Yitro - 6 Questions on What Yitro Really Heard

The parshah starts with:
Now Moshe's father in law, Yitro, the chieftain of Midian, heard all that G-d had done for Moshe and for Israel, His people that the Lord had taken Israel out of Egypt.
Shmot 18:1
וַיִּשְׁמַע יִתְרוֹ כֹהֵן מִדְיָן חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֱ־לֹהִים לְמֹשֶׁה וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵל עַמּוֹ כִּי הוֹצִיא יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרָיִםשמות יח:א
A short while later another similar verse comes up.
Moshe told his father in law [about] all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians on account of Israel, [and about] all the hardships that had befallen them on the way, and [that] the Lord had saved them.
Shmot 18:8
וַיְסַפֵּר מֹשֶׁה לְחֹתְנוֹ אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְ־קוָ־ק לְפַרְעֹה וּלְמִצְרַיִם עַל אוֹדֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל הַתְּלָאָה אֲשֶׁר מְצָאָתַם בַּדֶּרֶךְ וַיַּצִּלֵם יְ־קוָ־ק
שמות יח:א
Yitro Heard
The first question that comes up is, what did Yitro hear? According to Rashi:
What news did he [Yitro] hear that [made such an impression that] he came? The splitting of the Red Sea and the war with Amalek. — [from Zev. 116a, and Mechilta, combining the views of Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Eliezer]

6 Questions
The Kli Yakar raises a number of questions around the opening verse (Shmot 18:1).

  1. Why does the latter verse occur, having Moshe explain to Yitro what happened, isn't it repeating what Yitro already heard (knew)?
  2. Why does the first verse (Shmot 18:1) refer to Moshe and Yisrael, while the latter verse (Shmot 18:8) refers to Pharaoh and the Egyptians?
  3. Why does the first verse (Shmot 18:1) use the name of G-d as Elokim (the name of divine judgement) while the latter verse (Shmot 18:8) uses the name of G-d as the YUD KAY VUV KAY (the name of divine mercy)?
  4. Why does the first verse (Shmot 18:1) refer to Moshe and Yisrael, while the latter verse (Shmot 18:9)  refers to just Yisrael
  5. Why does Yitro only declare that he is happy in the verse "Jethro was happy about all the good that the Lord had done for Israel...." (Shmot 18:9) following what Moshe told him, rather than earlier (Shmot 18:1) when Yitro 'heard' the news of what G-d had done for the Jewish people?
  6. Why does Moshe have to tell anything to Yitro (Shmot 18:8) when in the opening verses (Shmot 18:1) he knows that "...that the Lord had taken Israel out of Egypt"? 
Intro: The Power of Tzadikim and Belief in Duality
Before addressing these questions, the Kli Yakar explains that several concepts must be laid out, in order to properly address these questions. 
  1. Tzadikim have the power the to change and influence, so much so, that they can change 'din' (divine judgement) into a situation of mercy. Likewise, inherently evil individuals can perform the opposite influence, changing mercy into 'din' (divine judgement).
  2. There exists a philosophy based on the idea that there are dual forces in the world: a force that governs all that is good in the world, and a separate force that is the master of all evil in the world.
The Other Side of the Story
The Kli Yakar explains that from Yitro's point of view he had only heard about certain events, namely the splitting of the Red Sea and the victory in the war with Amalek. These were great things to attribute to Hashem, but he wasn't convinced that Hashem was the sole arbiter and power over everything in the world. Yitro still held to his belief in duality, that a power controlled the good and a separate power governed evil. It was only when Yitro had Moshe tell him, that he heard the other side of the story. 
He heard that not only did Hashem split the Red Sea for the Jews and allow them to walk across a dry sea bed, but Hashem also closed the sea together, drowning and destroying the pursuant Egyptians.
This explains questions #1, #2, #5, and #6. 

Answer to Question #1
Moshe didn't repeat things that Yitro already knew, rather he brought clarity and filled Yitro in on aspects of events he wasn't familiar with, impacting Yitro's world-view. 

Answer to Question #2
This is why in Moshe's explanation, Moshe refers to Pharaoh and the Egyptians (as opposed to Moshe and the Yisrael). Moshe is emphasizing the bad circumstances that befell  Pharaoh and the Egyptians, instigated by G-d.

Answer to Question #5
This is why Yitro declares that he is happy only AFTER he had these events explained to him by Moshe. After Moshe gives Yitro the big picture can he say with conviction that he is wholeheartedly committed to the Jewish people and to Hashem, as the sole power holding influence over the world.

Answer to Question #6
Following Moshe's clarifications, Yitro better understood what was the nature of the exodus of the Jewish People from Egypt. He saw that it wasn't just a one-sided event, totally in favor of  saving the Jewish People, but it was also an event that saw the destruction of the Egyptians. 

Measure for Measure
The Kli Yakar continues saying, even these explanations did no resolve Yitro's doubts concerning dual powers in the world, what he learned from Moshe definitely put everything into a new perspective. He now saw the amazing and good powers like splitting the sea and taking the Jewish People out of Egypt, had a contra, a spiritual opposite. He also saw that the bad and destructive events that befell the Egyptians did not operate independently. These events were in retribution, measure for measure, for the hardships that they put the Jewish People under. Everything operated in harmony. Had dual powers been at play, then Yitro would not have seen any connection between the destruction levied against the Egyptians and salvation in turn delivered to the Jewish People.

The Power of the Tzadik
Concerning the remaining questions, the Kli Yakar explains that the Tzadik has the power to change divine judgement to a situation deserving of mercy. 

Answer to Question #4
The first verse (Shmot 18:1) refers to Moshe and Yisrael in relation to the Exodus, showing that Moshe was the determining element that brought about the departure from Egypt. It was the basis of Moshe's merits that the Jewish People were able to be redeemed, for on their merit's alone they would not have been worthy. While later in the verse that Moshe explains events to Yitro (Shmot 18:8), Moshe is describing the actual departure from Egypt, not the motivating factors for allowing the Jews to leave. The Jewish People were the ones that actually left Egypt. Moshe was never in servitude.

Answer to Question #5
This also explains the use of different names for G-d. The name of divine judgement is used in the beginning, but we see that the presence of the Tzadik, Moshe, in the opening verse (Shmot 18:1) changes this to the name of mercy later (Shmot 18:8). 

The Lure of Duality 
The Kli Yakar explores further the underlying dilemma that befell Yitro. There are powerful elements and beliefs lobbying for the belief in separate and dual powers for good and evil in the world. It is a profound theological and philosophical challenge to attribute bad events to the same G-d that we pray to everyday for our sustenance and for support. For some this is a big concept to grasp.

The Kli Yakar explains how this issue is present in halachah. The Gemorrah in Mesechet Brechot says:
Come and hear: ‘In the morning, if one commenced with [the intention to say] "Who formest light" and finished with "Who bringest on the evening twilight", he has not performed his obligation; 
Brechot 12A (Soncino Edition)
For the blessings on reading the Shma, the blessing starts off with saying 'Yotzar Or' and 'Boray Hoshech' (creates the light and produces darkness). We praise Hashem for being the source of two opposite powers in the world. The ruling in halacha in clear (Shulchan Orach - Orach Haim 59:2), if just one of these phrases is used, either 'creates light' or 'produces darkness', then the blessing is incomplete, and insufficient. 

We are reminded regularly that our belief in G-d and our faith is open to tests, and even when bad things happen we still must see this as part of, and not separate from, G-d and the powers and role He plays in the world.

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