Yitro – Rishon

Who Says Baruch Hashem?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Moshe’s father-in-law Yisro (Jethro in English) heard about everything that G-d did in Egypt, so he went to visit his son-in-law. Moshe had previously sent his wife Tzipporah back to her father’s house, so Yisro brought her with him, as well as Moshe’s two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. Yisro sent word ahead that they were coming, so Moshe came to greet them. The two men were happy to be reunited and Moshe told him all about G-d’s deeds in Egypt, as well as what had occurred on their journey. Yisro praised G-d for all He had done for Israel; he renounced his pagan deities in favor of the One G-d. He offered sacrifices to G-d, then he was guest of honor at a banquet Moshe prepared.

An interesting observation: who would one typically expect to say “Baruch Hashem?” Jews, right? Yet only three people in the Torah use the phrase as we do: Noach (Gen. 9:26), Eliezer (Gen. 24:27) and Yisro in our parsha (Ex. 18:10) – not a Jew in the bunch! (Though Yisro subsequently converted.) If you were to do a Concordance search, you would find two other instances of “Baruch Hashem” in Chumash, though the usage in those cases is to call another person “blessed by G-d” rather than to praise G-d Himself. Even so, the people uttering the words in those instances – Lavan speaking of Eliezer and Avimelech speaking of Yitzchak – are also non-Jewish! So, while in the rest of Nach, both Jews (Dovid, Shlomo) and non-Jews (e.g., Chiram) say “Baruch Hashem,” in the Torah itself, only non-Jews use the phrase.

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