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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…