Newsletter #5, 2015

Parshah Yitro יתרו (Exodus 18:1-20:23)

Jethro, Moises´ father-in-law comes from Midian, yitrowhere he is a priest, to the Israelite encampment, bringing with him Seforá, Moses’ wife and his two sons: Gershom and Eliezer. But this Torah portion begins with the Hebrew words “Vaishmá Yitro” (and Yitro listened), “heard all that God had done for Moses and for Israel”. Jethro listened and believed, for he did not need anything more than faith at that moment, the mystery of faith, similar to the mystery of love. How can you explain it? The importance of this Torah portion, as well as the delivered Tables of the Law, teach us the mystery of faith, just by listening, the “cohen gadol” of Midian Jethro, land of idolatry, believed and became a proselyte, after Moises recounted “all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians on account of Israel.” He did not need to see it or to prove it before his own eyes, “[Thereupon,] Jethro said, “Blessed is the Lord, Who has rescued you from the hands of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh.” The mystery of faith: Jethro did not need to see to believe, just listening (Vaishmah Ytro), a great lesson for us who are constantly asking God for proof of His existence and all that is necessary when our faith falters is listen to the teachings of the Torah, and if it is not enough to listen, just contemplating nature and to see the marvels of creation: the mystery of faith.
Jethro, after listening to Moises relate the punishment at the hands of the Egyptians, understood that only the Creator could have done these extraordinary deeds of modifying nature, that is why he said, “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the deities, for with the thing that they plotted, [He came] upon them.”
The parshah continues, and Jethro advises Moises to name leaders, “But you shall choose out of the entire nation men of substance, God fearers” to help in governing and the administrative tasks of justice.
God communicated to the sons of Israel as they were camped at the front of Mt. Sinai that they have been chosen as “a kingdom of princes”, and they all respond, “All that the Lord has spoken we shall do!”
On the sixth of Sivan, seven weeks after the beginning of the Exodus, the entire nation of Israel reunited at the foot of Mt. Sinai. God descended over the mountain in the midst of thunder, lightning, a thick cloud and sounds of the shofar, and ordered Moses to ascend. God proclaimed the Ten Commandments, ordering the nation of Israel to believe in God, to not idol false gods, to not mention the name of God in vain, to observe Shabbat, to honor their parents, to not kill, to not commit adultery, to not rob, to not give false testimony nor covet your neighbor´s property.
The nation made it known to Moses that the revelation was too much for them to handle and they ask him to receive the Torah and then communicate it to them.
Shabbat Shalom ~~~~~~~~ Yosef Rajmiel

 

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