Posted by: mosesfromsinai | January 27, 2013

Yisro – Moshe’s Father-in-law

This week’s Torah Reading is Yisro – Moshe’s Father-in-law.

The 10 Commandments are given in this week’s Torah Reading and yet the portion for the week is not called the Aseret Hadeebrot – The Ten Commandments.  Why was the name for the Torah Reading, Yisro, chosen?

We are told that he converted and gave Moshe advice in how Moshe should teach and conduct his affairs.  This is certainly valid and positive.  Yet perhaps there is one more reason we could add.

We are told by tradition that Yisro was once an advisor to Pharoh in Egypt.  Pharoh had asked for advice on how to deal with the Jews.  (This would become our history throughout our wanderings – leaders asking how to deal with the Jews).  Yisro was the advisor who spoke against harsh treatment but had to flee as his opinion was rejected.  (Perhaps the wicked learned not to speak nicely about the Jews as a result of Yisro’s outcome in Egypt).

However, this was a very positive act on Yisro’s part.  It also teaches us that even when a situation is problematic we must stand up for what is right.  The pre requisite of receiving the Torah was based on Naaseh ViNishma – We Will Do and Understand.  This is a commitment to do what the Al-mighty asks of us, knowing that it is ultimately the right thing even if we do not as yet understand.  We Will Do comes first then followed by Understand.

Yisro was a man who acted on what was right, even if it may mean hardship for him.  This indeed proved to be correct as he fled Egypt afterwards.  Torah requires Yisro’s strength to do what is right.  This attitude is a priority upon which Torah is based.

Perhaps this then is also a reason that the Torah Reading, that contains the 10 Commandments and Moshe going up Har Sinai, is  called Yisro.   We need to do the correct thing.  That is an attitude we need to possess.  Torah will teach us what is right, but we must have the resolve first to do what is right.


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