Our main subject in parasha Yitro, is of course the account of the greatest Divine revelation in history, at Mount Sinai, the 10 commandments.
Nonetheless, it begins on a note where,
Yitro, priest of Midian, has come to see how his son-in-law Moses and the people he leads are fearing.
Before we talk about this episode and what we can learn from it, let us go briefly through the 10 commandments from my point of view:
In fact parasha Yitro is the parasha of my Bar Mitzwa and I am very proud that the 10 commandments were on that day!
It was already telling me,
in straightest way possible,
that I have to keep these commandments.
Actually that WE should keep these commandments!
No messing around.
Lets start at the very beginning a very good place to start. Right?!
• Number one:
“I am the L-rd your G-d”
is very interesting because the word “your” is singular.
I am your G-D ( in singular)
who took you from the land of mitzrayim!
There is a difference than there just being a G-D and that G-D being the G-D of your life.
It might be difficult to understand but not difficult to accept the fact that there is a G-D, 1 G-D, the G-D above us, around us who plays a very important role in all of our lives.
• The second commandment
is to have no other G-ds.
Well what does that mean?
What would another G-D be?
As mentioned before, there is only 1 and He is guiding us to chose what we are going to do.
Actually, there is no other G-D!
So what pushes us to make a bad decision.
Some of our everyday false own decisions , NOT G-D's decisions, those may be financial problems, popularity, fame, facebook, computer.
• The third commandment:
is not to say Hashem’s name without meaning it.
On a different level, this teaches us to be more careful with our words.
• The 4th commandment is Shabbat.
Shabbat has always been an amazing thing for me. Shabbat is a time to wear nice clothes, eat good food, and relax with my friends, now my Family, study more,....
That brings us to commandment
Fifth commandment 5:
• honoring your parents.
Some of you (mostly kids) probably think that honoring your father and your mother is the hardest commandment to keep. I don’t agree, I think that no matter what our parents did and do, its probably for the good, believe it or not.
• #6 is
You shall not murder.
Seams pretty straightforward, right? Well what qualifies as murder?
In a metaphorical way, embarrassing someone is like killing them. You can also kill someone’s livelihood or someone’s self esteem.
So how would I bring someone back to life? Well We could make people feel good about themselves and their accomplishments and not compare their accomplishment to ours which will heighten their self esteem.
Here we are at #7
one of the most obvious commandments.
Thou shalt not have an affair with a married woman who isn’t your wife. Enough said.
What about #8,
The literal meaning of stealing is taking something without permission. I’m sure every one of you has done it. Like using something not belonging to us without permission.
Another way to steal is to steal from G-D.
The Talmud says that when you don’t say a bracha (blessing of thanks) you’re stealing from G-D. He created that thing you’re going to eat and saying a bracha is like paying him, in a way.
• Next, 9,
don’t testify falsely in court. This could also mean not to say false things about people.
Commandment number 10
is don’t be jealous. One might think, wait, don’t be jealous??
Isn’t that a human instinct?
Jealousy has been going on since cain and abel. How could We not be jealous?
So one might ask, how would I stop jealousy? Well, gratitude is a really good way to counter jealousy. If you ever feel yourself being jealous you can look at your good points and what you’ve got without comparing to other people.
Now, coming back to Yitro visiting Moses
The Torah is telling us:
It begins by telling us what Yitro heard.
It goes on to describe what Yitro saw,
and this gave him cause for concern.
He saw Moses leading the people alone. The result was bad for Moses and bad for the people. This is what Yitro said:
“ What you are doing is not good.
The work is too heavy for you;
you cannot handle it alone.
Then he continues in giving him all kind of advices , such as :
Select capable men who fear G-D
trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain,
and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.
Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, and so on and so forth....
In other words,
Moses must learn to delegate and share the burden of leadership.
Interestingly, the sentence
“What you are doing is not good (lo tov)”
Only in two places in the Torah the phrase “not good” is used.
Here and in Genesis 2:18 where we can read
“It is not good for man to be alone.”
We cannot lead alone,
we cannot live alone.
That is one of the principal of biblical customs and beliefs.
The Hebrew word for life,
is in the plural as if to signify that life is essentially shared.
the deep significance of the idea that we can neither live nor lead alone.
Judaism is not so much a faith transacted in the privacy of the believer’s soul.
It is a social faith.
It is about networks of relationship. It is about families,
and ultimately a nation,
in which each of us, great or small, has a role to play.
That is why a nation is greater than any individual, and why each of us has something to give.