Parashot & Haftarot from Shemot (Exodus)
KOL HA’TOR Presentation
Weekly Bible Reading #17 - Year 5773 (2012/2013) - February 2, 2013:
Parashat Yithro (Abundance): Exodus 18:1-20:23
Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-9:6
NOTE: Kol HaTor, in its commentaries on the weekly Parashot, endeavors 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.
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. 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, in his Parashat Yithro Commentary, writes as follows about Yithro:
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky – “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.”
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 - Ezekiel 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 rejection and national identity 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 Parashat when Yithro came to Moshe with Moshe's wife and sons:
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky – “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 Yithro 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:
Exodus 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 could destroy the Jews, while many of those nations disappeared from history, the nations almost without exception today oppose Israel and work against it.
Just this week, of Parashat Yithro, the Human Rights Panel of the UN, concluding that Jews have no rights in Judea and Samaria or half of Jerusalem, stated, “Israel must … cease all settlement activities without preconditions [and] must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers.”
This week also, Israel destroyed factories and convoys of poison gas war heads for delivery by Syria to the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon. Of course, Israel was condemned by many nations for this act of self defense - for it would make it more difficult to rid the world of the Jews.
Since Egyptian times the nations have not relented in 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 Greater Israel.
It was this Greater Land that HaShem promised to Avraham. It was to this Greater Land that HaShem used a ‘stranger to the Hebrews’, a Moshe, a Yosef, and to be advised also in its Justice System by a ‘Yithro’ from a ‘foreign land’. From this we learn to expect, accept and respect re-identifying and re-awakening 10-Israel to be strangers from foreign countries.
Looking at this Biblical Map of the vast expanse of the Biblically Promised Kingdom of Israel, it should be obvious that the 15 million Jews of the world (from the Tribe of Judah mainly) can NOT POSSIBLY populate this Promised Land - not even the current heavily disputed area, West of the Jordan river, which equates the size merely of a nature reserve in the Greater Map of Israel!
HaShem holds the Trump Card: Multi millions of Lost Ten Tribers who will return to their Hebrew Roots - like a Valley of Dry Bones coming Alive, putting on flesh and imbued with the Spirit of HaShem (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
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 18:23-24 – “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. Moses listened to his father-in-law and did everything he said.
Exodus 19:3-5 – “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: You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 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:
Isaiah 6:9-10 – “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!
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