Mishpatim – Treat Immigrants With Empathy

We must treat foreigners and immigrants with sensitivity and empathy because we Jewish people have experienced the hurt and pain of having been discriminated against in so many host societies that we have lived in, and it behooves us to have learned from that unfortunate experience. A most relevant and current world issue is what are countries’ responsibilities to their immigrants. And this week’s parsha speaks expressly on this point, indicating the imperative to treat foreigners with empathy and sensitivity – of course subject to their compliance with the laws of the land. The reason given is because we Jewish people have probably been the most ‘foreign’ people in the world – living in hundreds of host societies and therefore, of all people, we Jewish people should be mindful of the trials and tribulations of newcomers. And this especially extends to those who are the ‘new Jews’ those who have chosen to convert and carry out a lifestyle fully guided by Halacha, with all of its restrictions, and customs and lifestyle. We are instructed to respect a Ger even more so than someone who is naturally born Jewish, because this is a Jewish soul that has undergone a more severe worldly test and passed.