Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

ויחד יתרו על כל הטובה אשר עשה ה’ לישראל…ויאמר יתרו ברוך ה’ אשר הציל אתכם מיד מצרים ומיד …(שמות יח:ט,י)

Yitro was moved upon hearing hearing Moshe’s report, and blessed Hashem for redeeming the people. In fact, the Gemara (Brachot 54a) cites Yitro as the source for reciting a blessing over miracles.


The Torah’s choice for expressing Yitro’s joy, “vayichad”, is somewhat unique, and the Gemara reads meaning into its choice. Rav feels that Yitro used a sharp instrument to circumcise himself, while Shmuel understands that he shivered when contemplating the suffering of the Egyptians. (Sanhedrin 94a)

Interestingly, it is Rav who then comments that a convert will retain a certain amount of sensitivity for generations, following Shmuel’s pshat. (though some have the girsa “Rav Papa”) Chatam Sofer points out that Yitro’s blessing was a bit muted, as it did not include an expression of “simcha”, similar to “שהשמחה במעונו”, which we recite at a wedding, but not at a bris due to the pain of the child.

Yitro couldn’t recite “שהשמחה במעונו” , because of his thoughts about the Egyptians.

Realizing that inappropriateness of leaving it out for that reason, his solution was to circumcise on the spot, rendering the שהשמחה במעונו issue mute. According to Chatam Sofer, it’s not either/or, but both connotations are valid.

Points to ponder include appreciation of current events, recognition and Hakarat Hatov, sensitivity to others, and creative problem solving.

Shabbat Shalom


Previous articlee-Edition: February 2, 2024
Next articleUnredeemed
Rav Korn is a senior Rabbi at Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh