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“Do not kill.” (20:13)

One may wonder why the prohibition against murder is included in the Aseres Ha’dibros, Ten Commandments. An obvious explanation is that we should not tamper with human life. Certain forms of “murder” are overlooked because of our lack of sensitivity to others. The Ibn Ezra writes “Do not kill with your hand or with your tongue by perjuring your testimony against another fellow by blatant or even innocuous forms of slander, or by giving someone harmful advice, knowing fully well the tragic consequences that will occur. One who is privy to a secret which can save another Jew’s life, and…

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“I am Hashem your G-d.” (20:2)

Chazal in Talmud Shabbos (105a) say that the word hfbt, I, is an acrostic for hapb tbt, ,hcvh vch,f” I put Myself into the writing.” Hashem says that His very essence is suffused to every letter of the Torah. As Horav Moshe Swift z.t.l. explains, this amazing statement is the cornerstone for the eternal nature of the Torah. Hashem reveals Himself through the Torah. It is His will. When one reads or studies the Torah, he is actually studying Hashem.  Honoring the Torah is tantamount to honoring Hashem. There is nothing like Torah in the world of literature; other writings…

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“All that Hashem has spoken we will do.” (19:8)

Later in Parashas Mishpatim (24:7), Klal Yisrael reaffirmed their acceptance of the Torah with the famous statement, “Naase V’Nishma. We will do and we will listen.” Chazal teach that when Bnei Yisrael proclaimed, “Naase V’Nishma,” they meant we will first pursue practical observance and practice and afterward rationalize it. The Midrash relates that at that moment one angel came down from Heaven and placed two crowns representing Naase V’Nishma on each Jew’s head. Interestingly, once Bnei Yisrael broke the pledge and placed Nishma before Naase, theory before practice, two angels came down to dismantle the crowns. We can wonder at…

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“And you shall provide out of the people able men, G-d fearing, men of truth, hating unjust gain… and Moshe chose able men out of Yisrael.” (18:21,25)

This pasuk seems to imply that it would not be easy to find truly honest and G-d fearing men. Indeed, Moshe had to rely upon ruach ha’kodesh, Divine inspiration, in determining the true nature of these men. Horav Moshe Shternbuch, Shlita, points out that individuals of such laudable character do not seek to publicize themselves as they are secure in their own self-image.  They tend to hide from public recognition. Moshe had to resort to a somewhat novel approach for finding these unique individuals. The Chezkuni makes a profound interpretation of G-d fearing men. He suggests that a true yoreh…

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“Now I know that Hashem is greater than all the gods.” (18:11)

Rashi explains Yisro’s statement in the following manner, “I knew Him in the past, but now I know him even more intensively.”  Affirming one’s recognition of the Almighty is no small statement.  Nonetheless, what was so unique about Yisro that an entire parsha in the Torah is dedicated to his name? He became Moshe’s confidante and chief advisor. Consequently, the entire Klal Yisrael and its leadership accorded him the greatest honor. It seems peculiar that all this esteem was directed towards Yisro solely because he recognized Hashem’s eminence.  Horav Chaim M. Katz z.t.l. explains, that Yisro distinguished himself by joining…

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