Chasidic Insights

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 18, v. 1: "Va'yishma Yisro" - Rashi says, "Mah shmua shoma." He heard MAH, which indicated humility, as in "v'Aharon MAH hu" (Bmidbar 16:11). When Yisro heard that Moshe was MAH even after all the great miracles he orchestrated, Yisro was motivated to come. (Rabbi Zvi Hersh haKohein of Riminov in B'eirose Hamayim)

Ch. 18, v. 1: "Va'yishma Yisro" - Rashi says that Yisro heard of the splitting of the Yam Suf and the war with Amoleik. Yisro could not fathom how Amoleik had the temerity to attack the bnei Yisroel after they knew of the great miracles Hashem wrought for them. This motivated Yisro to come because he realized that a person is capable of falling to such depths by virtue of lacking contact with the great leaders of the generation. He therefore came to be with Moshe. (Rabbi Zvi Aryeh of Olik in Ohr Chachomim)

Ch. 18, v. 11: "Atoh yodati" - Rashi says that Yisro said that he recognized Hashem "l'she'ovar." Now he recognized Hashem "b'yoseir." Until now Yisro realized that one must repent for "l'she'ovar," when he sinned. Now he understood that repentance is required even for "b'yoseir," having fallen short of serving Hashem with MORE effort, even if one did not sin outright. (Rabbi Yisroel Zvi of Kosani in Ohr Mollei)

Ch. 18, v. 12: "Va'yovo Aharon v'chol ziknei Yisroel le'echol lechem" - Moshe's joining this elite group to partake of bread is not mentioned (see Rashi). This is because his consumption of food was so elevated that it cannot be described as eating in the common sense. (Baal Shem Tov)

Ch. 18, v. 23: "Al m'komo yovo" - This alludes to the statement that the proper appointment of judges is sufficient merit for the bnei Yisroel to live and to reside in Eretz Yisroel (see Rashi on Dvorim 16:20). "Al m'komo yovo," they will come to their place, Eretz Yisroel, "b'sholo-m," and live in peace. (Rabbi Moshe Yechiel of Ozshorov in B'eir Moshe)

Ch. 19, v. 10: "V'kidashtem ha'yom u'mochor" - The true test that will show if the bnei Yisroel absorbed and integrated into themselves a new higher level of sanctity is not their level on the day of the receiving of the Torah, a time of open Celestial clarity. The true test is "mochor," on the following day, when they return to their tents, to their daily lives. (Rabbi Y'kusiel Yehudoh of Siget in Yeitav Leiv)

Alternatively, Rashi says that sometimes "mochor" refers not to tomorrow, but rather to the future (Shmos 13:14). Our verse exhorts the receivers of the Torah to not only sanctify themselves for that day alone, but also on "mochor - l'achar zman," for all future generations. (Imrei Emes)

Ch. 19, v. 20: "Va'yei'red Hashem al Har Sinai" - The giving of the Torah to the bnei Yisroel is likened to Hashem's being the groom and the bnei Yisroel, the recipients of the Torah, to the bride. Just as the gemara Y'vomos 63b says that one should go down one level to marry a woman, so too, "kavyochol," Hashem "descended" upon Har Sinai. This is indicated by the cantellation on these words, "dargo t'vir," broken step, indicated descent. (Rabbi Avrohom the Malach in B'eir Moshe)


See also Sedrah Selections and Oroh V'Simchoh

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