Vol 16.22 - Yitro 1                                Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5736) "What news had he heard that inspired him to come" (Mechilta and Rashi beg. of Parsh Ex. 18:1). Explanation of the words of Rambam (in the preface to Pirush HaMishnayos) that the "four cubits of Halacha" refers to the completeness of "wisdom and deed";

Zohar (2:67b) that the coming of Yitro was a preparation to Matan Torah  



In this week's Torah portion, Yitro, we read: "And Yitro heard...everything that G-d had done for Moses and His people Israel...and Yitro came...to Moses into the wilderness."

What did Yitro hear that caused him to leave his land and join the Jewish people? As Rashi explains, he heard about the splitting of the Sea and the war against Amalek.

At first glance, this is surprising. The exodus from Egypt, with all its miracles, took place before the splitting of the Sea of Reeds; surely Yitro was aware of what happened. Why then was it not until the Sea was split and the battle fought against Amalek that he decided to go to Moses?

There is another difficulty as well. According to the principle that "one must always ascend in matters of holiness," one would expect the Jewish people to have reached a more elevated spiritual state by the time the Torah was given. The war against Amalek seems to represent a spiritual decline. However, as will be explained, the battle against Amalek was actually a significant ascent in the Jews' progression toward Mount Sinai.

When the Sea split, G-d's Divine light illuminated all planes of existence, effecting a bond between the higher spheres and the mundane physical world. All the nations heard of the great miracle; the revelation of G-dliness at the Sea struck fear in their hearts. Nevertheless, even after the splitting of the Sea, Amalek was not afraid to confront the Jews. Why? Because the revelation of holiness that occurred had still not purified the very lowest levels of the physical. These lowest levels became purified only after the battle with Amalek, when the Jews were victorious.

Thus the war against Amalek was the final step in the Jewish people's preparation for receiving the Torah. For it was by means of this war that the entire world was transformed into an appropriate vessel to contain the Torah.

This also explains why these two events convinced Yitro to join the Jewish people: it was only after both had occurred that the world was completely ready to accept the Torah.

Each day we say: "Blessed are You... Who gives the Torah" - in the present tense. Every day we receive the Torah anew. Just as our ancestors prepared themselves to accept the Torah at Sinai, so too must we prepare ourselves.

We do this by living with the adage "Know Him in all your ways." A Jew's connection to G-d must be constant, not just during prayer or Torah study. First comes the "splitting of the Sea" - our involvement in spiritual matters, only after which can we wage "war against Amalek" and see to mundane affairs.

(From lchaim-weekly.org/lchaim/5761/658)






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