by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS YISRO 5774 BS"DCh. 18, v. 3: "V'es shnei vo'nehoh" - And her two sons - Commentators raise the question of why the verse doesn't say "vonov," his sons. They offer numerous explanations. The Mahari"l Diskin says that had the verse said "vonov" we might have incorrectly thought that the antecedent is Yisro. I do not comprehend this. Since this and the following verse offer explanations for the names given, it makes no sense. Yisro could not have said that he was in a foreign land, nor could he have said that he was saved from Paroh's sword. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Ch. 18, v. 7: "Va'yeitzei Moshe likras chose'no va'yishtachu va'yishak lo" - And Moshe went out towards his father-in-law and he bowed down and he kissed him - Moshe bowed down and kissed Yisro. There were three people who rose to greatness and still acted in a subordinate and respectful manner to those who were now lower then they were. Here we find Moshe, the leader of the bnei Yisroel bowing down and kissing his father-in-law, Yoseif towards his brothers, and Esther towards Mordechai when she was the queen, as per the verse, "V'es maamar Mordechai Esther o'soh kaasher hoysoh v'omnoh oso." (Rabbi Ovadioh miBartenura)
Ch. 18, v. 18: "Novole tibole" - You will surely wither - You will become wrinkled and aged before your time, as in "acha'rei vlosi hoysoh li ednoh." (Rabbeinu Tam)
Ch. 18, v. 19: "Atoh shma b'koli i'otzcho" - Now hearken to my voice I will advise you - The advise is "Now hearken to my voice." (Holy Admor of Kotzk)
Ch. 19, v. 2: "Va'yichan shom Yisroel neged hohor" - And the nation Yisroel rested there across from the mountain - The openings of their tents were away from mountain. (Haksav V'hakaboloh)
Ch. 19, v. 2: "Va'yichan shom Yisroel neged hohor" - And the nation Yisroel rested there across from the mountain - The tremendous unity of the bnei Yisroel to rest there "as one person with one heart" is a powerful tool against the evil inclination, "k'neged hohor." The gemara Sukoh 52a calls the evil inclination a mountain. (Rabbi Akiva Eiger)
Ch. 19, v. 4: "A'tem r'isem asher osisi l'Mitroyim" - You have seen what I have done to Egypt - Hashem destroyed S'dome and Lote was saved. However, he was not allowed to see the destruction. He was sufficiently connected to S'dome so that if he looked back and saw their utter destruction it would have affected him. However, you were able to see what Hashem did to the Egyptians in Egypt and at Yam Suf. Notwithstanding the descent to 49 levels of impurity you extricated yourselves spiritually to the level that you could see their punishment unscathed. (Holy Shal"oh)
Ch. 19, v. 5: "V'atoh im shomo'a tish'm'u b'koli" - And now if you will hearken to My voice - It is only now that Hashem has removed the yoke of Paroh's servitude from your necks that you are able to fully accept Hashem's commands fully. (Shem miShmuel)
Ch. 19, v. 8: "Va'yoshev Moshe es divrei ho'om el Hashem" - And Moshe reported the words of the nation to Hashem - When Moshe heard the whole nation saying "naa'seh v'nishma" (parshas Mishpotim), he credited their words to Hashem, that "naa'seh v'nishma" were Hashem's word emanating from their throats. (Kedushas Levi)
Ch. 19, v. 9: "V'gam b'cho yaaminu l'olom" - And also in you will they believe forever - They will believe for all generations that you received the Torah directly from Hashem and gave it over accurately to the bnei Yisroel. There is an obvious question, which we've dealt with in the past. How is it that even during Moshe's lifetime there was Korach who denied the truth of Toras Moshe when he himself was witness to "matan Torah?" in past issues a few answers were offered. An interesting thought is offered by the Holy Chofetz Chaim in Shmiras Haloshon. This is not a direct answer to the above-mentioned question. He says that because Moshe said, "V'hein lo yaaminu li" he suffered the pain of dealing with a non-believer.
Ch. 19, v. 13: "HEIMOH yaalu vohor" - Who are the antecedents of the pronoun "heimoh?" The Ibn Ezra says in the name of Rabbi Shmuel ben Chofni that this was permission for Aharon and the seventy Elders ONLY, to ascend the mountain. The rest of the bnei Yisroel were restricted from ascending because of a residual sanctity that remained on the mountain until the building of the Tabernacle, when the sanctity transferred itself from the mountain to the Mishkon. Rashi in his commentary on the gemara Taanis 21b says that the bnei Yisroel were granted permission to ascend the mountain either on the first of Nison or the twentieth of Iyar. In his commentary on the gemara Beitzoh 5b he writes that they were granted permission on the first of Nison. The Mahari"l Diskin says that it seems to be the opinion of Rabbi Saadioh Gaon that not only was permission granted for all of the bnei Yisroel to ascend, but possibly it was even a COMMAND, to indicate that the sanctity had ceased. However, the Mechilta clearly states that this was only permission and not a command.
Ch. 19, v. 17: "Va'yisyatzvu b'sachtis hohor" - And they stood at the base of the mountain - The theme of "standing" is prominent by the receiving of the Torah, "MAAMAD Har Sinai." This is because the bnei Yisroel had the negative force of the primal sin brought about by the snake removed, "poska zuhamoson." They reverted to a purity of before the primal sin and in a certain aspect were in a state of perfection. A person is an "o'meid," standing still, only when there is perfection, hence the term "maamad." (Sfas Emes)
Ch. 19, v. 19: "Moshe y'da'beir" - Moshe will speak - This is expressed in the future tense even though it is explaining "matan Torah," which happened. This teaches us that there is a renewal of the giving and receiving of the Holy Torah annually. (Ari z"l)
Ch. 20, v. 2: "Onochi" - Why not the word "Ani?"
1) The gemara Shabbos 88b uses the four letters of "Onochi" as an acronym for a few different four word phrases.
2) The Yalkut Shimoni #286 says that since the bnei Yisroel had just been in Egypt for a few generations they were very fluent in the Egyptian language. The word for "I - Ani" in Egyptian is "Onoch."
3) The Malbim says that "Ani" simply means "I." If one says "ani KOSEIV," it means that I am writing, but not erasing. The stress is on the action and not on the pronoun. If one says "ONOCHI koseiv," the stress is on "I" am writing, but someone else is not writing. Therefore, the Torah says "ONOCHI," I am Hashem, to the exclusion of others.
Ch. 20, v. 12: "Ka'beid es ovicho v'es i'mecho" - Honour oyur father and your mother - Honour your fathership and your mothership. Behave in such a way that you make it easy for your children to honour you. (shomati mei'ishti shetichyeh loyv"sh)
Ch. 20, v. 15: "Va'yar ho'om va'yonu'u" - And the nation saw and they swayed - This characteristic is still prevalent among the descendants of the bnei Yisroel. When they study Torah or pray they naturally sway.
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