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Published by cy, 2019-01-21 06:50:32


1308whole 13 0 8 e"dl

T'hilim: The ultimate of exzi h"ryz'd hay 'k
the preantepentultimate
Jan 25-26 '19


in/out times
for Shabbat







Rabbeinu Tam


OU Israel Center 054-844-1131 •

22 Keren HaYesod
POB 37015 / J'lem

(02) 560-9100

Your shul not getting
enough TTs? Too
many? None at all?
Call 0505-772-111 or
[email protected]

Above phone
number and email

for distribution
issues only.

Advertising, see p.3

ParshaPix PPexplanations on p.62-63
and on
click on either PP link


As we have written, Sh'vat's 30 dates can
each fall on any of five days of the week, and starting in Adar, the calendar
goes back to the LO ADU rule - i.e. the 295 dates from Adar, around the
year, to 29 Marcheshvan, alll have four possible days of the week. How
does that work? 30 Sh'vat can fall on SUN, TUE, WED, THU, FRI (not on
Monday or Shabbat). That should mean that 1 Adar can also be on any of
five days (MON, WED, THU, FRI, SHABBAT). But in a one Adar year, 30 Sh'vat
can not fall on WED, leaving four possible dates for 1 Adar. And in a two
Adar year, 30 Sh'vat never falls on THU. So either Adar is back to LO ADU*

Candles YITRO Havdala Mishpa(m)

4:31 Yerushalayim / Maale Adumim 5:46 4:38 5:52

4:49 Aza area (Netivot, S'deirot, et al) 5:49 4:56 5:55

4:47 Beit Shemesh / RBS 5:47 4:54 5:53

4:47 Gush Etzion 5:47 4:53 5:52

4:47 Raanana / Tel Mond / Herzliya / Kfar Saba 5:47 4:53 5:53

4:47 Modi'in / Chashmona'im 5:47 4:53 5:53

4:46 Netanya 5:47 4:53 5:53

4:47 Be'er Sheva 5:49 4:53 5:54

4:47 Rehovot 5:48 4:54 5:54

4:31 Petach Tikva 5:47 4:38 5:53

4:46 Ginot Shomron 5:46 4:52 5:52

4:36 Haifa / Zichron 5:46 4:42 5:52

4:45 Gush Shiloh 5:45 4:52 5:51

4:45 Tel Aviv / Giv'at Sh'muel 5:48 4:52 5:54

4:46 Giv'at Ze'ev 5:46 4:53 5:52

4:47 Chevron / Kiryat Arba 5:47 4:53 5:53

4:49 Ashkelon 5:49 4:55 5:55

4:48 Yad Binyamin 5:48 4:54 5:54

4:33 Tzfat / Bik'at HaYarden 5:43 4:39 5:49

4:42 Golan 5:42 4:48 5:49

Rabbeinu Tam (J'lem) - 6:25pm Next week: 6:31pm


Apologies for last week's Lead Tidbit title mess-up. Title taught at Mara) and when Moshe read
was for original idea and was not changed when the from this Sefer to the people, we
Lead's topic changed. responded with the more familiar,
Take a survey. Ask everyone you run
into, In which sedra did we say NAASEH Without taking anything away from
V'NISHMA? We predict that most will NAASEH V'NISHMA (which cannot be
answer, YITRO. Some will suspect a trick done because of how special and
question. And some will actually know. unique that commitment is), Let's
ponder the fact that we said NAASEH
The fact is, in Parshat Yitro - before the twice, and then a third time when it
account of Matan Torah, G-d instructs was partnered with NISHMA.
Moshe to tell Beit Yaakov and Bnei
Yisrael (the women and the men) about Let's leave NAASEH for a brief moment.
the mutual commitment between Him What does NISHMA mean? We will
and the people of Israel... And the hear, maybe. Perhaps better is we will
people respond together, all that understand. The standard way to
HaShem speaks to us, NAASEH - we understand NAASEH V'NISHMA is that
shall do! we were committing ourselves to doing
whatever G-d asks of us and them the
Exactly what the people were told at understanding will follow, or not.
this point is not the point. Maybe it Meaning that Doing will not depend
included the sample of mitzvot and upon the success or lack thereof of
details from the previous weeks. Maybe what we are being asked to do (or not
it was a commitment to all of Torah and to do).
Mitzvot - some known, some not yet
known. Perhaps, we, the Jewish People, needed
to give a blanket commitment (twice)
The point here is, that their to do all of what G-d asks of us, with-
commitment was summed up by the out qualifying it with NISHMA. Under-
one word NAASEH. standing Torah and mitzvot is impor-
tant, but must never be thought of as a
Towards the end of next week's sedra, condition.
Mishpatim - i.e. after the account of
Maamad Har Sinai and the plethora of The first level of commitment is "We
mitzvot presented in Mishpatim, the will do!" - unqualified. Obviously, we
people once again proclaim, as one, must hear what G-d wants, in order to
that all that G-d tells them, NAASEH, we do it. But understanding comes later -
will do. not at the moment of commitment.

Then, a bit later in the Torah, there is a NISHMA becomes a lifelong challenge,
SEFER HABRIT, a book of the Covenant but NAASEH is step ONE.
(commentaries say it was the first part
of the Torah and the mitzvot we were

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 4 Parshat YITRO 5779


17th of 54 sedras;
5th of 11 in Sh'mot

Written on 138 lines in a Torah, (46th) [P> X:Y (Z)] and [S> X:Y (Z)] indicate
start of a parsha p'tucha or s'tuma. X:Y
15 Parshiyot; 4 open, 11 closed is Perek:Pasuk of the beginning of the
parsha; (Z) is the number of p'sukim in
75* p'sukim - ranks 47th the parsha.
(only 7 sedras have fewer p'sukim)
Numbers in [square brackets] are the
1105 words, 4022 letters - ranks 46th Mitzva-count of Sefer HaChinuch AND
Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvot. A=ASEI;
Yitro is the smallest sedra in Sh'mot L=LAV (prohibition). X:Y is the perek &
pasuk from which the mitzva comes.
*Tradition is that Yitro has 72 p'sukim,
not 75. If we count DIBROT rather than Kohen - First Aliya
p'sukim for the Aseret HaDibrot, then
the number drops to 72 (from 75) and 12 p'sukim - 18:1-18
that probably explains the difference.
[P> 18:1 (27)] Yitro, Moshe's father-
HOWEVER... when we read the Aseret in-law, hears "all that has happened" to
haDibrot with TAAMEI HA'ELYON (as the Children of Israel and comes to
Dibrot), there are only 9 p'sukim/dibrot, Moshe with Tzipora and Moshe's
since the first two are definitely (actually, Tzipora's - that’s how the
combined. Total: 71. Go figure. Torah describes them!) two sons,
Gershom and Eliezer. Moshe, Aharon,
Yitro contains 17 of the 613 mitzvot; and the Elders welcome Yitro with
3 positive and 14 prohibitions great honor. Yitro praises G-d for all
that He has done for the People.
Note that 14 of the 17 mitzvot in Yitro
are within the Aseret HaDibrot. That The straight reading of this
means that Ten Commandments is not portion is that Yitro heard about the
really the best translation for Aseret
HaDibrot. The Ten Statements might be Heartfelt Condolences to
a better rendering of Aseret HaDibrot - Verna Gartner
or Aseret HaD'varim, as the Torah calls
them. Also note that a 15th mitzva for on the passing of her husband
the Asaret HaDibrot is counted from
Va'etchanan - V'LO TIT-AVEH (unhealthy Dr. Joseph Gartner l"f
and to his family

milyexie oeiv ila` x`y jeza mkz` mgpi mewnd

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 5 Parshat YITRO 5779

Crossing of the Sea and the battle with Levi - Second Aliya
Amalek. These are the events recorded
in the previous sedra. Other commen- 11 p'sukim - 18:13-23
taries point to certain textual references
about Sinai and are of the opinion that On the "following day", Yitro observes
Yitro came after Matan Torah, some Moshe judging the People from
time during the almost one year that morning until night. He offers sugges-
the People were camped near Sinai. If tions for a more efficient system.
this is so, then we have an example of Moshe should teach the People what
"there is no set order in the Torah's G-d requires of them, and he should
account..." and we can add the events also handle the most difficult
of Sinai to the list of what Yitro "heard questions and disputes. But the bulk of
and came". Of course, when the Torah the daily judging should be assigned to
does not follow chronological qualified individuals who will be in
sequence, there are reasons... some- charge of groups of ten, fifty, a
times we get insight into what those hundred, and a thousand people. Yitro
reasons might be. explains that this new system will not
only make things easier for Moshe, but
VAYICHAD YITRO, Yitro was delighted the people too will be benefited.
with all of the good that G-d had done
for the people of Israel. That’s the (This portion of the sedra definitely
“plain” meaning of the word. Rashi seems to have occurred after Matan
mentions another possible meaning of Torah, even if you want to say that Yitro's
the word - of the skin breaking out in original arrival was before.)
“goose-bumps”, perhaps a subcon-
scious feeling of mortification for the "On the following day..." The
downfall of his former colleagues. One plain meaning would be, on the day
has to be sensitive and careful with following Yitro's arrival. Rashi, however,
what one says to a convert or potential quotes the Midrash in saying that the
convert. day was the morrow of Yom Kippur, that
very first Yom Kippur when Moshe came
May the Torah learned from this down from the mountain with the
issue of Torah Tidbits be p"rl

Our dear Mother


d"r dcedi dyn 'x za `whr

on her 7th yahrzeit, hay `"k

jexa dxkf idi

The Leibler and Last Families

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 6 Parshat YITRO 5779

second set of Luchot. This makes an It's not only how you LOOK
important statement, that not only is
building the Mishkan an essential part of It's how you SEE
the "getting back to life following the
Golden Calf disaster" period, but so is the
everyday social and civil functioning of
the people.

In the big picture, we see that Parshat TOWN CENTER - King George 16 (REJWAN PLAZA)
Yitro with the main description of RAMAT ESHKOL Shopping Center (Above Waffle Bar)
Matan Torah precedes Mishpatim with ARNONA/TALPIOT - Beit Hanatziv, Derech Hevron 101A
its mundane, everyday, down-to-earth
laws. Yet at the beginning of Yitro, we (02) 674-3888
find this out-of-sequence portion of the
Mishpatim-related concept. And at the
end of Mishpatim, we have the rest of
the story of Maamad Har Sinai. So
which really comes first - the lofty,
spiritual dimensions of Judaism, or
everyday life? We can (and should) look
at it as a package deal.

However you look at the first part of the Shlishi - Third Aliya
sedra, the story of Yitro seems to be an
interruption between the events of the 4 p'sukim - 18:24-27
Exodus and the Splitting of the Sea on
the one hand, and Matan Torah on the Moshe accepts Yitro's suggestions and
other. But it is definitely NOT an selects the judges. Commentaries point
interruption - it is a prerequisite for out that the actual qualifications of
Matan Torah. Moshe's view of the the judges that Moshe selected were
judging process, as he explains to Yitro more "modest" than Yitro had recom-
who asks him what he's doing, is that
the people come to him LIDROSH ET
HA'ELOKIM, to seek out G-d. Yitro's
point is that there is a lack of civility
among the disputing individuals which
must be handled BEFORE they can
pursue Knowledge of G-d. This
interlude about civil justice can teach
us that good interpersonal relations
allows us to really benefit from Matan
Torah. Similarly, Derech Eretz Kodma

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 7 Parshat YITRO 5779

mended. In theory, the very highest Worth reviewing...
caliber person should be sought after
as judge. In reality, we often have to In the third month following the
settle for the best we can find in our Exodus, on THIS day, they (the Children
society. of Israel) arrived at the Sinai Wilderness.
Why THIS day; THAT day is how you tell
Moshe sends Yitro off on his journey a story. The answer is that Torah isn’t a
to Midyan (to convert his family, says once-upon-a-time, a-long-time-ago
Rashi). story book. The Torah is a living guide
for us, to be constantly rediscovered.
Notice that the first three Aliyot are all Every day, each Jew should imagine
part of a single parsha, the parsha of him- or herself at Sinai receiving the
Yitro (not to be confused with weekly Torah anew. Today we have come out
sedra of Yitro). Pull that parsha out of of Egyptian bondage; today we stand at
the Torah for a moment (don't worry, the foot of Mt. Sinai eagerly awaiting
we'll put it right back), and the next Divine Revelation, and today we
thing we read about is Israel traveling commit ourselves to G-d and what He
from Refidim towards Sinai. This follows asks of us. Today is the first day of the
smoothly from the battle with Amalek rest of our lives - as the saying goes
which took place in Refidim. Sequen- (and it's a good saying). The words of
tially, the removed parsha of the Yitro Torah which we learn and live should
episode is not missed at all. Therefore, never become stale. They should be in
it seems obvious that the Yitro portion our eyes as if TODAY we have received
is there for its lesson value alone. Which them. We should learn Torah and do
is fine, and is how we understand the mitzvot with the freshness and enthu-
EIN SEDER MUKDAM U'M'UCHAR siasm of a first-time experience. This
BATORAH phenomenon. The Torah is too fits well with the "Yitro model". The
not just going to put things out of challenge: Be a true Torah Jew all your
chonological order for no good reason life, for as many years as G-d gives you,
(as mentioned earlier). but have an enthusiasm that is more
common to converts and Baalei
R'vi'i - Fourth Aliya T'shuva.

6 p'sukim - 19:1-6 After settling in at the foot of Mount
Sinai, Moshe ascends to G-d (whatever
Here begins the Torah reading for that really means) and G-d tells him
Shavuot morning

[P> 19:1 (25)] The Torah now returns Parshat YITRO 5779
to the sequence of Y'tzi'at Mitzrayim to
Matan Torah. On Rosh Chodesh Sivan
(six weeks after leaving Egypt) the
Children of Israel arrive at Sinai.

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 8

what he is to say to the women and animals). On the morning of the third
men (sequence is intentional and day, the People gather at the foot of
based on the analysis of the terms Beit the mountain to the accompaniment of
Yaakov and then Bnei Yisrael). A clear the supernatural sounds and sights of
connection is made between G-d's the Shofar, thunder, lightning, and
having taken us out of Egypt and His smoke. G-d will speak to Moshe in
taking us to Him as His Chosen People such a manner that the People will be
- with the condition that we follow witness to this direct communication.
Him and His Torah. It is true that a When Moshe will speak, G-d will
Jew is a Jew regardless of his keeping answer with a "voice" (and not just via
the Torah or not, but it is clear that
G-d has always demanded of us that
we be committed to Torah and Mitzvot
in order for our relationship with Him
to be mutual and actively positive from
both sides.

Chamishi 5th Aliya

13 p'sukim - 19:7-19

Moshe presents G-d's words to the
Elders (and the People), who answer
with a resounding "All that G-d says we
will do". (Not yet with the famous
Naaseh V'Nishma - that comes next
week.) Moshe then tells the people to
prepare for three days to receive the
Torah. During this time, the Mountain
was off-limits (to people and to

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 9 Parshat YITRO 5779

a vision or spiritual telepathy - so that the Ten Commandments. They are
the people could be part of the experi- comprised of 13 p'sukim which contain
ence). 14 mitzvot of the Torah's 613.

G-d tells Moshe that the People [S> 20:2 (5)] What we call the first two
should "sanctify themselves today AND commandments (or sayings or
tomorrow". It is relatively easy to statements) are combined in a single
sanctify oneself on the day of the great parsha of 5 p'sukim. They can be seen
miraculous events of Matan Torah. The as two sides of the same coin. You
challenge to each of us is to sanctify must believe in G-d; you may not
ourselves on the many tomorrows that believe in other gods... Some
follow. The days after the wondrous Chumashim consider the ANOCHI
events... The days when our lives return pasuk and LO YIHYEH... to be a single
to "normal". This is what being Jewish is pasuk. In Taamei HaElyon they are
about. Yom Kippur is special and holy. definitely joined into a single pasuk.
Our additional challenge is to sanctify
the day after Yom Kippur. We sanctify The first commandment sounds like a
the mundane. Therefore, there really statement by G-d - an introductory
is nothing that is actually mundane remark, perhaps, to what follows, but
for us. is viewed by Rambam, the Chinuch,
and others as a mitzva to believe in
Shishi - Sixth Aliya G-d [25, A1 20:2]. (And others do view
it as an introductory statement.)
20 p'sukim - 19:20-20:14
The second commandment contains
G-d descends onto Har Sinai (so to several prohibitions related to idolatry.
speak) and calls to Moshe to join Him. Specifically, not to believe in other
G-d tells Moshe to repeat the warning gods [26, L1 20:3] (this mitzva includes
against approaching the mountain. the prohibition of having no belief at
Moshe then goes down to the people to all - atheism), not making idols [27 ,L2
tell them G-d's words. 20:4], nor bowing to them (even

[S> 20:1 (1)] G-d (Elokim) speaks all
the following things, saying...

What follows is/are Aseret HaDibrot,

Condolences to
Sara Zuckerman and family
on the passing of her mother,

Alice Spielberg d"r

milyexie oeiv ila` x`y jeza mkz` mgpi mewnd

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 10 Parshat YITRO 5779

without believing in them) [28, L5 something that is impossible - e.g. to
20:5], nor worshiping idols in any stay awake for a full week. The common
manner [29, L6 20:5]. Note that this denominator of these types of vain
commandment deals with both the oaths is that they all "cheapen" the use
thought and actions of Avoda Zara of G-d's name and threaten the smooth
(idolatry). functioning of society which often must
rely on the seriousness of a real oath.
[S> 20:7 (1)] The third command-
ment prohibits swearing in vain [30, In addition to actual vain oaths, this
L62 20:7]. prohibition is considered by some
authorities to include the saying of a
This is defined as (1) swearing to the BRACHA L'VATALA, and its partner, a
truth of something that is obviously
true and well-known - e.g. that the Sun
is hot; (2) to swear in denial of an
obvious truth - that the Moon is made
of cheese. Interestingly, this is not
considered a lie or a false oath, since -
hopefully - everyone knows that the
Moon is not made of cheese. Only
when the truth of a matter is unknown
do we use the term lie and false oath. A
vain oath is just as serious as a false
one, so this distinction is largely
academic, but it emphasizes the
seriousness of being flippant in regard
to swearing; (3) to swear to violate the
Torah - e.g. that one will eat pork. Such
an oath is immediately void since we
are considered to have taken a prior
oath (at Sinai) to not eat pork. Hence,
the oath is in vain and is a disrespectful
use of G-d's name; (4) to swear to do

BRACHA SHE-EINO TZ'RICHA. Saying command to abstain from melacha (the
G-d's name in vain is forbidden but is other side of the prohibition here), and
not considered part of this Command- Vayakhel's prohibition of courts carry-
ment #3. It falls under one or more ing out punishments on Shabbat.
other isurim.
[S> 20:12 (1)] The fifth commandment
[P> 20:8 (4)] Commandment #4 deals is to honor one's parents [33, A210
with Shabbat and contains the positive 20:12].
mitzva to remember the Shabbat with
Kiddush [31, A155 20:8], and the Grandparents, in-laws, older (or
prohibition of all manner of Melacha, possibly oldest) brother (maybe sister
specific categories of creative activ- too), and teachers are included in this
ities [32, L320 20:10]. mitzva, but with different parameters.
Honor of parents is usually considered
The mitzva of ZACHOR includes saying to refer to that which one does for
Kiddush as Shabbat enters, and one's parents, in contrast to reverence
Havdala as Shabbat leaves. (Officially, (fear) of parents which includes that
K&H are said in davening as a which should not be done because it
fulfillment of the Torah command, and would be disrespectful.
again with wine, in fulfillment of a
Rabbinic command. It's a bit more [S> 20:13 (2/11 of the pasuk)] #6 is the
complicated than that, but this is the prohibition of MURDER [34, L289
basic idea.) Prohibitions of Melacha are 20:13], which is considered the
divided into 39 categories, each of antithesis of Belief in G-d, since
which contains other related activities, murder directly negates creation of
usually with the same goal. E.g., human being in His image.
PLANTING is one of the 39 categories;
watering, pruning, fertilizing all help [S> 20:13 (2/11)] Commandment #7
the growth of plants and are TOLADOT against ADULTERY [35, L347 20:13] is
of PLANTING, and are also considered the prohibition of having relations
Torah violations of equal seriousness to with a married woman, but as a
the parent melacha, Planting-ZOREI'A. "chapter heading" it also points to the
other forbidden relations.
Aside from these two mitzvot about
Shabbat, there are three others in the [S> 20:13 (2/11)] LO TIGNOV, #8
Torah - last week's prohibition of [36,L243 20:13], which is specifically
T'CHUM SHABBAT, next week's positive
Condolences to
Condolences to the family of Dr. Robert Sreter and family

Marsha Tekuzener d"r on the passing of his

on her passing MOTHER d"r

milyexie oeiv ila` x`y jeza mkz` mgpi mewnd milyexie oeiv ila` x`y jeza mkz` mgpi mewnd

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 12 Parshat YITRO 5779

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[S> 20:14 (4/15 of a pasuk)] #10 is the
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Joel & Rachel Rabinowitz
on the birth of their grandson
born to Noam & Adi Bedein

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 13 Parshat YITRO 5779

[S> 20:14 (11/15)] specifies the of stone, its stone shall not be cut with
prohibition of coveting one's fellow's metal tools [40,L79 20:22]. The Altar
wife, his male or female servant, his ox may not be approached with immodest
or donkey, or anything that is his. steps [41,L80 20:23] but rather via its
ramp. Maftir is last 5 p'sukim.
Sh'VII Seventh Aliya
Haftara 21 p'sukim
9 p'sukim - 20:15-23
Yeshayahu 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6
[S> 20:15 (4)] The People are
awestruck by the supernatural Parallel to the Torah's account of the
phenomena of the Sinai experience awesome experience at Sinai, this
and they keep their distance. They ask passage from Yeshayahu describes his
Moshe to tell them what G-d wants first awe-inspiring vision of angels
rather than hearing His Voice directly. proclaiming Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh.
Both sedra and haftara present us with
After the second statement, the People "visions" of G-d's awe, majesty, and
panicked and asked Moshe to tell them holiness. Also, in the sedra, G-d tells us
what G-d wants, so that they would not that we will be to Him a kingdom of
hear "G-d's voice" directly. G-d agreed, kohanim and a holy nation. In the
on the condition that we listen to the haftara we see a model of K'dusha (the
word of the true prophet who speaks in angels), and also a glimpse of a
G-d's name. (There are variant opinions) potential Moshiach.

[S> 20:19 (5)] G-d tells Moshe to Our parsha this week is truly the
remind the People that they heard G-d climax of the Yetzi'at Mitzrayim story
speak; that they shall make no graven and of the entire Sefer Sh'mot. From
human images (even for art) [39, L4 Hashem's initial demand of Par'o to
20:20]; they shall make an altar and release B'nei Yisrael until Moshe
offer sacrifices upon it; if the altar be Rabbeinu's final insistence that the
king free the people, there was
We remember with love repetition of the purpose of that
and deep respect
Dedicated L’ilui Nishmat
our Husband, Father and Zeida
l"f ozp 'x oa xi`n cec 'x
Prof. Yechiel
(Cyril) Domb l"f Meyer Rich l"f

on his 7th yahrzeit, hay a"k whose 8th yahrzeit is hay c"k

jexa exkf idi

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 14 Parshat YITRO 5779

liberation, i.e., to allow the Israelites Parshat YITRO 5779
to worship Hashem. Indeed, the fact
that our holiday of freedom, Pesach, is
connected to the celebration of Matan
Torah of Shavuot through s'firat
ha'omer, has been explained as being a
lesson for us to know that the
ultimate goal of the Exodus was not
freedom per se but freedom to be able
to worship G-d as He desires. Hashem's
revelation at Har Sinai that we read in
the parsha, His pronouncement of the
Aseret HaDibrot, the basis of our
divinely commanded legal system, is,
therefore, the culmination of the
Exodus. The rest of the entire Torah
can be regarded as a simply expansion
and clarification of that system.

But it is the first episodes in the parsha
that are puzzling. The precise timing of
the arrival of Yitro and his advice in
establishing a judicial system is a
matter of disagreement between our
Rabbis in the Talmud (Zevachim 116a).
One view contends that the story
takes place AFTER the Dibrot were
given, for only then was there a need
for judges to clarify ritual law to the
people and adjudicate conflicts
according to the Torah's legal
standards. The other view however,
argues that there is no reason to "cut
and paste" the Yitro story for it did
take place exactly as the Torah
situated it - BEFORE Matan Torah.
Moshe's father-in-law, they argue,
joined B'nei Yisra'el having heard of
the miracles wrought for them by
Hashem, including the victory over
Amalek, which immediately precedes
the story of his arrival. cont. p.68

1 Sivan and 17 Marcheshvan

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 15

mgpn ixac
Divrei Menachem
[email protected]

There are times when we look askance at
the goyim: We should not mimic their
ways and we should not be enticed by
their materialism; we scorn their anti-
Semitism and we disown their fake ideolo-
gies. Their record is not good - and we
have every reason to ask Hashem to
protect us from the nations.

Yet we are to be a light unto the nations;
on Sukkot we would offer seventy
sacrifices on their behalf. We envisage a
time when all the nations of the world will
recognize Hashem - and peace and truth
will prevail.

So are all the goyim to be disdained? Our
Parsha tells us otherwise. The Parsha is
named after Yitro, originally a prestigious
Midianite priest and now designated as
"Moshe's father-in-law". Of note: Our
rabbis disagree as to when, in the
narrative, Yitro actually entered the picture
- before or after the Giving of the Torah. If,
indeed, after Sinai, then why introduce
him at this point, on the heels of the
Exodus and the war with Amalek?

The answer: Because Yitro so contrasts

with Amalek who struck the Jews

mercilessly. For Yitro recognized Hashem,

guided the people in the desert, and

proffered wise advice to Moshe. In today's

terminology, he was a righteous gentile. In

that vein, I dedicate this D'var Torah to

Sempo Sugihara, the Japanese consul in

Lithuania, who saved my parents-in-law

during WWII, along with thousands of

other Jews. Q

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 17 Parshat YITRO 5779

Mount Sinai and Middle Ages, its significance was
the Birth of Freedom primarily epistemological. It created
certainty and removed doubt. The
The revelation at Mount Sinai - the authenticity of a revelation experienced
central episode not only of the parsha by one person could be questioned.
of Yitro, but of Judaism as a whole - was One witnessed by millions could not.
unique in the religious history of God disclosed His presence in public to
mankind. Other faiths (Christianity and remove any possible suspicion that the
Islam) call themselves religions of presence felt, and the voice heard, were
revelation, but in both cases the not genuine.
revelation of which they spoke was to
an individual ("the son of God", "the Looking at the history of mankind since
prophet of God"). Only in Judaism was those days, it is clear that there was
God's self-disclosure not to an individ- another significance also - one that had
ual (a prophet) or a group (the elders) to do not with religious knowledge, but
but to an entire nation, young and old,
men, women and children, the
righteous and not-yet-righteous alike.
From the very outset, the people of
Israel knew something unprecedented
had happened at Sinai. Moshe had no
doubt that it was an event without

"Ask now about the former days, long
before your time, from the day God
created man on Earth; ask from one
end of the heavens to the other. Has
anything so great as this ever
happened, or has anything like it ever
been heard of? Has any other people
heard the voice of God speaking out of
fire, as you have, and lived?" (D'varim

For the great Jewish thinkers of the Parshat YITRO 5779

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 18

with politics. At Sinai a new kind of
nation was being formed, and a new
kind of society - one that would be an
antithesis of Egypt, in which the few
had power and the many were
enslaved. It was to be, in Abraham
Lincoln's words in the Gettysburg
Address, "a new nation, conceived in
Liberty, and dedicated to the proposi-
tion that all men are created equal."
Indeed without the covenant at Mount
Sinai, Lincoln's words might have been
inconceivable. For nowhere else do we
find anything like the politics of Mount
Sinai, with its radical vision of a society
held together not by power but by the
free consent of its citizens to be bound,
individually and collectively, by a moral
code and by a covenant with God.

Standard works on the history of the 054-216-0087 • [email protected]
politics of freedom trace it back
through Marx, Rousseau and Hobbes to
Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, and
the Greek city states (Athens in
particular) of the fifth century BCE. This
is a serious error. To be sure, words like
"democracy" (rule by the people) are
Greek in origin. The Greeks were gifted
at abstract nouns and systematic
thought. However, if we look at the
"birth of the modern" - at figures like
Milton, Hobbes and Locke in England,
and the founding fathers of America -
the book with which they were in
dialogue was not Plato or Aristotle but
the Hebrew Bible. Hobbes quotes it 657
times in The Leviathan alone. Long
before the Greek philosophers, and far
more profoundly, at Mount Sinai the
concept of a free society was born.

Three things about that moment were

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 19 Parshat YITRO 5779

to prove crucial. The first is that long Parshat YITRO 5779
before Israel entered the land and
acquired their own system of govern-
ment (first by judges, later by kings),
they had entered into an overarching
covenant with God. That covenant (Brit
Sinai) set moral limits to the exercise of
power. The code we call Torah
established for the first time the
primacy of right over might. Any king
who behaved contrarily to Torah was
acting ultra vires (beyond legitimate
authority), and could be challenged.
This is the single most important fact
about biblical politics.

Democracy on the Greek model always
had one fatal weakness. Alexis de
Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill called
it "the tyranny of the majority". J.L.
Talmon called it "totalitarian
democracy". The rule of the majority
contains no guarantee of the rights of
minorities. As Lord Acton rightly noted,
it was this that led to the downfall of
Athens: "There was no law superior to
that of the state. The lawgiver was
above the law." In Judaism, by contrast,
prophets were mandated to challenge
the authority of the king if he acted
against the terms of the Torah. The
classic example is the accusation God
tells Eliyahu to make to King Achav for
seizing Navot's vineyard: "Thus says the
Lord: Would you murder and take
possession?" (Melachim Alef 21:19).

Individuals were empowered to dis-
obey illegal or immoral orders. The first
example was the Hebrew midwives
who "feared God and did not do what
the Egyptian king had commanded"
(Sh'mot 1:17). Another key moment

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 20

was when King Saul ordered his could not proceed. The principle at
servants to kill the kohanim of Nov, stake was that there is no legitimate
who had given shelter to David, "But government without the consent of the
the king's servants would not raise a governed, even if the governor is
hand to strike down the kohanim of the Creator of heaven and earth. I know of
Lord" (Sh'muel Alef 22:17). It was on few more radical ideas anywhere.
this tradition that Calvin - inspiration of
the 17th-century Puritan radicals in To be sure, there were sages in the
England and America - drew, when he Talmudic period who questioned
said "prophets and teachers may take whether the acceptance of the
courage and thus boldly set themselves
against kings and nations." It was on For sale in Jerusalem
the same tradition that Thomas Paine
based his pamphlet Common Sense Talbiya, 12 Lincoln Street
(1776), widely credited at the time as Penthouse\ Apartment in a
the inspiration that led to the American new high level building on
revolution. Historically, it was the private land, underground
covenant at Sinai and all that flowed parking and storage room
from it, not the Greek political tradition,
that inspired the birth of freedom in Amichai 054-591-8004
Britain and America, the first people to
take that road in the modern age.

The second key element lies in the
prologue to the covenant.

God tells Moshe:

"This is what you are to say to the
house of Jacob and tell the people of
Israel. 'You yourselves have seen what I
did to Egypt and how I carried you on
eagles' wings and brought you to Me.
Now, if you obey Me fully and keep My
covenant, you will be My treasured
possession, for the whole earth is Mine.
You will be for Me a kingdom of
kohanim and a holy nation…'" (Sh'mot

Moshe tells this to the people, who
reply: "We will do everything the Lord
has said" (19:8). Until the people had
signified their consent, the revelation

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 21 Parshat YITRO 5779

covenant at Sinai was completely free. Parshat YITRO 5779
There is a famous statement in the

"And they stood under [normally
translated as, "at the foot of "the
mountain" (19:17) - this teaches that
the Holy One, blessed be He,
overturned the mountain above them
like a cask and said to them, "If you
accept the Torah, it is well, but if not,
this will be your burial place."

What the sages are doing here is to
question whether the Israelites really
had a free choice at Sinai. They had not
yet entered the land. They were
dependent on God for their food, water
and protection. Where could they go,
and to whom could they turn, if they
said no to God?

The Talmud itself says that "Nonethe-
less, they re-accepted it in the days of
Achashveirosh", that is, at the time
described in the book of Esther - one of
the only two books in the Bible that
does not contain the name of God. In
that context there could be no question
of divine coercion. However, at the
simplest level, this is the significance of
the two covenant renewal ceremonies,
one at the end of Moshe's life, as the
Israelites were about to enter the land
(D'varim 29-31), the other at the end of
Yehoshua's life, when the people had
conquered the land (Yehoshua 24). The

Having a Brit?


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from the OU Israel Center

For details, call
Marion Silman 052-240-7078

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 22

covenant was renewed precisely so
that no one could say that it had been
entered into coercively when there was
no alternative.

At the heart of Judaism is the idea - way
ahead of its time, and not always fully
realised - that the free God desires the
free worship of free human beings.
God, said the rabbis, does not act
tyrannically with His creatures.

The third, equally ahead of its time, was
that the partners to the covenant were
to be "all the people" - men, women
and children. This fact is emphasised
later on in the Torah in the mitzva of
Hak-hel, the septennial covenant
renewal ceremony. The Torah states
specifically that the entire people is to
be gathered together for this cere-
mony, "men, women and children"

(D'varim 31:10-13). A thousand years
later, when Athens experimented with
democracy, only a limited section of
society had political rights. Women,
children, slaves and foreigners were
excluded. In many respects this held
true until very recently. In Britain,
women did not get the vote until 1918.
In America, women's suffrage was
complete only in 1920, though some
states had enacted it earlier.

According to the sages, when God was [email protected]
about to give the Torah at Sinai, He told
Moshe to consult first with the women
and only then with the men. This is the 052-840-5660
meaning of the verse "This is what you
are to say to the house of Jacob and tell of surviving the customs, laws, empire
the people of Israel" (Sh'mot 19:3). The of all the nations… to last as long as the
house of Jacob, our sages tell us, refers world? …any man whosoever he is,
to the women. The Torah, Israel's must acknowledge this as a unique
"constitution of liberty", includes marvel, the causes of which, divine or
everyone. It is the first moment, by human, certainly deserve the study and
thousands of years, that citizenship is admiration of the sages, in preference
conceived as being universal. to all that Greece and Rome offer.

Perhaps the greatest testimony to the With the revelation at Sinai, something
politics of the Hebrew Bible was given unprecedented entered the human
by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in an horizon, though it would take
unpublished manuscript discovered centuries, millennia, before its full
after his death: implications were understood. At Sinai,
the politics of freedom was born. ;
The Jews provide us with an astonish-
ing spectacle: the laws of Numa, Apartment Management
Lycurgus, Solon are dead; the very also vacation rentals Since 1978
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children… What must be the strength
of legislation capable of working such
wonders, capable of braving conquests,
dispersions, revolutions, exiles, capable

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 24 Parshat YITRO 5779

From the Ohr HaChayim Parshat YITRO 5779

by Jacob Solomon

[Yitro] the father-in-law of Moshe
said to him: "…you shall choose
from all the people "anshei
chayil…" men of accomplishment
…they shall judge the people at
all times …if you do this… then
you will be able to endure, and
this entire people shall arrive at its
destination in peace" (18:18-23).

The story of Yitro forms the link
between G-d's miracles and the full
acceptance of His Teachings. That
connection is exemplified by Yitro,
an outsider, proclaiming: "Now I
know that G-d is greatest of all the
gods" (18:11): common ground
between Yitro and the Israelites who
were finally, after generations, on
the return route from Egypt to the
Promised Land.

And as one of the B'nei No'ach, the
descendants of No'ach, he made a
contribution. He promoted an effi-
cient system for dispensing justice,
one of the Sheva Mitzvot B'nei
No'ach (known as DINIM). For the
people to become the Am Segula,
"the most beloved treasure of all
peoples" their conduct and
organization had to be at least of the
standard required of humanity in
general. As Yitro pointed out, that
was not so. A bottleneck in the court
system (19:13-14) would cause
unacceptable delays for those in

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 25

search of a fair deal. The spirit and their spiritual qualities have room for
efficacy of justice would be badly improvement. And the judges of
compromised. tens, the lowest level, need to be
emotionally in tune with justice to
Yitro combined overall structure the degree that they "hate unjust
with attention to detail, in terms of gain", even if they have nothing else
his subtle grasp of the intricacies of going for them.
the situation. He recommended that
the judges must be "men of The Ohr HaChayim adds another
accomplishment, G-d fearing, truth- dimension that connects to the
ful, and haters of unjust gain" (19:21), above. The story of Yitro advising
and they should take judicial Moshe illustrates the position of the
responsibility for people in their Israelites in the Creation relative to
thousands, hundreds, fifties, and all nations. This Parsha, he writes, is
tens. According to the Ohr included in the Torah to show G-d's
HaChayim, Yitro knew that truly special love for Am Yisrael. Am
worthy people were few and far Yisrael had (and has) much to learn
between, and his system enabled from other nations. The orderly
those who could contribute the administration proposed by Yitro
most to be in a position to do so. The was a good example. Nevertheless,
Ohr HaChayim explains that being expertise, experience, and subtleties
"men of accomplishment" is the in correctly assessing situations are
highest quality and it includes all not the criteria for becoming the
other qualities. Such individuals are Chosen People. It was Israel's
eligible to be put over people by the connecting with the special spiritual
thousand. Judges of the hundreds legacy of their ancestors Avraham,
should at least be G-d fearing,
truthful, and haters of unjust gain CHESED FUND
even if their accomplishment is not
up to the requirements. Judges of Please help us help the 40 individuals
the fifties ought at least to be and families who turn to us for help
focused on establishing truth, even if
Make checks payable to the
Torah Tidbits is looking for "Chesed Fund" and send them to
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call Toni at 0505-772-111. Thank you Israeli checks only, please

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 26 Parshat YITRO 5779

Yitzchak, and Yaakov that was to
make them the Am Segula, the
people whom the Creator is
especially close to, and on whom He
puts special demands.
Many individuals face situation
where they have found themselves
promoted to positions where, deep
down, they feel unworthy. It can be
in the spiritual world, and in the
professional world. It can be the
young Rav on his first appointment
who finds that his knowledge and
experience in certain vital fields does
not compare with some of his Baalei
Batim. It can be a teacher who feels
like a fraud when only yesterday he
or she was in college and not so long
ago at high school (I wonder how
many teachers have not had that

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 27 Parshat YITRO 5779

feeling once or twice?). It can also be they had much to learn from other
an author published for the first time nations. And in the case of Yitro of
who is too pained to look at the Midyan, they did learn. But they did
work once it is in print, believing that not let it make them feel inferior in
there are people (including possibly their position in the Creation. They
his/her readers) who are far better were still the ones who were offered
versed in the field. the Torah, and they accepted it
wholeheartedly with the responsi-
Yes, the message to self-doubting
individuals who have obtained their bilities that it entailed. 
exalted positions through honest
means, l'shem shamayim, is that they I have written this piece l'illui nishmat my learned
should accept their position in life friend and colleague, David Hirschfield ztl who
and carry them out to the best of returned his pure soul to the Creator last Friday after
their ability, but the same time be several years of heroic struggle with an illness that
sufficiently grounded to critically sadly proved to be terminal. May he be a melitz yosher
assess the inputs from other nations. on high; may his memory be a source of blessings.
The Israelites had their shortcomings
and they were not a perfect people. Dr. Eliezer Rosenblum
As a newly-freed slave population,
NYS Licensed and Board Certified


Offices in Jerusalem, Ramat Beit Shemesh


OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 28 Parshat YITRO 5779

Why Name Parshat Matan Parshat YITRO 5779
Torah after a GER?

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher

Dean of Students, Diaspora Yeshiva

Yitro, Moshe's father-in-law, is the
name of the Parsha in which we read
the account of the most important
event in Jewish and World history, the
Giving of the Torah. It is remarkable
that this Parsha has as its title, the
name of someone who was not even
born a Jew. Yitro was a pagan idol
worshiper, but only later in life
abandoned his paganism and recog-
nized the One True G-d.

Why was Yitro the GER chosen to have
the Parsha of MATAN TORAH named
after him? It is because Yitro is the
greatest illustration of what the Torah
is meant to accomplish. The Torah's
goal is to transform idolaters into
believers and pagans into the
worshipers of the One True G-d.

Judaism is not a restrictive club for
born Jews only. Any non-Jew who
sincerely desires to embrace Torah
true Judaism is welcome. In fact, the
most repeated Mitzva in the Torah is
to love the GER. The Sefer HaChinuch
in Mitzva 63 quotes the Talmud in
Baba Mitzia that 24 out of 613 Mitzvot

Jonathan Rosenblum, DPM


Pediatric and Geriatric Foot Care, Bunions,
Hammertoes, and Diabetic Wound Care

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 29

discuss loving and not mistreating a why G-d says "…for all the earth is
GER. Mine"(Sh'mot 19).

When the Jewish People stood at We Jews perform our G-d given task in
Mount Sinai and were prepared to 2 ways - Judaism for Jews and those
accept the Torah, G-d defined our who want to sincerely convert to
mission by telling us, "If you will listen Judaism, and the Torah's 7 Noahide
to My voice and keep My covenant, Laws for the gentiles. Our motto to
then you shall be My own, special non-Jews is "Keep the 7 and go to
treasure from among all nations. For Heaven!"
all the Earth is Mine, and you shall be
to Me a Kingdom of Kohanim and a Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvot states
Holy Nation" (Sh'mot 19). that teaching the 7 Mitzvot of Bnei
No'ach to non-Jews is part of the
Yehuda HaLevi wonders about the Mitzva to love HASHEM.
Kingdom of Kohanim). Surely the This Divine Plan is used by the Talmud
Jewish People will not all be Kohanim. to explain why Jews throughout history
The 12 Tribes were divided into have been exiled around the globe. The
Kohanim, Levi'im and Israelites. Most Talmud offers the rationale that the
Jews are simply Israelites. So why does punishment of our exile may have a
G-d say that the Jewish People in its totally different purpose. "G-d did not
entirety will become a "Kingdom of exile Israel among the nations but only
Kohanim"? so converts might join them, as is
written, 'And I, (G-d), will plant her for
Yehuda HaLevi answers that just as Me in the land'… (Hoshea 2:25). "Surely
the Kohanim were to be the teachers a man plants a SEAH (a biblical
and leaders for the rest of the Jewish measure) in order to harvest many
People, so too we Jews have to become KOR" (an even greater measure).
the leaders and teachers of the rest of (Pesachim 87b).
the world. That is the meaning of "…
You shall be My own special treasure Our mission as Jews is to spread the
from among all nations…" (Sh'mot 19). knowledge of the One True G-d, as the
prophet Yeshayahu says, "We are to be
We are to be the Kohanim, who will a light unto the nations". But before we
insure that all nations eventually will can be a light unto the nations, we
acknowledge the One True G-d. That's must first be a light to each other. u

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 31 Parshat YITRO 5779

ttRIDDLES [3] This Root-trio end with Edom,
Dor, Elokeichem
Prizes for TTriddle solutions
Among the 54 sedra names, we find
World of Jewish Music some that share a root with another
one or two. The root-trio referred to
Malchei Yisrael 5 here is VAYISHLACH, B'SHALACH, and
Jerusalem SH'LACH, which end with those 3 words

(02) 538-8474 [4] Footer icon (the other one)

Rabbi Akiva 88, Bnei Braq • 03-579-9580 Watering can with water. Water of the
split sea was like a wall to their right
Previous (B'SHALACH) TTriddles: and to their left. Bitter water of MARA
was miraculously sweetened. Water
[1] FPTL: Terach sired Avram came from a rock that Moshe struck
with his MATEH.
1307 returned 4 p'sukim and 759
phrases from Tanach. Nothing very [5] SBB (Sedra Box Background)
exciting, so we just took the second
half of B'reishit 11:27 - ... TERACH HOLID Corriander seeds which some sources
AT AVRAM. indicate is the translation of ZERA GAD,
as the manna is described twice in
400+200+8 (608) + 5+6+30+10+4 (55) Bamidbar. In Israqel, its Arabic name is
used for the spice coriander - KUSBARA.
+ 1+400 (401) + 1+2+200+40 (243) =
[6] Unexplained from the ParshaPix
1307. Maybe we should
Arrows going in opposite directions,
have done: Kiddush intro for most. within quotation marks, followed by
Shalom Aleichem - Aleichem Shalom
[2] Right-hand footer icon is a double three times. This refers to the partial
challenge pasuk which we recite forwards and
backwards (3 times) in Kiddush L'vana.
from end of sedra. Grogger would have (the three times Shalom Aleichem is
been a better choice because its sound not immediately following TIPOL and
is meant to wipe out mention of KAAVEN; it is in the pic to indicate
Amalek. We chose hamantash because Kiddush L'vana. \
one of the original fillings was poppy,
known as MOHN in Yiddish, reminder HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOAM
of the MAHN (manna) also in the sedra.
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OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 32 Parshat YITRO 5779

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 33 Parshat YITRO 5779

from the virtual desk of the


The Orthodox Union - via its website - fields questions of all types in the areas of Kashrut, Jewish Law and Values. Some
of them are answered by Eretz Hemda, the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, headed by Rav Yosef Carmel
and Rav Moshe Ehrenreich, founded by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l, to prepare rabbanim and dayanim to serve the National
Religious community in Israel and abroad. Ask the Rabbi is a joint venture of the OU, Yerushalayim Network, Eretz
Hemdah... and OU Israel's Torah Tidbits.

Davening in Front different halacha. The gemara
of a Mirror (B'rachot 5b) says that one should not
have a break between himself and the

Question: Is the prohibition against wall when he is davening. The poskim
understand that it has to do with
davening in front of a mirror or reflexive creating a distraction (see Beit Yosef,
glass a chumra or a serious halacha? Orach Chayim 90) and posit that it is
likewise improper to have colorful
Answer: The matter of not davening pictures or wall hangings in front of
him (Shulchan Aruch, OC 90:23). The
in front of a mirror is not a Machatzit HaShekel (ibid.) says that
Talmudically mandated halacha, but it this is an additional reason not to
is modeled after, an extension, or daven in front of a mirror. (Da'at
perhaps even an application of one or Torah, OC 90 suggests that only the
more halachot of Chazal. latter concern is correct.) This
problem can be solved by closing one's
The Radbaz (IV,107), in discussing eyes or looking only at one's siddur
davening facing the image of a lion, (Mishna Berura 90:63), which will not
says that since we forbid davening in work for looking like bowing (Mishna
front of a mirror because it looks like Berura 90:71).
he is bowing to himself, it is certainly
forbidden to daven in front of an
image of a lion (which is found in the

kisei hakavod). He connects this to the There is some logic for a reason that

halacha of not davening behind one's Pinchus Klahr, MD
rebbe (B'rachot 27b), which, he posits,
is in order not to look like he is bowing Rheumatology
to him (as one suggestion in Tosafot
ad loc. has it). Although he mentions US Board Certified / Misrad HaBriut recognized specialist
looking like "bowing," which we do only in all Arthritis conditions Joint and Muscle Pain
during Shemoneh Esrei, it likely
applies throughout davening (see Conscientious “American style” Care
Machatzit HaShekel 90:37).
Conveniently located at
Others connect this practice to a Refa Na Medical Center, Givat Shaul, Jerusalem


OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 34 Parshat YITRO 5779

combines the two (admittedly, this front of the chazan). Ohr L'tzion (II,
does not seem to be the Radbaz's 7:11) says that it is permitted to daven
intention). When one looks at himself in front of a window, even if the
when davening, we view this self- lighting makes his image clearly visible,
absorption as antithetical to the mind- as long as he closes his eyes or angles
set one should have in davening. While himself so he does not see it. The
this is not literally bowing to himself, apparent logic is that fear of looking
there is an element of it, figuratively. like davening to himself only applies
when he puts himself in front of a
This "prohibition" is not mentioned in mirror, which makes him look
the Shulchan Aruch (Rav Yosef Karo interested in looking at himself as he
met the Radbaz late in life (in Safed) davens. However, when the ability to
but apparently did not have access to see is incidental, no one will think that
his scholarship when writing his one is davening to himself. Admittedly,
sefarim). However, many of the some poskim are machmir even in the
classical commentaries on the case of davening before a window at
Shulchan Aruch and related works cite night (see Ishei Yisrael 9:(66)).
it as a halachic fact (see Mishna
Berura ibid.). Therefore, while it may It would seem that one difference of
not have the full force of a formal this not being a full-out Talmudic
Rabbinical prohibition, it is an prohibition could be in a rare case
accepted minhag related to full where the only way to daven is
halachot, which we do not consider a opposite a mirror. If it were a
chumra. full-fledged prohibition based on the
first reason, it might be better not to
This status makes it more reasonable daven at all. Although I did not find
to look for leniency in cases that are sources on the matter, it would seem
close but not identical to the classic that indeed it would be better to daven
case, when logic so dictates. Several (although he should certainly not look)
Acharonim are lenient when one can than not to daven at all, if this is his
see his image but not in a mirror per only option.
se. The Shevet HaLevi (IX, 21) justifies
the minhag to daven before reflective Rav Daniel Mann, Eretz Hemdah Institute
objects when that is not the object's
purpose (he discusses a "Shiviti Questions? email [email protected]
Hashem l'negdi tamid" sign situated in
Having a dispute?
Over 1600 audio and video shiurim For a Din Torah in English or Hebrew
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OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 35 Parshat YITRO 5779

Can We, Should We? Rabbi Gideon Weitzman

Last week we saw the halachic considerations regarding uterine transplants from a
deceased donor. There are a number of serious halachic questions that need to be
answered before this procedure can be permitted.

There is another major issue related to uterine transplants that was debated in
Israel with the publication of the Brazilian report of the birth of the baby after a
posthumous uterine transplant. The question was raised as to whether we should
use this technology. In other words; we are able to transplant a uterus from a dead
donor to a live recipient, the question is whether we should?

In cases of uterine transplants the recipients are usually women born without a
uterus who obviously cannot carry a pregnancy. The only option that we have for
such women currently is to use the services of a gestational carrier who will carry
the woman and her husband's baby, deliver the baby and give it over to the genetic
parents. This is a complex procedure for social, legal, halachic and financial
reasons. Still many couples have used the services of a gestational carrier in order
to have a child.

The option of uterine transplants initially appears to be much more attractive and
simple, especially when using a deceased donor. This removes the potential
complexity of another partner in the creation of the child.

But it is very difficult to find a donor and even when the donor is found the body
often rejects the transplanted uterus. This was the case in the first ever report of a
uterine transplant in modern times. This was a report from Saudi Arabia in 2002
and the recipient's body rejected the transplanted organ. To overcome this
problem the recipient must receive immunosuppressant in order to reduce the
regular biological mechanism to reject foreign bodies. This can have a detrimental
effect on the woman's health, and can be potentially very dangerous.

In addition, even with this medication the body can reject the new uterus and so
the doctors suggest that the recipient have one pregnancy and deliver the baby
through a Ceasarian operation. This reduces pressure on the body and the uterus.

So this complex procedure will currently enable the couple to have one child and it
is highly unlikely that a woman will undergo such a transplant more than once in
her life. We could question whether this is worth the potential danger and
complexity for limited gain? It is impossible to say for each case, but, of course,
this discussion must be raised with the couple prior to even considering this

We pray and assume that in the future this technology will be developed and be
more widely available and more effective.

The Puah Institute is based in Jerusalem and helps couples from all over the world who are experiencing fertility
problems. Puah offers free counseling in five languages, halachic supervision, and educational programs. Offices in
Jerusalem, New York, Los Angeles, Paris. Contact: (02) 651-5050 (Isr) • 718-336-0603 (US) •

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OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 37 Parshat YITRO 5779

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OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 39 Parshat YITRO 5779


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OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 40 Parshat YITRO 5779

TUESDAY • 'b mei WEDNESDAY • 'c mei THURSDAY • 'd mei

Jan 29th • hay b"k Jan 23rd & 30th Jan 24th & 31st

9:00am (unless otherwise indicated) (unless otherwise indicated)
Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz
Jan 23 • 9:15am Jan 24th • 9:00am
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Rethinking the Messages Parshat HaShavua
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Resumes Feb 12th Chumash with M'forshim 8:00pm
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The Meaning & Mission
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OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 41 Parshat YITRO 5779

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 42 Parshat YITRO 5779

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 43 Parshat YITRO 5779

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 44 Parshat YITRO 5779

Walk through the Parsha Parshat YITRO 5779

with Rabbi David Walk


Shopping with kids was always an
ordeal. Talk about impulse buying,
they want things much faster than a
parent or grandparent can say, 'No!'
And, of course, kids aren't alone.
Studies show that 77% of shoppers
claim to have made impulse
purchases and merchants do every-
thing in their power to encourage
these tendencies. Ever notice that
super markets never put milk, bread
and fruit too close together? That's
so that shoppers must traverse the
whole store to get at these
essentials, hopefully, for them, filling
their shopping carts along the route.
How can we battle this budget
breaking? First, leave the kids home!!
Next, carefully, prepare a list of
needs, and then stick to it. Would
reading the Tenth Commandment
help? Let's try to figure that out.

For this article, I'm going to ignore
the many arguments about how to
count the Ten Commandment and
just accept the standard list as
presented in the movie and most
synagogue architecture.

So, the Tenth goes like this:

You shall not covet your neighbor's
house. You shall not covet your

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 45

neighbor's wife, his manservant, his his thoughts to gain control... and he
maidservant, his ox, his donkey, or hatches a plot to acquire it by
whatever belongs to your neighbor coaxing and pushing the owner to
(Sh'mot 20:14). sell it or trade it even for something
of greater value, should he reach his
Of course, there's the immediate goal, he transgresses LO TACHMOD
problem of what 'covet' or in Hebrew (Sefer HaMitzvot, prohibition #266).
TACHMOD mean. Some English In other words, one only has
translations help out by opting for transgressed if a plot has been
'desire' or 'want', but those don't pursued to acquire the object.
sound as ominous as 'covet'. The Appreciation of beauty has not been
dictionary defines 'covet' as 'yearn prohibited. Rambam ends the
for' or 'crave', and comes from the explanation by referring to the story
Latin word 'cupiditas' which is more of Achav (Ahab, before he started
akin to greed or avarice, giving us chasing whales, Melachim Alef 21).
'cupidity' in modern English. This king of Israel eventually killed
Navot for his desirable piece of real
The Hebrew root CHEMED has a estate. Our most famous story of
positive connotation. It's first use in how possessions can possess us.
Tanach describes the permitted fruit
trees in the Garden of Eden, B'reishit In his Laws of Theft, the Rambam
2:9, and is variously translated as specifies that the transgression only
pleasing, desirable, and beautiful. becomes operative if the owner has
no interest in selling the object (1:9).
But what is the legal definition of LO So, even though we shouldn't
TACHMOD? R' Avraham Ibn Ezra become obsessed with 'things', there
presents a logical problem. How can is no prohibition to want more, and
the Torah prohibit us from desiring shop til we drop. It's a good thing
objects which are beautiful to our that consumerism is permitted,
eyes and hearts? This seems because Jews basically invented
unreasonable, if not impossible. He mass marketing, from Macy's and
gives a parable to help, but most
authorities finesse the problem with dnly d`etx
legal explanations, Rambam in the
lead. `fiix dxy oa cec l`pzp mrp
`nela `hpri oa iav miig
The Rambam writes: We are dgepn dpyey oa miig sqei
prohibited to occupy our thoughts `liia `yrt za diniwin
with our desire for other people's
property... If one sees a fine object dpg oa megp
that belongs to another, and allows dxetv `piiy oa oli` l`pzp
lxrt xzq` dxy za `liia

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 46 Parshat YITRO 5779

Gimbel's a century ago to Bed, Bath Parshat YITRO 5779
and Beyond and Century 21 today.

However, I think that there is an
important message imbedded in this
mitzva, which I had never noticed
until I heard a shiur by Rav Zvi Hersh
Weinreb, in which he pointed out a
quote in a great source, which had
previously escaped my notice.
Ramban wrote an essay (found in
volume 2 of Mosad Rav Kook's Kitvei
Ramban) in which he extrapolates all
613 mitzvot from the Ten Command-
ments. It's quite a feat, actually,
viewing these Top Ten as ten
categories of mitzvot. In his
comments on this mitzva, the
Ramban notes: From this prohibi-
tion, a positive concept can be
derived. Just as we are enjoined to
not desire the wife of another, we
are simultaneously being informed
that we should have deep desire
(CHEMDA) for our own spouse.

This is a very beautiful concept. It is
healthy and positive to be deeply
passionate with our spouses. It is
equally important to love our own
spouse as it is to control ourselves vis
à vis another's. What's the most
dangerous idea? That the grass is
greener in another's yard. The
famous and ancient Japanese
proverb can be the bane of one's
existence, until you find out that the
other guy's grass is Astro Turf. Why
do we pine for snowy landscapes in
July, and dream of sandy beaches in
the dead of winter?

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 47

The solution to the 'grass is greener' Attention U.S. Citizens
syndrome is usually quite simple. We
don't work hard enough on If you are under the age of 65
appreciating what we have. Whether and are disabled from gainful
we're considering possessions,
accomplishments or relationships, employment, you may be
it's often easier to project that others eligible for U.S. social security
have it better than to try and
improve our lot. Grass (lawn variety, disability benefits.
that is) in this old adage is a
metaphor for so many things in life, To find out more regarding
that just need more care and your eligibility, contact
attention to be truly amazing.
Elliott M. Cin, Attorney at
Law, for a free consultation.

Too often, we only realize how United States: 832-741-4638
wonderful our 'grass' is when others
display envy of us. We humans are Israel: 054-365-6810
funny that way. email [email protected]

This idea can be also be applied to Website:
the Jewish nation. When Shaul was
being considered for king, Shmuel
referred to him as the 'CHEMDA of all
Israel (Shmuel Alef 9:20). This is
translated as the desire of Israel or
the focus of Israel. In any case, the
emotion was positive and good.

William James, in his Principles of
Psychology emphasized focusing on
nurturing what we have rather than
comparing and contrasting it to
what others have. This is the positive
energy which the Ramban found in
our commandment. Ramban agrees,
'There's no place like home!' p

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OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 48 Parshat YITRO 5779



"This is the most shocking and Before identifying the shocking
astounding phrase in the entire phrase which he wished to discuss,
Torah!" These were the words he asked us to participate in the
uttered, in Hebrew, by the aging and following thought experiment:
ailing rabbi who was visiting
Baltimore for medical treatment, "Imagine that you are asked to write
where I lived long ago. The rabbi was a brief biographical sketch of some
from Israel, where he was the saintly rabbinic figure, such as Rabbi
revered and popular dean of a rather Yisrael Meyer HaKohen, known as
famous yeshiva. The treatment he the Chofetz Chayim, and you
needed was unavailable in Israel at
the time, so he journeyed to the
community where I was serving as a
young pulpit rabbi.

I had long ago developed the habit
of taking advantage of the oppor-
tunity to meet visitors of this sort. He
was too frail to give a formal lecture,
but he found it invigorating to sit
with three or four of us and in
engage in conversation about vari-
ous religious subjects, his favorite
one being the weekly Torah portion.
I felt especially privileged to be a
part of that small group.

The Torah portion that week was
Yitro (Sh'mot 18:1-20:23), which we
will read in shul this Shabbat.

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 49 Parshat YITRO 5779

happened to know that this man's
father-in-law was some rogue who
had a disreputable past. Would you
share the nature of the father-in-
law's past in a biography for all to
see? Would it not be embarrassing
for both the Chofetz Chayim and his
father-in-law to publicize the latter's
past misdeeds, especially if he had
long repented of them?"

He then launched into a very

eloquent and forceful discourse

about the ethical prohibitions

against publicly disclosing a person's

past, or even reminding him of it in

private. To bolster his argument, he

quoted the following passage from

Rambam's Mishneh Torah: "It is a

serious sin to say to a penitent,

'Remember what you once did', or
even to mention those past actions as the witch doctor of some

in his presence, thus embarrassing primitive tribe who is also the very
him... We are admonished by the close personal advisor of the saintly
Torah not to abuse others verbally..." Chofetz Chayim; or, the Archbishop
(Hilchot T'shuva 7:8) of Canterbury as the mentor of some
Chassidic sage! Are not those juxta-
He then drew our attention to the positions jarring, astonishing,
opening verse in this week's Torah irreconcilable?"
portion: "And Yitro the High Priest of

Midyan and the father-in-law of Now that you have some sense of
Moshe, heard about all that the how graphic and dramatic this

Almighty had done for Moshe and honored guest to our community
Israel his nation..." (Sh'mot 18:1) could be, I will identify him by name.
His name was Rabbi Simcha Zissel
"In the same breath", he exclaimed, Broida, and he was the dean of the
"he is referred to as a pagan priest Chevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
and as the father-in-law of Moshe!
What a combination of titles! Yes, he Rabbi Broida went on to offer a
was an idolater and the zaide of suggestion as to why Yitro is
Moshe's children. This is as unlikely introduced to us again in this week's

OU Israel Center TT 1308 9 page 50 Parshat YITRO 5779

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