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JUDGING WITH BENEVOLENCE
"Vayishma Yisro Ess Kol Asher Oseh Hashem L'Moshe V'L'Yisrael Amo"
Yisro was very impressed with the miracles that Hashem had performed during the Redemption from Mitzrayim (Egypt), but what impressed him most of all was the manner in which Hashem meted out judgment to the people of Mitzrayim.
The purpose of the miraculous plagues was not revenge upon Mitzrayim. If that were the case, Hashem would not have issued repeated warnings to Pharaoh and the people of Mitzrayim. Hashem would have simply given Mitzrayim its punishment without further ado. Rather the plagues were "for Moshe and Yisrael - his nation" for the benefit of the Jewish people. Through the ten plagues, Hashem forced Mitzrayim to concede that it had no hold over the Jews, and that the Jewish People was a nation onto itself and not a band of escaped slaves. Hashem's actions were defined by his infinite benevolence, not by anger upon Mitzrayim. It was this fact that made the greatest impact on Yisro. (Kedushas Levi)
ABOVE AND ABOVE THE CALL OF DUTY
"Kol Asher Diber Hashem Na'aseh"
It was a very special act on the Jews' part to say Na'aseh-"we will do" before Nishma -"we will listen." This implied that they were ready to accept upon themselves to do all that the Torah required of them before hearing exactly what this obligation actually was. Our Sages relate that as a reward for this meritorious deed, angels descended from heaven and placed two crowns on each Jew's head, one for Na'aseh and one for Nishma.
One may ask, however why two crowns were given each Jew instead of one? True, the reversal of Na'aseh and Nishma was a noble act, but it was only one reversal. One reversal constitutes only one act. The fact that a separate crown was given for each utterance indicates that each of these confirmations was an independent good deed; that each implied a readiness to go above the call of duty. (The Jews did not receive crowns for simply accepting the Torah; they were expected to do so.) How can we discern two separate noteworthy actions from a single change in the order of these two statements?
When the Jews undertook to fulfill the Torah before hearing what the commandments entail, they were ready to rely on their own perceptions to discern Hashem's will. A true servant of Hashem, totally attuned to spirituality can draw upon his own logic and emotions to figure out the principles of Hashem's will. Avrohom Avinu (our forefather Abraham) kept the Torah before its being given by deducing its tenets through his understanding of the Divine Plan of Creation. It was to such a level of devotion that the Jews subscribed with the proclamation "Na'aseh"-we will do. They each earned a crown for this declaration of acceptance. An even higher level of service for Hashem than fulfilling Hashem's will through one's own perceptions is obeying Hashem directly. One who obeys Hashem's directives subordinates himself to Hashem's rulership. This is a very important form of devotion. One who fulfills the Torah, but has not been directly commanded to do so may serve Hashem well, but his service will be lacking this important element. The Jews embraced the concept of subordinating themselves to Hashem's direct commandments by proclaiming "Na’aseh"-"we will do" They said in effect "Not only do we accept upon ourselves to fulfill the Torah independent of any command to do so, we also want to subject ourselves to Hashem's direct orders so that we can be totally under Hashem's jurisdiction." Consequently, their stating" V'Nishma"-"we will hear" was a separate noble act. They thereby merited an additional crown. (Nachlas Ya'akov)
Courtesy of JewishAmerica (www.JewishAmerica.com)
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