Vol 26.14 - Yitro 2 Spanish French Audio Video
|Hebrew Text: Chumash-Shmot|
Obligation and Subservience
The Ten Commandments begin with the verse, "I am G-d your L-rd who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the place of slavery." In commenting on the words, "who brought you out of the land of Egypt," Rashi notes: "Taking you out of Egypt is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me."
Some commentators on Rashi explain that the difficulty lies in the verse's stating "I am G-d your L-rd who brought you out of the land of Egypt" rather than "I am G-d your L-rd who created heaven and earth." Rashi thus explains, they say, that the Exodus was mentioned rather than creation since it was because G-d brought the Jews out of slavery that they became His servants and He became their G-d.
This explanation, however, is somewhat lacking: In the simple context of the verse there is absolutely no reason why it should conclude with the statement "who created heaven and earth," inasmuch as the latter part of the verse gives the reason for G-d becoming "your L-rd" - the G-d of the Jewish people.
This being so, it stands to reason that the explanation should be germane to the relationship between G-d and the Jews rather than to that between G-d and the universe.
And so the explanation of why the Exodus is given as the reason for G-d becoming the G-d of the Jewish people is obvious - G-d's liberation of the Jews from slavery is what made it possible for Him to give us His Torah and mitzvos on Sinai.
Moreover, the fact that G-d took the Jews out of Egypt in order for them to serve Him was already mentioned several times in the Torah; in none of those places did Rashi find it necessary to explain that this "is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me." What difficulty is there in this particular verse?
The difficulty which Rashi addresses is related to this very issue: Since the Jews were already well aware that the ultimate goal of the Exodus was the receipt of the Torah and submission to G-d, what was the need to mention yet again that G-d's declaration: "I am G-d your L-rd" is the consequence of His being the One "who brought you out of the land of Egypt"?
Rashi therefore explains that "who brought you out of the land of Egypt" is neither a reason nor an explanation for "I am G-d your L-rd.," Rather, it is a wholly distinct matter - "Taking you out of Egypt is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me."
"I am G-d your L-rd" implies the acceptance of G-d's reign. The Jews accepted G-d as their king and ruler, and thereby obligated themselves to obey all His commands. G-d then added an additional matter - merely accepting G-d as king does not suffice; Jews must be wholly subservient to Him.
Accepting a king's dominion does not preclude the possibility of a private life; it only means doing what the king commands and avoiding those things which the king prohibits. However, being "subservient to Me" means a Jew has no personal freedom; all his actions and possessions are subservient to G-d.
Performing Torah and mitzvos is unlike heeding the commands of a flesh-and-blood king, since it is done in a state of complete subservience. Every moment of a Jew's life involves some aspect of Torah and mitzvos.
Based on Likkutei Sichos Vol. XXVI pp. 124-128.
1. On the verse (Exodus 20:2):
"I am the L-rd, your G-d who brought you out of the land of Egypt",
Rashi cites the words, "who brought you out of the land of Egypt" and explains:
"Taking you out of Egypt is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me.”
(After this, Rashi brings another two explanations, as will be explained on Par. 5).
What is the difficulty in the verse, that Rashi comes to answer in his comment?
The Mizrachi (as well as other commentators) state that the question is:
“Why was His G-dliness made dependent upon the Exodus of Egypt where He says “who brought you out (of the land of Egypt) and not (dependent upon Creation "I (am the L-rd, your G-d) who created heaven and earth”?
On this Rashi answers that,
“through the Exodus from Egypt from their being slaves, He merited for them to be subservient to Him, and for Him to be their G-d”.
This explanation, however, is seemingly not straightforward:
According to the simple meaning of the verse, there is, from the very onset, no place for the question why it does not state, “who created heaven and earth”. For this comes as a continuation (a reason) for “I am the L-rd, your G-d” -namely, that Hashem is the G-d of the Yidden.
Therefore, one must state an aspect which is solely relevant to the Jewish People (which is why the Yidden were separated from the entire world).
The reason why specifically this aspect was chosen (regarding the Jewish People) – “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” – is plainly understood. For this is the Geulah of the Jewish People, which led to the event at Mount Sinai.
This question is even stronger:
This aspect - that the Exodus of Egypt (Yetziat Mitzrayim) is the reason for “I am the L-rd, your G-d”,
(or in another manner – that Yetziat Mitzrayim was in order that the Yidden should accept G-d as their “L-rd” and to serve Him),
has already been stated previously, and many times:
·Immediately in Parshat Shmot, it states:
“When you take the people out of Egypt, you will worship G-d on this mountain."
·Similarly, in the beginning of Parshat Va’eira it states:
“Therefore, say to the children of Yisroel . . I will take you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians . .And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a G-d to you, and you will know that I am the L-rd your G-d, Who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
·Moreover, in our Parsha itself, in the preparations to Matan Torah, it states:
“’You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and (how) I bore you on eagles' wings, and I brought you to Me . . obey Me and keep My covenant . . you shall be to Me . . and a holy nation.”
Therefore, it is not understood:
What is difficult particularly in this verse, where Rashi must here (not previously) explain that,
“The taking you out is sufficient reason etc.”?
2. There are also many precise wordings in Rashi’s language:
As one plainly learns, the words (of Rashi),
“That you should be subservient to Me” –
are the explanation of the beginning of the verse,
“I am the L-rd, your G-d”
(In the words of the aforementioned Mizrachi, “for them to be subservient to Him, and for Him to be their G-d”).
According to this explanation, the words, “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” is the reason for “I am the L-rd, your G-d”.
(For since, “(I am . .) who took you out of the land of Egypt”, therefore the Yidden are subservient to G-d).
This is similar to what it states at the end of Parshat Shlach (and in many verses):
“I am the L-rd, your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your L-rd”, as Rashi explains: “I redeemed you on condition etc.”
According to this it is not understood:
1. Why does Rashi not cite in the heading, also the words “I am the L-rd, your G-d” (which he then explains)?
2. In most of the places where Rashi states this very theme (that Yetziat Mitzrayim was for the purpose of the Yidden accepting G-d as L-rd) – Rashi ’s wording is: “I redeemed you on condition etc.” (and so forth):
Therefore, why does Rashi, here, use the words “The taking you out is sufficient reason etc.”?
3. Rashi should have stated – in conjunction to the wording of the verse, (“I am the L-rd, your G-d”)
“it is sufficient etc. that you accept My L-rdship” (or (as Rashi states in another place) “you should accept My sovereignty “, and so forth).
Why does Rashi change from the wording of the verse and state a new expression (and aspect) – “you should be subservient to Me”?
Seemingly, one can answer that Rashi is taking it from the conclusion of the verse, “from the house of bondage”. In other words, since G-d took the Yidden “from the house of bondage”, therefore, “The taking you out is sufficient reason”, that Yidden should be “G-d’s servants” (similar to what it states: “For they are My servants, whom I brought out from the land of Egypt”).
However, this is not a sufficient answer for:
1. Rashi’s language is still not straightforward, for he should have stated (like the wording of the verse) “it is sufficient. . that you be my servants” (עבדי). Why did he change and state “subservient” (משועבדים)?
2. Primarily: Rashi cites in the heading just the words: “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” and not the conclusion of the verse “from the house of bondage”. (Moreover, he does not even allude to it with the word “etc.” (v’Gomer).
Therefore, it is understood, that the aspect of “The taking you out is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me” is derived by Rashi (not from, “from the house of bondage”, but) from the words, “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” itself.
(This is especially so since Rashi, even in his comment states, “The taking you out is sufficient reason etc.” plainly, and not, “The taking you out from the house of bondage”).
3. One could say that explanation of all this is:
The question in, “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” is (not – why "I am the L-rd, your G-d” is connected with “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” but rather the opposite – the question is what is this coming to teach us?!
As stated, the Yidden already beforehand knew that Matan Torah (“You shall serve G-d”) is the epitome of Yetziat Mitzrayim. Moreover – G-d had instructed the Yidden in the preparatory days to Matan Torah, as aforementioned,
“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and (how) I bore you. . and I brought you to Me. . obey Me and keep My covenant . . you shall be to Me a kingdom of princes and a holy nation.”
Since this was so – what was is it coming to teach us that "I am the L-rd, your G-d” is the result and epitome of “Who took you out of the land of Egypt”?
Therefore, Rashi learns that “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” is (not a reason (or a clarification) for “I am the L-rd, your G-d” but rather that this is) a separate and new aspect – “The taking you out is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me”:
“I am the L-rd, your G-d” means accepting G-d’s sovereignty - that one accepts G-d as Ruler and King. Therefore, one will obey all of His commands etc.
Afterward, G-d added another aspect – that the aspect of accepting G-d’s sovereignty (which brings one to accepting the yoke of Mitzvot, to obey His decrees) is not sufficient. Rather, that Yidden must be subservient to Me (משועבדים לי), completely subservient to G-d.
Accepting sovereignty does not negate the freedom of one’s individual “private” life. Rather, it only means that the specific aspects that the king commands to do – are obeyed. (both in a positive manner (בקום ועשה) doing that which he commands, as well as in a negative manner (בשב ואל תעשה) – not doing that which the king forbids). Similarly, it is with G-d, the King of kings – that one accepts upon oneself to fulfill all Mitzvot (and decrees) of the King.
However, “subservient to Me” means that a Yid is not independent (זעלבסטשטענדיק). He has no (individual) freedom. He is (completely) subservient to G-d with all that he has and does.
Therefore, Rashi is precise in stating, “The taking you out is sufficient reason etc.”
(Not the words, “for the purpose” (על מנת)).
The words “for the purpose” (על מנת) are stated by Rashi when the verse states two aspects - where one of them is a condition for the second aspect.
(For example: “I am the L-rd, your G-d who took you out . . to be your G-d”).
This is not so in our case, where, “you shall be subservient to Me” (according to Rashi) is not a condition, but rather it is an explanation (and intent) of “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” itself. The taking out is “sufficient” (and contains within it) the aspect that Yidden are “subservient to Me”.
4. According to this, one can also understand why Rashi does not cite (in the heading) the conclusion of the verse, “from the house of bondage” (and does not even allude to it with the word “etc.” (v’gomer):
The difference between “subservient to Me” (משועבדים לי) and the (plain) wording of servitude (ל׳ עבדות) is:
When one says the word “servant/עבד” plainly (without distinction), it is not yet emphasized that one does not have freedom. For although a servant is not an independent entity, for he is the property of the master (not like a laborer who only does work for his employer). Nevertheless, the yoke of servitude manifests itself mainly in the work that he performs for his master. Therefore, at the times when he eats and sleeps etc., he does not feel (so much) the yoke of the master. So much so, that there can be a situation where the master does not require (נויטיקט זיך ניט) the work of the servant and he can “relax” etc. (he is not required to look for work to do for his master).
Whereas the word “subservient” (משועבדים) emphasizes the subjugation of the servant to his master, in a manner of a constant yoke (עול תמידי) (similar to the wording of subjugation (שעבוד) with regard to money. Namely, that the money is subjugated and “bound” to the owner of the debt). In everything that he does, he feels the yoke of the master. So much so, that even in the times when the master does not give him work - the servant feels that his being is subjugated to the master.
This is the precise wording of Rashi: “you should be subservient to Me” – not “that they should be My servants” (and so forth).
The aspect that Matan Torah accomplished that the Yidden should be “G-d’s servants” (plainly) was already included in the words “I am the L-rd, your G-d”. Since, G-d is our Ruler and King – the Yidden “belong” to G-d.
(As it states: “And I will take you to Me as a people, and I will be a G-d to you”).
Therefore, one must obey and serve Him like a servant to his master.
However, with the words “Who took you out of the land of Egypt”, there came another aspect – “The taking you out is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me”:
Even though the “terms” of Yetziat Mitzrayim is (just) that the Yidden become “to Me a Nation) (לי לעם) which can mean the relationship of a people to a mortal king). However, “The taking you out (of the land of Egypt) is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me”.
Since Yidden were in servitude in the land of Egypt, where there, they were (not just plain “servants” – a “house of servants” – but rather) in a manner of subjugation (שעבוד) – back-breaking servitude. So much so, that it was in a manner of “Make the workload heavier” (beyond measure etc.) Therefore, “The taking you out is sufficient reason for you to be subservient to Me” (the very taking out of Egypt) that they should be (not just servants, but) “subservient to Me”.
5. According to this explanation in Rashi – that “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” is (not a reason for “I am the L-rd, your G-d”, but rather) a separate, new aspect - one can understand why after this explanation in “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” – Rashi brings another two explanations.
These are his words:
1. “Alternatively, (G-d mentions the Exodus) since He revealed Himself on the Sea as a valiant warrior, and here He revealed Himself as an old man full of mercy, as it is said: “and beneath His feet was like the form of a brick of sapphire”. . Since I change in (My) appearances, do not say that they are two (Divine) domains, (but) I am He Who took you out of Egypt and (I am He Who performed the miracles) by the Sea.”
2. “Alternatively, (G-d mentions the Exodus) since they heard many voices (during the Ten Commandments). . (meaning that) voices came from four directions and from the heavens and from the earth, (so) do not say that there are many (Divine) domains.”
(and afterward Rashi concludes:
“And why did He say (the first Commandment) (אלקיך) in the singular (possessive)? In order to give Moshe an opening to offer a defense in the incident of the Calf. (This is (the meaning of) “Why, O L-rd, should Your anger be kindled against Your people?”). You did not command them, “You shall not have the gods of others before Me,” but (You commanded) me alone “).
It is seemingly puzzling:
Rashi explains the simple meaning of the verse. What is lacking in the first comment (whose content is an understood and simple aspect) and which we find similarly in many other verses, as aforementioned) – that Rashi finds necessary to explain in the other two comments which are (very) far from the simple understanding (Pshat)?
This is so both in their general theme - namely, that one had to forewarn Yidden from erring that there are “two domains” and “there are multiple domains”. How is it fitting to say, that after seeing all the miracles in Egypt and at the Sea etc., and after standing at the events of Mount Sinai, that one must first now forewarn Yidden regarding the error that there can be “two (many) Divine domains”?!
(Even, “I change in (My) appearances” – is not a sufficient reason for such an error. For it is plainly understood (and we see a similar occurrence physically in a person) that one’s face (at least) can change according to the deed that he does. One’s face is not the same when he conducts a war, as the same person’s face when he is performing a deed of kindness and mercy.
Therefore, how much more so is it puzzling, that one must forewarn from erring that “there are many domains”, because they “heard many voices” – when from all the many voices, (1) They heard the same Commandments, and (2) and this is primary) The content is: "I am the L-rd, your G-d; and You shall not have etc. ?!)
In addition to this, there is a separate difficulty in each of the two comments:
·In the first comment - the aspect that, “He revealed Himself here as an old man full of mercy” is not understood. For (according to Rashi), this occurred already on the Fifth of Sivan (Ex.24:4).
(Or at the very least – a considerable time before G-d began saying the Ten Commandments).
G-d should have immediately, at that time of revealing Himself, forewarned the Yidden from making the error (in the principles of faith) that “there are two Divine domains”. (and not suffice with this, in the middle of the Ten Commandments).
·And according to the second comment - that the place of the error was through the sound of the Ten Commandments – it is difficult (as Rashi himself continues):
“And why did He say (the first Commandment) (אלקיך) in the singular (possessive)?”
For also in this there is no question. For one finds in many places that G-d speaks to the Jewish People in the singular.
(Especially at Matan Torah when “and Yisroel encamped there - as one man with one heart”).
Here, however, since the voice was in a manner that gives a place for error that “there are many Divine domains”, it should have here, specifically, used a plural construct (לשון רבים), and not a singular construct (לשון יחיד) which only adds to giving a place to err that “one god is speaking with one person and another god is speaking with another person, G-d forbid”.
(Moreover, Rashi ’s explanation -
“In order to give Moshe an opening to offer a defense in the incident of the Calf” is seemingly far from the simple understanding, as the commentators ask, “How does this defense help?”).
(Note: For it is a weak argument that the First Commandment was said specifically to Moshe and not to all of Yisroel. https://www.sefaria.org/Gur_Aryeh_on_Shemot.20.2.3?lang=bi )
However, according to the aforementioned it is plainly understood:
According to the first explanation in Rashi, namely that “Who took you out of the land of Egypt” is a separate aspect from “I am the L-rd, your G-d” - the continuation of the words “(I am the L-rd, your G-d), who (אשר) took you out of the land of Egypt” is not understood. For in general, the word, “who/that/אשר” depicts a continuation of what was stated beforehand (and not an addition of a (completely) new thing).
Therefore, Rashi brings the other comments, which, according to them, clarifies the continuation of the wording of the verse.
This is as Rashi emphasizes, that according to the second (and similarly according to the third) comment, the translation of verse is, “I am He who (אשר) took you out etc.”.
6. From the conclusion in Rashi’s comment:
“And why did He say (the first Commandment) (אלקיך) in the singular (possessive)? In order to give Moshe an opening to offer a defense in the incident of the Calf.”
There is a wondrous lesson regarding how much each Yid is dear to G-d:
Here, it is speaking regarding Yidden who not only lacked the “you should be subservient to me”, but moreover, stood at the complete opposite extreme of, “I am the L-rd, your G-d”. Nevertheless, because of such Yidden, G-d stated (this Commandment) at Matan Torah and for all generations, in the “singular” (לשון יחיד) - in order for Moshe to have a “defense”, on behalf of these Yidden!
This opening to offer a defense is connected with that, which it adds in the giving a place to err that, “there are many Divine domains” (as aforementioned). This is so, even though, on the other hand, this “defense” is seemingly weak (as aforementioned, from the commentators).
Yet nevertheless, G-d says that the matter (of stating the first Commandment in the “singular”) is fitting. For it is possible that from this, there will come out a learning of merit for Yidden – such Yidden. For although it reluctantly gives a place to err – nevertheless, “write it – and someone who wishes to err – will err”!
This lesson is understood for each and every one of us. Namely, that one must occupy oneself with bringing close each and every one of Yisroel. There is no place to make any accountings, that with this Yid, it is proper to devote oneself, whereas with this Yid etc. The Torah forewarns, that immediately in the first Commandment of the Ten Commandments, G-d gave an opening to be able to find a learning of merit for a Yid which would falter, G-d forbid, in the episode of the Calf (the opposite of the first Command: “I am the L-rd, your G-d”)!
How much more so, is this in our generation. Where the majority of those who one must bring close to Yiddishkeit are in the category of a “child that was kidnapped by non-Jews”. One must find ways to reach (דערגרייכן) each and every one of Yisroel.
Through bringing close all Yidden to our Father in Heaven, the “great congregation” will assemble together to greet our righteous Moshiach, speedily in our days, mamosh.
M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Yitro 5730
|Date Modified:||Date Reviewed:|