Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Yisro I

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This week’s Parshah, Yisro, tells us how Moshe Rabbeinu’s father-in-law came to recognize Hashem. He declared that[1] “Now I know that Hashem is greater than all the deities, for with the thing that they plotted, (He came) upon them.”

What does this mean? Rashi cites the words “for with the thing that they plotted, (He came) upon them,” and explains that this can be understood “according to its (Aramaic) translation. They planned to destroy the Jews with water, and they were destroyed with water[2].”

There were countless miracles involved in delivering the Jews from Egypt. However, the one miraculous event which brought Yisro to declare that he now knows that Hashem is more significant than all deities was the drowning of the Egyptians in the sea. Why was this miracle more compelling than any of the other wonders which Hashem brought upon the Egyptians?

We can understand this based on Rambam’s words[3]. The first idol worshippers did not Chas Veshalom deny the existence of the Almighty. Instead, they believed that Hashem gave power to the forces of nature to control the world. That is why they worshipped natural forces, i.e., the stars and the constellations. However, they certainly believed that Hashem commanded these forces; He was the one Who gave them their power.

Had Egypt’s destruction come through anything but water, it would have Chalilah been possible to think that the water was able to destroy the Jews. Hashem merely overpowered the water through a different force of nature. The fact that Hashem punished them through the same means they sought to destroy Israel demonstrated that He alone is in charge. Nature is merely His tool in controlling the world.

At times we feel that we are in charge. We must learn from this that G-d alone is in control of everything.

I wish you a meaningful Shabbos!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 16, Page 200ff.

מוקדש לזכות כ”ק אדמו”ר נשיא דורנו מליובאוויטש

The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris

חיילי “צבאות השם” חיים ועדן עודד שיחיו מאריס
נדפס ע”י הוריהם
הרה”ת ר’ מנחם מענדל וזוגתו מרת חי’ מושקא שיחיו מאריס

[1]. Our Parshah, Shemos 18:11.

[2]. The Egyptians planned to kill the Jews by throwing their babies into the Nile. Hashem destroyed them with water, meaning by drowning them in the sea.

[3]. The Laws of Idolatry, Chapter 1, Paragraph 1.

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