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

In Parashas Mishpatim (24:7), Bnei Yisrael reaffirm their acceptance of the Torah with the famous words, “Na’ase V’nishma,” “we will do and we will listen.” Chazal explain that when Bnei Yisrael proclaimed Na’ase V’nishma, they pledged themselves first “to do,” to observe and practice and then to try to understand. When they acceded to first perform and execute and later speculate and rationalize, Hashem sent down one angel for each Jew. The angel placed two crowns on the head of each Jew. One represented Na’ase, we will do, and one represented Nishma, we will listen. We must endeavor to understand…

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“And Moshe chose able men from all of Yisrael.” (18:25)

Horav Eliyahu Meir Bloch z.l., cites the Sforno who sees a profound implication from this pasuk. After searching for men who possessed all the qualities mentioned by Yisro, he chose “able men” who were well versed in law, diligent in determining the veracity of a situation, and capable of bringing it to a proper conclusion. This definition of “anshei chayil” distinguishes itself from that of the other commentators. Sforno focuses on the individual’s ability to think and use his common sense, coupled with an unremittant desire to make use of these faculties to solve problems. Yisro had suggested four qualifications…

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“And he (Yisro) said (to Moshe), ‘What is this thing that you are doing to the people? Why do you sit by yourself?'” (18:14)

The simple interpretation of this dialogue between Yisro and Moshe is that Yisro was concerned that Moshe not overexert himself by attempting to be the sole adjudicator for the entire nation. After all, Moshe was still a human being, and he would not be able to maintain the physical stamina required to continue functioning in this capacity. Horav Dovid Feinstein, Shlita, suggests that Yisro’s concern was not so much for Moshe’s physical well-being, as it was for Klal Yisrael’s educational development. When Yisro came to Moshe, he did not ask, “What are you doing to yourself ?” – but rather,…

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“And Yisro, the father-in-law of Moshe, took Tzipporah, Moshe’s wife… and her two sons.” (18:2,3)

It is interesting to note that the Torah refers to Moshe and Tzipporah’s sons as “her two sons.” Were they only Tzipporah’s sons?  Horav Mordechai Gifter, Shlita, asserts that the education parents impart to their child establishes the tenor of the relationship between them.  From the time Moshe left Midyan — at the behest of Hashem to lead Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt — until this moment, Tzipporah guided their childrens’ education.  This is the reason that they are referred to as “her two sons.” This remarkable insight into parenting and education should serve as a lesson for us all….

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“And Yisro heard…. all that Hashem wrought for Moshe and Yisrael.” (18:1)

Rashi explains that Yisro heard the news of the splitting of the Red Sea and the war with Amalek. These two miraculous events so impressed Yisro that he left his established home in Midyan and joined Bnei Yisrael in the desert.  Obviously, all the other nations also heard the news about the remarkable miracles which were occurring for Bnei Yisrael.  Yisro, however, applied what he indeed heard to his immediate lifestyle. Horav Chaim Shmuelevitz z.l., was wont to say, “Yisro did not simply hear, he “derhered,” a Yiddish expression which connotes a unique quality of listening. It implies attending to…

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