Punctuate – Parshat Mishpatim
Governments have forever struggled to find the perfect balance between ruling the people and giving people the space to live. The ability to synthesize regulation and autonomy has eluded leaders since the beginning of time. Over-regulation stifles our growth and not enough oversight allows for greed and corruption to flourish and thrive.
What is the anatomy of a sentence? A sentence is constructed to convey a message. You have a thought or an idea that you think is important enough to write down or share with someone else, so you take a couple of individual words, add the correct punctuation and magic – you have the ability to share that thought. What would happen if you took those same thoughts and put them into words and either used the wrong punctuation or forgot the punctuation? Your idea would never reach the other person and your medium of communication is worthless.
The rules of punctuation take many unique variables and allow the words to come together creating an understandable nugget of information. Someone who comments on these rules as being “too top heavy” would be looked at as foolish for the simple reason that without them all the words written in the very same order would be a meaningless pile of gibberish.
Perhaps this is the reason why the Hebrew word for rules and sentences is the same. A sentence without rules is worthless and rules without a sentence are worthless. Put them together and you have created the ability to communicate.
The same is true with our lives. Living a “free” life without any structure can very easily lead to a life devoid of meaning or unfulfilled potential. We are given “rules” or structure by G-d only to punctuate the variables we enjoy and struggle with every day, and allow them come together to form a most meaningful and productive whole which we call “life”.