Meir LaTorah: Divrei Torah on the Parsha

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h„u }rha }b ryam Âr n„ul
Parshas Yisro
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Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Yisro 5771
This week's Parsha begins with the visit from Yisro and his advice to Moshe Rabbeinu on how to run the Batei Dinim. At
the end of that advice we find Yisro saying the following, 18:23 (‫ וְיָָכ ְל ָּת‬,‫ וְ ִצּוְ ָך אֱלֹ ִק ים‬,‫ֲׂשה‬
ֶ ‫ ַּתע‬,‫ ַה ָּדבָר ַהּזֶה‬-‫ ָהעָם אִם אֶת‬-‫עֲמֹד; וְגַם ּכָל‬
ָ ‫מְקֹמֹו יָבֹא ב‬-‫ עַל‬,‫ ) ַהּזֶה‬If you do the following then you will be able to persevere and also all of Klal Yisrael will be able
to come in peace.
There is a Kasha here on the (‫ְׁשלֹום‬
ָ ‫ )יָבֹא ב‬and that is the Gemara in Maseches Berachos which says that the proper words
with which to say goodbye to someone is Leich L'shalom, go to peace. If someone has passed away then the custom is to
say Leich B'shalom, go in peace. Leich L'shalom, a living person can go to peace and still have a relationship with
someone else and have Shalom. However, a Niftar who does not have a potential to have a disagreement with anyone, so
it must be Leich B'shalom. Go to a place that there will be Shalom. So why here does Yisro use an expression of (‫יָבֹא‬
ָ ‫ )ב‬which is an expression that would be used for a Niftar?
The Kasha is even stronger when we look back in Parshas Shemos and we see that Yisro himself when he gave
permission for Moshe Rabbeinu to leave in 4:18 (ְ‫ וַּיֹאמֶר לֹו ֵא ְלכָה ּנָא וְ]ׁשּובָה וַּיֵֶלך‬,‫יֶתֶר חֹתְנֹו‬-‫ָׁשב ֶאל‬
ָ ‫מֹׁשה וַּי‬
ֶ ,‫ ְּב ִמ ְצ ַריִם‬-‫ֲׁשר‬
ֶ ‫_חַי א‬-‫אֶל‬
‫ הַעֹודָם ַחּיִים; וַּיֹאמֶר יִתְרֹו‬,‫ְׁשלֹום וְ ֶא ְראֶה‬
ָ ‫ ֵל ְך ל‬,‫ְמֹׁשה‬
ֶ ‫ )ל‬where Yisro uses the proper expression of (ְ‫ְׁשלֹום ֵלך‬
ָ ‫)ל‬. Why here does Yisro
say (‫מְקֹמֹו יָבֹא‬-‫ עַל‬,‫ ָהעָם ַהּזֶה‬-‫ְׁשלֹום וְגַם ּכָל‬
ָ ‫?)ב‬
I would like to share with you 2 answers on this question. The first is something that Rav Pam often said in the name of
the Chofetz Chaim. He said that this Posuk is a Remez to Gilgulim. The idea that a Neshama can be forced to come back
to this world for a second or even a third life if he had some unfinished business so to speak in his first life. That we
understand is a pain for the Neshamah and the Neshamah does not want to go through the Tzar of coming back.
If someone owes money to someone else then there is a concept that he has to come back to repay that money. Probably
not if someone is an Ones, however, if someone has some sort of guilt of owing money to someone else then yes. If the
Batei Dinim run properly and people go to them and things are resolved the Neshamah comes upstairs B'shalom. So the
Posuk of (‫ְׁשלֹום וְגַם‬
ָ ‫מְקֹמֹו יָבֹא ב‬-‫ עַל‬,‫ ָהעָם ַהּזֶה‬-‫ )ּכָל‬means that Yisro was saying if the Batei Dinim are run properly than the
Neshamah will come upstairs with a complete peace in the Olam Ha'emes. However, if the Batei Dinim don't run properly
and people wait on line for many hours and don't come, then they lack that B'shalom because they are liable to have to
come back for another Gilgul because of the financial issues that were not resolved. This is one Pshat.
I saw a second Pshat in the Netziv's Hameik Davar. We know that Batei Dinim can rule in 1 of 2 ways. Either Bais Din
can try to figure out what the Halacha is and settle a dispute that way or through Peshara which is sort of a compromise.
The idea is that the Bais Din can try to make some accommodations between the sides. That is called a Peshara. We know
that Peshara is something which is healthy for the litigants because somehow they will both walk out friendly maybe not
best friends but at least some sort of civility towards each other.
Mashe'ainkain, Shuras Hadin where each side typically feels that they are totally right, when the Bais Din Paskens for one
side without any Peshara the other side of course feels cheated (unless they are Baalei Madreiga who don't). Most people
are that way and therefore we advise them to do Peshara.
There is a Halacha in Choshen Mishpat that if a Dayan knows a Halacha he is prohibited from making a Peshara. What I
mean to say is, in most Dinei Torah most Dayanim have to sit down and work through the Sugya because things are not
usually clear in Shulchan Aruch. Then they can offer a Peshara because they do not know the Halacha. If they know the
Halachah, it is prohibited to do a Pesharah and therefore Moshe Rabbeinu never did a Peshara. He always had to do
Shuras Hadin. He learned the Torah as a gift from the Ribbono Shel Olam and knew exactly what to do.
Part of Yisro's advice says the Netziv, was to get 18:21 (‫ִּׁשים‬
ִ ‫ ָׂשרֵי ֲחמ‬,‫ ָׂשרֵי ֲא ָלפִים ָׂשרֵי מֵאֹות‬, ‫ֲׂשרֹת‬
ָ ‫ְׂשרֵי ע‬
ָ ‫ )ו‬people who were not
totally clear in the Halacha so that they would be able to offer Peshara. Mashe'ainkain Moshe Rabbeinu when he Paskens
it affects the Sholom of the people. Peshara is called Mishpat Sholom it is called a judgment of peace and therefore the
Netziv Teitches (‫מְקֹמֹו יָבֹא‬-‫ְׁשלֹום עַל‬
ָ ‫)ב‬.This doesn't refer to the normal Sholom that a person says as a greeting or as a
departure greeting to a Neshama. Rather it means they will come with the judgment of peace which is ideal in a Bais Din.
After Revii we read that 19:2 (‫ וַּיַחֲנּו‬,‫ וַּיָבֹאּו ִמ ְדּבַר סִינַי‬,‫וַּיִסְעּו ֵמ ְרפִידִים‬, ‫ נֶגֶד ָההָר‬,‫ִׂש ָראֵל‬
ְ ‫ ָׁשם י‬-‫ ) ַּב ִּמ ְדּבָר; וַּיִחַן‬that Klal Yisrael travelled
from Refidim to Midbar Sinai. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh says these words of introduction to the Aseres Hadibros and
their arrival at Har Sinai actually hint at how a person must prepare for learning throughout the generations. (‫)וַּיִסְעּו ֵמ ְרפִידִים‬
is a reference to the fact that Klal Yisrael is in Refidim and they were weak in their learning of Torah. So that (‫וַּיִסְעּו‬
‫ וַּיָבֹאּו ִמ ְדּבַר סִינַי‬,‫ ) ֵמ ְרפִידִים‬is telling us that Klal Yisrael in order to learn properly have to leave the laziness that a person can
have in his learning and learn with enthusiasm.
Rav Druk in Darash Mordechai brings that Rav Shimon Shkop used to say that when a person is learning if he explains a
Sevara and doesn't use any type of hand motions to explain what he is saying that is a Chisaron in the Sevara. To explain
a Sevara properly there has to be Tenuas Yadayim.
She'Rafu Yidaihaim Min Hatorah. It says by Refidim that their hands were lazy from Torah. They explained things with
laziness and without enthusiasm. That is a problem.
Rav Druk adds that there is a Chavis Yair that says there is a Rabbinic expression Lo Yatzo Yadav V'raglav B'bais
Hamedrash. If someone Paskened something wrong the Rabbinic expression to deride that is Lo Yatzo Yadav V'raglav
B'bais Hamedrash he did not find his hands and feet in the Bais Hamedrash. Rav Druk brings the Chavis Yair who
suggests that this means learning without enthusiasm without the Yadaim, the excitement of hand motions in explaining.
What is Raglav B'bais Hamedrash? We learn in the same Pesukim right after Revii, that Klal Yisrael arrived at Har Sinai
19:1 (‫ ּבָאּו ִמ ְדּבַר סִינָי‬,‫)ּבַּיֹום ַהּזֶה‬.
Chazal have a Drasha that on that day they came what does it mean on this day they came? Chazal say over a well known
Drasha that Rashi brings (‫ )דברי תורה חדשים עליך כאלו היום נתנו שיהיו‬that it should be as if the Torah was given today. Rav
Druk says you can tell how a person walks into the Bais Medrash for a Seder. If a person walks into the Bais Medrash
with enthusiasm you know he is going to learn well. If a person walks in lazily and Dreis around and takes awhile to get
to his seat you know that the learning will not be challenging and will not be done enthusiastically. So that the Raglayim
(the feet too) tell us a lot about the learning. Lo Yatzo Yadav V'raglav B'bais Hamedrash. Use your hands and your feet to
build up the enthusiasm and show the enthusiasm that a person has in his Limud Hatorah.
20:7 (‫ ְל ַקּדְׁשֹו‬,‫ַּׁשּבָת‬
ַ ‫יֹום ה‬-‫ )זָכֹור אֶת‬I would like to speak briefly about the Mitzva of Kiddush. The Mitzva is to make Kiddush
at night Min Hatorah and Midirabbanan by day as well. According to everyone the Mitzva Lichatchila is with wine or
with grape juice, with wine as the preference when a person makes his Kiddush.
I once heard from Rav Shlomo Zalman Braun the author of Shearim Mitzuyanim B'Halacha who was one of the first
Chassidishe Rabbanim in Flatbush. He said a person should keep all Chassidishe Minhagim except two. One of those two
is the Minhag of many Chassidim to make Kiddush on Schnapps. First of all even if you make Kiddush on a Reviis of
Schnapps it is not Lichatchila (preferable). Certainly if a person makes Kiddush on a 1 ounce of Schnapps is not
performing the Mitzvah the way it should be done. It seems from the Shulchan Aruch that a person is not even Yotzei
My father A"H used to make Kiddush on Schnapps and when I got a little older I mentioned to him that it is a Shaila. He
said he will ask the Debrecene Rav. The Debrecene Rav held of all the Chassidishe Minhagim. From then on he made
Kiddush on wine or grape juice. He did drink Schnapps later after the fish but he made Kiddush on wine or grape juice.
I would like to share with you something that I heard from Rav Moshe. I once asked Rav Moshe about this Minhag and of
course Rav Moshe held to make Kiddush on wine but I asked it to him in the following context.
I told him that the Chassidim make Kiddush on 1 ounce cup of Schnapps and we have a complaint that it is not the Shiur.
I told him that a certain Chassidishe Rav had spoken and had been Melameid Zechus on the Minhag based on the Taz in
the beginning if Siman 210 S'if Aleph.
The Taz (who says that to make a Borei Nifashos one must drink a Reviis) holds that a person can make a Borei Nifashos
on a smaller amount of Schnapps because Schnapps is not something that is a drink that is drunk B'rivi'is. The Taz does
say that it is not in the requirement of a Reviis. He says that it is not even possible to drink a Reviis. The Mishna Berura
doesn't Pasken like the Taz but at least the Taz should be a suitable Teretz for the Minhag Haolam.
Rav Moshe told me to go home and look at the Taz completely and I will see that it is a mistake. He told me this at the
end of Schacharis one day and I came back to Yeshiva and with a few friends we learned the Taz. I would like to share
with you what I think Rav Moshe meant.
The Taz does say that on Schnapps less than a Reviis a person can make a Borei Nefashos. However, if one reads the Taz
they see his Psak. He writes at the end that since Tosafos Shitta is that a Borei Nifashos can be made even on a Mashehu
so here we can be Mitztareif Tosafos Shitta to my Sevara that a Borei Nifashos can be made on a Mashehu of Schnapps.
Tosafos Shitta that a Borei Nifashos can be made on a Mashehu, however Tosafos doesn't hold that way by Kiddush. So
that even though the Taz held this way regarding Borei Nefashos that has nothing to do with Kiddush where this is no
Tziruf of Tosafos Shitta. I think that is what Rav Moshe meant. If you like Schnapps drink Schnapps but make Kiddush
on a Reviis.
The question of the week is: 18:5 (‫מֹׁשה וַּיָבֹא יִתְרֹו‬
ֶ -‫אֶל‬--‫ִׁשּתֹו‬
ְ ‫ ּו ָבנָיו וְא‬,‫מֹׁשה‬
ֶ ‫חֹתֵן‬: ‫הּוא‬-‫ֲׁשר‬
ֶ ‫ א‬,‫ ַה ִּמ ְדּבָר‬-‫הַר ָהאֱלֹ ִק ים אֶל‬--‫ )חֹנֶה ָׁשם‬Rashi
says (‫ אף אנו יודעין שבמדבר היו‬:‫אל המדבר‬, ‫ שהיה יושב בכבודו של עולם ונדבו לבו לצאת אל המדבר‬,‫אלא בשבחו של יתרו דבר הכתוב‬, ‫מקום‬
‫ לשמוע דברי תורה‬,‫)תהו‬
He came to the Midbar and we are talking about his praise because he lived in Midyan with great honor and nevertheless
he came to the Midbar. Is that so that Yisro was living in Midyan with great honor?
Rashi tells us in 2:17 (‫ מפני הנידוי‬:‫ )ויגרשום‬that the other shepards chased away Yisro's daughters from the well because
Yisro was put into Cheirem as the Sifsei Chachamim there explains. Since he abandoned their Avodah Zorah he was put
into Cheirem. What is Rashi here saying that he is living in Midyan in great honor? It is a Pliya
3 Divrei Yisro
Torah and Perfection
This week’s parsha focuses upon kabalas haTorah, the apex of our history. With our acceptance of Torah came an
obligation to learn it, day and night. Certainly some meditations from our gedolim upon this mitzvoh and its powerful
effects are appropriate at this time.
Three students of HaRav Chaim Volozhiner went bad. Distraught, he sought the advice of the Vilna Gaon, who asked
him, “What exceptional qualities does each one possess? Answered Reb Chaim: “One comes from a distinguished family
of rabbanim, one has unusually refined middos, and one loves to learn.” Stated the GR”A: “As far as the first two, I
cannot tell you what will be. Yichus does not guarantee anything, and plenty of gentiles also possess good character. The
third one, though, will come back.” And so it was. Why does Torah, and Torah alone, carry such might?
HaRav Elazar Menachem Mann Shach zt”l points out a common fallacy in understanding the purpose of learning Torah.
We often get caught up in the tremendous reward that Hashem has promised us if we do His Will. True, that reward
certainly is there; in fact, the greatest reward comes from learning Torah, as the Mishnah (Peah 1:1) declares: “Talmud
Torah k’neged kulam – learning Torah is equal to all the mitzvos.” The Chofetz Chaim explained this statement literally:
every word of Torah that one learns equals six hundred and thirteen mitzvos. Any cheder rebbe with a calculator can
instantly inspire his class by having them say over a number of pesukim, counting up the words, multiplying by the class
size, and again by 613, to show the boys how many tens of thousands of mitzvos they have generated in a few short
minutes of classtime.
To stop at this point, however, can leave the false impression that mitzvos are simply means of earning reward, and
aveiros are only means of earning punishment. This approach is one-dimensional, and certainly it was not the intent of
this statement of the Chofetz Chaim. Consider the famous declaration in the name of the Vilna Gaon zt”l: If the reward
for mitzvos was Gehinnom, and one would receive Gan Eden for doing aveiros, he would still continue to perform
mitzvos, for our purpose in this world is to fulfill the Will of Hashem!
When we step back and gaze at what Hashem expects from us, however, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Not only do
we face a long list of 613 mitzvos (including six that we must strive to fulfill constantly), but we are required to live our
daily lives on this level, far beyond that of our neighbors, while contending with the same vicissitudes of life – from
obeying traffic laws to paying the mortgage – as them. [As we know, ma’aseh avos siman l’banim; the events in Chumash
are not mere stories, but serve as prototypes for the rest of Jewish history. One common theme among all of them, notes
Rav Shach, is that our ancestors are held to a far higher standard than the rest of humanity. For example, because
Avraham Avinu asked Hashem, “How will I know that I will inherit it [the land of Israel]?” his descendants were fated to
centuries of exile and slavery in Egypt, the most corrupt country in the world at that time.]
How can Hashem demand such superhuman results from mere humans? Says Rav Shach: the answer is plainly written in
Pirkei Avos (6:1): “Whoever learns Torah for its own sake merits many things . . . [among them that] it makes him fit to
be righteous, devout, fair, and faithful. It moves him away from sin and draws him near to merit . . . He becomes modest,
patient, and forgiving of insult to himself. [The Torah] makes him great and exalted above all living things.” We see that
the direct result of properly learning Torah is to transform a person, to perfect his mind, his world-outlook, and of course
his deeds, and thereby to enable him to accomplish what that very Torah demands of him.
In other words, learning Torah and living Torah go hand-in –hand. Perhaps in an isolated shtetl, was it possible to exist as
a “Tehillim-yid,” an unlearned Jew whose sole contact with Torah was a few chapters of Tehillim between Minchah and
Maariv, and the rabbiner’s drashah on Shabbos. Now, however, there are no more “good streets;” only by unleashing the
power of learning Torah, can a Jew hope to fulfill it.
How does this process of Torah-transformation work? At the beginning of Parshas Vayeitzeh, Yaakov “dreamed, and
behold, [he saw] a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached the heaven.” This dream means that just as a person
climbs a ladder, step by step, rung by rung, so also can a person ascend – not just in spirituality, but with every step, he
changes his essence and becomes an utterly different person. The Torah is the vehicle for this person’s metamorphosis,
and just as he changes, so does the Torah that he learns become an entirely different Torah for him. This is the meaning of
a later Rashi, when the Torah says, “And He gave [the luchos] to Moshe as He finished (k’kalaso) speaking to him.
(Shemos 31:18). Rashi there explains that Moshe at that point was like “a bride (kalah) who had entered the chuppah.”
Explains Rav Shach: even though Hashem had finished teaching Torah to Moshe, that moment was like a new beginning,
in much the same way that a bride under the chuppah is starting her career as an aishes chayil. Likewise, someone who
learns Torah is not just left with merely more mitzvos on his slate in shamayim; he is transformed, and that very
transformation enables him to engage upon a new career, that of learning Torah on an entirely different level of
understanding than he had before.
How many steps are on this ladder of Torah? An infinite number, for not only does Torah never end, but every word of
Torah that one learns can catapult him to a new level. He is constantly in a state of that bride under the chuppah, always
being renewed.
So why do we seem to always be at the bottom of Yaakov’s ladder, never reaching the first rung? Certainly, part of that
comes from the yetzer hara, trying to discourage us from even trying by playing with our imaginations; really, we are
progressing, but he leads us on to make our journey seem pointless and hopeless. Says Rav Shach: we ourselves cause
another hindrance. Just as when someone trying to ascend a ladder with loose clothing may find his climb stopped when
his trousers get caught on a nail, so also, if we have not made ourselves fit to receive more Torah, we may find our
progress stymied at any point. Chazal have given us a checklist of areas for us to work upon, in order that we may
overcome all obstacles. The Mishnah (Avos 6:6) lists forty-eight categories with which “Torah is acquired.” Asks Rav
Shach: Why does the Mishnah use the language of “acquired,” if Torah has already been “given”? He answers: As we
know, there are a set number of “kinyanim,” acts that acquire. For example, there are kinyan shtar, kinyan chatzer, etc. On
the other hand, other acts, such as throwing an object in and out of one’s courtyard, are not kinyanim, and so one who
performs them does not acquire anything. Likewise, merely “throwing” the Torah that one learns in and out of one’s mind
does not accomplish the kinyan Torah that we crave; rather, one must have in mind all forty-eight kinyanim, noting one’s
progress in every one.
Even those of the forty-eight which at first glance seem to have nothing directly to do with Torah, such as sharing a
fellow’s yoke, are in fact essential to one’s success in Torah. Just as a prospective nursing student may look over the
many prerequisites required for a degree and wonder, “Why must I take English Composition—I’m going to be healing
people, not writing essays!” so also must neophyte Torah learners realize that Chazal knew very well the obstacles to
greatness in Torah, and so constructed the Forty-Eight Ways as a prerequisite curriculum.
Yaakov’s ladder reaches very high. In the introduction to “Sifra D’Tzniusa,” the Vilna Gaon notes that he could find
2,260 novel meanings in the posuk, “Ascend here in the south.” (BaMidbar 13:17) May we all be worthy to attain such
Thanks is Not Enough
We may come to Parshas Yisro only once a year, but in every Bircas HaMazon and in the Bircas Krias Shma of Shacharis
and Maariv, we fill our mouths with song, blessings, and thanks for the great gift of Torah. However, says the Chofetz
Chaim, our obligation only begins at that point – now that we have the Torah, we not only need to give thanks, we should
learn it, too!
Someone who expresses thanks for Torah, yet doesn’t open a sefer, is like the poor man in the following moshol, which
Harav Shalom Meir Wallach brings from the Chofetz Chaim:
A pauper was lying in hunger and despair atop a pile of garbage. Suddenly, he heard hoof beats and the sound of rolling
wheels. Raising up his shaggy, unkempt head, he saw the fancy carriage of the mayor of the city. Immediately, he jumped
up and threw himself in front of the enormous horses pulling the carriage. The coachman barely stopped in time to save
the beggar from being trampled.
The carriage’s window opened. “Have you lost your mind?” the mayor shouted. “We nearly ran you over!”
“Better that I die!” bitterly cried the poor man. “I have no roof over my head, nothing but tattered rags to wear, and no
food in my belly!”
The mayor felt badly for this poor fellow. “When I get to City Hall, I’ll tell my treasurer to watch out for you,” he
promised. “Go to him and tell him who you are. He will then provide city funds for you to get a bath, a haircut, some fine
clothes, and a meal. What’s more, you will then get a steady city job in his department, a comfortable room, and a
monthly stipend.”
The poor man’s mouth opened in shock. He had hoped for a coin and a crust, and now he had hit the jackpot! He ran after
the departing carriage, shouting “Thank you, Lord Mayor! Thank you!” until it disappeared over the horizon.
Upon arriving at City Hall, the mayor told his treasurer to look out for the pauper and provide him with all his needs. The
next day, the mayor asked his treasurer, “Did that poor man come to you yesterday?” “No sir, no one came,” was the
surprising answer.
At the end of the day, as the mayor’s carriage passed a certain garbage heap, a familiar figure on top of it shouted, “Thank
you, Lord Mayor! Thank you for everything!”
And so it was. Every evening and every morning, as the mayor’s carriage passed that same filthy spot, the same
outpourings of unfulfilled gratitude rang out over the dump.
That foolish fellow never took advantage of the gift, but only praised the giver, who sadly shook his head in
disappointment, as his efforts to rehabilitate this man went to waste. (These ma’asim come from Haggadah Shel Pesach:
Ma’aseh Rav, by HaRav Wallach.)
Do not Steal
To us, the Ten Commandments are not merely meant to be engraved on a statue or hung on a wall; they are a living
document, as these ma’asim demonstrate.
When HaRav Chaim Elazar Vicks zt”l, the author of Nefesh Chayah, became Rav of the city of Ternigror, one of the
wealthy members of the community approached him. He had a legal dispute with a certain non-Jewish businessman.
Would the Rav be willing to help him win the case?
After Rav Vicks learned that the man was actually the one at fault, and in fact the non-Jew was in the right, he refused to
have anything to do with the case.
“But Rabbi,” the man persisted, “If we can twist our argument in a certain way (here, he twisted his thumb to emphasize
the strained and convoluted point), everything comes out in our favor!”
Retorted Rav Vicks, “It is said about the Luchos HaBris that Moshe brought down from Har Sinai, ‘They were written on
both sides.’ Why did Hashem make them in such a manner? They teach us that no matter which way you turn and twist
them, they still declare, “Do not steal!’”
Do not Desire
In his commentary on the Chumash, Avraham Ibn Ezra asks on the last of the Ten Commandments (“Do not desire what
is not yours”), “How can Hashem command a person not to desire? If a person’s heart lusts for something, how can he
stop himself?” He answers, “Just as a simple villager would not dream of marrying a king’s daughter, for her becoming
his wife is utterly out of the question, so also should we take this attitude towards the property of others – we have no
relationship to them at all!”
HaRav Meir Chadash zt”l, the mashgiach of Yeshivas Chevron, said on this Ibn Ezra, “In the Yeshiva of Slobodka, where
I learned, we answered the opposite way: The Alter of Slobodka emphasized the concept of gadlus ha’adam, the intrinsic
greatness of a person. No one is just a villager; in reality, a person is the offspring of a King. If so, then how could a
crown prince ever desire the ‘daughter of a villager,’ the empty pleasures of this world?”
The Bais HaLevi of Brisk also cites this Ibn Ezra, then comments, “Another approach to answering the Ibn Ezra’s
question goes this way: Imagine that a person finds himself desiring something that is not his, and his yetzer hara is
pushing him harder and harder to try to get it. He walks, runs – then stops, for his way is blocked by a river covered by a
layer of ice too thin and too dangerous to walk upon. Immediately, his lust leaves him, for reality has set in, and he has no
way of attaining his goal. So also, when a person desires something that is not his, if he has any fear of the transgression
of “Do not desire,” he will feel as if he has come to an impasse, and he will be able to control and get rid of his desire.”
The Brisker Rav commented, “Even though the Bais HaLevi wrote this concept as an answer to the Ibn Ezra’s question, it
was no mere theory to him. On the contrary, he physically felt it.”
HaRav Chaim Brisker zt”l once came to the cheder of Brisk to test the students’ progress.
He asked them, “Late one Shabbos night, the Ba’al Ha’Hafla’ah, who served as Rav of Frankfurt, once heard the sounds
of intruders in his house. From the noises, he could recognize that they hoped to steal a silver candlestick that was on a
table. He was a tzaddik and wished only to minimize the wrong that was being committed. Therefore, in order to save the
thieves from the sin of moving mukzeh, he called out to them, ‘Don’t take the candlestick now! I hereby mafkir it, declare
it ownerless, and you can take it motzoi Shabbos!’”
Rav Chaim then asked the students, “Why wasn’t it enough for the Ba’al Ha’Hafla’ah to merely tell the thieves to come
back the next night and receive the candlestick as a gift? What was the need for him to be mafkir it as well?” The students
had no answer.
Said Rav Chaim: “If he had only announced his intent to give them the candlestick as a gift, they would have spent the
rest of Shabbos thinking about the silver and desiring it, and therefore transgressing, ‘Do not desire what is not yours.’
When he immediately declared it ownerless, that transgression was lifted!”
Kesharim Baruch College/NYU Parsha Shiur Shiur given by Rabbi Mayer Friedman Written by Michael Gutmann
Torah from Dixie: THERE'S TREASURE EVERYWHERE by Mendel Starkman
Calvin, of comic strip fame, was once digging in his backyard for hidden treasure. He unearthed such artifacts as rocks
and worms, items only a six-year old could truly appreciate. In excitement over finding such treasures so soon, he
exclaimed to his companion, Hobbes, "There's treasure everywhere!" He couldn't have been more right.
Yitro, upon hearing of the miracles that Hashem had done for the Jewish people, packed out of Midian and went to join
them in the desert. The Ralbag, a 14th century commentator, points out that the reason why Yitro did this was to look into
the truth of what he had heard. By establishing these rumors as true, he would be able to understand Hashem's might on
an even deeper level, and this would form an even closer bond between himself and his Creator. We learn from this,
continues the Ralbag, that one should push himself and go out of his way to see the wonders of Hashem so as to establish
in his own mind the truths that he has heard and personally witness the perfection of Hashem's power and might.
Rabbi Avigdor Miller, one of the great Torah scholars of our generation, gives an enlightening example of this. Take a
simple, everyday item such as an apple. At first glance, one will see a small, consumable object which is basically round
except for small indentations on top and bottom. This is an extremely normal artifact and is not generally viewed as being
a source of awe or inspiration.
Now take a minute and apply to this apple the lesson that we learn from Yitro that by looking into something, you'll see
Hashem's might on a deeper level than before. Nowadays, food is packaged in waterproof wrappers to prevent spoilage.
But if you think about it, the skin of a single apple is more ingenious than any of these wrappers. The apple peel contains
an oil which not only renders it waterproof (like artificial wrappers attempt to do), but also emits an aroma which makes
the fruit more desirable. The skin also indicates through color the exact ripeness of the fruit. Furthermore, the color makes
the fruit more attractive, arousing the appetite of its observers. (Imagine how successful a product would be if marketers
could emulate all this!) So in such an insignificant and mundane item as an apple, we have an example of the wonderful
might and greatness of our Creator.
By looking at it this way, a person's entire perception of a fruit can be changed. If everything in life is viewed this way, as
they certainly can be, the most normal things can inspire anyone by being clear evidence to the perfection of creation and
the Creator. This is what Yitro was doing when he left Midian. He was going out of his way to see the power and
perfection of Hashem. This only comes through examining things and understanding the greatness of Hashem from the
insights that are found.
A similar idea is expressed by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto in his fundamental work on Jewish ethics, Mesillat
Yesharim. He writes that when a person truly understands the value of the mitzvot and his tremendous obligation to carry
them out, he will definitely be awakened to do so. This awakening can be strengthened by examining, in one's own mind,
the tremendous goodness that Hashem bestows upon him every single moment of his life.
At first glance, a person will read this line, think for a moment about his lifestyle, his health, his family, and say, "The
Mesillat Yesharim is right. I have a great life and Hashem is really good to me." Then he'll go on with his day, and this
precious moment of introspection will have absolutely no long-term effect on him whatsoever. This is exactly what must
be avoided. We cannot take a superficial glide over the basics of our conscious life and expect to be inspired by it. Only
through a much deeper, longer, and more intense evaluation can we anticipate significant returns. So the question
becomes: How does one do such an evaluation, and exactly what kinds of goodnesses should one be looking for?
To do this evaluation, all we have to do is think, and we don't have to go very far. A person might try to look for a
miraculous event that took place over the course of his lifetime, and that would be what inspires him. In reality, not only
does one not have to search that far, but in fact it is usually the smallest, most mundane events that inspire the most.
Rabbi Yaakov Kanievsky, one of the greatest Torah scholars in Israel of the past generation, writes of a few of these
"mundane" events that, if given any level of serious thought, cannot avoid being inspirational. For starters, take a look at
the human body. The human body comes equipped with five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Each one of
these five, aside from being remarkably complicated biological mechanisms, is a tremendous gift from Hashem. Taste, for
example, is a sense which is generally taken for granted and is never given much thought. But imagine for a moment, if
someone didn't have a sense of taste. He'd still have to eat in order to sustain himself, but wouldn't enjoy it at all. Through
the sense of taste, the act of eating is changed from a chore into a pleasure.
Looking away from the senses, the way the human body is designed and the perfect efficiency with which it runs is a
tremendous kindness by itself. For example, the mouth is designed in such a way that only the proper movement of the
lips, tongue, and palate, together with the right amount of breath and voice modulation will emit the desired sound. If
speech is thought about in this way, we can better appreciate every single word we are able to say.
Furthermore, each of the systems in the body are completely controlled and regulated. If we think about the kindness in
that alone, and in the way that all those systems compliment each other to produce a functioning human being, we'd be
overwhelmed. We should also realize that if any small part of any of these systems was ruptured or sealed, we wouldn't
be able to function.
We are granted the capacity to think and remember, while at the same time we are able to forget things that bother or
upset us. We are also able to sleep and regain our strength, another tremendous kindness. Within the human body there
are so many wonderful things - millions of miracles - that take place every second. If we give them any thought, we will
be unable to justify not feeling gratitude for it all. For everything we eat, for everything we do, and for every breath we
take, we should feel more indebted to Hashem. This, says the Mesillat Yesharim, will inspire us to do more mitzvot by
attempting to show our appreciation to Him in whatever way that we can.
But wait, there is more. The world itself provides certain things that were created for no active purpose in nature other
than the pleasure of Man. The wide variety of fruits, gems, and precious metals, and the fact that the world was created in
color and not black and white, are just a few examples of this. We see that wherever we are, we are totally encompassed
by the everlasting kindness of Hashem.
The bottom line is that there are so many things that are clear demonstrations of Hashem's kindness, but due to the fact
that they take place so often and regularly, we take them for granted and are not inspired by them. The way to get around
this is by looking into our everyday lives, and stopping to think what it would be like if we were deprived of these
blessings. If we stopped to think what our lives would be like if, for example, we didn't have food to eat or we couldn't
hear anything, and then realize how fortunate we are that we do have these things, we'll come to appreciate everything
that we have, even if they do seem mundane. Through this, we'll have more gratitude to Hashem, which will inspire us to
do more mitzvot.
Now we can understand why Calvin's statement of "there's treasure everywhere" is so true. It is because, in reality, there
is treasure everywhere. The wonders and kindnesses of Hashem completely enclose us - they're everywhere - and all we
have to do is open our eyes and dedicate minimal effort in order to see them. In turn, we will be inspired to draw closer to
Hashem and push ourselves to our limits in mitzvah observance. Mendel Starkman, a native Atlantan, is attending the
Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Jerusalem.
Hashem is sending us “wake up” calls.
Let’s not hit the “snooze” button.
Some Shul/Bais Medrash related areas we can work on.
Review the “DOs and DON’Ts” of talking in Shul/Bais Medrash in
general and during Davening in particular. We don’t want to disrespect
a Mokom Kodesh or destroy the power our Tephilahs could have.
Return Seforim to their place on the shelves before we leave or when
finished using them. Which ever comes first. Causing other Bitul Torah
is inexcusable.
Leaving a Mokom Kodesh dirtied is disrespectful to the Mokom Kodesh
and to others who Daven/Learn there. For example, do not leave dirty
tissues on tables and chairs.
To quote the person who sent this to us “This resonated with me”
The Problem:
Lashon Hara, speaking ill of others, is ingrained in our daily lives, causing worldly strife
and Heavenly displeasure.
The Story:
A man went about the community telling malicious lies about others. Later, he realized the
wrong he had done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and begged his
forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The rabbi told the
man, “Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds.” The man
thought this was a strange request, but it was a simple enough task, and he did it gladly.
When he returned to tell the rabbi that he had done it, the rabbi said, “Excellent, now go
and gather the feathers.”
The Challenge:
So here we are, having spoken so much ill of so many others for so very long; what can we
do? How do we undo the damage? How can we reverse course, and increase G-d’s
benevolence on this earth?
Be part of the solution.
Think the following:
I will minimize my speaking derogatorily of others, even if I begin with simple baby steps.
Say the following: (This is critical!)
I completely and sincerely forgive each and every individual who has spoken ill of
me. In that merit, may G-d inspire those who I have spoken ill of to forgive me as
Do the following:
Pass this on to everyone that you know. Help yourself, the Jewish People, and mankind.
Also worth noting.
A good approach if a person finds it hard to forgive is to decide that they want the
"zechus" of forgiving to count as a "zechus" on behalf of someone else who might need -refuah, shidduch, parnosa etc etc -- . A very good investment with a very high return.
Let’s answer Hashem’s “wake up” calls.
d ‰ r mie a l r q k iie e l c p r n mg p n ‡ x o a j l nil ` ` p ip g ‡ x p ‰ f l
d " r mie a l r q k iie e l ` k in md x a ` 'x z A d A e l p " f l e
s"ga,v ,ba
t"g ;s tnuh hnuhv ;s ur,h ,arp asue ,ca
1] k"zj tell us that when a person says wufu ukufhu Friday night he is
being shgn that the okug ka ubucr created the world. The rpux o",j
(,nt i,, d ruy crg ;s jxp) uh,uarsc asks, since ost was not created
until the sixth day, how can he say ,usg on what happened prior to that,
when he did not yet exist? (Of course from the vbuntv ,usuxh rehg we
know without a doubt that the okug ka ubucr created and continuously
runs the world, however, when it comes to saying ,usg, you can’t say it
on what you believe, rather on what you actually witnessed.)
2] The vru, doesn’t even say an extra ,ut, if so, how do we understand
$ gu$ W&gr' ,J& t' s«nj$ ,*t«k
the vru, being so lhrtn by the utk of I,n!tu" ISc"
:W&gr'k$ rJ!
& t k«fu$ Ir«nj! u" IrIJu$ , why didn’t the euxp just say W&gr'k$ rJ!
& t k«fu$
which would include everything?
.urh, ~ The t-sh trehu vcr arsn on the vsk$ hu$ g" hr$. z," hF. v0t. euxp
vz rujt wufu hb,rm oseu rujt [v-yke ohkv,] ch,fs tuv tsv wudu rfz
hbp kg ,pjrn ohekt juru ch,fs wufu iuatrv ouh vz oseu iurjt ouh
hbugna yuekhv hp kg vbuvf ,ub,nv ,xrd] jhanv lkn ka ujur vz ohnv
vagn kfk ,nse v,t 'uk ohrnut ost vfz ot [iuatrv ost ka ujur vz
/lnse kuaka 'lnse au,h 'uk ohrnut utk otu ',hatrc. vrutfk the
arsn is saying that if a person is vfuz, then, he is the first before any
other creation. If he is not vfuz, then, even a small worm was created
before him. vrutfk the arsn seems to be a "tkp" because since in the
ost ',uthmn was created on the sixth day, so what does the arsn mean
when it says if a person is vfuz, then, he is the first before any other
The [t"nr, ghrz, ,arp] ,nt ,pa explains the arsn as follows. A
person is made of of two parts, 1] his vnab 2] his ;ud, like the euxp
says hv$. hu" oh.Hj" ,n" J.
$ b uhPt" C$ jP.
" Hu" vns!tv*in. rpg ostv*,t& ohe«k9t wv r&mh.Hu"
:vHj" J&pb& k$ ostv The ;ud which was vnstv in rpg was created on the
sixth day. However, the vnab which is the oh.Hj" ,n" J.
$ b uhPt" C$ jP.
" Hu" was
created before the world, [that is what k"zj teach us that the world was
created because of the vru, and because of ktrah kkf, just like the
vru, was created before the world so too the vnab of ktrah kkf was
created before the world. A person’s mission on this world is to have the
;ud be ghbfn [subjugated] to the vnab and become kyc [nullified] to it.
However, if a person lets his ;ud be in charge, then the vnab becomes
kyc to it. That is what the arsn is telling us, "ost vfz ot" the word vfz
~ d yxtd zp ad
in this context means purify, if a person purifies his ;ud that he runs his
life with the vnab being in the driver’s seat, the vnab of the person was
created first, that is we say he was first. According to this ,nt ,pa the
xjbp hkhca wants to answer the rpux o,j’s wae, the question was how
could a person say ,usg on okugv ,thrc when he wasn’t around yet.
The answer is, true the ;ud of the person was not around until the sixth
day, however, the vnab of the person was around. Therefore, if a
person has his vnab as the rehg, he could say ,usg because it actually
saw okugv ,thrc. However, if a person has his ;ud being the rehg which
didn’t witness okugv ,thrc, then he can’t say ,usg. With this yap we
can have a deeper understanding in a t"shj. The gcmt vrunc t"shj
dne ,ut s inhx says that a person must be vcua,c rvrvn before
making ause because a person is saying ,usg that the okug ka ubucr
created the world, and a gar is kuxp for ,usg. According to the way the
,nt ,pa is learning the arsn, when it comes to this ,usg of ,thrc
.rtu ohna it’s not just a problem like by other ,usg [like ihaushe].
There even if he is a gar, he is saying ,usg but the vru, disqualifies
him from being a sg. However, here it is much worse because he is
saying ,usg to something that he didn’t witness, so he is not a sg at all.
k"zj tell us that the okug ka ubucr offered the vausev vru, to all the
nations of the world, however, when they heard what it said in the vru,,
i.e., wufu kuzd, tk 'jmr, tk they didn’t want to accept it. ktrah kkf
said gnabu vagb, they accepted it without any questions asked. The
following story will illustrate, a person should view every time he has the
ability to learn vru, & do ,umn as the biggest privilege that there is, and
it shouldn’t be viewed as a an undesired burden u"j.
The t"yhka wexbhkd cegh wrn vsdvu recounts the following story ejmh wr
k"mz rdbut vnka told him. One day someone from his congregation
came to him all shaken up. He had a sensational story that occurred
some 30 years ago in the death camp of Auschwitz. The Jews of Hungary
came to Auschwitz toward the end of the second world war. It was a time
that the Germans were losing battle after battle. Germans made ghettos
and within two months sent a million Jews to be killed. The individual in
our story who will refer to as icutr was among them. icutr was
separated from his wife and children who were sent to their death. They
imprinted a number on his arm, and left him alive in exchange for his
wr ~~ h"b ejmh rehvu cuajv obc ka vumn rcv sucfk
SPONSORED BY DR. & MRS. JONATHAN COHEN ~~ ROTHBART vfkn vnjbu rhtn ojbn ka ihtuahbv sucfk
rhtn wr ~~ GRUMAN vuju kthjh ka ihtuahbv sucfk
crushing labor and servitude. He survived on a piece of bread and soup
a day. His neighbor on his bunk bed who we will refer to as iugna, had a
very cuaj and impressive lineage
[ohause ka ibc] and constantly strengthened him in wvc iujycu vbunt.
iugna utilized every free minute to learn Torah and say over stories of
righteous people. One day, iugna approached icutr in a subdued
reserved manner with great feeling, saying that the cuy ouh of jxp is
coming close. rurn is plentiful, however, where can we get a vmn ,hzf?
There is nothing that could hold back the okug ka ubucr from helping us
but we must do our part. There were silos of grain. However, trying to
get some will be putting their life at risk. Every day when there was a
short break from work icutr would take a few kernels and grind them
up. Finally he had enough in order to make a batter, he heated up a
piece of metal and mixed the flour with water and made a wafer as big as
the palm of his hand. There were two o,hzf, Just enough for him and
iugna. Now he would have to smuggle it into the camp. If you get caught
who knows what the consequence would be. He put the wafer between
his clothing and his body, He held his hand close to keep the wafer from
falling. There was a checkpoint at the gate of the camp and he was on
his way back to the barracks when the German soldier noticed his
unnatural posture and asked him what are you hiding there? icutr was
startled and moved his hand and the wafer fell down. The German
soldiers stepped on it with his boot and smashed into a million pieces
and then he hit icutr with his whip and icutr fainted. The guard left and
found his next victim. icutr mustered his remaining strength and
gathered the crumbs for which he was apb rxun. He crawled to his bunk
and passed out. iugna revived him, washed his face, and gave him
some food until he came back to himself. icutr showed iugna the
handful of crumbs. He was so overcome with emotion it was as if he
showed him a handful of precious gems. A holy vmn in the depth of
darkness. There was one problem. All the crumbs together only reached
the amount of one ,hzf. iugna begged icutr please let me have the
,hzf of vmn. All my life I never missed a rsx without fulfilling the
commandment of eating vmn. icutr responded, I risked my life for this,
and have gotten whipped mercilessly for this, I will not give it up. iugna
didn't give up, he said he would read the vsdv with him because he
knew the vsdv by heart from thbg tnjk tv until thsd sj. I will also say
orhav rha with you word for word just please give me the ,hzf. icutr
still refused. They came to an agreement. iugna would eat the vmn, and
icutr would get the reward of the vumn.That night iugna said the vsdv
and ate the vmn. The next day when iugna was davening, when he got
to kkv, he couldn’t control himself and burst out saying the vfrc out
loud. When The German soldier heard him he shot him on the spot.
icutr made it through the war, went to Israel and built his life from
scratch. He raised a beautiful family. All of this he told as a vnsev. The
story really starts from here. That night iugna appeared to icutr in a
dream wearing white clothing, his face shining like a shining star. iugna
had a request for icutr. You remember that you gave me the vmn to eat
with the stipulation that you will get the reward for the mitzvah? icutr
responded certainly I remember. iugna continued so I have come with a
request, please give up the reward of the vumn. All of the ,umn I have
done I have been rewarded for except for this one. Please, out of the
kindness of your heart, let me have the reward of this vumn. icutr was
shocked by the request. Do you remember that the vmn was mine? I
risked my life in order to get it and I got beaten because of it. I was nice
enough to let you eat it but I should also give up the reward for it?
iugna said that is true, but he reminded icutr that he is the one that
kept track of the calendar and reminded him that jxp was approaching,
and he was the one who encouraged him to do whatever it takes in order
to get the vmn. icutr didn’t want to give up the rfa. iugna left him
with a very disappointed look.
When icutr woke up, he clearly remembered his dream. He was very
shaken, because he wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was. On the
one hand he was apb rxun for this vumn, so how could he give it up the
rfa? On the other hand, how could he refuse such a request? He
wanted to make sure he did the right thing by refusing iugna request.
He went to rdbut crv, and asked him what is the right thing to do. cr
rdbut said this is not a vkta for a cr, it is a vkta for a hcr. He
suggested that he pose the question, to vecubfnn hcr and rdbut cr
asked that icutr come back and tell him the rebbi’s answer. icutr
impatiently waited until evening when the rebbi gave audience to people
[accepted people]. icutr came in to the rebbi, and presented his
question. The rebbi replied "rauh hp kg" you should be rT' un
" . icutr was
shocked and asked,"rauh hp kg"? "lsucf ,khjnc rauh hp kg" I
" , my question was if I should be 'rT' un
certainly don’t have to be rT' un
ihsv ,ruan ohbpk. The rebbi explained to him as follows. Your friend is
already in the world to come. What he has is only the ,umnu vru, that he
got when he was in this world. More than that he can not get. There is
one vumn that he did, and he wants to get the reward for, that is why it
means so much to him. However, you are oav lurc alive, you put on
ihkhp,u ,hky, you daven three times a day, you make one hundred
,ufrc every day. You have the ,umn of ohcuy ohnhu ,u,ca. There are
countless ,umn you can do and are able to continue to do ,umn every
day. You oav lurc have children which you are lbjn to do ,umn. Every
vumn they do is also a ,ufz for you. Isn’t it rauh to be rT' un
" and let him
have the rfa of this vumn? icutr said ok, if that is what the rebbi says,
that is what I will do. No, the rebbi said a person must be rT' un
" with a ck
ouka. The rebbi gave him the key to the arsn ,hc and told him there is
no one in the arsn ,hc now. Go in, put on the lights, open the iurt
asue with this key, put your head into the asue iurt and pour your
heart out to the okug ka ubucr. Say over the acquaintanceship and close
relationship you had with iugna. Relive the great euzhj he gave you in
those trying times, the encouragement he gave you to bake the ,umn.
Think about that rsx night, about the gloom of darkness that loomed
SPONSORED BY DR. & Mrs. SHANIK yca y"h yhhmrth oujb wr ic ibjuh wr ,nab hukhgk
DEDICATED ~ yca d"f yhhmrth k"z {GOLD} ksbgn ojbn wrv iC ktrah wr ,nab hukhgk
DEDICATED yca t"f yhhmrth hfsrn ejmh wr ,c tnukc r,xt ,nab hukhgk ~ yca t"f yhhmrth {AKDA} k"z vhrfz wr iC iuhm iC ,nab hukhgk
that night. Relive the last night of your dear friend’s life. Then, you will be
" in order to make a jur ,jb for his vnab in
able to be ouka ckc rT' un
the iuhkgv okug. Then come back to me. icutr followed the rebbi’s
instructions. He relived everything he went through, it sapped his energy
from him. He gave the keys back to the htcd, and asked to please tell
the rebbi he would come back tomorrow because he barely had the
strength to make it home. He got home and collapsed into his bed.
iugna came to him in a dream his face beaming, to thank him for
granting his request.
In the morning icutr went to daven with the ihbn that the rebbi
davened in. After davening icutr told the rebbi that iugna had come to
him again in a dream to thank him. The rebbi was not surprised, but told
him looked here, your friend was a ohause ka ibc he was brought up in
a house full of vtrhu vru, there is no doubt that he gathered together
countless ,umn, and he was vfuz to die on oav aushe. k"zj are shgn
that such people who die oav ashe kg no one is able to be in their
iuhkgv isg idc vmhjn. It was worth it for him to leave that remarkable
paradise the great pleasure from being vbvb from the vbhfav uhz and
come down here to literally beg you for the reward of one vumn. How
many ,umn roll to our feet and we won’t bend down to pick it up. Every
varp in the vausev vru,, every vban every trnd sung. How many
,umn can we gather together for ourselves. Every time we have the
opportunity to help someone else etc.
From the following story we can see that a person learning the vru,
vausev could literally keep him alive.
When a vchah student learning in the Manchester become afflicted with
a dreaded disease, doctors operated but soon despaired of his life. The
boys father came to the yhhmrth k"mz kdx vsuvh ctz wr] vchahv atr
[yca c"f, and told him that if you would dedicate his son's life to vru,,
he would have a full recovery. The father had been planning for his son
to embark on a career: however, he readily agreed to the vchahv atr’s
suggestion. That night the vchahv atr davened vrag vbuna of chrgn
and he was heard saying ydegzgd um ot ctv lht gygy father I
promised him. Later, he told a shnk,, I am telling you, he will be healthy
once again.
Shortly thereafter, the parents placed their son under the care of
another doctor, who said that the patient's alarming weakness was the
result of his having been given the wrong medication. A new prescription
was administered, and to everyone's amazement, the boy was soon
strong enough to undergo a second operation. Today he is a healthy,
outstanding, shnk, ofj and is raising a beautiful family.
The gucav ihhgn says from hexbhkd cegh wr that the reason the vru,
states the uutk of sunj, tk in such a lengthy fashion, is to teach a great
suxh in life, which is as follows. When icutr see’s that iugna has for
example a beautiful house, icutr feels that it is not fair. He also should
have such a beautiful house. The vru, is teaching us that a person
shouldn’t just zero in on a single aspect of the person’s life. If icutr
wants what iugna has, he has to be willing to take everything that
iugna has, i.e., including his ,urm. The way someone perceives another
person’s life is not necessarily the reality of how that person’s life really
The k"mz .hapurn ausev cr said every sht has his own measure of
,urm. When jhan comes, ktrah kkf will approach him, loaded up with
their ,urm & cry out bitterly why was it decreed upon them to carry these
,urm. jhan will take an enormous hall, call each & every sht, & instruct
him to take & open their bundle of ,urm & place them in the hall. Each
person did so & left. After everyone’s ,urm were in the hall, he would call
back each person & give him the choice to pick which bundle of ,urm he
would like to take. After reviewing the other people’s bundles, each
person would walk out choosing the original bundle that they came in
There was once someone, who we will refer to as icutr, who was very
poor & was loaded with ,urm. icutr came to his rebbi the ktrah jnah
k"mz rsbxfktn to talk his heart out to the rebbe & get a vfrc. icutr
had to wait along time to get into the rebbe. The person who went in
right before icutr was a very wealthy individual, & stayed by the rebbe
for a long time. icutr’s patience was getting thin. After a good hour the
wealthy person came out of the room of the rebbe. Now it was finally
icutr’s turn to go in. icutr came in to the rebbi & handed the rebbi a
kyhue. The rebbe gave him a very emotional vfrc. That is it, icutr
asked with a wondrous voice? The rebbi replied & what else would you
like? icutr said I don’t understand right before me a wealthy person was
here & he remained by you for a good hour, & all I get is five min? The
rebbi replied, a person does not comprehend his rgm, i.e., don’t you
understand the rebbi continued. I sit here to help isht who are
heart-broken with a vmg or vfrc. With you & those like you, I have no
questions. It is self-evident what your trouble is & what you need a vfrc
for. However, when someone like that wealthy person comes to me,
seemingly everything is wonderful for him, because he is rich etc. he
seemingly doesn’t lack anything. Then I start talking to him & peel away
layer by layer, not how people perceive his life to be, but how his life
really is & how saddened he is because of the problems he has. That
takes a much longer time to accomplish.
We see how important it is for a person to utilize every opportunity he
gets to do wv iumr In the ,ufz of being ezjn ourselves in this we should
al be
int///ubhnhc vrvnc ubhesm jhan hbp hkcenn ,uhvk vfuz
wr ~~ h"b ejmh rehvu cuajv obc ka vumn rcv sucfk
SPONSORED BY DR. & MRS. JONATHAN COHEN ~~ ROTHBART vfkn vnjbu rhtn ojbn ka ihtuahbv sucfk
rhtn wr ~~ GRUMAN vuju kthjh ka ihtuahbv sucfk
Volume 16 – Issue 17
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Parshas Yisro 5774 D‰EwT UBw Y‰X WRTY ÂP
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N‰EL / In Memory of
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Celia Peskoff
From her children Malcolm,
Leslie and Joel
©2014 – J. Gewirtz
Did You Know?
The Joy of Not Being “Right”
Yisro made a suggestion to
Moshe that he delegate some of
the responsibilities for the court
cases of the Jewish People to
other judges. He explained that
not only would this prevent Moshe
and his court from getting tired
out, but it would enable “each
man to return to his place in
R’ Chaim Berlin z”l, explains that
the word ‘peace’ used here is a
reference to “p’shara,” the
compromise so often sought out
in Bais Din, the Jewish Court.
This method of resolving disputes
is more acceptable because each
party is getting some of what it
wanted. They can accept the
judgment more easily because
they weren’t shown to be
completely wrong. They get to
save face and are more likely to
be satisfied with the outcome.
R’ Berlin comments further that
compromise is encouraged only
when the judgment is not crystal
clear. However, when it is clearly
delineated, compromise is not
Yisro said to Moshe, “If you are
the judge, you will always be
perfectly clear on the law, thus
negating the possibility of
However, if you grant other
judges the ability to rule, for
whom the law will not be as clear,
they will be able to employ
compromises to bring peace
between the parties.”
Moshe recognized the insight and
benefit of this plan and
implemented it.
A publication dedicated to Harbotzas Torah
Mr. Morris Glatter ob”m
“You will surely weary – you, as well as this people that is with you – because
the matter is heavier than you, you will not be able to do it alone.” (Exodus 18:18)
When Yisro saw that Moshe was sitting from morning to night issuing halachic rulings for
the Jewish People as they stood around him, he felt it was not proper. He urged Mosheto
appoint judges for every thousand Jews, every hundred Jews, every fifty Jews, and even
every ten Jews. All in all, there were over 78,000 judges to be appointed in Yisro’s plan.
His reasoning was that Moshe, as great as he was, simply could not have the time nor the
strength to adjudicate all these cases. In addition, the people standing around all day
waiting for the judgments would be weakened as well. The Targum and Rashi explain this
as withering, literally having their strength sapped from them.
While we can understand this of Moshe and his court, why should it be that all the Jews
would get weary? Surely they could have gone out for a break while waiting for their turn.
Who says they would have a case to have ruled upon anyway?
Even if they were standing there all day, what is so draining about this? Moshe who had to
think about and decide each case would be understandably tired, especially since he
possessed tremendous empathy for the Jewish People and ruling against some people
may have been difficult. But for those who were lounging around waiting their turn?
Perhaps we can explain this based on another understanding. HaShem gave us mitzvos
so we could earn reward. He did not merely give us reward because one does not
appreciate as much something he does not earn. The question is, why not just create Man
able to enjoy something for nothing?
The answer is that HaShem was almost, “unable,” as it were, to do that because we are
created in His image, and HaShem is a giver, not a taker. He therefore couldn’t create
Man with an enjoyment that stems from simply taking.
This is the insight that Yisro shared with his son-in-law. When all the Jews stood around
waiting for Moshe to answer THEIR questions and tend to THEIR issues, this drained them
emotionally because a Jew is not happy simply being a taker. Like our father Avraham, we
have a need to be kind to others as we emulate HaShem.
By creating a system wherein more than one in ten Jews was answering questions and
helping others, Yisro was suggesting a boon to the Jewish People in terms of their natural
inclination to be of use to others.
This way, even when they had their own questions answered by someone else, they knew
they’d be able to pass it along. Even those who weren’t appointed as judges were able to
see that THIS was the natural state of Jews, to be concerned with the needs of others
more than with their own needs. They understood that they could and should take every
opportunity not to be takers, but givers.
IT ALL ADDS UP: Not coincidentally, the gematria (numerical value) of the words “navol tibol,” meaning “they shall
weary and wither” is 514, the same as the word, “k’shelokchim” meaning “when they take.”