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Rachael Jackson Parsha Yitro Top Ten

HUC-Feb 2, 2013 Page 1 of 2


Top Ten things I love about Parsha Yitro!

Todays lesson is brought to you by the number ten. These are the Top Ten Things I like about Parsha
Yitro. And they are:

Number 10
Perhaps where Emily Post got her start for some of the first Rules of etiquette. We read in Exodus 18:6
that we have to write or announce (and maybe even call or text nowadays) before we come over, just as
Jethro did before he came to visit Moses.

Number 9
Or we should we say, Moses Father-in-law came. We also learn that we should be addressed only in
relation to the person who is the most important. Jethro is constantly referred to as either Jethro,
Moses Father-in-law, or even more direct as just Moses Father-in-Law. He goes so far as to call himself
I, Jethro, Moses Father-in-Law when he is speaking to others. This happens over twelve times in only
27 verses. [18:1,2,5,6,8,12,12,14,16,17,24,27]. This tradition carries on into today; think about that the
next time you introduce yourself to someone.

Number 8
In the corresponding Haftarah, we meet angels, who have six wingsa pair to cover their face (so as not
to see the Divine as Rashi suggests), a pair to cover their feet and a pair with which to fly. The familiar
line in the kedusha, Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh, Adonai tzvaot mlo chol ha-aretz, kvodo comes from
this portion.

Number 7
I love this parsha because it tells us what to do when the in-laws visit! Embrace them, listen to their
advice and then.send them away, for we read that: Vayishlach moshe et-Chot-nu : Moses sends his
father-in-law away [in Exodus 18:27].

Number 6
The saying: Ill believe it when I see it as it pertains to the Israelites, who reeh, or see, thunder and the
sounds of the horns. But then they got scared, and they said they all they wanted to do was to listen.
From this, we can see that maybe faith comes from what cannot be seen or held or analyzed, but rather
by those things which are heard, are experienced, are felt.

Number 5
Each of us has to follow our own paths, but that doesnt mean the paths have to be perfectly parallel to
one another, never intersecting. Jethro and Moses are two such people who must walk their own paths.
There are moments, however, when those journeys intersect. Rather than see those points of
connection as a source of contention, our parsha offers that they can be times of blessing, of benefit,
and of bounty.

Number 4
You can use the following joke: You go to a party and there are many new faces. Over a cup of punch,
someone asks to you Did you go to Brandeis? A little confused, you respond with No, I went to NYU;
Oh, then we must have met at the NFTY conference years ago, the stranger retorts. Nope, wasnt me,
must be someone else, you say awkwardly. I know, we met at Sinai!

Rachael Jackson Parsha Yitro Top Ten
HUC-Feb 2, 2013 Page 2 of 2
Number 3
Where the idea of opera came from: the first two utterances were spoken together, like this:

Person 1: And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the
land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Person 2: You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or
any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water
under the earth
How else can we explain the phenomenon of people talking concurrently with horns (and other
instruments) blasting too?

Number 2
The instructions are laid out for setting up a judicial system and how it ought to function.
Jethro tells Moses
You cant be the only judge
Its too exhausting
Delegate the work
Appoint judges for thousands,
Hundreds, fifties, tens

Instead of Moses handling all the peoples disputes himself, Jethro tells Moses to appoint chiefs and
establish a hierarchy of others who can help make the decisionsto give power to the peopletrust
them. Show them that Moses is not the only conduit to God, but that they themselves can seek God too.

And the Number 1 reason I like Parsha Yitro: The Ten Commandments!
Presented here in Haiku:

Big day at Sinai
G-d is giving all of us
The Ten Commandments

One God, no idols
Dont swear, remember Shabbat
Honor your parents

Dont murder, dont cheat
No stealing, and no lying
Last thing dont covet

First four commandments
Focus on relationships
Between man* and God

Numbers six through ten
Focus on relationships
Between man* and man*

The fifth commandment
Says we should honor parents
They are Gods partners


Thank you! Shabbat Shalom!