Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yisro I:Yisro's Motivation

Why Yisro Came

Rashi quotes the gemara in Zevachim (115a) that Yisro joined the B’nei Yisroel because he heard about K’riyas Yam Suf and Milchemes Amaleik. (In reality these are two different opinions, but Rashi brings down both). The question is why didn’t Yisro come because of the ten makkos and Yitziyas Mitzrayim? L’chorah, the whole experience of Makkas Bechoros and leaving Mitzrayim in broad daylight should have been enough to cause Yisro to recognize the emes and join B’nei Yisroel. What was it about K’riyas Yam Suf and Milchemes Amaleik that motivated Yisro to come? Furthermore, there is an opinion in the gemara that the whole story of Yisro occurred after Matan Torah and Yisro came because he heard about Kabbalas HaTorah. Rashi holds that Yisro came after Matan Torah (against the Ramban). If so, why did Rashi not bring down this third reason as well. ( Ayin Ramban and mefarshei Rashi who deal with this question as well).

Two Types Of Ge'ulah

I would like to suggest the following answer based on an idea brought down by Rav Chaim Ya’akov Goldvicht zt”l in his sefer Asufas Ma’areches on Parshas Beshalach. Rav Goldvicht explains based on a S’fas Emes that there were two types of ge'ulos that took place from Mitzraym . The first ge'ulah was when the B’nei Yisroel actually left Mitzrayim. This ge'ulah was a bechina of “atra’usa d’l’eila”, meaning it all came from HKBH. The B’nei Yisroel were not worthy of leaving and it was only due to the chesed of HKBH, that they left. (Although they needed a zechus of dam Pesach and dam mila, this still doesn’t take away from the fact that B’nei Yisroel didn’t initiate the process but rather it all came from Hashem). The second ge'ulah took place by K’riyas Yam Suf. This ge'ulah was “atra’usa d’l’tata”, meaning that the B'nei Yisroel originated the redemption process. The B’nei Yisroel took the first steps towards being saved by jumping into the Yam Suf. It was only after they jumped in and the water was up to their necks that the sea split. (I would recommend looking up this piece inside to see how Rav Goldvicht develops this idea further, but ain kan mokom l’ha’arich).

Geulah From Amaleik

I would like to add that the yeshua from Amaleik was also a geder of “atra’usa d’l’tata”.The posuk says that when Moshe held up his hands the B’nei Yisroel won and when he rested his hands they lost. The Mishna in Rosh Hashanah as well as the Medrash Tanchuma explain, that the Torah is telling us that every time Moshe raised his hands the B’nei Yisroel looked up to Hashem and they won. Every time Moshe’s hands were lowered, B’nei Yisroel were not looking toward Hashem and they lost. We see from here that the salvation was initiated by B’nei Yisreol. It was only after they davened to Hashem that they were saved.

Understanding Yisro's Motivation

With this I believe we can answer the original question. If we look carefull at the loshon of the gemara that Rashi quotes, the gemara says "What did Yisro hear that made him come". The key words are "made him come" (ayin Klei Yakar who makes a similar diyuk). Certainly, Yisro heard about Yitziyas Mitzrayim and most probably was very been impressed by what he heard. However, this wasn’t enough to "make him come". It wasn't enough to cause him to join the B’nei Yisroel because this ge'ula was “atra’usa d’l’eila”-it was initiated by HKBH. It was only after he saw that B’nei Yisroel had the koach to initiate their own salvation b’geder “atra’usa d’l’tata”, by K'riyas Yam Suf and Milchemes Amaleik, that he decided to join Klal Yisroel. This answer will also explain the second half of our question. Kabbalas HaTorah was also a bechina of “atra’usa d’l’eila” and as such Rashi did not feel that it was enough to motivate him to come. (L’chorah this is also the difference between luchos rishonos and luchos shniyos. The former represents Torah She’BichsavBa’al Peh which is “atra’usa d’l’eila” and the latter represents Torah She’Ba’al Peh which is “atra’usa d’l’tata”. V’ain kan mokom l’ha’arich).[Also, this mehalach would not explain the shitta that he did come because of Kabbalas HaTorah]

We still have to explain why exactly Yisro was only motivated by a ge’ulah of “atra’usa d’l’tata” as opposed to a ge’ulah of “atra’usa d’l’eila”. I will leave this part open for suggestions.

No comments: