Excerpt Browser

This page displays the full text of excerpts.  When viewing a single excerpt, its “Share,” “Switch Article,” and “Comment” functions are accessible.

EXODUS — 18:6 coming

EXOD279 A person who attains a high spiritual level must still remember his obligations to his fellow man. Rashi cites the Mechilta which explains that Yisro sent the following message to Moshe: "If you do not want to come to greet me, come for the sake of your wife; and if you do not want to come to greet your wife, come for the sake of her two sons." Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv writes that Yisro was a great philosopher; a sincere and honest seeker of truth. He had experimented with every available form of idolatry, and attained to the awareness that each was void and meaningless (See Rashi to Shmos 18:11). Finally he embraced Judaism. Before he studied, however, he did not know that it was possible for a person to attain a high spiritual level, and still retain a strong interest in his fellow man. He had thought that the two goals were diametrically opposed. He therefore sent Moshe a message that he should come to greet his father-in-law; if not him, his wife; if not his wife, his children. That is, Yisro hinted to Moshe, "You might have reached the apex of spirituality, but you must nevertheless fulfill your social obligations." But the truth is that the Torah encourages us to attain high levels in both spheres: our relationship with God and our relationship with man. It is no light task to excel in both. It takes much effort, but that is our obligation. (Chochmah Umussar, vol. 2, p. 222)


EXODUS — 18:7 bowed

EXOD280 I would not know who bowed down to whom, and who kissed whom, if not for the fact that it is written: "And a man inquired of the other's well-being." Who is called "a man"? Moses, as it is written (Numbers 12:3): "And the man, Moses, was exceedingly humble" -- whence it is seen that it was Moses, who bowed down to and kissed his father-in-law. From here is derived that one must be solicitous of the honor of his father-in-law (Mechilta).


EXODUS — 18:7 kissed

EXOD281 We are obligated to honor our parents-in-law. Rabbi Naftoli Tzvi Berlin writes in Haamek Dovor that although Moshe's wife and sons were also coming to him, Moshe made a point of greeting his father-in-law first. He did so because of the obligation to honor one's father-in-law (Yorah Daiah 240:24). (The B'air Hatev adds that a person is also obligated to honor his mother-in-law.) Pele Yoatz (section chomov) writes that a son-in-law (or daughter-in-law) should appreciate the fact that his parents-in-law spent much time and effort in raising their child who is now his wife (or her husband). In gratitude, a person should always treat his in-laws with the proper respect.


EXODUS — 18:9 rejoiced

EXOD283 The Talmud (Sanhedrin 84a) prohibits speaking in a derogatory manner about non-Jews while in the presence of a convert. Concerning [this verse] Rashi explains that the word "vayichad" [rejoiced] is related to the word "chidudin" -- prickles, meaning that Yisro's flesh became full of prickles, implying Yisro's anguish and resentment over the destruction of Mitzrayim. This is the intention of the popular expression, "Do not degrade a non-Jew while in the presence of a convert" (Sanhedrin 94a).


EXODUS — 18:10 blessed

EXOD285 To this day, a Hebrew expression that is associated with Orthodox Jews is Baruch Hashem ("Blessed is the Lord"). Thus, when one asks an Orthodox Jew how he or she is doing, the person often will answer, "Baruch Hashem" (which is intended to convey that everything is as God wills). Yet few Jews realize that this expression, which comes from the Torah, is used there exclusively by non-Israelites. Perhaps its most well-known usage is by Jethro who, when he hears Moses tell about the miraculous escape of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, comments: "Baruch Hashem who delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh…" [this verse]. Earlier in the Torah, Noah uses this expression as well Genesis 9:26, as does Abraham's servant (assumed to be Eliezer; Genesis 24:27. In Genesis 14:20, the non-Israelite King Melchizedek uses a variant of this expression.


EXODUS — 18:12 eat

EXOD286 We should be eager to serve food to Torah scholars. … Where was Moshe? The Midrash replies that Moshe stood before them and served them. When Rabbi Gamliel made a feast for Torah scholars, all the scholars in Israel came and Rabbi Gamliel personally served them. When the Sages protested that they could not allow Rabbi Gamliel to do so, Rabbi Yehoshua rabbi told them ,"Let him serve, for we find someone greater than him who also served his guess. If Avraham deemed it fit to serve the angels who he thought were idol worshipers, all the more so should Rabbi Gamliel be allowed to serve scholars who study Torah." Rabbi Tzodok then told them, "we find someone even greater than both Rabbi Gamliel and Avraham who serves people. The Almighty constantly supplies food to the entire world; not only to the righteous, but even to idol worshipers. All the more reason that Rabbi Gamliel should serve Torah scholars." (Mechilta 18:12)


EXODUS — 18:12 God

EXOD287 R. Avin Halevi said: All who partake of a feast in which a Torah scholar is a principal, are basking, as it were, in the Divine Presence. As it is written: "And Aaron came and all the elders of Israel to eat bread with the father-in-law of Moses before God." Now is it before God that they ate? Is it not before Moses that they ate? From here we infer, then, that if one partakes of the feast in which a Torah scholar is a principle, it is as if he would bask in the Divine Presence (Berachoth 64a).


Back To Top