Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Yisro 5776

Do you ever have a question in the parasha that year in, year out gnaws at you, and you can never find a good enough answer? I have had a question for many years on Parashas Yisro and have asked numerous people the question and have received numerous answers. So here’s the question: The Gemara (Sanhedrin 94a) states that the Torah speaks about the disgrace of Moshe and six hundred thousand Jews, because until Yisro arrived, no one uttered the words ברוך ה’, blessed is HaShem. This Gemara appears to be in direct construction to the words that we recite every  morning in the Shacharis prayers: עַל זֹאת שִׁבְּחוּ אֲהוּבִים, וְרוֹמְמוּ לָאֵ-ל וְנָתְנוּ יְדִידִים זְמִירוֹת שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת לַמֶּלֶךְ אֵ-ל חַי וְקַיָּם, for this, the beloved offered praise and exaltation to G-d, the dear ones offered hymns, songs, praises blessings, and thanksgivings to the King, the living and enduring G-d. Clearly the Jewish People at The Sea offered blessing to HaShem, so why does the Gemara denigrate them? One answer I heard is that there are various levels of blessing and the blessing that Yisro offered was on a higher level than the Jewish People. To this suggestion I respond, “one must bring a  solid proof that Yisro’s blessing was more exalted than the blessings of the Jewish People.” Another suggestion could be that the Jewish People did not utter the exact words ‘ברוך ה, which is a weak answer, because clearly the Jewish People were offering thanks to HaShem.

Perhaps , based on the words of the Sfas Emes, we can suggest a plausible solution to this enigma. The Sfas Emes writes that the word ברוך is associated with the word מורכב, grafting. A blessing is not merely, “blessed are You, O G-d.” Rather, one is “grafting” and intermingling his experiences with his heartfelt praises and thanks to HaShem. While the Jewish People recited blessings for the miracles for the moment, Yisro was in a different league, i.e. he had traversed many paths before accepting HaShem’s Oneness and His Torah. Once Yisro came to the recognition that HaShem is the One and Only True G-d, he was able to graft his experiences with his blessings and offer blessings to HaShem.

So, one may ask, what was so disgraceful about the Jews not offering this grafted blessing? The answer to this question is that one must always see the Hashgacha, Divine Providence, in all areas of life, and the Jewish People, on some level, failed to connect all their past experiences in slavery and liberation with the blessing.

HaShem should allow us to recognize that all of our suffering and pain is a catalyst for the great salvation that we will experience soon, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.


Rabbi Adler

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