Battling Amaleik

Preparing Ourselves For The Final Tests Before Moshiach
By Rav Moshe Shternbuch


The following was written by Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis based on a drasha given on leil Shabbos by Rav Moshe Shternbuch, Rosh Av Beis Din of the Eidah Hachareidis of •••••

was an impetus for Yisro to join up with Klal Yisroel, but how did the war with Amaleik inspire Yisro to make this lifechanging decision? Chazal tell us that the entire world felt the miracle of the splitting of the sea. All bodies of water in existence parted simultaneously, so that everyone would recognize the great miracle that Hashem was performing for the Jewish people. One could argue that there has been no greater display of Divine power ever be-

punished on the sea. The Hashgacha Protis, personal Divine interaction, made Yisro recognize that Hashem was the one and only power in the world. After this great miracle, the entire world was in awe of the Almighty. Nobody dared to touch His chosen people. Only one nation, Amaleik, had the audacity to attack Klal Yisroel and thereby cool off this feeling of fear. Yisro witnessed the great miracles that took place, as well as Amaleik’s reaction to what had transpired. He understood that if it was possible to defy the Almighty in the face of this open display of Divine power, then one could not simply maintain the status quo and expect to remain unaffected by the forces that constantly threaten to pull one away

“And Yisro heard…” (Shemos 18:1). What did Yisro hear? He heard about the miracles of the splitting of the sea and the war with Amaleik (Rashi, Shemos 18:1). Yisro was inspired to convert and join the Jewish people after these two events. We can understand why hearing of the Almighty’s miraculous Krias Yam Suf

Now is the time to prepare for this auspicious moment, as it is approaching rapidly.
fore in history. Yisro was particularly impressed by one aspect of this miracle: Mitzrayim tried to destroy the Jewish people by drowning their male children in the water, and, measure for measure, they were from holiness. He concluded that only by actually joining the Jewish people could he possibly hope to remain strong against the impurity of Amaleik.

The name of his first son was Gershom, “For I was a ger [stranger] in a foreign land.” The name of his second son was Eliezer because “Elokei avi [my father’s G-d] was ezri [my helper], rescuing me from Paroh’s sword” (Shemos 18:3–4). The difficulty in understanding these two verses is self-apparent. The fact that Moshe Rabbeinu was a stranger in Midyan seems to pale in the face of the miracle that saved him from death at the hands of Paroh. Why was his ger status important enough to merit being the source of the name of his first son? Miracles are a temporary display of Divine glory, but after they have passed, things can easily go back to business as usual. Even greater than witnessing a miracle is channeling the inspiration that one gains thereby into elevating one’s daily relationship with the Almighty. Holding oneself strong and not letting the opposing forces around him ‘drag him in’ is a constant miracle in itself. While Moshe Rabbeinu owed his physical existence to the miracle that the Almighty had performed for him in Mitzrayim, his spiritual well-being was a result of the Almighty’s continual spiritual protection. For this reason, Moshe Rabbeinu named his first son Gershom. In doing so, he recognized Hashem’s Hand in helping him retain his identity while living among the idolatrous population of Midyan. World history has given us many examples of this phenomenon. While Germany hosted a thriving Torah community before the emancipation, after the walls of the ghetto were torn down, the influence of the non-Jewish world penetrated, and Jews left the fold en masse. Similarly, when exposed to the freedom of America, many Jews were influenced to drop their commitment to Torah. Amaleik’s power grows stronger daily. If we do not take special precautions to guard ourselves from their weapons, we, too, may be pulled in by their sway. Even a temporary lapse of guard could cause one’s downfall.

At the Shabbos Table with Rabbi Juravel
By Rabbi Dovid Juravel
A thief pays fourfold for stealing a sheep and fivefold for an ox. Rav Yochonon Ben Zakai explained that the Torah was more lenient in paying for a sheep, because the thief humiliated himself by carrying the sheep on his shoulder. The Chofetz Chaim points out that if humiliation can help a thief by removing part of his punishment, how much more so can it add to the reward of a righteous person who finds a lost sheep and humiliates himself by carrying it on his shoulder to return it to its owner. Rav Elchonon Wasserman zt”l Hy”d often suffered embarrassment during his fundraising trips when people slammed their doors in his face. The Chofetz Chaim said to him, “Fortunate are you that you suffered embarrassment in order to uphold the Torah.” A Yid who was a Kohein visited a museum in Eretz Yisroel. Being a Kohein, he made sure not to enter the buildbroke out in front of many onlookers. Ultimately, they did allow him to leave through a different building. The Gemara says that if one was tempted to do an aveirah and he refrained from doing it, he is rewarded as having done a mitzvah. This Yid did a mitzvah while enduring great embarrassment, which increased the s’char of the mitzvah manifold. A Yid was in a shul where people were talking during Krias HaTorah and they made fun of him when he didn’t join their conversation. To strengthen himself, he constantly reviewed in his mind the words of the Chofetz Chaim that if one is caught up with a group of people who are talking lashon harah, it is forbidden to join them even if one will be looked at as a fool and even if he is at risk of losing his job because of it. Better be considered a fool one’s whole life in the eyes of people and not be a rasha

The embarrassment surely increases the caliber and reward of the mitzvah.
ing that contained a mummy. At closing time, he was standing in a courtyard without a roof. The people in the courtyard were told to leave through the building that contained the mummy, because all the other buildings were already locked. The Yid explained to the museum personnel that, as a Kohein, he could not enter that building. He asked if they would please unlock one of the other buildings through which he could leave. The personnel, who were not religious, refused and told him that if he did not leave, he would be thrown out. Now, to leave on his own through that building would have violated the sanctity of a Kohein, while to be thrown out by others would not. The Yid refused to move. To his great embarrassment, a commotion Page 68 even for one moment in front of Hashem. In cases such as these, the embarrassment surely increases the caliber and reward of the mitzvah. The Chovos Halevavos explains the good that is contained in the phenomenon of embarrassment that Hashem created. He says that without embarrassment, one would never invite guests, keep promises, fulfill requests, refrain from sin, and honor people. We might add one more positive aspect of embarrassment: It enables us to increase the value of our mitzvos and their reward, and gives us an opportunity to reach a higher level in our unwavering devotion to Hashem. ••••• To have Rabbi Juravel speak at your function, call 646.320.3125.

to welcome his father-in-law, Yisro. Considering his status as the leader of Klal Yisroel, his actions were a display of great honor for his father-in-law. What prompted Moshe do this? As explained earlier, Yisro was inspired to join the Jewish people as a result of the miracles that Hashem performed for Klal Yisroel. However, this was not an expression of momentary religious excitement. Yisro made a well-thought-out decision based on the realization that this was the proper course for him to take in his life. Moshe Rabbeinu recognized the sincerity of Yisro’s motivations. He wanted to show all of the Jewish people that his father-in-law’s decision was an intellectual choice, and not a temporary emotional frenzy. In order to do this, he personally went out to greet him, showing that his father-in-law had chosen to truly become a dedicated, sincere member of Klal Yisroel. The miracles that will take place preceding and during the times of Moshiach will be much greater than those that we experienced in Mitzrayim. Like Yisro, all of the Jews and non-Jews of the world will recognize the Almighty’s truth and that Klal Yisroel is His chosen nation. These miracles will be such a powerful display of Divine glory that we will lose our free choice and intentional transgression will become an impossibility. Unlike the times of Yisro, it will then no longer be possible to join the Jewish people. The recognition will be so clear that there will be no choice but to accept it, and under such circumstances, there will be no merit in siding with the truth. Converts and baalei teshuvah will no longer be accepted. The Satmar Rav, Rav Yoel Teitlebaum zt”l, once told Rav Shternbuch that considering the state of impurity that the world is in today, the reward for every mitzvah we perform is exponentially greater than in other generations. This being so, a true servant of Hashem should not want Moshiach to come. With his arrival, all nisyonos will fall away, and it would seem to follow that the reward for the mitzvos we perform, if any, will be negligible. However, added the Satmar Rov, those who recognize the truth before the arrival of Moshiach will not lose out. Each person will continue his growth based on the level he achieved beforehand. Our avodah during these days prior to his coming is to ready ourselves for this immense revelation. In our days, we have seen some of the rays of light that precede Moshiach. During the war in Gaza, thousands of missiles fell on Israel - but they caused almost no injury. In recent times, an earthquake struck the world, killing 300,000 people. These are small glimpses of the great power of Hashem, which He will reveal openly on the day of the final redemption. Now is the time to prepare for this auspicious moment, as it is approaching rapidly. ••••• Rabbi Travis is a rosh kollel of Kollel Toras Chaim in Yerushalayim, and is the author of Shaylos U’Teshuvos Toras Chaim and “Praying With Joy - A Daily Tefilla Companion,” a practical daily guide to improving one’s prayers, available from Feldheim Publishers. He will soon be publishing Rav Shternbuch’s weekly shiurim on the parsha as a sefer entitled “A Voice in the Darkness.” For more information about his work, contact 28 Shevat 5770 • February 12 2010

“Moshe went out to greet his father-inlaw…” (Shemos 18:7) Moshe Rabbeinu went out personally


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