Chazal, when discussing shemita, mention that it was given on Mount Sinai, and they explain that just as the mitzvah of shemita was given on Mount Sinai, so too were all the mitzvahs given on Mount Sinai. The question is: What was it about the mitzvah of shemita that compelled Chazal to come to a conclusion that this mitzvah was given on Mount Sinai (and from there jump to the fact that ALL mitzvahs were also given on Sinai)?
Another question, this time from Rashi: “Why is there a ‘vav’ preceding the phrase ‘v’eiloo hamishpatim’?” Rashi answers that just as the mitzvahs of the last parsha (Parshas Yisro) were given on Sinai, so too the mishpatim were given on Sinai.
Final question: Why do Chazal need to learn this concept twice: That just as “X” was given at Sinai, so too “Y” was also given at Sinai?
Those who are familiar with the setup of the American judicial system are aware that there were basic laws that were put into place and as time went on these laws were adapted and amended to fit the situation in which the citizenry found itself. It was clear from the onset that those additions were not intended when the Constitution was first drafted. Yet we understand that these additions must follow the spirit of the ideals of the “founding fathers”. Perhaps, the laws of Shemita are similar: Moshe was told the concept of Shemita at Mount Sinai, but as it was not put into practice until 61 years later – when the Bnei Yisrael were already in the Land for 20 years (due to the wars and division of the land, the seven-year cycle didn’t start until year 14) – perhaps the fine details of the laws of Shemita were not created until this later time. Chazal tell us that this is incorrect and that even the details of shemita were recorded at the time of the giving of the Torah. Once the point is made by shemita, we can say certainly that all the mitzvahs were not made up as we went along, but instead were Divinely given at the time of the giving of the Torah.
Mishpatim – civil laws – have the same problem, from the opposite direction: Here we can understand that the laws themselves and their intricacies were born out of the design of a person who can forecast the different scenarios that people may find themselves quarreling about. Here the question is “Maybe Moshe Rabbeinu made up these laws at the time they were given?” Therefore, Chazal must tell us at a different time – in Parshas Mishpatim – that just as the 10 Commandments were given at Mount Sinai, so too all civil laws were given at Mount Sinai.
Shavuos is approaching, and the words “naaseh v’nishma” are in the forefronts of our minds. We must continue our fierce belief that all the mitzvahs – from the most obvious inter-personal laws of mishpatim, to the miraculous and intricate laws of shemita – are of Divine nature, and that we are proud to reaffirm and accept all these mitzvahs that were given to us.