וישמע יתרו. מַה שְּׁמוּעָה שָׁמַע וּבָא? קְרִיעַת יַם סוּף וּמִלְחֶמֶת עֲמָלֵק:
וישמע יתרו AND JETHRO HEARD — What was the particular report which he heard so that he came? — The division of the Red Sea and the war with Amalek (cf. (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 18:1:1; Zevachim 116a).
יתרו. שֶׁבַע שֵׁמוֹת נִקְרְאוּ לוֹ: רְעוּאֵל, יֶתֶר, יִתְרוֹ, חוֹבָב, חֶבֶר, קֵינִי, פּוּטִיאֵל; יֶתֶר, עַל שֵׁם שֶׁיִּתֵּר פָּרָשָׁה אַחַת בַּתּוֹרָה "וְאַתָּה תֶחֱזֶה"; יִתְרוֹ, לִכְשֶׁנִּתְגַּיֵּר וְקִיֵּם הַמִּצְווֹת, הוֹסִיפוֹ לוֹ אוֹת אֶחָד עַל שְׁמוֹ; חוֹבָב, שֶׁחִבֵּב אֶת הַתּוֹרָה; חוֹבָב הוּא יִתְרוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "מִבְּנֵי חוֹבָב חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה" (שופטים ד'), וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים רְעוּאֵל אָבִיו שֶׁל יִתְרוֹ, וּמַהוּ אוֹמֵר "וַתָּבֹאנָה אֶל רְעוּאֵל אֲבִיהֶן"? שֶׁהַתִּינוֹקוֹת קוֹרִין לַאֲבִי אֲבִיהֶן אַבָּא. בְּסִפְרֵי:
יתרו JETHRO — He was called by seven names: Reuel, Jether, Jethro, Hobab, Heber, Keni and Putiel. He was called Jether (from יִתֵּר “to add”) because he added (it was through him that there was added) a section to the Torah; viz., that beginning at (21 ff.) “Moreover thou shalt provide”. Jethro — so was he called because when he became a proselyte and fulfilled the divine precepts one more letter was added to his name (יתר). Hobab — because he loved (חִבֵּב) the Torah (cf. Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 18:1:2). — Hobab is certainly identical with Jethro, as it is said, (Judges 4:11) “of the sons of Hobab, the father-in-law of Moses” and therefore it is correct to say that Hobab is one of his names. But as to Reuel there are some who say that he is not identical with Jethro, but that he was Hobab’s (Jethro’s) father, as may be seen from Numbers 10:29. Then what, according to this view, would be the meaning of (Exodus 2:18) “And they came to Reuel, their father” (from which it would appear that Reuel and Jethro are the same)? It means their grandfather, for children call their grandfather: father. This is to be found in Sifrei Bamidbar 79 (on Numbers 10:29).
חתן משה. כָּאן הָיָה יִתְרוֹ מִתְכַּבֵּד בְּמֹשֶׁה – אֲנִי חוֹתֵן הַמֶּלֶךְ, וּלְשֶׁעָבַר הָיָה מֹשֶׁה תוֹלֶה הַגְּדֻלָּה בְּחָמִיו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וַיָּשָׁב אֶל יֶתֶר חוֹתְנוֹ" (שמות ד'):
חתן משה MOSES’ FATHER-IN-LAW — Here Jethro prided himself on his relationship to Moses: I, the father-in-law of the king. Previously, however, Moses had made whatever greatness he had hinge upon his relationship to his father-in-law, the chieftain of Midian, as it is said, (Exodus 4:18) “And he returned to Jethro, his father-in-law” (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 18:1:4).
למשה ולישראל. שָׁקוּל מֹשֶׁה כְּנֶגֶד כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל (מכילתא):
למשה ולישראל TO MOSES AND TO ISRAEL — Moses alone is of equal in importance to all Israel (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 18:1:5).
את כל אשר עשה. לָהֶם בִּירִידַת הַמָּן וּבַבְּאֵר וּבַעֲמָלֵק:
את כל אשר עשה ALL THAT [GOD] HAD DONE for them through the falling of the Manna and through the well (cf. Rashi on Numbers 21:17) and by the defeat of Amalek.
כי הוציא ה' וגו'. זוֹ גְּדוֹלָה עַל כֻּלָּם (שם):
כי הוציא ה׳ וגו׳ THAT THE LORD HAD BROUGHT FORTH etc. — this was greater than all other things, and is therefore singled out for mention (cf. Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 18:1:5).