PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
MY DEAR MOTHER
You too can dedicate
a Parsha or any other section of Torah Tots in honor or in memory
of someone close to you.
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL .
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
For further info, click here.
NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 17
(14 of 17 are within the Aseret HaDibrot)
3 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
14 MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 75
Many Chumashim print the number of pesukim at the end of the Sidra. In Yitro's case, the number is AYIN-BET or 72 pesukim. The discrepancy is due to different ways of counting the Aseret HaDibrot. The Aseret HaDibrot consists of 13 pesukim. However, when they are read as Statements, rather than pesukim, there are only 10. Similarly, the Aseret HaDibrot is comprised of 10 parshiot. That's probably where the other 3 pesukim went.
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1104
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 4022
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Yeshaya / Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6 (Ashkenazim);
Yeshaya / Isaiah 6:1-13 (Sepharadim)
| פרשת יתרו
In our last episode Hashem took the Bnei Yisroel
out of Mitzrayim with great miracles and marvels. He also
finished off the Egyptian army once and for all, drowning the soldiers
and their horses in the Yam Suf. The Eirev Rav
(remember those troublemakers?), who instigated a protest on the
edge of the sea did teshuva (repent). But it only took
three days for them to lose faith again. First over water, then
over food and meat, and finally when Amalek attacked. Hashem
took care of all these problems by introducing "the well of Miriam,"
the "Mann," the "Slav" birds, and "arming" Bnei
Yisroel against Amalek.
| As our
Parsha opens, word of the miraculous exodus and Bnei
Yisroel's victory over Amalek has reached Midyan and fallen
on the ears of Yitro, Moshe's father-in-law. For the past year,
while Moshe was in Egypt, freeing the Jewish slaves, his wife, Tziporah
and their two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, have lived safely in Yitro's
house. Now that the Bnei Yisroel are closing in on Sinai,
near the Midyanite territory, Yitro takes Moshe's family for a reunion
with the "shepherd gone national leader."
When they reach
the Cloud of glory they discover it is as hard as a rock. Yitro
is not able to penetrate the mist because he is not yet a part
of Bnei Yisroel, (he has not yet converted). So he sends
a letter with an arrow into the Cloud of glory telling Moshe that
his family has arrived. Hashem allows this arrow to go
thru and get to Moshe. Moshe, Aharon and all the Seventy Zekainim,
followed by all of Bnei Yisroel leave the Cloud of glory
to greet Yitro.
Moshe tells Yitro all the details of the miracles that Hashem
has brought about for Bnei Yisroel: the makot
(plagues), the splitting of the Yam Suf, the "well of
Miriam," the Mann, the slav and the victory
over Amalek. Yitro is so ecstatic that he insists upon having
a brit milah (circumcision) right then and there, becoming
a ger (convert) and accepting Hashem's mitzvot
upon himself. He offers Karbanot (sacrifices) to Hashem,
and sits down with Aharon and the Zekainim to have
a meal, with humble Moshe serving the guests.
Moshe's father-in-law, Yitro is able to observe up close the day-in-day-out
work of Bnei Yisroel's great leader. Every morning, Moshe
wakes up to a line that extends around the block of people who need
to speak with him. They've got questions about how to fulfill mitzvot,
requests for a bracha (blessing), they need a judge to
settle a dispute, and all kinds of trivial questions. (Apparently
Moshe's never heard of delegating authority).
Along comes Yitro with some excellent advice: "You got your
70 Zekainim (Elders) sitting silently on the sidelines
all day while the lines get longer and longer! Let's put those
70 smart men to work." What an idea! The Zekainim can
be judges for the highest courts and then there can be judges
appointed for lower courts. The people can go to the regular courts
for all their basic problems. Then, if the case gets too complicated,
it will be sent to a higher court judged by one of the Zekainim.
If the Zekainim still can't come up with a ruling, then
Moshe finally deals with the case.
Moshe likes what he hears. But he asks Hashem for permission
before he implements the plan. Hashem gives the okay
and Yitro's plan of action goes into effect, and immediately clears
the bait-din pipeline.
On the first of Sivan, two and a half months after Yetziat
Mitzrayim, Bnei Yisroel arrives at the foot of Har
(Mt.) Sinai. For the next five days they will prepare for the most
awesome and defining moment in Jewish history. The air is filled
with excitement. It's got a far reaching effect. (You might say
that the next four days were probably the only time in Jewish history
that Jews stopped fighting amongst each other!)
Moshe goes up to the summit of Har Sinai the next morning.
He returns with an important message from Hashem. The
Bnei Yisroel have been chosen to be Hashem's
special people from among all the nations of the earth. But the
catch is that Bnei Yisroel must accept Hashem's
commandments. If Bnei Yisroel ever abandon those mitzvot,
they will be punished.
Moshe turns to the Zekainim and asks, "Do you want
to accept Hashem's mitzvot?" Before the Elders can give
a response, the entire Bnei Yisroel responds together
"Na'aseh V'Nishma" ("We will do and we will hear") meaning
"whatever Hashem brings on, we will accept."
Moshe plans to be the middleman between Hashem and
Bnei Yisroel. Hashem will give the laws to Moshe
and Moshe will repeat them to Bnei Yisroel. But Bnei
Yisroel isn't happy with these plans. They are longing to
hear the voice of Hashem.
So Moshe makes his way back up to the mountain and tells Hashem
(like he didn't already know) that the Bnei Yisroel will
accept His mitzvot, and he requests direct contact between
Hashem and Bnei Yisroel. Hashem agrees.
On the fourth day of Sivan, Moshe is commanded to make
a border around Har Sinai. The Bnei Yisroel
are instructed not to cross the line once the Shechina
(His presence) rests on its summit. From then on, the
mountain will be holy ground. The Jews are instructed to immerse
themselves and their clothes in a mikveh. Three days
later Hashem will speak to Bnei Yisroel.
On the sixth day of Sivan, (a Shabbat,) Bnei
Yisroel wakes to the loud claps of thunder. They are instructed
not to go past the border on Har Sinai because today
the mountain will become holy ground. Streaks of lightning and
smoky fire add to the awesome atmosphere. Then the sound of a
shofar grows louder and louder and terror grips the hearts
of the people. Forget about getting too close to the mountain
- the people inch back further and further from Har Sinai.
Moshe senses the fear and calls out calmly for Bnei Yisroel
to move closer. Suddenly the entire mountain is uprooted and Hashem
holds the mountain over the heads of Klal Yisroel. The
dirt and rock turn to crystal and Bnei Yisroel look up
through the transparent terrain. The Heavens are ripped open and
it is plain to see that there is none other than Hashem,
ruler of all creation.
The voice of Hashem calls out to the entire Bnei
Yisroel, "Either you accept the Torah from Me or
else you will be buried here!" So frightened are the Bnei
Yisroel that each person does teshuva for every
sin he has ever committed. Then in one voice the entire Klal
cries out "Na'aseh V'Nishma" - we will do (whatever mitzvah)
we will hear." With this Hashem dispatches an army of
malachim (angels) to heal the wounds that have crippled
many of the Bnei Yisroel wounded during the years of
And now the moment
of truth - the very voice of Hashem Yisborach is to be
encountered by His servants, Klal Yisroel ... In a single
utterance Hashem gives Bnei Yisroel all ten commandments
at once. The heavens and earth tremble, trees fall over and rivers
reverse their course.
Once the people
regain some composure, Hashem backtracks and slowly repeats
the first of the "Aseret HaDibrot" (ten commandments):
"I am Hashem, your G-d, who took you out of Mitzrayim."
The words of Hashem fill the souls of Bnei Yisroel
with such joy that their neshamot (souls) leave
their bodies and the bodies fall to the ground dead. Hashem
directs these elated neshamot back to their bodies
and at once the corpses come back to life.
The voice of Hashem
speaks the second commandment, "You shall have no other gods
but me." Like the effect of the first commandment, it's as if
Hashem has kissed the neshamot of Bnei Yisroel.
Again the neshamot of the people depart and ascend to
shamayim (heaven). Again Hashem restores the
neshamot of Bnei Yisroel and the corpses awaken
beneath the crystal terrain of Har Sinai.
neshamot yearn for the voice of Hashem to reach
out once again, their bodies are of the opinion that "twice is
nice, but three strikes and we may be out." They beg Moshe to
be the middleman once again. Hashem goes along with the
plan. He gives over to Moshe the other eight commandments and
Moshe repeats them to the Bnei Yisroel.
THE TOP TEN
I am the L-rd, your G-d who took you out from the land of Mitzrayim
These are the Aseret Hadibrot - the 10 Commandments that
are the basis of all the laws of the Torah!
The first of the Aseret HaDibrot is to recognize
with all your heart and mind that Hashem is the one
who created the entire universe. He knows everything and controls
everything. When Hashem took the Bnei Yisroel
out of Mitzrayim he showed His great power and His
love for the Jewish people. To be a servant to Hashem
is a great privilege.
You shall have no other gods before me.
Since the times before the flood people made a mistake by
believing in Hashem as the Creator but praying to
other forces of nature like the sun or planets or angels.
This eventually led to a wicked world where Hashem was
forgotten. Here, Hashem makes it clear that one may
not serve any god or force of nature. One must only serve
You shall not take the name of the L-rd, your G-d in vain.
Even the name "Hashem" or "G-d" should be used
sparingly. And you certainly mustn't swear in Hashem's
Remember the Shabbat day and keep it holy.
Shabbat is a special gift given to the Jewish
people. Hashem created the world in six days and
on the seventh day He rested. On Shabbat
we are not permitted to work.
During the week we count down to Shabbat. Did you
ever notice that in the Hebrew language there are no names
for the days of the week, (Sunday, Monday, etc...). Instead,
the week is split up into six days leading up to Shabbat.
The first day (Sunday) is called "the first day of the week
leading up to Shabbat." The second day (Monday) is
called "the second day of the week leading up to Shabbat."
etc.. etc.. Because it is a Mitzva to prepare all
week for the upcoming Shabbat. There are many
examples in the Talmud of sages who would prepare
for Shabbat every day of the week, choosing the finest
foods, silver and clothing and saving them for the Shabbat.
Honor your Father and your Mother.
your parents - that makes good sense, doesn't it? Our parents
give us everything. They worry about us 24 hours a day. Who
else would buy you clothes, feed you, let you hang around
on their property. It is important that we treat our parents
with great respect. We must do whatever our parents ask us
to. The Torah tells us that whoever honors his or
her parents will be rewarded with long life.
You shall not murder.
It is forbidden for a Jew to commit murder. Our sages warned
that the Bait Hamikdash would be destroyed and Hashem's
Shechina would leave Eretz Yisroel if Jews commit
You shall not commit adultery.
A Jew must remember that marriage is a special bracha
from Hashem. When a Jewish man and woman get married
they are bonded with Hashem. If, chas v'shalom,
(heaven forbid) anyone comes between a man and woman who are
married they will be cursed.
You shall not steal.
The very foundation of community depends on whether or not
you can trust your neighbor not to ride off with your bike
or pick tomatoes from your garden without your permission.
Someone who steals is saying they don't want to be a trusted
part of the community.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Truth is another building block. Especially in court. You've
got to be able to count on witnesses to tell the truth. Even
among friends, those little lies that we think of as good
fun are really wrong.The Torah warns us not to let
false witnesses get away with lying, otherwise Hashem
will turn away from Eretz Yisroel. No rain will fall
and drought will result in a terrible famine.
You shall not want what your neighbor has.
The Aseret HaDibrot wrap up with a warning against
wanting things that belong to other people. If your friend
owes a bike or a baseball card that you really like you're
not allowed to push him to give it to you. You've got to learn
to be satisfied with that which Hashem has given
to you. Jealousy leads to all kinds of terrible averot
(sins). Once you learn to be happy with what you've got, you
can truly keep the first commandment - understanding that
everything belongs to Hashem. Only then will you
know with all your heart and soul that Hashem rules
| Right after Moshe
finishes off the Aseret HaDibrot, Hashem adds
in two more mitzvot. The first is an add-on to the second
of the Aseret Hadibrot: Not only may you not worship any
gods in addition to Hashem, but even making images of people,
angels, the sun and other potential "ungodly" candidates are forbidden.
That way a Jew won't fall into the idolatry trap.
The second mitzvah has to do with building a mizbayach
(altar). Here are the details: First and foremost, a mizbayach
must always be built on the ground, for you can't put it on pillars
or on top of a building. You also can't make stairs leading up
to the mizbayach.
Tune in next week when the laws and mitzvot of Hashem
continue to pour out of the Summit of Har Sinai in the
next exciting episode of:
the Midrash Mavin on Yitro
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