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Rabbi's Message - Parshat Mishpatim

02/11/10 22:04:20


The past few weeks Torah portion has focused on the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. From the ten plagues, to the splitting of the sea and on to Mount Sinai and the giving of the Torah. Ultimately, we would be led to Israel to live as a free nation in our land and to follow the laws of the Torah. It only takes a small reminder that we are in golus, exile.

The Torah teaches us to follow the laws of the land and we are obligated to be good law abiding citizens no matter where. The laws of Dina D'Malchusa Dina, the laws of the land have to be followed. One major difference between the laws of the United States and the Torah is the implementation and the carrying out of the punishment.

In this week's parsha Mishpatim the Torah says Makeh Ish Vames Mos Yumas, whoever strikes a man dead shall surely be put death. According to the Torah, in order to exercise capital punishment, the perpetrator had to be warned and be premeditated with witnesses, yet in America that is not the case. A sharp reminder that we are in the exile will be witnessed (hopefully avoided) this coming Tuesday, February 16th when a Jewish man is scheduled to be executed in Florida. Martin Grossman was only nineteen years old when he killed a wildlife officer in 1984.

The following is a letter from Alan Dershowitz to his fellow Jews regarding the plight of Martin Grossman: Michoel Yechiel Ben Miriam Sorah <blockquote>As you may or may not know, a Jewish man is slated for execution in Florida next Tuesday.

Martin Grossman was convicted of killing Margaret Parks, a Florida Wildlife Officer, in 1984, when he was 19 years old.

He did so while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and in an act of panic, not premeditation.

He has conducted himself as a model prisoner since his incarceration some 25 years ago and has shown profound remorse and regret for his actions.

National Council of Young Israel has joined other Orthodox Jewish groups including Agudath Israel of America and the Orthodox Union, in asking Florida Governor Charlie Crist to grant clemency , from the death penalty to life in prison, to Mr. Grossman, and we have also requested a meeting in person with Governor Crist to discuss the matter.

But it is important that the Governor hear from the grassroots as well - certainly from people who live or spend significant time in Florida, but even from non-Floridians.

His e-mail address is , his phone number is

(850) 488-7146 and he can be faxed at 850-487-0801.

Letters and calls should be polite to the Governor to take into account Mr. Grossman's youth and impairment at the time of the crime and his good behavior and remorse in the years since.

And the request should be that Mr. Grossman be permitted to serve his debt to society by serving the rest of his life in prison.

May we have happier occasions to demonstrate our achdus and ahavas Yisroel.

"Even those who strongly support capital punishment would limit it to recidivists or people who commit the most heinous of crimes. Martin Grossman fits neither of those categories. He does not belong on death row. His crime, committed when he was a teenager, was unplanned, unpremeditated and impulsive—the product of a serious mental illness, that can now be proved by medical technology that was unavailable at the time of his sentencing. He has been in prison for more than a quarter of a century, during which time he has been a model prisoner who has shown great remorse for what he did. All that he is seeking now is a 60 day postponement of his execution, so that his supporters can martial the evidence and present his case for clemency. No one should be rushed to execution while doubts remain unresolved. Justice demands that he be given the 60 days to prove that he does not deserve to die at the hands of the state."</blockquote> PLEASE PRAY FOR MICHOEL YECHIEL BEN MIRIAM SORAH


Shabbat Shalom, Avram Bogopulsky
Sat, August 8 2020 18 Av 5780