Monday, January 28, 2013

"Sharing The Load" Parashat Yitro






This week’s portion, Yitro, was named after Moses’ father-in-law. It’s the portion of the "Giving of the Torah". That’s THE most defining moment in the life of the Children of Israel. Why then, would it be named after Moses’ father-in-law, who wasn’t even Jewish? As the Israelites made it to freedom out of Egypt, Yitro had been keeping a close watch on Moses’ wife and children, so that Moses was about to do his job. When Yitro finally arrived at Moses’ tent, Moses greeted him and filled him in on what had been going on with the Israelite community. Yitro was in awe of Moses’ stamina and the heroism of the Israelite people. He proclaimed: “Baruch Hu”..”Blessed be God”. Yitro was pretty impressed with the work that Moses had done within the community. He watched him act as Judge among the people and settle their disputes, but he grew concerned. He was working day and night.  Yitro asked him why he was doing this alone. He was concerned that he would wear himself out, and also the patience of the people. Yitro told to Moses: “The task is too heavy, you cannot do this alone” and he advised and helped him set up a system of lower courts to hear the smaller disputes. What a great idea!
“You shall seek of the entire nation exceptional people, who fear God, people of truth, who despise greed.” (Exodus 18:21) 
 Sometimes it’s hard to delegate. It didn’t seem to occur to Moses that he could share the burden and the decision making with others in the community, and they'd be happy to help. But, Yitro’s advice allowed Moses to grow as a leader. Perhaps, we read about Yitro’s great insight right before we read about the giving of the Torah because its important for us to realize that not only do we learn from the Torah, but we learn from each other, and that's pretty important.

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