Vertluch: Parshas Yisro


‘And Yisro heard all that Hashem had done for Moshe and for klal Yisroel……that Hashem took bnei Yisroel out of Mitzrayim’ (18; 1)

Rashi asks: ‘what was it that he heard that made him join klal Yisroel in the desert ? Krias yam suf and the war with amalek’, it was these two occurrences that inspired him to join our illustrious nation.

An obvious question that immediately comes to mind is, what is rashi’s point of the question? The pasuk clearly states ‘he heard all that Hashem had done for klal Yisroel……’?

Reb Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Zt”l related a story that will help us answer this.

When he was a young boy, learning in yeshivas eitz chaim-on yaffa street, there was a police station located across the street. At the entrance way to their headquarters there were two stone pillars, one on either side, and on top of each pillar was a stone lion. One day his rebbi came in and was describing to his class the beauty of music; how it has a special koach to bring joy to people and inspire people to higher levels. He said to them ‘if you would play your musical instruments and the lions would hear you- even they, would spring into a dance!’

That evening, the boys ran home and came back with their instruments to play for the lions. Needless to say, they were disappointed when they started playing and the lions didn’t flinch. The next day they related to the rebbi what had happened. The rebbi smiled to the class and said ‘boys, you completely misunderstood what I said to you. What I said was that if the lions could hear you they would dance. Yes, you played, but they couldn’t hear you.’

Many times we all see and hear things; music can be playing all around us. But it’s the koach ha’shmia-the ability to hear and to listen; the ability to accept, that inspires a person and changes him for the good. Yisro heard everything but two details really penetrated him; the war with amalek and krias yam suf.

Let us delve a little deeper as to what was so special about these two miracles that caused Yisro to not only listen, but to accept and change his ways.

We read in Az Yashir everyday-‘vayiru ha’am es Hashem vayaminu b’Hashem uv’Moshe avdo’. The Nitziv asks what did they see at that moment that they declared their fear for Hashem and their trust in Moshe? They saw that each Egyptian was receiving a different punishment. The mitzriyim that were rodfim (soldiers) died quickly; they had no choice in what they did because they were following orders. The ‘sonayhem’-the people who hated us just because they wanted to-died a slow, miserable and painful death. When bnei Yisroel saw that every person was getting exactly what they deserved, this strengthened their emunah in the Ribono Shel Olam.
 Next, comes Amalek and attacks us-but how were they able to assault us if we had the ananei hakavod protecting us? How were they able to infiltrate the ananei hakovod?
The answer is, as the pasuk says, ‘Vayizanev bichoh kol hanechesholim acharechoh’, they attacked the yidden that were lingering behind the ananei hakovod. Who were these yidden that did not merit being included in the safe and secure confines of the ananei hakovod? Chazal tell us that anyone who served Avoda Zoroh was miraculously removed from the ananei hakovod. The eruv rav and those who were tomai also had no place within these heavenly clouds and were forced out of them. If it wasn’t befitting for one to be inside the ananei hakavod, they were miraculously ejected and had to travel with klal Yisroel outside of the clouds. These Divine clouds were exclusively for the elite of Klal Yisroel.
 It was these less fortunate people that Amalek had access to and waged war against. The majority of klal Yisroel who were inside the clouds, secure and well protected, saw what was occurring and sprang into action to protect their brethren. They left their comfort zone from within the clouds and confronted Amalek for the sake of the less fortunate Jews. This is what inspired Yisro! The demonstration of caring and compassion the yidden showed as they left their secure area to confront an enemy that was attacking their less fortunate brothers. He said wow…I want to be part of such a nation! A nation that cares so much about each and every individual, regardless of their spiritual status, is worth joining.
We, as a nation, cannot give up on anyone; a yid is a yid; we take care of ever yid as if it was our own child. No one is taken for granted and everyone is cared for. They were willing to wage war in order to protect every single member of klal Yisroel.
This is what Yisro ‘heard’ about and it was thia that inspired him to become part of the best nation in the world.
May we all continue to emulate this middah and B’ezras Hashem through the compassion that we show to our brothers, may Hashem have compassion on klal Yisroel and bring Moshiach to redeem us b’karov. 

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