וַיִּשְׁמַע יִתְרוֹ. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: וּבְכֵן רָאִיתִי רְשָׁעִים קְבֻרִים וָבָאוּ וְגוֹ' (קהלת ח, י). וְכִי יֵשׁ רְשָׁעִים קְבוּרִים בָּאִים וּמְהַלְּכִים. רַבִּי סִימוֹן אוֹמֵר: אֵלּוּ הָרְשָׁעִים שֶׁהֵן מֵתִים וְכִקְבוּרִין בְּחַיֵּיהֶן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כָּל יְמֵי רָשָׁע הוּא מִתְחוֹלֵל (איוב טו, כ). מַה הוּא מִתְחוֹלֵל? מֵת חוֹלֵל. Now Jethro heard (Exod. 18:1). Scripture states elsewhere in reference to this verse: And so I saw the wicked buried, and they came into their rest; but they that had done right went away from the holy place, and were forgotten in the city; this also is vanity (Eccles. 8:10). Is it really so that wicked buried come and go at will? R. Simon declared: These are the wicked, who are considered as dead and buried while still living, as it is said: The wicked man travails with pain all his days (Job 15:20). What is the meaning of mitholel (“travails with pain”)? The wicked man, even in his lifetime, is considered as met (“dead”) and halal (“slain”) even while alive.
דָּבָר אַחֵר וּבְכֵן רָאִיתִי רְשָׁעִים קְבֻרִים וָבָאוּ (קהלת ח, י), הַכָּתוּב מְדַבֵּר בְּגֵרִים שֶׁבָּאִים וְעוֹשִׂין תְּשׁוּבָה. וּמִמָּקוֹם קָדוֹשׁ יְהַלֵּכוּ (קהלת ח, י), אֵלּוּ בָּתֵּי כְּנֵסִיּוֹת וּבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת. Another explanation of I saw the wicked buried, and they entered into their rest.1Where they strengthened their faith. Cf. Ecclesiastes Rabbah 10:1. Scripture speaks here of the proselytes who come to repent. And went away from the holy places alludes to the synagogues and the houses of study (they visited).
דָּבָר אַחֵר, וּמִמָּקוֹם קָדוֹשׁ יְהַלֵּכוּ, מִמָּקוֹם שֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל נִקְרָאוּ קְדוֹשִׁים שָׁם הֵם מְהַלְּכִין, וְיִשְׁתַּכְּחוּ בָּעִיר אֲשֶׁר כֵּן עָשׂוּ (קהלת ח, י). יִשְׁתַּכְּחוּ מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם הָרָעִים. דָּבָר אַחֵר, יִשְׁתַּכְּחוּ שֶׁהֵן מִשְׁתַּכְּחִין בְּמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם הַטּוֹבִים, גַּם זֶה הֶבֶל, אֵין זֶה הָבֶל שֶׁאֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם רוֹאִין אוֹתָן מִתְגַּיְּרִין תַּחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה. רוֹאִין אוֹתָן וְאֵינָן מִתְגַּיְּרִין, גַּם זֶה הָבֶל. מִי הוּא זֶה שֶׁבָּא וְנִתְגַּיֵּר וְהָיָה גֵּר שֶׁל אֱמֶת. זֶה יִתְרוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיִּשְׁמַע יִתְרוֹ. Another comment on went away from the holy places. From the place where Israel was designated as holy (i.e., Mount Sinai), thence they go (i.e., their souls were at Sinai during the giving of the Torah). And were forgotten in the city all that they did implies that all their wicked deeds were ignored in the city. Another comment (on) were forgotten. They were found through their good deeds.2The word shakhah means both “to forget” (in Hebrew) and “to find” (in Aramaic). This also is vanity. It is not vanity when the inhabitants of the world see them as they seek to enter under the wings of the Shekhinah through conversion, but if they see them and they fail to be converted, this is vanity. Who was it that came to be converted and was a sincere proselyte? It was Jethro, as it is said: Now Jethro heard.