Texts: Exodus 18:1-20:23 || Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-9:6
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavours to search for and accentuate the Torah Messages contained in the Parashot as applicable to the main Theme of Tanach of the Return of the House of Israel, i.e. the Lost Ten Tribes of Northern Israel and their Reconciliation with Judah to form the reunited 12-Tribed Kingdom of Israel.
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DISCLAIMER – The authors whom we quote from for this Commentary are not associated with KOL HA’TOR and need not agree with our views expressed herein or in our other publications. While we publish their views for its relative value to the interpretation of the Parashah, KOL HATOR does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these authors.
No doubt, the two outstanding directives from our last few commentaries were:
- the need for UNITY amongst HaShem’s People, and
- the need to open our perspectives, to broaden our expectancies, to release ourselves from the self-imposed bondage of restrictive election of prospective leadership role players and co-citizens of His Kingdom.
This all works towards Unity, which establishes Peace in Zion – which will cause His Shechinah Presence to return for all nations to behold!
We have seen how the great Moshe, who came to the Israelites in Egyptian bondage as their redeemer, came as a foreigner from a foreign land, Midian, where he lived all his life after fleeing Egypt where he grew up in the Palace of the Pharaoh. Moshe married the daughter of a Midianite Priest! Imagine if Jewish society today must consider accepting a religious leader with such a non-Jewish pro-file!?
Then we read about Yosef – another great leader and sustainer of Israel. He also spent a great part of his life in Egypt where he became a top official of the Pharaoh.
This week’s Parashah opens with (and is even named after) an even more ‘strange character’ – a real ‘goyish one’ at that: Yithro, the wise Midianite Priest, an idol worshipper who at one time was one of the three top advisors of the Egyptian Pharaoh. He was the father-in-law of Moshe.
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He now steps forward and advises even Moshe, who was called by HaShem for leading and teaching the Hebrew nation, on how to do his job of executing justice over the nation by appointing assistant judges.
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky, Shlita Dean, (www.yadavraham.org) in his Parashat Yithro Commentary, writes as follows about Yithro:
“Chazal tell us that Yithro had worshiped every deity in existence and ultimately concluded that they were all false and there was only One G-d. Despite the ridicule of his community, Yithro remained firm in his belief. He was not willing to compromise on his characteristic of truth for the sake of acceptance. Through the process of searching for truth, he had honed and perfected his capacity for truth. Thus, when he had heard of the events of the splitting of the sea and the war against the Amalekites, he recognized G-d as the Omnipotent Being. When he had heard what had been done to Amalek, who was truly evil, he chose to become part of the Jewish people regardless of the degree of sacrifice.”
According to Jewish tradition, Yothro did convert to Judaism with his whole family.
We have here, in the character sketch of Yithro, a perfect metaphor of re-identifying 10-Israel (‘Ephraim’) which is currently arising all across the globe (in fulfillment of Ezekiel’s Prophecy of the Dry Bones which come together and receive life and Spirit – Ezek. 37:1-14).
- searchers after Truth,
- recognizing the One True God of the Hebrews,
- realizing that they have been chained to pagan religion all their life,
- acting on the Truth that they have come to realize,
- not considering the ridicule of his/her religious community from which they exit themselves for the sake of Truth,
- forfeiting even their own family ties and national identity in the process, in order to identify with the G-d of the Hebrews and His People.
– and Yithro then sets the trend, the only logic and essential solution, to fully identify with the nation and System of this Great G-d of Israel by converting – just like Ruth whom we read about later in Scripture.
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky writes regarding the opening words of our Parasha when Yithro came to Moshe with Moshe’s wife and sons:
“The Torah states, “Yithro, the Priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moshe, heard everything that G-d said to Moshe and to Israel” Rashi cites Chazal, “What did Yisro hear that caused him to abandon all of his glory to join the Jewish people in the desert? The splitting of the Sea and the battle against the Amalekites.” Upon hearing these events, Yithro was affected to the degree that he chose to abandon his life’s accomplishments to become part of the Jewish people.”
Can, will Judah today accept re-awakening Ten Tribers that come to them to be part of the Jewish religion and the Jewish nation – to worship the Great G-d of Israel? We read how Yithro was accepted by the Israelites:
Exod. 18:12: “…Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat a meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of G-d.”
Yithro was one of a minority in the world who acted on his new-found faith. The surrounding nations heard about the Miracles that the G-d of Israel performed to free His Nation – imagine, the Egyptian Army drowned in the same sea that the Israelites had just passed through miraculously! But, they did not come to join the Hebrew nation. The Amalekites knew also – but, they attacked the Nation in Exodus from Egypt.
We see it all around us today. Notwithstanding the fact that no nation yet could destroy the Jews, while many of those nations disappeared from history. The nations almost without exception today, oppose Jewish Israel and work against it.
Since Egyptian times the nations have not relented from their rejection of this ‘People of God’. But, the wise Yithro’s will always be there – according to Prophecy, a vast masse of people who will come to realize Truth and who will identify with Judah (the Jews) to form a mighty Nation which will settle within the Biblical borders of the Promised Land – a land mass far larger than the current ‘Land of Israel’, as we will see from next week’s Parashah. This extended Land area is known in Israel as ‘The Greater Israel‘, a term which the government of Israel does NOT approve of for it risks creating an international political Time Bomb.
The Return of the Ten Tribes of Israel is a topic well acknowledged in Judaism, by most of its spiritual leaders. The reality of such a Return, however, poses a serious threat to the leaders of Judaism and is a highly disliked concept amongst the Jewish nation of Israel. The potential reality of such an awakening posed by the current vibrant and fast increasing Hebrew Roots Restoration Movement across the world, threatens Israel and Jewry for several reasons:
- They mirror and embody a ‘Yithroh pagan priest’ body which, in Jewish tradition, is unacceptable for Jews to be mixing with;
- Their huge numbers pose a distinct and overwhelming threat to Judaism which has traditionally been targeted for extinction by its secular enemies and for overwhelming and conversion to anti-Torah faiths by religious factions;
- The specter of a ‘Greater Israel’ is simply an unacceptable, far fetched and absurd consideration for Israel, which at this time cannot even solve the problem of settling the current Israel land mass. This, due greatly to the demographic factor of an insufficient Jewish population size.
- It threatens an international political Time Bomb. Under Arab influence, the major part of the world already begrudges the Jews ownership of current tiny Israel, West of the Jordan River. Compared with the borders set by the Bible for a ‘Greater Israel’, required to settle the “uncountable numbers of people from all nations” promised by G-d to Avraham, current Israel is but the size of a nature reserve in the Greater Israel area. Imagine the world’s rejection of the idea that the “Real Israel” comprises “all of modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Iraq, as well as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen most of Turkey and all the land east of the Nile river.” (Wikipedia on ‘Greater Israel’).
A ‘Yithro’ who is subservient to the Torah
As a metaphor representing the Ten Tribes, Yithro sets an important example that re-identifying Ten Tribers should seriously take note of:
He does NOT try to overwhelm Moshe with his pagan theology – as Ten Tribers so often wish to do, coming from a religious culture which taught them that it is their spiritual responsibility and ‘duty’ to ‘save’ Jews.
To the contrary: listen to Yithro’s advice, as an informed advisor from the ruling court of the Pharaoh of the world’s super power of those times:
Exodus 18:20 “Teach them (the Hebrew nation) G-d’s Decrees and Instructions, and show them the Way they are to live and how they are to behave. 24 Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.”
Exod. 19:3, “Moses went up to G-d, and HaShem called to him from the mountain and said, ‘This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob (12 Tribes) and what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now if you obey Me fully and keep My Covenant, then out of all nations you will be My treasured Possession.“
Is HaShem not carrying re-identifying 10 Tribers who are returning to Torah in these Times of the Second Exodus, miraculously “on eagles’ wings?” Is He not returning them to Himself, as He promised through ancient Prophets? Has He not miraculously reconciled them to His Covenant – returned them to their ancient Hebraic Roots?
Now if you obey Him fully and keep His Covenant, then He will surely also bring you into the Land as He has promised?
With the above guidelines set, we leave readers to draw their own inspiration from the Haftarah – while we will simply close with this final guiding reprimand from the portion:
Go and tell this people:
Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.
Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.
Yithro heard, Yithro perceived – he understood with his heart. He turned and became healed.
He joined the Family of HaShem!