Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | This Week's Parsha
This parsha sheet is being dedicated to my beloved father, Nachman Shimon ben Yehuda Meir Hakohan,Z"L.May it be a merit for his soul.
"Yisro, the minister of Midian, the father in law of Moses heard." (18:1)Rashi comments that one of the things Moses heard was the Israelites battle with Amalak. A question can be asked, Why was Israel's battle with Amalek so significant rather than Isreal's victory over Amalek? We are focusing on the battle as to the reason why Yisro came to Moses, not the victory which is a more logical reason. There is something about the battle with Amalek that prompted Yisro to visit Moses, but what? I would like to , Bezrat Hashem, propose the following original answer that might be an answer to this question: Amalek really did not have any tangible reason to attack the Isrealites. The Isrealites were not going to attack them since their land was not promised to the JEWs by G-d. Amalek attacked because they soley wished to diminish the fear of G-d that was prevelent throughout the world due to the great miracles performed for the Jews in Eygpt. The peoples of the world were trembling out of fear. Amalek wanted to attack the Jews to show the world that its possible to strike a blow to the Jews even after the Exodus.Amalek was in essence raging a war against G-d. This was a war raged by their collective conscious choice to do so, not out of neccesity. They choose this battle out of their own free will. When Yisro saw this battle, it frightened him. It made him think about the "battles" he was personally choosing to fight. Were they battles for G-d's glory, or perhapes to diminish G-d? Yisro did not want to waste his life for nought for he understood what King David expressed in Psalm (90:10) as follows: " The days of our lives are seventy years, and, if exceedingly vigorous, eighty years, and their persistance is but labor and foolishness." Yisro examined the "battes" he was raging, and did not want them to be like the ones fought by Amalek. He, therefore, decided to sanctify G-ds name by associating himself with the Israelites. It is for this reason the Sages emphasized the battle with Amalek as the reason for Yisro's visit, and not the victory. This is a very significant lesson to be learned. What battles are we personally raging? Are they for G-ds glory, or for our own personal glory? We must realize that the battles we rage are the result of the choices we make just like Amalek chose to make when they decided to battle with Israel.The Chovos Halevovos (Book on Duties of the Heart) brings the following parable to emphasize this point, as follows: "There was once a sage who met a group of soldiers returning victorious from battle. He said to them," You have come back from winning a minor battle; but the big battle is still ahead of you. The battle against your evil inclination and his legions." (Yichud Hamasim,chap5) Have a good Shabbos
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