Rashi says on "ויהי למחרת" - the incident took place day after Yom Kippur's, right when he came down Mt Sinai, so it was Moses' first day of actually judging people.

How did Yotroh get such a fast impression of an inevitable failure on the very first day, and how did Moses agree so fast?

Keep in mind that Hashem testifies on Moses that even 40 years later "ומשה בן מאה ועשרים שנה במתו לא כהתה עינו ולא נס לחה" - absolutely no signs of "wear-and-tear". So seemingly he could withstand any kind of workload.


The Torah does not say that it was his first day judging. (Edit: In fact, many mefarshim go out of their way to note that it was not his first day, (e.g. Ibn Ezra linked below).)

However, this is a valid question about Yisro making a decision based on one day (or two), due to the fact that according to some Mefarshim, (e.g. Ibn Ezra to Shemos 18:13), Yisro had only arrived the previous day.

However, we can answer in two ways:

  1. That he saw such a terrible situation, even one day was enough (I'm sure you can imagine a scene where Moshe has thousands of people waiting for him).

  2. Yisro simply heard/found out that this was a daily occurence, as it would likely have been quite common knowledge.

(Also, Moshe would have told him if it was just a one-day occurence, rather than admit that this was happening and likely to continue, which is why Yisro tells him he will get worn out - obviously he is aware that this will continue.)

  • I think that it was easy for Yitro to infer that this was a daily occurrence without asking others. Moshe's answer to Yitro when he says, "people come to me to have their cases settled..." I think from that answer as well as just visibly seeing the line of people waiting for Moshe all day, makes it a fairly easy deduction. – DanF Feb 5 '18 at 22:52
  • @DanF In, Hachi Nami, that was partially my intention when I added my last line (the one in brackets). The only reason why I didn't write that is because it's possible that when Yisro first asked Moshe what he was doing it was because he (Yisro) already had the plan in mind, in which case, we can't attribute his (Yisro's) knowledge of this to Moshe's answer. Great point though! – רבות מחשבות Feb 5 '18 at 22:56
  • I see nobody's willing to dig deeper. Actually, anything you say turns against Moses and the presumption of "all-knowing" and "tear and wear" proof, as Hashem Himself testifies "ומשה בן מאה ועשרים שנה במתו לא כהתה עינו ולא נס לחה", he was an all-Torah-knowing super-human. Looks like nobody can hold both ends simultaneously. – Al Berko Feb 7 '18 at 0:38
  • @AlBerko I don't at all understand your problem with this. However, Leshitascha, Moshe here was limited by the askers, so even if/though he was superhuman etc, he still couldn't process the necessary amount of people due to the time that they needed. – רבות מחשבות Feb 7 '18 at 2:58

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