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Parshas Yisro 5774
Candle Lighting Time: 4:44 pm
January, 17 2014
Volume 10 Issue 14
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Dvar Torah

The Search for Greatness

 

By Rabbi Shmuel Grunberger

 

 

Yisro advises Moshe to appoint lawyers and judges to help him with the nation's legal issues. Chazal expound on this insightful idea and praise Yisro for this tremendous contribution to Klal Yisroel. What was so significant about this plan? It seems rather obvious that Moshe shouldn't sit alone from morning to evening judging Klal Yisrael.

 

 

Rav Shimshon Pincus Zt"l answers that really Moshe could have managed on his own, being the "man of G-d" that he was. However, Yisro understood that if the situation persisted, no one would have the ambition to aspire for gadlus - greatness. They might feel that there is to be only one Rav and the rest of Klal Yisrael would just behis students. Therefore Yisro tells Moshe, "There are anshei chayi [men of virtue], G-d fearing people, men of truth, and people who despise money among Klal Yisrael. Appoint them as leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens". Yisro truly believed that at least one out of every ten Jews had the qualification to be a Torah leader. Yisro felt that this would help inspire Klal Yisrael to strive for attainable greatness and realize that everyone can become great, even if they are not as great as Moshe.

 

 

Moshe followed Yisro's advice and chose the "anshei chayil" from Klal Yisroel to head the nation. He didn't find people of the caliber Yisro spoke of, but he did learn the extremely important lesson. He learned that as long as a person is serious about his avodasHashem, service of Hashem, and limudhaTorah, then he's a "chayil," "virtuous," and befitting to learn Torah from. Even if he isn't as great as the Rrabbanim from the previous generation, he is still considered a great person for his level and his generation.

 

 

                                         It would seem Yisro and Moshe had a very optimistic and positive view of the greatness of Klal Yisrael. They felt that one out of every ten Jews was worthy of becoming a great Rav. However, Hashem had even more confidence in Klal Yisrael's potential. Hashem introduced the giving of the Torah with the words:  "V'hiyisemlisegulahmikalhamim...v'atemtihulimamlecheskohanimv'goykadosh," "And you will be to Me treasured from amongst the nations... and you will be to Me a nation of princes and a holy nation."  Compared to the other nations, every Jew is a "segulah"- a treasure and part of "a nation of princes." Rather than one out of every ten Jews being a great Rav, Hashem proclaims "one out of every ten people is a Jew, who is great in Torah and part of a treasured nation full of great and prominent people."

 

                To Hashem, each one of us is a gem and a treasure, and He loves us dearly. Our job is to realize this and strengthen ourselves in limudHaTorah and avodasHashem. Every person can maximize their potential to become a "Gadol" in their own right and on their own level. Gadlus is not only reserved for the elite. True, not everyone has the ability to become a prominent Rav or Rebbe . But being Hashem's "treasure", we can all aspire to become great, disseminate Torah, and appreciate the beauty of being a Jew - a "segulah."

 

 

 

 

 


Dvar Halacha

 

Halachos of Remebering Shabbos

 

 

By Rabbi Yochanan Eskenazi

  

 

The fourth commandment of the Aseres Hadibros is "Zachor es yom haShabbos L'kadsho" (Remember the Shabbos to sanctify it) [Shemos 20:8].

 

Ramban explains the reason why this commandment specifically follows the first three commandments, is that after we are commanded to believe that Hashem created the world, and is the all-Capable, and even His Name is holy and we are not allowed to say it for no reason, Hashem commands us to have a constant sign to remember that He created everything, zecher l'maaseh beraishis, which is a foundation of all our beliefs.  This is why Chazal teach that the mitzvah of Shabbos is of equal importance to all the commandments in the Torah [like idolatry] (see Gemara Chullin 5a); for keeping Shabbos is an essential reminder of our belief in Hashem.

 

What does it mean to remember ShabbosRamban explains the mitzvah to remember means one should remember the concept of Shabbos, i.e. realize it is unique for what it represents and it should not be mistaken as on par with the other days of the week.  We are able to fulfill this mitzvah the entire week, not exclusively on Shabbos. One of the ways we do this is by counting the days of the week in reference to Shabbos: yom rishon l'shabbos, yom sheni l'shabbos, etc. as opposed to other nations that have specific names for the days of the week [Sunday, Monday, etc.]. This is why we add the phrase "Ha'yom yom... b'shabbos" preceding the Shir Shel Yom (Song of the Day) each day at the end of davening Shachris, to verbally remember Shabbos each day of the week (Sefer Lev Tziyon pg. 168).  Harav Mattisyahu Salamon, shlit"a, points out that many people unfortunately recite these words each day without putting any thought into it.  If a person pauses a moment and thinks about what he is saying, not only will he be fulfilling a mitzvas asei, he will also develop the mindset of preparing for Shabbos (Matnas Chaim, Shabbos V'Rosh Chodesh, pg. 19).  Some Poskim rule that even on days that one did not recite the actual yom [e.g. he did not have a siddur], he should nevertheless recite the words "Ha'yom yom... b'shabbos" (The Aura of Shabbos pg. 2).

 

 

Additionally, when writing the date on a kesubah (marriage agreement) or get (divorce document), the date is written as Yom ... l'Shabbos [as opposed to the month (e.g. Shevat)] (Shulchan Aruch EH 126:3 & Aruch Hashulchan ibid: 10).

 

 

The Gemara [Beitzah 15a] brings a disagreement between Shammai and Hillel as to the ideal way to fulfill this mitzvahShammai holds if someone acquires a nice thing, either a food or an article of clothing etc., one should set it aside in honor of Shabbos.  If later that week he acquires something nicer, he may consume the original item that was set aside, and use the nicer object for Shabbos.  By always saving the nicest thing for Shabbos, Shammai was "Remembering the Shabbos" the entire week.  The Mishneh Berurah [250:2] rules that we follow this opinion.

 


 

 

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