Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Moshe and a cast of many in a Mishpatim Play

Judit Leiser, of my home town (and where my parents still reside) New City, N.Y., a Judaica jewelry artist, has a collection which includes mezuzahs, menorahs, charms and pins.

Moshe: O.K. Tzipporah, I think that's the crow of the rooster. Time to get up and go judge. First case is at 5:45 a.m.
Tzipporah: Moshe, why do you always make appointments for the crack of dawn? Didn't you learn anything from my Father, Yitro, that you should learn to relax a little?
Moshe: Well, I did cut down my load. I set up lower courts, higher courts, middle courts, but everyone still wants to see me. They say, hey, why shouldn't I get the best?
Tzipporah: Oh well, then you might as well get up now. What about breakfast?
Moshe: No, I'm not allowed to eat breakfast before I speak with G-d in the Ohel Moed, the special Holy Tent.
Tzipporah: Well, then when are you coming home?
Moshe: At sun down. One is not allowed to judge at night. You wouldn't want a sleepy, cranky judge, would you?
Tzipporah: Thank G-d for that rule. If not for that rule, you'd never be home. And then will you come back home for dinner?
Moshe: Well, no offense, but I have to hear some new commandments from G-d and then I have to tell Aharon, my brother about it. Then we invite in his sons, Elazar and Itamar, and then we teach everybody together. I should be back by midnight unless I have an emergency meeting with G-d.
Tzipporah: Why couldn't I have married an ordinary shepherd like my 6 sisters?
Moshe: Come on, who would ever remember you if you married any old shepherd?
Tzipporah: O.K. Son of Amram, One Taken From the Water, have a great day, and I don't have to wish that G-d be with you, 'cuz I know He will.
Moshe: Yeah, but will the people be with me? Anyway, may G-d be with you.
(Moshe goes to judge, gets up, sits down)

Moshe: O.K. first case. Yagli vs. Vafsi.
Yagli: He hit me!
Vafsi: Did not!
Yagli: Did too, you big liar.
Moshe: Witnesses please! Pagiel & Achira.
Pagiel & Achira: Vafsi hit Yagli.
Yagli: Told you so!
Moshe: Order! What damage did he incur?
P&A: He was out of shepherding for 3 days and he had to pay 17 shekalim to the medicine man.
Moshe: O.K. Vafsi. You pay the 17 shekel fee for the medicine man and 15 shekels for three days work.

Vafsi: No fair!
Moshe: Quiet or you'll be held in contempt of G-d. G-d gives us the rules. I don't make them up and neither does Vafsi. Next!

Elitzur: He, he, he took out my eye.
audience: ooh!
Moshe: Witnesses!
Witnesses: Yes, on Shabbos, at sunrise, Shdeur hit Elitzur and his eye was damaged permanently.
Moshe: O.K. that will be 10 silver shekel.
Elitzur: But, Moshe, our teacher, you told us G-d said "an eye for an eye?"
Moshe: You weren't listening! I said that G-d explained to me that it means you pay for the difference in price for a slave with an eye and one without, which is about 10 shekel. Next.

Sussi: This man, Zimran, killed his slave.
Moshe: Are there any other witnesses?
Chur: Yes, Moshe, I saw it.
Moshe: Zimran, I hereby sentence you to death by the sword.
Zimran: But he was just a slave! My slave!
Moshe: Didn't you learn anything in Egypt? G-d is the master of all life, not you. Be sure to repent before you die. And may G-d forgive you for we cannot. Next.

Shafat: Moshe, my name is Shafat and Chori's ox went and killed my son.
audience: gasp!
Moshe: Did this ox ever gore anyone else?
Shafat: Yes, it gored my son and trampled him three other times.
Moshe: Was the owner repeatedly warned?
Shafat: Yes.
Moshe: Do you, Shafat have witnesses to all of the heretofore stated?
Shafat: Yes, Rabbeinu.
Moshe: Chori, your ox is a menace to society, and though it is your fault, your ox must be stoned.
audience: gasp!
Moshe: And you are also guilty. You indirectly caused the death of an innocent child. Therefore, you will also be killed.
Chori: Moshe, don't say that. I didn't do it. Bessie the cow did it?!
Moshe: I don't mean that you must die, but you must pay the value of your life, 30 silver pieces.
Chori: What!
Moshe: Silence! It is so written?! Next.

Machalat: Moshe, Zavdi killed my darling son.
Zavdi: Your son wasn't so darling. He was trying to rob me in the middle of the night, so I killed him.
Moshe: Mrs. Machalat, I am sorry, but your son was asking for it. When a man enters a dark house looking for money, he knows that the owner will not take the robbery sitting down. If the owner wakes up, the robber plans to kill the owner. I'm afraid Zavdi was within his legal rights. I'm assuming it was in the middle of the night?
Zavdi: Yes.
Moshe: I'm sorry ma'am. Zavdi is innocent, and may G-d atone for your son and bring you future joy in your life. Next.

Setur: Moshe, I lent Michael here a cow. I come home three days later and it is dead. I say, sorry Michael, you have to pay up. What do you think, he says, "tough, it's not my fault your animal got shot by a robber." I say, you borrow it, you return it.
Moshe: Michael, if your friend Setur was good enough to lend you something, don't you think you should give it back no matter what?
Michael: Yeh, I guess.
Moshe: Next.

Avidan: Moshe, he won't give me back my coat.
Moshe: Nachbi, why won't you give it back?
Nachbi: He borrowed 5 shekel and won't pay back!
Avidan: I don't have any money, or clothes!
Moshe: Shame on you Nachbi. A man lies cold at night and you won't give him his coat? Aharon, see if you can work this out together with the two parties.
Aharon: Sure, come with me.
Moshe: Next.

Uziel: Moshe, this judge ruled against me in court, not because I was wrong, but because the defendant was poor. Is there no justice for rich people?
Moshe: Is this true, judge Nachshon?
Nachshon: Well, I figure he needs the money.
Moshe: Court is for justice to be carried out. If you want to give charity, do it from your own pocket. As a matter of fact, Aharon, why don't you take care of this case. OH! Another day has passed. The sun is setting soon. We had better call it a day. Court adjourned.
G-d: Good work Moshe, now come to my tent. I have some new laws for you.
Moshe: Coming! Come on, Joshua, you can come too.
Joshua: Jeepers, Moshe, me too? Golly, thank ya so much. I just love followin' ya around.
Moshe: We'll see, Joshua, one day G-d will have big plans for you.

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