Illuminations #148, Shvat 5778, Parshat Yitro

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Illuminations #148, Shvat 5778, Parshat Yitro

Torah Gems

The Parsha States:  “Moshe told his father-in-law all that Hashem had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians…” Rashi explains that Moshe related all this in order to draw his heart, to bring him near to the Torah. The question is, why didn’t Rashi state the more obvious explanation, that he was simply informing Yisro about all the wonders that Hashem had done? Rabbi Shlomo Kluger explains that Rashi had a difficulty explaining this way, because the Torah already said, “Yisro heard all that G-d had done for Moshe and for Yisrael, His people.” If so, why would Moshe need to tell him again? Therefore, he explained differently, in accordance with the following teaching of Chazal: “One should not get up to pray except when he is in a state of joy, like one who does a mitzvah.” The Rabbis explained that this refers to saying “Ashrei” before praying. It is clear from the Gemora, that this rule also applies to learning Torah, that one should be in a joyful frame of mind before starting to learn. If so, just as saying Ashrei and thereby relating the wonders of Hashem is a fitting preparation for praying with a joyful heart, so too, before one starts learning  Torah, one should relate Hashem’s wonders, in order to make sure that his learning is done in the proper state of joy. This is what our Pasuk is saying, “Moshe related to his father-in-law all that Hashem had done to Pharaoh…,” in order to draw Yisro’s heart to Torah, that is, to ensure that he would be in a state of joy from a mitzvah before he started teaching him Torah.

Parsha Pearls

“Remember the Shabbat day… Six days you shall serve and do all your work. But the seventh day is Shabbat for Hashem … Do not perform any work, ” etc. The Pasuk of “Six days you shall work” appears to be redundant – since when is it a mitzvah, asks the G’ra, to work on the six days, and besides, how do we understand the words “all your work” in this Pasuk and “any work” at the end of the quotation? To answer these questions, the G’ra quotes a Gemora in Masechet Shabbat (69b). The Gemora says that one who gets stranded and loses his sense of time and forgets which day is Shabbat, should count six days from the time he becomes aware of the problem, and keep the seventh day as Shabbat. However, he is only permitted to do whatever he needs to stay alive – both during the six days and on his Shabbat – no more than that. This is the halacha to which the Torah is hinting here. “Remember the Shabbat day!” the Torah is warning. Don’t forget which day is Shabbat, because then you will be able to do all your work. (And what is more, the seventh day will be Shabbat for Hashem, not just an arbitrary one for you – added to the G’ra’s explanation). And then, you will also be able to observe Shabbat properly, to ensure that you do not perform any work at all.

Glimpses of Greatness

Chacham Ovadia Yosef had a thirst for Torah that is an example to all of us. Early one morning, his son woke up to find his father lying on the floor studying. Alarmed, he asked his father, “Why is the Rav on the floor?” Chacham Ovadia replied, “I woke up early to learn, climbed on a ladder to get a book and fell on the ground. I tried calling for help, but it was too painful and no one heeded my call, so instead of lying on the floor and simply writhing in pain and wasting time, I grabbed a sefer that was within reach and decided to learn.” It was later discovered that he had broken a bone in his back that required surgery.

Halacha Weekly

Q. If a person forgives someone in speech but in his heart doesn’t mean it, is he forgiven? [II-19-313]

A. Gilyonei Hashaas (Kidushin 49b, R. Yosef Engel Z”L) writes that one that embarrasses his friend, and the friend forgives him in speech but not in his heart, then we say all matters of the heart are not of consequence. Chaim Beyad (57, R. Chaim Pelagi Z”L) writes if he does not forgive  expressly  saying, “Mahol Lach”, “It is forgiven you,” but instead brings many friends to request forgiveness, appearing to him with a pleasant countenance and words of reconciliation, this is considered forgiveness. Divrei Rabeinu Bechayei ( End of Vayechi) learns that since Yosef did not say to his brothers that he forgave them expressly,  they thus died  without forgiveness. It is impossible to atone for the sin without forgiveness. Therefore it is not considered as though he is reconciled and that he forgives him until he receives complete forgiveness.

Likewise it is written in Chut Shani (Hilchot Lashon Harah, R. Shimshon  Bachrach Z”L) in the name of the Chazon Ish (R. Avraham Yeshayah Karelitz Z”L) that if he does not forgive him in his heart, even though he says it with his lips that he forgives him, the forgiveness (he says with his lips) does not apply, and we do  not say, “Matters which are only in the heart are not considered of consequence,” because the essence of the matter [of forgiveness itself] resides in the heart.   Minchat Chinuch(364, R. Yosef Babad Z”L) writes that if he requests forgiveness from this friend and even so his fellow does not forgive him, nevertheless, he is considered as a complete tzaddik and a complete tzaddik does not depend on atonement.