It’s Shabbos morning. You’ve just finished davening at shul and wishing “mazel tov” at three kiddushim, and it’s already late. Your family and guests are waiting for you. They’re ready to begin the Shabbos meal—but you are not! You’re busy racking your brain, mentally thumbing through different divrei Torah, trying to find something…something…something to say on the parshah—and quick!
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Enjoy these excerpts l’kavod Parshas Yisro:
שם האחד גרשם כי אמר גר הייתי בארץ נכריה…
“One’s name was Gershom, for he said, ‘I was a sojourner [ger] in a strange land …’” (Shemos 18:3)
A student of Rav Eliyahu Dessler took leave of his teacher before departing from the yeshivah, and he asked the Rav for a blessing.
“I wish you a safe and comfortable journey,” Rav Dessler said.
The student was disappointed and asked, “Is the Rav only concerned about my trip and not my life?”
Rav Dessler replied, “All life is but a journey to the Next World. My blessing is that you should enjoy conditions throughout your journey that will allow you to arrive safely at your destination.”
One who realizes that life is but a journey is not bothered by minor inconveniences or difficulties, for he understands it is but a passing stage.
אנכי ה’ אלהיך…
“I am the L-rd your Hashem …” (Shemos 20:2)
The rabbis understand this mitzvah to mean that we must believe that Hashem takes care of all of our needs. Hashem decrees how much money a person is supposed to earn, and all the effort in the world will not bring a person a penny more than he is supposed to make.
The Chofetz Chaim was told about a man who worked on Shabbos, because he felt that he could not earn enough otherwise. The sage compared the situation to a villager who had a barrel of wine with a spigot. The villager wasn’t satisfied with the amount of wine pouring from the barrel so he decided to install another spigot to get twice as much wine. He didn’t understand that all he was doing was letting the wine out of the barrel twice as fast, but he could not get a drop more than what was there.
Working on Shabbos may bring a person income more quickly, but it will not bring in a penny more than was originally intended.
כבד את־אביך ואת־אמך…
“Honor your father and mother …” (Shemos 20:12)
A woman, who was an only daughter, took it upon herself to care for her elderly, ailing father. When her father saw how taxing it was for her, he insisted that she return home to care for her own family. The woman complied, and shortly thereafter her father passed away.
The woman cried to Rav Aryeh Levin that she had abandoned her father. She blamed herself for his death.
Rav Aryeh tried to console her. “We believe that every person’s years are granted from heaven. Even if you had stayed with your father, he would have died. As a matter of fact, had you stayed, you might have felt doubly guilty – first of all, for not obeying your father’s wishes that you return home. Secondly, you would have believed that the anguish your father felt from your not doing as he asked, might have hastened his death!”