Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tosefet Bracha - Yitro 1

Parshat Yitro

“And Moshe told his father in law all that G-d had done to Pharaoh and to Egypt for the sake of Israel, all the events that had occurred to them on the journey” (18; 8)

Rashi explains “all the events” as referring to the splitting of the Reed Sea and the war with Amalek. This requires explanation. In the beginning of the parsha Rashi already explained (based on the Gemara) that “Yitro heard” refers to the splitting of the Sea and the war with Amalek. Therefore Yitro had already heard this. Why did Moshe need to tell it to him again?
Perhaps we can answer that Moshe’s main intention in telling Yitro was to prove that everything that G-d did to Pharaoh and Egypt was only because of Israel. (As it states in the verse “for the sake of Israel”). In other words, Pharaoh deserved to be punished for many other reasons for example, for making himself into a god (Midrash Rabba Vaera 8) or for saying “Who is G-d?” (Exodus 5; 2) and many other sins. So too the Egyptians, who worshipped the sheep as idols. Despite these many sins, they were not punished for them, but only because they enslaved the Israelites and worked them overmuch. This is the meaning of “For the sake of Israel”.
This also explains what Rashi wrote (based on the Mechilta) on the verse “Moshe told his father in law” – in order to draw his heart close to Torah. At first sight it doesn’t seem obvious where this is hinted at in the verse. However, based on what we have written, that Moshe’s narration was in order to show that everything was done only for Israel, we understand that through this Yitro’s heart would be drawn closer to the G-d of Israel.

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