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“And they said all that Hashem has spoken we will do.” (19:8) – “And all the people “saw” (perceived) the voices.” (20:15)

Rashi explains they saw that which should be heard. There is a famous saying that “seeing is believing”. It has never been suggested that hearing is believing. One may hear a lecture and be impressed so that he is emotionally moved. However, the response will not endure. He will go back to his way of thinking and original lifestyle. Judaism must be “seen” to be believed. It is stated in Tehilim: “Taste and see that Hashem is good.” At Har Sinai the Jewish people responded with “we will do” before they said “we will listen”. It is necessary to perform,…

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“Anyone who will touch the mountain will die.” (19:12)

The Chofetz Chaim applies this posuk as a lesson of the respect and reverence to be given to a Torah scholar. The Jewish people were instructed not to touch Har Sinai, due to its consecration as the place where the Torah would be given. This honor was extended to a harain, although it has no mind or feelings; how much more so should one be careful of in the respect afforded to a Torah scholar, one who has actually studied and absorbed the Torah. The Ateres Mordechai suggests a more homiletic approach. Often ulterior motives and personal interests can cloud…

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“Now I know that Hashem is greater than all the Gods, for it was in the thing wherein they acted wickedly, (that punishment came) upon them. (18:11)

  Rashi explains that with water they thought to destroy them, and they themselves were destroyed by water. Why was Yisro worthy of having an entire parsha of the Torah named after him? What distinguished him to deserve the remarkable honor accorded him? There were men who undoubtedly were aware of Pharaoh’s terrible decree to drown the Jewish baby boys. However, it was only Yisro who was able to take two unrelated events and link them together to see their apparent relationship. He saw the punishment of “measure for measure” in Hashem’s reaction to Pharaoh’s sins. This is the distinction…

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“And her two sons that the name of one was Gershom, for he said I have been a stranger in a strange land, and the name of the other was Eliezer, for the G-d of my father was my salvation. And He saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.” (18:3-4)

The naming of Moshe’s two sons seemingly is not in the proper sequence. Since Moshe was first saved from Pharaoh’s sword should he have not named his son in tribute to that event before reflecting upon his being a stranger in Midyon? Rabbi Mordechai Gifter Shlita offers a response to this question. Had Moshe been saved from Pharaoh’s wrath only to assimilate in Midyon, his salvation would have been in vain. It was only after being able to withstand the adverse influences and pressures of a depraved country such as Midyon that Moshe acknowledged his salvation from the hands of…

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