• Dvar for Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)

    Parshat Yitro describes Yitro hearing of the travels and trials of the Jews, Yitro being moved to convert, coming to Moshe for the conversion, and then leaving Moshe. If Yitro was so moved, why would he ever leave a situation where he’s surrounded by G-d, clouds, heavenly food, and Moshe as a teacher? And how could Moshe, as a leader, allow Yitro to just leave the camp? After all, he was the only Jew NOT to have witnessed the giving of the Torah.

    Rabbi Leibowitz asked this question in Majesty of Man, and answers by explaining that Yitro was SO excited and moved by G-d, the Torah and the Jews that he felt that he had to go back to his home to tell his family and friends. Yitro was willing to give up being surrounded by what he obviously believed in and WANTED to be around, just for the sake of others. If this was the determination of someone that had no responsibilities toward the people he was trying to help, how much more determination should we demonstrate when we actually HAVE a responsibility to help one another!? The Parsha is named after Yitro because he was willing to change his life for Judaism. He was so proud of it that he didn’t hide his Judaism, but went out and told others how beautiful it was. If only we expressed the “Yitro” that we undoubtedly have within us…

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Six weeks after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived in the Sinai Desert and encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moshe ascended the mountain where G‑d gave him a message to transmit to the people. Included in this message was G‑d’s designation of the Israelites as “His treasure out of all peoples” and a “kingdom of princes and a holy nation.”

    In the third month following the Exodus, on “this” day, they arrived at the Sinai Wilderness. Why “this” day, and not “that” day? The answer is because the Torah is a living guide for our lives, to be constantly rediscovered and relived. Some say that the custom that some people follow of standing for Torah reading is based on this idea. Just as the People stood at Sinai, so too do we experience anew “the standing at Har Sinai” each time we hear the words of the Torah being read to us.

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe accepts Yitro’s suggestions and selects the judges. Commentaries point out that the actual qualifications of the judges that Moshe selected were more “modest” than Yitro had recommended. In theory, the very highest caliber person should be sought after as judge. In reality, we often have to settle for the best we can find in our society. In other words, even if our current leaders don’t live up to those of our past, doesn’t mean we should respect them any less.

    Moshe sends Yitro off on his journey to Midyan (to convert his family – Rashi).

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Yitro observed Moshe adjudicating all the disputes that arose among the Israelites. Yitro suggested to Moshe that such a system, one that placed such a great burden on Moshe’s shoulders, would eventually wear him down. Instead, he advised Moshe to appoint a hierarchy of wise and righteous judges and to delegate his responsibilities—with Moshe presiding only over the most difficult cases. This would also free up Moshe’s time to teach the Israelites the teachings of the Torah that he hears from G‑d.

    Why does it take an outsider to realize that Moshe was doing things inefficiently? Many times we’re so busy getting through our lives that we fail to stop and see the bigger picture. Meanwhile, our friends and family see snapshots of our lives, and can often point out things we may not realize or notice. Such was the case with Yitro, who wasn’t caught up in the whirlwind of miracles and life-changing events. To Moshe’s credit, he realized Yitro’s suggestions were good ones, and adapted them.

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    General Overview: In this week’s Parsha, Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, Yitro, arrives at the Israelite encampment, and advises them to set up a smoothly functioning legal system. The Israelites experience the Divine revelation at Mount Sinai and hear the Ten Commandments.

    Aliya Summary: Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, having heard all the miracles that G‑d wrought for the Israelites, came from his native Midian to the Israelite desert encampment—bringing along Moshe’s wife and two sons. Moshe warmly greeted his father-in-law and recounted to him all that G‑d had done to the Egyptians. Yitro thanked G‑d for all the miracles and offered thanksgiving sacrifices.

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Chamishi (5th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe conveyed to the people G‑d’s words, who, in turn, accepted upon themselves to do all that G‑d commands of them. G‑d then instructed Moshe to have the Israelites prepare themselves, because in three days’ time He would reveal Himself atop the mountain to the entire nation. The Israelites were commanded to sanctify themselves and were warned not to approach the mountain until after the divine revelation. On the morning of the third day, thunder, lightning, a thick cloud and the piercing sound of a shofar emanated from the mountaintop. Mt. Sinai was smoking and trembling, while the sound of the shofar grew steadily louder. Moshe escorted the shuddering and frightened nation to the mountain, and settled them at its base.

    G-d tells Moshe that the People should “sanctify themselves today AND tomorrow”. It is relatively easy to sanctify oneself on the day of the great miraculous events of receiving the Torah. The challenge to each of us is to sanctify ourselves on the many tomorrows that follow. The days after the magnificent spiritual experiences. The days when our lives return to “normal” is what being a Jew is about.

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Revii (4th Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Six weeks after leaving Egypt, the Israelites arrived in the Sinai Desert and encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai. Moshe ascended the mountain where G‑d gave him a message to transmit to the people. Included in this message was G‑d’s designation of the Israelites as “His treasure out of all peoples” and a “kingdom of princes and a holy nation.”

    In the third month following the Exodus, on “this” day, they arrived at the Sinai Wilderness. Why “this” day, and not “that” day? The answer is because the Torah is a living guide for our lives, to be constantly rediscovered and relived. Some say that the custom that some people follow of standing for Torah reading is based on this idea. Just as the People stood at Sinai, so too do we experience anew “the standing at Har Sinai” each time we hear the words of the Torah being read to us.

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Moshe accepts Yitro’s suggestions and selects the judges. Commentaries point out that the actual qualifications of the judges that Moshe selected were more “modest” than Yitro had recommended. In theory, the very highest caliber person should be sought after as judge. In reality, we often have to settle for the best we can find in our society. In other words, even if our current leaders don’t live up to those of our past, doesn’t mean we should respect them any less.

    Moshe sends Yitro off on his journey to Midyan (to convert his family – Rashi).

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

    Aliya Summary: Yitro observed Moshe adjudicating all the disputes that arose among the Israelites. Yitro suggested to Moshe that such a system, one that placed such a great burden on Moshe’s shoulders, would eventually wear him down. Instead, he advised Moshe to appoint a hierarchy of wise and righteous judges and to delegate his responsibilities—with Moshe presiding only over the most difficult cases. This would also free up Moshe’s time to teach the Israelites the teachings of the Torah that he hears from G‑d.

    Why does it take an outsider to realize that Moshe was doing things inefficiently? Many times we’re so busy getting through our lives that we fail to stop and see the bigger picture. Meanwhile, our friends and family see snapshots of our lives, and can often point out things we may not realize or notice. Such was the case with Yitro, who wasn’t caught up in the whirlwind of miracles and life-changing events. To Moshe’s credit, he realized Yitro’s suggestions were good ones, and adapted them.

  • Daily Aliya for Yitro, Rishon (1st Aliya)

    General Overview: In this week’s Parsha, Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, Yitro, arrives at the Israelite encampment, and advises them to set up a smoothly functioning legal system. The Israelites experience the Divine revelation at Mount Sinai and hear the Ten Commandments.

    Aliya Summary: Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, having heard all the miracles that G‑d wrought for the Israelites, came from his native Midian to the Israelite desert encampment—bringing along Moshe’s wife and two sons. Moshe warmly greeted his father-in-law and recounted to him all that G‑d had done to the Egyptians. Yitro thanked G‑d for all the miracles and offered thanksgiving sacrifices.

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