From The Editor – Yitro – A Banner Of Reality

The Torah uses the language, “vayichad Yitro.” The language is telling. It immediately thrusts the notion forward that he believed in “chad,” the oneness of G-d, and like Rashi explains, he felt great joy and inspiration from G-d’s mighty miracles and revelations. Furthermore, the name “Yitro” if rearranged can be read as “Tori,” metaphorically to mean my Torah, as Yitro became an individual banner for the Torah.

Yitro has a parsha named after him for good reason. He reached perfection without having to face an alternate reality. His fantasies were truly glorious and majestic, and he went on to become a key figure to alter how G-d’s law was administered, not a coincidence for someone who could tune into reality with no interference.

 

Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim – Associate Rosh Yeshiva – PTI – Passaic Torah Institute – Parsha Beshalach – Recognizing Hashem’s Open Miracles

Many years ago in Europe, a wealthy Jewish businessman made his living exporting lumber from Kovno to America. One time, an export official wouldn’t clear his shipment for export. His lumber was stuck at the port…for a long time. He was very apprehensive that he would lose a lot money because of the delay and in the interim he had to pay holding fees to store the lumber. Finally, after many weeks of aggravation and holding fees, the official agreed to release his lumber. The businessman then experienced a shock. Recent forest fires in America had now created a shortage and thus doubled the value of his shipment! He was thrilled!

Soon after, the wealthy businessman met the great Rav Chaim Volozhin and related his story of hashgacha pratis (Divine Providence.) Surprisingly, Rav Chaim responded, “As a wealthy man, you aren’t so used to seeing Hashem’s Hand coming to your rescue. For the poor man, it’s as clear as day in his daily struggles, from paying for his grocery bill, his clothes and other daily expenses. But Hashem is also involved with you — open your eyes fully and you will see the Divine Hand helping you in all your actions.”

In this week’s parsha, Hashem instructed Moshe to take a jug and fill it with Munn (manna) to preserve as a testimony for future generations that Hashem provides a person with his livelihood (Shemos 16:32). Rashi tells us that in the time of Yirmiyahu the prophet, this jug was taken out and displayed to the Bnei Yisroel,reminding them that it’s not a person’s business acumen or his connections or wealth that make him successful. Rather, it is Hashem Who provides everything we need, sending everything in ways which may seem ordinary or miraculous.

Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz, famed Mashgiach of the Mir Yeshiva in Poland, tells us that the open miracles which Hashem performed at the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim (Exodus from Egypt) were not just a one-time occurrence. These miracles remain for Bnei Yisroel to this day, but in a concealed manner. Indeed, the Gemara Sotah tells us there are two areas which affect us daily, which are equal to the miraculous splitting of the sea: obtaining our food/livelihood and finding our proper mate for marriage. These processes might not seem like open miracles, but if we pay attention, we will recognize Hashem’s clear involvement and guiding Hand throughout!

Think about it. Hashem is not just involved in creating the shidduch (match). The greater [daily] miracle is in keeping and maintaining harmony in the home for the couple. With regard to livelihood, Hashem’s Hand is there not only in helping land a job, but He also stays to help maintain and grow the position! We need to realize it’s the Almighty Who is causing all the pieces in the puzzle to come together…and stay together.

Rav Tzadok Hakohen says this explains why Amalek attacked Klal Yisroel specifically after the greatest open miracle of the splitting of the sea. Why not attack before the splitting of the sea or later in the desert, as opposed to before the splitting of the sea or later in the desert.

It’s because a Jew needs to recognize Hashem’s involvement in every occurrence. The nation of Amalek represented the antithesis of that. They saw everything as mere happenstance, with no divine intervention. As is learned from the words, “asher korcha baderech” — which happened to chance [upon the Jews] while they were traveling. Amalek said even an obvious miracle such as the splitting of the sea was just a freak accident. They claimed the Jews were just in the right place at the right time. The foundation of Amalek’s evil was to deny Hashem’s involvement in the world. Our function as the Jewish people is to always see Hashem’s presence and active involvement in every aspect of life.

Every shidduch, every marriage and every food bill we are able to pay — let’s take notice and realize that it is all under Hashem’s orchestration. We should strive to do this every day. Maybe keep a notebook, like a Rebbe of mine did, where he wrote down various incidents that happened to him throughout his week in which he personally was able to detect the miraculous hand of Hashem. This exercise will strengthen our bitachon and emunah – our faith and reliance – in our Creator and help us achieve a deeper, loving connection to Him.