Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Simple Jew's Simplistic Parsha Question

This week's parsha, Parshas Yisro, contains the following posuk, "And you shall see from among the entire people, men of means, G-d-fearing people, men of truth, people who despise money..." (Shemos 18:21)

Rashi commented that the term "men of means" refers to "rich men who have no need to flatter or show recognition".

Initially this makes sense, but when you think about it in historical perspective it raises a question. The Jewish people left Mitzrayim with great wealth, so wasn't everyone rich? Couldn't all the men be considered "men of means"?


At January 25, 2005 at 12:42:00 PM EST, Blogger Gil Student said...

Certainly after the egel and the mishkan, many people had given away their wealth.

At January 25, 2005 at 1:23:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Ladies and Gentlemen: This is why I am "A Simple Jew". I didn't even know the answer to this simple parsha question. Thanks to Rabbi Student for answering it for me. I appreciate it.

At January 25, 2005 at 8:45:00 PM EST, Blogger TRW said...

But, Student, if they were not men of means cause they had given all their money to the mishkan, do we want judges from those who held back from giving their money from the mishkan?

At January 31, 2005 at 3:58:00 AM EST, Blogger Sharvul said...

R. Student,
But this is parashat Yitro, before the egel and the mishkan, even before har sinai. Even if you accept the opinion that "Yitro was after har sinai", that is still before they had the opportunity to give their money away to either avoda zara or avodat hashem. I understand that there is no mukdam and me'uchar, but still...
Perhaps Rashi meant "rich" in sense of richness we learn about in Avot: ha'sameach be'chelko. It is not that they were rich in money; they were content with what they had, little or much, and felt rich. As such, they were son'ei batza, they could not be subjected to manipulations by being offered money because they were happy with what they had. Just a thought.


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