Pearls of Rashi – Yisro II

This week’s Parshah, is called by the name Yisro. The reason for this is because one of the main characters in our Torah portion is Yisro, who was Moshe’s father in law. He traveled from his home in Midian in order to visit his son-in-law and the Jewish nation.

Yisro objected to the way in which one procedure in the wilderness was carried out. The Torah tells us that[1] “it happened on the next day that Moshe sat down to judge the nation. The people stood before Moshe from the morning until the evening.” Yisro objected to the fact that Moshe alone judged the people.

He suggested that there be a hierarchy of judges from among the greatest people of the nation; only the most difficult cases should be brought before Moshe. In this manner, the people would not have to wait for judgment “from the morning until the evening.” Not only did Moshe agree to his father-in-law’s suggestion, but G-d Almighty himself was in agreement. In fact, this is the procedure which is followed throughout history.

The Torah is not a history book. The Torah only tells us when something happened, if there is a lesson which can be learned from it. Why does the Torah specify that Yisro’s suggestion was made on “the next day?” Furthermore, the Torah does not even tell us when “the next day” was. Which day did it follow?

Rashi cites the words from the verse “it happened on the next day,” and explains as follows. “This was the day after Yom Kippur … Now what is meant by “on the next day”? On the day after Moshe descended from the mountain.”

This teaches us a very important lesson in our Divine service. No matter how high we are, no matter how great a level we have reached, there is always room to improve. Yom Kippur had just passed and G-d forgave on the Jews. Our leader had just come down from Mount Sinai. Yet we were able to go even higher! Yisro brought about a (seemingly) new aspect of Torah. Even after Yom Kippur, it was possible to attain an even greater level.

This brings to mind the story with the Rebbe Rashab. He was asked what our service of Hashem must be after Yom Kippur. This follows ten days of Teshuvah, anointing Hashem as our King, and attaining forgiveness. The Rebbe answered that, “now we must first do Teshuvah.”

Wherever we are, whatever level we have reached, we must constantly strive to go even higher.

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Farbrengen of Tu Bishvat, 5742

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 18:13.

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