Parsha Q&A - Parshat Yitro

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Parsha Q&A

Parshat Yitro

For the week ending 22 Shevat 5760; 28 & 29 January 2000

Contents:
  • Parsha Questions
  • Whats Bothering Rashi
  • I Did Not Know That!
  • Recommended Reading List
  • Answers to Parsha Questions
  • Back issues of Parsha Q&A
  • Subscription Information
  • Ohr Somayach Home Page

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    Parsha Questions

    Answers | Contents

    1. Yitro had 7 names. Why was one of his names Yeter?
    2. News of which two events motivated Yitro to come join the Jewish People?
    3. What name of Yitro indicates his love for Torah?
    4. Why was Tzipora with her father, Yitro, and not with Moshe when Bnei Yisrael left Egypt?
    5. Why does verse 18:5 say that Yitro came to the desert - don't we already know that the Bnei Yisrael were in the desert?
    6. Why did Moshe tell Yitro all that Hashem had done for the Jewish People?
    7. According to the Midrash quoted by Rashi, how did Yitro respond when he was told about the destruction of Egypt?
    8. Who is considered as if he enjoys the splendor of the Shechina?
    9. On what day did Moshe sit to judge the Jewish People?
    10. Who is considered a co-partner in Creation?
    11. "Moshe sat to judge the people, and the people stood before Moshe…." What bothered Yitro about this arrangement?
    12. Why did Yitro return to his own land?
    13. How did the encampment at Sinai differ from the other encampments?
    14. To whom does the Torah refer when it uses the term "Beit Yaakov"?
    15. How is Hashem's protection of the Jewish People similar to an eagle's protection of its young?
    16. What was Hashem's original plan for Matan Torah? What was the response of the Jewish People?
    17. How many times greater is the "measure of reward" than the "measure of punishment"?
    18. How is it derived that "Don't steal" refers to kidnapping?
    19. In response to hearing the Torah given at Sinai, how far backwards did the Jewish people retreat in fear?
    20. Why does the use of iron tools profane the altar?


    What's Bothering Rashi


    Contents
    "Therefore G-d blessed the Shabbat day and sanctified it." (20:11)

    On the above verse Rashi comments: "He blessed it through the manna by giving a double portion on the sixth day, and He sanctified it through the manna in that on Shabbat none fell." A simple drash (commentary) with a deeper meaning.

    Why doesn't Rashi accept the simple meaning of the verse, that the day was blessed and sanctified? Why does Rashi reduce the blessing and the sanctity to the one issue of the manna? Certainly we don't think the Shabbat is holy only because of the manna! What's bothering Rashi?
     

    An answer: The blessing and sanctity of the Shabbat cannot be seen; it is an abstraction, it has no objective manifestation. Rashi sought a meaning to these abstract words in concrete terms. When Hashem spoke to the Israelites about the special nature of the Shabbat, He wanted to tell them something they could understand from personal experience. Hashem had already given the Israelites the manna (Shmot 16:14-36). By means of the manna they saw concretely the reality of the Shabbat, as no other generation has.
     
    But as you think more deeply about the double portion that fell on Friday, which is supposed to be the blessing for the Shabbat, what question would you ask?

    A question: Granted that two portions of manna fell on Friday, but one was for Friday and one - only one - was for Shabbat. So what was special about the Shabbat, and what kind of a blessing is this, since it too had only one portion allotted to it?
     

    An answer: The manna fell each day with enough food for that day. None was left over for the next day. And if someone tried to save some for the morrow, it turned wormy and rotten (Exodus 16:20). But the "double bread" left from Friday to the Shabbat morning did not turn rotten. So while the Shabbat had no more manna allotted to it than any other day, it was nevertheless blessed. The blessing was that a person went to bed Friday evening with no worry for the morrow, he was guaranteed provision for his next day's meal. This was not so for any other day of the week.

    A note to our readers:

    The "Institute for the Study of Rashi" which produces these works is preparing for publication the Vayikra volume of "What's Bothering Rashi?" It will add another dimension to the study of Rashi - this time Rashi's creative use of the midrash. We are looking for sponsors of this volume to enable us to publish it. Contributions can be made in Memory of or in Honor of close ones. This volume will IY"H be ready for this year's reading of sefer Vayikra. The previous volumes of "What's Bothering Rashi?" have been adopted for use in many schools and entered into many Jewish homes. Your sponsorship will make it possible to continue and enlarge this project. Those interested can write msbonch@mscc.huji.ac.il Contributions are tax exempt.


    I Did Not Know That!

    "Zachor et Yom HaShabbat L'kadsho - Remember the Shabbat day to sanctify it."

    This verse, which commands us to honor the 7th day, is the 7th verse of the Ten Commandments. It begins with the letter zayin, the 7th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the following verses, 7 entities are commanded to rest: "You, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your animal, and the sojourner within your city gates." Corresponding to these 7 are the 7 expressions of menucha, tranquillity, in the "atah echad" paragraph of the Shabbat afternoon prayer.


    Recommended Reading List

    RAMBAN
    18:6,10
    Yitro's Communication and Conversion
    18:11
    Why Egyptians were Punished
    18:15
    The Role of Moshe
    18:22
    Availability of Justice
    20:2
    Belief Based on Experience
    20:6
    The Beloved of Hashem
    20:8
    Remembering Shabbat
    20:17
    The "Test" of Matan Torah
    19:3, 8:9, 20:15, 24:1
    The Chronology of Matan Torah
    SEFER HACHINUCH
    25
    Faith
    30
    Respect for Divine Name
    31
    Kiddush on Wine
    32
    Shabbat Rest
    33
    Gratitude to Parents
    35
    Promiscuity

    MALBIM
    20:2
    The Essence of Belief in Hashem

    IBN EZRA
    20:14Discipline of Desire


    Answers to this Week's Questions

    All references are to the verses and Rashi's commentary, unless otherwise stated

    1. Yitro had 7 names. Why was one of his names Yeter?
      18:1 - Because he caused a Parsha to be added to the Torah. Yeter means addition.
    2. News of which two events motivated Yitro to come join the Jewish People?
      18:1 - The splitting of the sea and the war against Amalek.
    3. What name of Yitro indicates his love for Torah?
      18:1 - Chovav.
    4. Why was Tzipora with her father, Yitro, and not with Moshe when Bnei Yisrael left Egypt?
      18:3 - When Aharon met Moshe with his family on their way down to Egypt, Aharon said to Moshe: "We're pained over the Jews already in Egypt, and you're bringing more Jews to Egypt?" Moshe, hearing this, sent his wife and children back to Midian.
    5. Why does verse 18:5 say that Yitro came to the desert - don't we already know that the Bnei Yisrael were in the desert?
      18:5 - To show Yitro's greatness. He was living in a luxurious place, yet he went to the desert in order to study the Torah.
    6. Why did Moshe tell Yitro all that Hashem had done for the Jewish People?
      18:8 - To draw Yitro closer to the Torah way of life.
    7. According to the Midrash quoted by Rashi, how did Yitro respond when he was told about the destruction of Egypt?
      18:9 - He grieved.
    8. Who is considered as if he enjoys the splendor of the Shechina?
      18:12 - One who dines with Torah scholars.
    9. On what day did Moshe sit to judge the Jewish People?
      18:13 - The day after Yom Kippur.
    10. Who is considered a co-partner in Creation?
      18:13 - A judge who renders a correct decision.
    11. "Moshe sat to judge the people, and the people stood before Moshe…." What bothered Yitro about this arrangement?
      18:14 - Yitro felt that the people weren't being treated with the proper respect.
    12. Why did Yitro return to his own land?
      18:27 - To convert the members of his family to Judaism.
    13. How did the encampment at Sinai differ from the other encampments?
      19:2 - The Jewish People were united.
    14. To whom does the Torah refer when it uses the term "Beit Yaakov"?
      19:3 - The Jewish women.
    15. How is Hashem's protection of the Jewish People similar to an eagle's protection of its young?
      19:4 - An eagle carries its young on top of its wings to protect them from human arrows. So too, Hashem's cloud of glory separated between the Egyptians and the Jewish camp in order to absorb Egyptian missiles and arrows fired at the Jewish People.
    16. What was Hashem's original plan for Matan Torah? What was the response of the Jewish People?
      19:9 - Hashem offered to appear to Moshe and to give the Torah through him. The Jewish People responded that they wished to hear the Torah directly from Hashem.
    17. How many times greater is the "measure of reward" than the "measure of punishment"?
      20:6 - 500 times.
    18. How is it derived that "Don't steal" refers to kidnapping?
      20:13 - Because it is written immediately after "Don't murder" and "Don't commit adultery," it is derived that "Don't steal" refers to a crime carrying the same penalty as the first two, namely, the death penalty.
    19. In response to hearing the Torah given at Sinai, how far backwards did the Jewish people retreat in fear?
      20:15 - They backed away from the mountain twelve mil (one mil is 2000 cubits).
    20. Why does the use of iron tools profane the altar?
      20:22 - The altar was created to extend life; iron is sometimes used to make weapons which shorten life.

    Written and Compiled by Rabbi Eliyahu Kane & Rabbi Reuven Subar
    General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
    Production Design: Eli Ballon


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