First Yisro says:

וְאַתָּה תֶחֱזֶה מִכָּל הָעָם (1)אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל (2)יִרְאֵי אֱ־לֹהִים (3)אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת (4)שֹׂנְאֵי בָצַע וְשַׂמְתָּ עֲלֵהֶם

Then when He selected it says he got:

וַיִּבְחַר מֹשֶׁה אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל מִכָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל

Why did Moshe lower qualifications from 4 to 1?

  • The Latin word virtue, for instance, comes from vir, meaning male, whose main characteristic is that of (physical) strength, which attribute latter came to encompass moral strength as well. Something similar is happening here to the Hebrew word חַיִל, whose basic meaning is that of force, strength, or power, and which can be understood either as able bodied, or of unimpeachable character, or both. In the latter two cases, the last three qualifications act as explanations, rather than additions, to the first or main concept.
    – user18041
    Commented Jul 15, 2019 at 12:00

5 Answers 5


Rashi states in Devarim Chapter 1, Verse 15:

אנשים חכמים וידועים: אבל נבונים לא מצאתי. זו אחת משבע מדות שאמר יתרו למשה ולא מצא אלא שלש, אנשים צדיקים, חכמים וידועים:

According to Rashi, it would seem that Moshe was only able to find men with some of the traits and not all of them. Yisro was identifying the ideal candidate. However, as we know in life, we don't always get the ideal candidate.

  • Thanks! Nice to find someone like Rashi addressing the difficulties you have.
    – RCW
    Commented Jan 26, 2011 at 7:44

The Even Ezra says that the qualification of Anshei Chayil is the only one that can be verified. The other qualifications can be faked.

  • 1
    Moshe is a navi of the higest form,and has an Aspaklaria Meirah and can ask Hashem, so I am not sure i understand that answer? I realize your just writing what he says but its a shavacha Teretz Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 0:15
  • Nevertheless, אין לדיין אלא מה שעיניו רואות. Moshe may know with Ruach Hakodesh (or rather, nevuah) who is and isn't worthy, but for purposes of Torah judgment he has to use his regular faculties like anyone else.
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 1:10
  • 1
    It is not Torah judgment though is a character test he is not serving on a din Torah here Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 4:10
  • Okay, but you still can't choose dayanim based on nevuah (or at least Ibn Ezra seems to be saying you can't).
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 22:12
  • 1
    Where does it say you can not use Nevuah in Fact to find out a Mitziyus you can use a Navi for example to find your Donkey here we are checking the qualifications a Meyiyus You can use a Navi for that purpouse. Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 3:23

The Nataeh Eisan answers based on the Medrash that says that the Maan fell for Tzaddikim and the sick at their doors. An the non righteous had to go collect from afar. The sickly also received it at their door. so all Moshe had to do was check if he was an Ish Chayil meaning was he Healthy and the rest was observable based on where the maan fell so really they were all those things, but all he had to Pick was אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל.


Reb Shloime of Vilna gives a different answer. He says that a convert can not be a Judge. Therefore all the people Moshe could Hire as Judges where born Jews that got out of Mitzrayim and hence righteous so the Prefab had all the other qualifications just אַנְשֵׁי חַיִל which Rashi says means Rich so they would not need others money. Yisro did not know this halacha as he said מִכָּל הָעָם including the Erev Rav Hence he had four qualification and Moshe needed only one.


The Shaare Aron In Devarim 1:15, brings from the Imrei Shefer, and the Emek Hanetziv, that the Sefer Hazikaron (sounds like a Rishon so I guess the Ritv"a?) says "Anshei Chayil" is a general term that includes the other three qualifications, and is not a separate qualification by itself.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .