by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS YISRO 5763 BS"D
Ch. 18, v. 2: "Achar shilu'chehoh" - After her being sent - A few interpretations:
1) Rabbi Yehoshua says that this means after sending her away with a writ of divorce. (Mechilta)
2) Rabbi Elozor of Modiin says: After he verbally sent her away. Upon Aharon's meeting Moshe with his wife and children outside Mitzrayim, Aharon suggested that he not bring them into servitude and suffering. Moshe agreed and sent her and the children back to her parents for the meantime. (Mechilta brought by Rashi)
3) The Ibn Ezra offers that these words mean after her sending Moshe presents, as we find "shiluchim l'vito" (M'lochim 1:9:16).
4) The Sforno says that this means after Tziporoh originally sent Moshe an inquiry. She asked when it would be advisable to join him. He responded that he was in the desert and that the encampment was not settled in one place for an extended period of time. Once he sent her that they had come to rest at "har hoElokim" (verse 5), the area of Har Sinai, she and her children came.
5) The Rashbam says that this means "after Moshe sent his wife back the 'n'dunia,'" presents that were given him upon marrying her.
Ch. 18, v. 6: "Ani CHosencho Yisro" - The first letters of these three words Alef-Ches-Yud form the acronym "ochi," my brother. This is an allusion to Yisro's being a reincarnation of Kayin, the brother of Hevel, whose soul transmigrated into Moshe. Because Kayin said, "Leis din v'leis dayon," there is no accounting and there is no judge (Targumim Yonoson ben Uziel and Yerushalmi on Breishis 4:8), he corrected this in Yisro's lifetime by helping Moshe with judging the people, "V'atoh sechezeh" (18:21). As well, the M.R. says that they fought over the triplet sister born with Hevel. To make reparations for this, Yisro gave Moshe his daughter Ziporoh as a wife. When Hevel was killed Kayin took possession of all his sheep. Likewise, Yisro gave Moshe his sheep to herd. (Kavonas hoAri z"l)
Ch. 18, v. 6: "Ani chosencho Yisro bo ei'lecho" - I your father-in-law Yisro am coming to you - The Sforno explains that Yisro sent this message ahead of his arrival since the gemara P'sochim 112a says that one should not enter his own home suddenly without warning, so surely one should not enter another's home suddenly.
Ch. 18, v. 7: "Va'yeitzei Moshe likras chose'no" - Moshe went out to his father-in-law - Even though Moshe was the king of the bnei Yisroel (gemara Z'vochim 102a), he still bestowed honour upon his father-in-law by going out to meet him, because Moshe was grateful for Yisro's helping him in his time of need, offering him refuge and his daughter as a wife. (Sforno)
Ch. 18, v. 10: "Asher hitzil es'chem miyad Mitzrayim u'miyad Paroh" - Who has saved you from the hand of Mitzrayim and from the hand of Paroh - What are these two saves? The first is from the clutches of the administering angel of the Egyptian nation, whose name is also Mitzrayim, while the second is from the hand of Paroh. (Sha"ch)
Ch. 18, v. 10,11: "Boruch Hashem, Ki godol Hashem mikol ho'elohim" - Blessed is Hashem, Because Hashem is greater than all the powers - The format of Yisro's blessing Hashem is in keeping with blessing Hashem and then mentioning that He is the King over all, "Boruch atoh Hashem .. melech ho'olom." (Sha"ch)
Ch. 18, v. 10: "Asher hitzil es ho'om miyad Mitzroyim" - Who has saved the nation from the hand of Egypt - After all that was just mentioned just before this, what is being added? The Ibn Ezra and Ramban say that "hitzil es'chem" refers to Moshe and Aharon being saved from being punished in spite of their speaking so harshly to Paroh and his nation, warning them of devastating plagues. Saving the nation refers to their being saved from almost certain death at Yam Suf.
The Haa'meik Dovor says that "hitzil es'chem" refers only to Moshe and Aharon's exemption from labour and servitude, while "asher hitzil es ho'om" refers to those who were actually enslaved being released. It seems that the Haa'meik Dovor understands "asher hitzil es ho'om" as "VAasher hitzil es ho'om," as it is a continuum of those who were saved from servitude. The missing letter Vov seems to not be as problematic according to the Ibn Ezra and Ramban since Moshe and Aharon were saved from one thing and the nation as a whole from another.
Ch. 18, v. 16: "Bo a'lai v'shofat'ti" - He comes to me and I will judge - The M.R. parshas Bo chapter #17 writes that because Moshe sat in his place and had the petitioners come to him, he had to enter the Ohel Mo'eid to communicate with Hashem. Shmuel, on the other hand, traveled throughout the length and breadth of the land to teach and judge the people. He was rewarded with having Hashem appear to him on site.
Ch. 18, v. 24: "Va'yishma Moshe l'kole chose'no va'yaas kole asher omor" - And Moshe listened to the voice of his father-in-law and he did all that he said - Rabbi Yehoshua says that "va'yaas kole asher omor" refers back to Yisro, i.e. Moshe scrupulously followed his advice. Rabbi Elozor of Modiin says that this phrase refers back to Hashem, i.e. Moshe heard out his father-in-law and then did as Hashem commanded him.
Ch. 19, v. 3: "U'Moshe oloh" - And Moshe ascended - When Moshe ascended Har Sinai he asked Hashem, "Why are You giving the Torah through me alone, just one person?" Hashem responded that Moshe was capable of transmitting all 613 mitzvos all on his own, as is indicate by the appellation "Moshe Rabbeinu," whose numerical value is 613. Moshe then asked, "If one person is capable on his own to transmit the Torah, why is it required to have a quorum of 10 people to perform a 'dovor shebikdushoh,' an act of special sanctity, for example to say Kadish, Kedushoh, or Borchu?" Hashem responded that Moshe had the spiritual power of 10 people, as indicated by his name Moshe. When it is spelled out "b'milluy," Mem is Mem-Mem, Shin is Shin-Yud-Nun, Hei is Hei-Hei, we have a total of 450, equal to 10 times "odom." (Medrash Plioh)
Ch. 19, v. 3: "U'Moshe oloh el Elokim" - And Moshe ascended to Hashem - Note this extreme contrast: In our verse we find Moshe ascending to Hashem, a feat that was never duplicated by anyone in the world who afterwards would descend back to this world. On the other hand, all the survivors of the desert crossed over the Jordan River and entered Eretz Yisroel except for Moshe, "Lo saavor es haYardein ha'zeh" (Dvorim 3:27, 31:2). This was the intention of King Shlomo when he wrote "Ki lo lakalim hamorotz" (Koheles 9:11), even those who are light of foot (are capable of entering into the Heavenly Domain of Hashem) are not able to run (enter Eretz Yisroel). (M.R. on Koheles 9:11)
Ch. 19, v. 3: "U'Moshe oloh" - And Moshe ascended - When Moshe ascended to the heavens he saw Hashem attaching crowns (tagin) to certain letters of the Torah. He understood that the crowns contained cryptic allusions and meanings beyond just the written word. He therefore asked Hashem, "Who is capable of extracting the secrets embodied in these crowns? Why not write their content in full?" Hashem responded that there would be people like Rabbi Akiva and others of his stature who would comprehend all the secrets of the crowns. As to why they would not be written out in full, Hashem answered that it is to avoid writing a much lengthier Torah, and by having the concepts embodied in simple crowns much money would be saved by one who would undertake to write a Torah or have it written by a sofer. (Sefer Hatagin)
Ch. 19, v. 17: "Va'yisyatzvu b'sachtis hohor" - And they stood themselves below the mountain - The gemara Shabbos 88a says that the bnei Yisroel literally stood below the mountain as it was suspended above them like a barrel above their heads. The Yonas Eilem chapter #8 says that since they remained alive only by virtue of a miracle, as a mountain suspended above them should have come down upon them by the laws of gravity, they were considered as if they had died. This accomplished that the negative effect of the sin of Odom's eating from the Eitz Hadaas left them, "poska zuhamoson."
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