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This was in order to emphasize to us the importance of the mitzvot that are bein adam lechavora. Derech eretz, being a mentsch, behaving correctly towards others, is a pre-requiste to receiving the Torah. - The last mishna of the 1st chapter of pirkei avot states that the world endures on 3 things: justice, truth and peace. The Akeidat Yitzchak points out that these correspond to the 3 sections of parshat Yitro: 1) Moshe’s family and the existence of shalom bayit 2) The setting up of a justice system, spreading their shalom to the whole nation 3) The giving of the Torah. The Akeidat Yitzchak comments that the Torah is teaching us through this order, that before one can receive the Torah, one must have shalom with others. i.e. Derech eretz is a pre-requisite for receiving the Torah. - Rav Chaim Vital points out that Sefer Berishit is essentially a Sefer that teaches us derech eretz, through many stories, and the reason why the Torah chose to place the sefer of derech eretz before the giving of the Torah is that ‘derech eretz kadma laTorah’ ‘Behaving correctly towards others comes before the Torah’. Derech Eretz is a pre-requisite for receiving the Torah.

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