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Shabbat Morning Class - Parasha Yitro

Rabbi Mansour 2012
Shabbat Morning Class
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In this week’s Parasha we read about the monumental event of the Jewish people receiving the Ten Commandments at Har Sinai.

The Ten Commandments were written on the ?????-tablets. The first five were on one tablet, and the other five were on the other tablet.
The Ibn Ezra points out, that when we analyze the Ten Commandments we find that the first five pertain to our relationship between us and Hashem (??? ??? ?????). The second set of five pertain to our relationship with fellow man (??? ??? ?????). For example-"do not kill", "do not steal" etc. all clearly pertain to things that are between man and man. Whereas; "I am Hashem your G-d", "do not say Hashem’s name in vain" clearly pertain to our relationship with Hashem.
This is also seen through the fact that in the first five commandments we find the name of Hashem in every one of them, this indicates that these commandments are between us and Hashem. The second set of five however, contain no mention of Hashem’s name this shows us that they are between man and man.

The fifth commandment is "??? ?? ???? ??? ???"-"Honor your father and your mother". This commandment falls under the category of Misvot pertaining to the relationship between us and Hashem. The Misvah of Kibud Av Vaem contains the name of Hashem (???? ?????? ???? ?? ????? ??? ? ????? ??? ??.) This shows us that this Misvah is in the category of ??? ??? ?????.
The obvious question is; why is honoring our parents in the category of "??? ??? ?????"-Misvot between us and Hashem?? Isn’t this Misvah clearly an example of a Misvah that is ??? ??? ?????-between people??

How are we to understand why honoring parents is categorized under Misvot pertaining to the relationship between man and G-d??

The explanation is based upon a fundamental element of the fulfillment of the Misvah of Kibud Av Vaem.

There are three partners in the creation of man. Hashem Yitbarach, the father, and the mother. The Gemarah in Masechet Niddah lists the different elements of the body and explains which elements of the body come from which parent.
There is one element that comes from Hashem, and that is the Neshama. We say every day; "???? ???? ???? ?? ?????"-"Hashem, the Neshama you have given me is pure". The Neshama is a "piece of Hashem", and it is therefore eternal. The body eventually ceases to exist and turns back into dust but the Neshama goes on forever.
We thus find that the contributions of the parents are temporary - as the body is temporary, and the contribution of Hashem - the soul- is eternal.
When a person sees that the Torah obligates him to honor his physical parents he should tell himself; if the Torah obligates me to honor my parents whose contributions are only temporary, how much more so must I honor Hashem himself, whose contribution to me is eternal!
Just like a person honors his parents by doing their will, how much more so must he do the will of his creator by performing the Misvot of Hashem?! This is known as a ?? ????? (fortoi argument- ex; if A is a stronger than B, and B is stronger than C, than certainly A is stronger than C! In this case, if one is obligated to honor his parents whose contributions are temporary, he certainly must honor Hashem whose contribution to the person is eternal!). This ?? ????? is an essential part of honoring ones parents. If ones honoring of his parents does not lead him to honor Hashem, than he has not properly performed his obligation to honor his parents!
It is for this reason that the Torah placed "??? ?? ???? ??? ???" in the list of Misvot "??? ??? ?????" because ultimately this Misvah does lead a person to honor Hashem, and therefore it belongs on the list of commandments pertaining to man and Hashem.

This explains why the reward for the proper fulfillment of Kibud Av Vaem is long life. As mentioned, the proper way to fulfill the Misvah is when it leads to the honor of Hashem. Hashem is the source of all life. It says "???? ?????? ??' ?????? ???? ???? ????"-"those that cling to Hashem are surrounded by life". It also says about the Torah of Hashem "?? ???? ???"-"it is the tree of life". When a person’s honor of his parents leads him to the honor of Hashem- who is the source of life- his is rewarded accordingly with long life!

There is an additional benefit to the proper performance of Kibud Av Vaem. As mentioned, a person is supposed to make a ?? ????? that leads him to honor Hashem. We have mentioned in previous Shiurim the connection between the 13 attributes of mercy, and the 13 principles of Rabbi Yishmael through which the Torah is expounded. Each one of the 13 Midot corresponds to one of the 13 principles of Rabbi Yishmael.
The first attribute of mercy is ?-?. The name of ?-? stands for the kindness of Hashem as the Pasuk says; "??? ?-? ?? ????", we also say in the Birkat Hamazon - when we thank Hashem for his nourishing us: "??-? ??? ?????".
The key to access this kindness of Hashem (represented by the name ?-?) is the corresponding principle of Rabbi Yishmael. The first principle of Rabbi Yishmael is the ?? ?????, and this corresponds with the first attribute of Hashem of ?-?.
This means that whenever we come across a ?? ????? in the Gemarah we are accessing the attribute of ?-? and thereby sweetening judgment!
This is why when the Gemarah is about to introduce a ?? ????? it says; "???? ??? ???"(lit; isn’t it logical). ??? is judgment, and the Gemarah is hinting to us that in a time of judgment we must quickly utilize the power of the ?? ?????! We also find that the Gemarah many times states the famous law of "??? ?????? ?? ????"(lit; we may not punish anyone based on a ?? ?????). This is because a ?? ????? is a source of the kindness of ?-?, and it therefore cannot be the cause of someone’s punishment!
The term "?? ?????" in itself hints to its connection to ?-?, and its sweetening of judgment.
We know that there is ???-kindness of Hashem, and there is also ???-strict judgment of Hashem. The great Sadikim always tried to combine the ??? and ???, and bring the ??? into ???, thereby sweetening it. This combination causes the ultimate kindness-and even higher level of ??? than of ??? by itself.
The word ?? means "light", and ??? means "heavy". ??-light represents the kindness of Hashem, and ???-heavy represents the judgment of Hashem. ?? ????? merges the two concepts together, and creates a super high level of ???-this is the ??? of ??? ?-?.

The Torah gives an example of a ?? ????? through which we see its connection with ?-?. In the story of ???? ????? when she spoke about ??? ????? Hashem told Moshe; "had she been scolded by her father would she not have been banned for seven days! All the more so she should be banned seven days since she is being scolded by me!" This is a ?? ????? argument. When Moshe Rabeinu heard this, he immediately recognized that Hashem was "tipping him off" on how to sweeten the judgment on Miriam. He realized the ?? ?????’s connection to ?-?, and knew he had to pray using Hashem’s name of ?-?, he therefore prayed "?-? ?? ??? ?? ??"!
The Ben Ish Hai actually composed a prayer that is full of various?? ?????’s found in the Gemarah! After the list of ?? ?????’s the prayer beseeches Hashem for mercy. This is another example of the connection between ?? ?????, and Hashem’s merciful name of ?-?.

This is an additional benefit of the "Berachot Parties" that are made by some women. One benefit is everyone answering Amen, and as we have learnt in previous Shiurim ??? equals 91. 91 is the combined numerical value of the names of Hashem of ???-? (26) and ??-?? (65), the names of kindness and judgment. Amen signifies the sweetening of judgment with kindness.
Another benefit is acquired with reciting of the Berachah itself. The source of the requirement to make a Berachah is actually a ?? ?????. The Gemarah says that the only Berachah that is biblically obligated is the Berachah of Birkat Hamazon as it says; "????? ????? ?????"-"you shall eat, be satiated and bless". The Gemarah reasons, that if one is obligated to bless Hashem when he is full, than certainly-?? ?????-he must bless Hashem when he is hungry! He is more in need of Hashem’s kindness when he is hungry! It comes out that every Berachah is a product of a ?? ?????, and therefore when we make a Berachah we access the kindness of ?-?. This may be why in response to a Berachah we answer; Amen. Amen represents sweetening judgment, and is therefore a fitting response to a Berachah which is a product of a ?? ?????-something that also sweetens judgment! So there is great benefit to making Berachot, and in making these Berachot parties we are repeatedly connecting to a ?? ????? and the mercy of Hashem.

When a person honors his parents and this causes him to make the ?? ????? mentioned above thereby causing him to honor Hashem, he enjoys the additional benefit of the kindness of Hashem represented by the name ?-?!
This is why, Rabbi Gamliel Rabinovich explains, that the long life that the Torah promises is not merely length of days, it is also the quality of life! What good is a long life if it is full of pain and suffering?! Long life means fullness of days, and that the person’s days will be quality days full of health and blessing.
This blessing caused by the proper performance of Kibud Av Vaem is activated by the usage of the ?? ????? to honor Hashem, the ?? ????? activates the kindness of ?-?, and the person is thereby rewarded with a blessing in the quality of his life!

The current exile and the key to our redemption

We are currently experiencing "Galut Edom" the exile of Eisav. Eisav was blessed by Yishak "??? ???? ????"-"you will live by your sword", and we see that the main focus of all the countries today is their military, and that is where they focus their primary spending and efforts. This is exactly the personification of Eisav, and Eisav was known for his excellence in one Misvah, and that is the Misvah of Kibud Av.
In order to counter balance the effects of the success of Eisav in this current exile we must "outdo" him in this Misvah of Kibud Av Vaem that he performed.
This is a most difficult task. It is written in the Gemarah that Kibud Av Vaem is a Misvah that is almost impossible to fulfill 100%. A person can do 70-80% of his requirements for Kibud Av Vaem but we almost never find someone fulfilling 100% of his responsibilities.
One Tanna in the Gemarah actually said "praiseworthy is the one who has never seen his parents!" This is because he is an orphan, and cannot perform this Misvah, and Hashem in his mercy considers as if the orphan did the Misvah of Kibud Av Vaem. However when Hashem considers that the orphan fulfilled the Misvah, he considers it as if the orphan did the Misvah 100%! This is a tremendous advantage that the orphan enjoys! Actually, the main performance of Kibud Av Vaem begins after the parent passes on. This is because in this world, the parent asks the child for things that they technically could have gotten done themselves (ex; when the parent asks for a glass of water, the parent could have gotten the water themselves!), its only after the parent is the next world that they really need the child to do Misvot Leilui Nishmatam, as they can no longer help themselves!
This is why we find that before the end of an exile there had always been an increase in orphans amongst Klal Yisrael.
Before the Jews were redeemed from Misrayim, four fifths of them perished during the plague of darkness. This resulted in many orphans, and in the merit of these orphans Misvot of Kibud Av Vaem in perfection, the Jewish people merited redemption.
Moshe Rabeinu addressed these orphans when he sang "?? ???? ???"-"then Moshe will sing". Why did Moshe say will sing, it should have said Moshe sang??
Moshe was teaching the orphans the concept of ???? ????? and that one day, these children’s parents will come back to life, and at that time of resurrection Moshe Rabeinu will sing again! That’s why it says ?? ????-Moshe will sing!

We also find that the redemption, and miracle in the times of Purim were brought about by Esther of whom the Pasuk writes "??? ?? ?? ???"-"she had no parents", and the power of Hashem’s considering as if she perfectly fulfilled Kibud Av Vaem enabled her to save the entire nation!
This may be why we find studies today that show that in today’s time there are ?? ????? an unusual amount of orphans in the Jewish nation, this is in order to prepare us for being worthy of the final redemption. Perhaps this is why our generation is referred to as "??? ????"-"an orphaned generation", we are hoping to generate sufficient merit of Kibud Av Vaem from these orphans in order to merit redemption.

Of course we should pray that all of our parents have health and long life, and our job is to honor and respect them to the best of our capabilities. This should lead us to honor Hashem, and perform all the Misvot with clarity and precision, and this is the culmination of the Misvah of honoring our parents. Through this may we merit the ultimate redemption with the coming of the Mashiach speedily in our days Amen!


The reward for honoring ones parents is long life. There are many reasons given for why the reward is long life. Here are some of them.

1. It is often that an older parent requires extra care from a child. The parent needs the child to take them to the doctor, help them with various tasks etc. This can lead the child to ask "what about my time??" The child spends so much time on the parents that he feels he is "losing" the precious years of his own life! To this Hashem responds; don’t worry, the time you spend on your parents will be paid back to you, you will have long life and live additional years to "make up" for the time you spent on your parents. Therefore one should never feel that they are losing anything by devoting time to his parents.
2. Hashem repays a person "??? ???? ???"-"measure for measure. When a person honors his parents and cares for them even into their old age, he is in turn rewarded with children who will honor and care for him. He will also merit long life, so that his children will have the opportunity to honor him for a long time, just he had honored his parents.
3. When a person honors his parents he causes great pleasure to them, and they in turn bless him continuously with heartfelt blessings. This is seen from the Pasuk "??? ?? ???? ??? ??? ???? ??????? ????"(lit; so that they may lengthen his days"). The Chief Rabbi Amar explains, why does it say ??????-"they will lengthen"-it should say ?????-"I will lengthen" (that Hashem will lengthen his days)?? He answers that it is due to the blessings of his parents that the child merits long life. That’s why it says ??????-they will lengthen, his parents will be the cause of his long life through their Berachot!

The single key ingredient to the success of any blessing is love. There is no one that loves a person more than his parents. Therefore the blessing of a parent should not be underestimated, because there is no blessing that can equal that of a parent, since the parent puts a tremendous amount of love into their blessings. The more one respects their parents the more the parents love for the child will increase, and the more powerful the blessing!!

We see that love is essential to the Berachah from the instruction of Yishak Avinu to his son Eisav when he wanted to bless him. He instructed him to catch some game in order to eat, and be satiated "????? ?????? ????"-"so that my soul may bless you". Yishak wanted Eisav to do something that would give him pleasure, in order to increase his love for him to make his Berachah even more potent!
There was a story of a man who lived to be over 140 years old! When they asked him about the secret of his longevity he replied that when he was a small boy he once noticed the ??? ??? (Rav Chaim Chezkeyahu Medini) writing his sefer in a freezing cold room. The Rabbi could not afford wood for his fireplace, and he continued to write in the bitter cold. When the boy saw this, he went ahead and got some wood for the Rabbi’s fireplace, and heated up the room. When the Rabbi felt the warmth from the heat he looked up and asked; "who is responsible for giving me such pleasure by warming me??" The little boy answered that it was him. The Rabbi excitedly gave the boy a Berachah and said; "May you live a long long life with no sickness"! This Berachah given with such a feeling of love resulted in the man living to be over 140 years old!

Parashat Behaalotecha- Rectification is Always Possible
Parashat Naso- Emuna First
Shavuot- Celebrating the Eternal Torah
Shavuot- The Challenge – and Rewards – of Torah Commitment
Parashat Behar- Experiencing the Sweetness and Delight of Torah
Parashat Emor- Keter Shem Tob 'The Crown of Good Reputation'
Parashat Ahare Mot- Planting Our Spiritual Trees
Parashat Shemini- Respect and Reverence in the Synagogue
Pesah: Redemption Then and Now
Pesah- Its A Mirage
Parashat Vayikra- The Triple Sin of Dishonesty
Parashat Pekudeh- Counting the Things That Matter
Parashat Ki Tisa- The Sanctity of Every Jew
Purim and the Sale of Yosef
Parashat Terumah- The Torah’s “Footsteps”
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