Dvar for Yitro (Exodus 18:1-20:23)
Parshat Yitro contains the first time we are introduced to the ten commandments, often overshadowing other important messages conveyed in our Parsha. One such message can be found when the Torah describes the Jews leaving Rephidim and leading to Har Sinai (Mount Sinai), where they would end up accepting the Torah. Why does the Torah tell us that they left Rephidim, when it seems rather obvious that they left where they were to get to Sinai?
Rephidim was not only where the Jews were attacked by Amalek, but was also known to be the only oasis in the region, a fact Amalek used to their advantage when planning the attack on the Jews. Once the battle was over, the Jews were able to enjoy the comforts of that oasis. It is therefore important for us to know that the people were not only willing but excited to leave the comforts of their environment to accept a Torah with many unfamiliar and sometimes difficult rules and attributes. Comfort sometimes breeds complacency, a lesson easily overlooked but also a key to personal change and growth.