Parashath Yithro: By Rabbi Rason Arusi 
with English translation by Hhaim Parchi and Site Admin. ban Hhaim Rahmiel 

HaShem made great miracle(s) and wonders for Israel-- especially when they left Israel. Inspite of this, they didn't say the al ha nissim (Blessing to G-D). Even in the splitting of the sea, they didn't say a Bracha-only a song. In Parashath Yithro, we read about the blessing “al ha nissim” for the miracle that G-D made to Israel when he saved them from Pharaoh. But this blessing was said by Yithro. [In other words-only Yithro said the blessing].

About Yithro:

Basically Yithro was a midinianite (Gentile) Priest. Hhazal (the sages) made a decision for generations to come to make a bracha on miracles (in general). This lesson came from Yithro.

The blessing of Yithro:

He heard and came... Yithro heard what G-D did to Israel--how he took them out of Egypt - and Yithro couldn't just be silent about it (he was thrilled). This is the reason he came to the dessert (to Moshe and Israel) at the Mountain of G-d in Chorev. There, Bnai Yisrael camped out. He (celebrated and) was happy with Israel. He blessed G-D on the miracle that HaShem did for Israel. "Yithro rejoiced over all the good that HaShem had done for Israel, that he rescued them from the hand of Pharoah, Yithro said: ‘Blessed is HaShem, who has rescued you from the hand of Egypt and from the hand of Pharoah, Who has resued the people from under the hand of Egypt’ "

The Mikhilta says: "What did he hear that made him come? Ribi Yehoshua says the war with Amalek. Rabi Elazar Hamudai said -the receiving of the Torah. Rabi says the splitting of the sea. We can say that a lot of gentiles from the area heard and were shaken by it-- but that noone came. [Only] Yithro came. What is special about Yithro.

The Zohar asks the following: Is Yithro the only that heard while the rest of the world didn't hear.? It then answers: And it was written -a nation (Israel) heard and they got scared.  But all the nations (Goyim) heard but had no fear. But here, Yithro heard but had fear of G-D and came closer to G-D [because of it].

The fact is that for forty years, they (Bnai Yisroel) continued to worship idols as the testimony of Rahav in Yeriho.  But not Yithro. He heard and his heart broke and he tried to get closer to G-D. More than that-- he came to thank G-D. This is the reason he merited to get into G-D's Holiness (good grace). He got involved with Israel. Yithro was not only better than all the Gentile nations… he was better than Bnai Yisrael. He left his country and came to the dessert. He left civilization to go to the dessert to hear the Torah (according to RaShY). Moshe greeted his father-in-law and he told him all that G-D did to Pharoah and Egypt. Also about Israel and all the troubles and events [they lived through]. On this, Rabbi Saadiah Gaon zs”l says: and then G-D saved him.

Moshe told his father-in-law two things: “on the trouble that they found on the way”--this refers to events around the splitting of the sea,  “and on the way” --this is the war refers to how G-D saved them from Everything (Michilta on Shemoth 18:8).  And when Yithro heard, his reaction was very special -it was better than Bnai Yisrael’s reaction. He reacted as follows... His flesh got like goose bumps and he immediately blessed G-D for saving Bnai Yisrael from Mitzrayim. He said: “now I know G-D is the greatest.”

And Yithro then took sacrifices to G-D. Then Aaron and the elders came to eat bread with Yithro before G-D (perhaps they were eating the sacrifices). It means that Yithro was happy . Onkelos translated it as follows "He (Yithro) was happy." The Rashbam also explains this as Hedva (Happiness). Only because of all the goodness that G-D did to Israel and not because of Moshe (was his son-in-law).  There is more discussion (from Orah Hayim) about how Yithro’s flesh changed as a result of his great happiness-which caused him to feel faint (with prickles).

Apparently (even though) there were some people that were suspicious of Yithro as a Gentile. They thought his wanting to faint was a result of the loss of the Egyptians (Sanhedrin). They though he felt bad that the Misriyim had died. And also Yithro confessed that he had worshipped idols up until that point (but now) acknowledged G-D's might.  This time he knew G-D's might from knowledge. And he made Korbanoth and a seudah Miswah and invited all the important people to his table (Orah Chayim). Because of this, Yithro became exalted by Israel for generations to come. Michilta says: R. Paya says: because Yithro said the Bracha-it showed how 60,000 Jews didn't bless G-D.

We learned in the Mishna Barachoth that a person that sees a place where a miracle has happened to Israel the Blessing: Blessed is He who made miracles for our ancestors at this place. They learned it from Yithro. Even though he wasn't there when the miracle happened, he heard from Moshe. When he say the places--- he made the Bracha.

The Rema poskened: if you see the person of the miracle, you say the same blessing as if you've seen the place.

All this is a miracle that happened to Israel-not (just) to an individual.


Yerushalmi says: But in all the places where the miracle happened to the individual, his descendents say the Bracha. If it happened in Israel-the individual thanks G-D for the miracle that happened here or the miracle to happened to my father (RMb"M).

Then the discussion goes on to discuss if Yithro came before or after Matan Torah and what kind of Korbanoth he sacrificed. The answer is that he sacrificed a Shlamim because it is a bread sacrifice that the elderly came to eat with Yithro. This was the Seudah of Thanks. 

If after-he was the first one to fulfill the mitzwah of Sacrifice and Seudah mitzwah. This make sense why Yithro merited to have this Parasha with his name.