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“Honor your father and your mother.” (20:12)

The Exodus from Egypt and the revelation of the Torah on Har Sinai are the two basic focal points in the history of the Jewish people. They constitute the foundation for our submission to Hashem. Although these events are actual historical truths, the acknowledgment of them is solely dependent upon tradition. Tradition is developed by the loyal transmission by parents to children and by the children’s willing acceptance of these ideals from the hands of the parents. Thus, the continuity of Hashem’s great institution of Judaism rests entirely upon the obedience of children to parents. Consequently, the mitzvah of honoring…

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“And Hashem said to Moshe, behold I come to you in a thick cloud in order that the people may hear when I speak to you and that they may believe in you forever.” (19:9)

Bnei Yisrael did not believe in Moshe because of the various signs which he performed. A belief based on signs leaves room for doubt about their true origin. Bnei Yisrael believed in Moshe at Har Sinai because of the great revelation of miracles which they witnessed with their own eyes. Their eyes saw the flames and their ears heard the thunder, so that this miraculous spectacle was integrated into their hearts and minds forever. Moshe’s personal acts were contested by members of his generation, but not one Jew questioned the actual giving of the Torah. Despite the fact that they…

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“And all the people answered… all that Hashem has spoken we will do.” (19:8)

Bnei Yisrael responded ,with “We will do,” prior to saying “And we will listen”. Consequently, a Heavenly voice came forth and proclaimed, “Who revealed to My sons the secret of uttering vagb before gnab, an expression reserved for angels?” Because Bnei Yisrael were absolutely prepared to accept the Torah before hearing its commandments, they attained the highest spiritual level a human being is capable of achieving. We must endeavor to understand the great secret of exclaiming vagb prior to gnab/ What difference is there in the precise order of acceptance as long as the Torah is properly observed? In order…

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“And Yisro heard… of all that Hashem had done for Moshe and for Yisrael His people.” (18:1) – “And Moshe told his father-in-law all that Hashem had done.” (18:8) – “And Yisro said blessed be Hashem for saving you.” (18:10)

We may note that Yisro did not bless Hashem until after he had heard the various miracles which had transpired directly from Moshe. What was unique about Moshe’s description of the details of the Exodus and its miracles as differentiated from the information Yisro had heard while in Midyan? Indeed, the first reports of these occurrences provided incentive enough for him to leave his home to come join Bnei Yisrael in the desert. The Darchei Mussar explains that from this pasuk we may derive the importance of studying with a teacher who is replete with yiras shomayim (fear of Heaven)….

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