporating Jewish civil law into Israel's legal system are complex and beyond the scope of this column, I do wish to pose one modest question: Is it possible, in select instances, for the principles and spirit of Mishpat Ivri to serve as a quasi-legal and moral guide on certain matters of Israeli policy?

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