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    Oppressing a stranger – Mishpatim

    One of the major ethical rules of Judaism is found in Sh’mot 22:20, “You shall not do wrong to or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”.

    “Do wrong to” is explained by Rashi on the basis of the Midrash as, “torment with words”. “Oppress” indicates “robbing their property”.

    Why does the Torah explain these prohibited acts as connected with the fact that we were strangers in the land of Egypt?

    The Ramban (Nachmanides) says, “Don’t think that because strangers are not indigenous inhabitants they have no rights or dignity and no-one will stick up for them. Just as I heard your cries when you were in pain and persecuted in Egypt, so you should heed the cry of the stranger and underprivileged wherever they are.”

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