In this week's Parsha, we hear about the revelation at Sinai, one of the most important and key events in Jewish History. The Israelites encamp around Mount Sinai and await the 10 commandments. G‑d descends on the mountain amidst thunder, lightning, billows of smoke and the blast of the shofar, and summons Moses to ascend.
We are given the commandments: to believe in G-d; not to worship idols; to keep shabbat; to honour parents; not to murder; not to commit adultery; not to steal; and not to be a false witness. All these commandments have become core values of Judaism, and continue to be practiced to this day.
With this Parsha containing one of the most significant events in Jewish history, one would assume that the name of the parsha would resemble this in one way or another. The parsha is not named after this event, but after Moses’ father in law, Yitro. The parsha begins by telling us about Yitro’s arrival in the desert and how he left his comfortable home in Midian and traveled to the place where the Israelites camped. He had heard about all the miracles G-d performed to help the Israelites out of Egypt.
Yitro was not the only person to hear about this event. You can understand the excitement in the ancient world in hearing about the splitting of the sea, or the supernatural 10 plagues. In our day, the media would for sure headline these events. Most heard by word of mouth, and continued with their lives, bar Yitro.
The Talmud explains that before the Exodus, Yitro was a man seeking truth. He studied many religions and worshiped many idols. He was a man in search of truth who wished and yearned to find the right way of life, who was willing to make sacrifices to do what was morally and ethically right.
This teaches us a very important lesson in that we should listen to our surroundings, and search for the right path that we should follow, and that sometimes doing the right thing isn't always the easiest thing to do, but by doing something meaningful, we will be on the path to individual growth.
Benjamin, Grade 12