There are certain acts of kindness that the recipient never forgets. He regularly reflects on the kindness and seeks to emulate it.

One such kindness that I personally experienced goes back 37 years. When I was engaged, my cousin Chesky Paneth came over to me with an envelope containing $400 to treat me to my wedding suit. With a significant amount of money jingling in my pocket I went shopping with a great feeling. I picked out a beautiful suit and when I grew out of it 😊, I kept it in my closet for sentimental value. However, when a young man was in need of a nice suit I passed it on to him.

Sadly, my cousin Chesky passed away on Wednesday. May this deed and the countless deeds of Chesed and Tzadakah that he did together with his wife Tzippy, be a merit for his Neshama and be a source of comfort to his exemplary family.

In this week’s Parsha, G-d proclaimed the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai in front of the entire Jewish nation.

There were 600,000 males from the ages of 20-60 years old present at G-d’s Revelation. The number 600,000 is significant because when one encounters a gathering of 600,000 Jews, he recites a special blessing.

The Torah relates that our forefather Yaacov was given the name Yisroel. G-d calls us Bnei Yisroel – the children of Israel. Our Sages introduce us to a deeper meaning of the name Yisroel ― the acronym of five Hebrew letters of Yisroel stand for, ‘There are 600,000 letters in the Torah.’ We understand from this that every one of the 600,000 Jews have a connection to one of the 600,000 letters of the Torah.

Our Sages tell us that not only all the Jews living at the time were present at the Revelation, but all the Neshamos/souls of the future descendants were there at Mount Sinai and heard and saw G-d’s Revelation. Additionally, the souls of the future converts to Judaism were present as well.

This week’s Parsha is named after the first sincere Jewish convert, Moshe’s father-in-law, Yisro. Yisro searched for truth and meaning in life and continually wished for a relationship with G-d. He was so intrigued when he heard about the miraculous exodus of the Jews from Egypt that he traveled to the desert to fully join them.

The fourth of the Ten Commandments is to remember and observe the holy day of Shabbos. It is interesting that while the Torah writes the narrative of the Ten Commandments it uses the word Zachor – remember the day of Shabbos. Forty years later, in the Book of Deuteronomy when Moshe is reflecting on the Revelation and he reviews the event and mentions the Ten Commandments, he uses the word Shamor – observe the day of Shabbos. The question is which word did G-d proclaim, Zachor or Shamor? Our Sages explain that G-d did the miraculous at Mount Sinai – He proclaimed both words Zachor and Shamor simultaneously – an impossible feat for man to do and which could only be done by G-d.

G-d in doing so was impressing upon us that for Shabbos to be properly observed it requires the intimate embrace of that which we do to remember the enjoyable spirit of the Shabbos and also that we need to refrain from the prohibited activities in order to emulate G-d by resting on the Shabbos.

There is a Sage in the Talmud by the name of Reb Yochanan ben Turta who was a convert. Generally, a convert is called a son of our forefather Avraham. Why was he called the son of Turta? Even more puzzling is that the translation of Turta in Aramaic is a cow!

Our Sages share with us the story behind the unusual name. When Yochanan was not Jewish he purchased a cow from a Jew. Everything went well until Saturday. On Saturday the cow refused to do any work in the field. Yochanan went to the Jew from whom he purchased the cow and complained to him. The former owner went over to the cow and whispered in its ear and said, “Cow, cow! As long as you were in my possession you plowed during the week and on Shabbos you rested. However, things have changed and you are now owned by a non-Jew who is not obligated to observe Shabbos – go now and do your work! The cow listened and began working on the Shabbos.

When Yochanan saw this unfold, he thought to himself, ‘If a cow with no intellect still recognizes his creator, I, who have been created in the image of G-d and has been given intellect, should I not recognize my creator?’ He immediately began the process to convert to Judaism. He excelled and became a Sage of the Talmud and he was called, Yochanan the son of Turta/cow – which reflected on what brought him to convert to Judaism!