Parshat Yitro

״ובעבור תהיה יראתו על פניכם לבלתי תחטאו״ (שמות כ׳ י״ז)

The trait of bashfulness is one of the character traits of the Jewish people. What is the source of this bashfulness? In Yevomos 79a, it is written that “the fear of the Almighty be impressed upon your face, so that you shall not sin”. A Jews bashfulness is the identification mark of Yirat Shamayim. It signifies his inherent consciousness of imperfection before Hashem which gives him a sense of shame and humility. Today, very few people possess this trait of shame. We are a generation which knows no shame. The chovot halevavot in the Shaare Habechina states that without bashfulness, people would not do acts of kindness. In a weekly mussar group that Rabbi Chayim Mordechai Katz used to give in his home, he shared a personal story about how he did a favor for someone not because he felt an obligation of doing chesed for him but because he would be too embarrassed if the person with the favor would call him to see if he did it yet or not. He had enough self-awareness to distinguish between what he did as a pure act of kindness and what he did out of embarrassment. If our generation, today, continues to work on its trait of having shame and humility, we would realize how much kinder we would all treat each other and hopefully through this, we would be able to come closer to Hashem.

״וישמע יתרו כהן מדין חתן משה את כל אשר עשה אלוקים למשה ולישראל עמו״ (שמות י״ח א׳)
Yitro heard about the crossing of the Yam Suf and about the war with Amalek. But what exactly did Yitro hear to convince him to join the Jewish people that the other nations didn’t hear? According to Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman, Yitro didn’t hear anything different than the other nations. The difference was that Yitro was the only one who took action. The other nations heard but remained the same. Yitro got up and chose to change his life. Everyone has moments of inspiration, but a great person would act upon his inspirations and let them have actual changes upon his life.

Student Studying in MMY