Parsha Mitzvot-Mishpatim-Rambam: Community Structure: Mitzvah 56 – Concept 524
“If a man shall borrow from his fellow and it shall become broken or shall die, provided its owner is not with him, he shall surely make restitution. If its owner is with him, he shall not make restitution.” (Exodus 22:13-14) The courts must carry out the laws of a borrower. (Rambam, Hilchot Sh’eila U’pikadon – The Laws of Borrowing and Depositing)
I think it is worthwhile to stop at this point and reflect on how the Rambam presents these as laws imposed on the court: “The court must carry out…,” as he does with many of the Mitzvot/Concepts in this week’s parsha. The Rambam sees these laws as the court providing a structure for the community. Part of our responsibility as individuals is to make sure that our communities have courts that will carry out these laws. We are obligated to establish courts to protect our society.