Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yitro and the 10 commandments

This week is one of my favourite parshas. I do have many. Parsha and Tanach are somethings one never tires of reading, discussing, thinking/reflecting/meditating on.
Why Yitro - one may ask. Ahah, he is a convert, maybe that it is? No, not really, but it is a small part of it. In this week's parsha we are asked to recall Mount Sinai and in doing so, the point in time and place where Bnai Israel received the Torah. Har Sinai is a small mountain somewhere in the Negev desert around which 600,000 Jewish Neshamot were camped to receive the Torah.
In this week's parsha, the ten commandments are read and I always get the hairs on the back of my neck raised. It is a powerful moment. It is both a time of fear and awe and we should have the appropriate response to such a reading and endeavour like never before to be better at observing mitzvot not just on the superficial level but through every cell of our body and every thought should be directed towards Torah and learning Torah as well as living Torah.

Who was Yitro? He was Moshe's shviger - father in law. In other words, the father of Moshe's wife Zipporah and the grandfather of their two sons Gershom and Eliazer. Who was his wife, Zipporah's mother? You do not hear about her. Yitro being at one stage a pagan priest or Cohen of idolatry, perhaps she was a minor wife or the child of a temple prostitute. Often the pagan priests had many wives or they consorted with the temple maidens who were there to provide services for the worshippers and some were there exclusively for the priesthood in the idolatrous religions.

Yitro came because he had heard about the splitting of the Reed Sea (Yam Suf is the sea of reeds in Hebrew and not Red Sea as it is so commonly called.) and he heard how Moshe and Bnai Israel had defeated Amalek when they were attacked by them.

Yitro was a very clever human being. He had learnt and practised many religions and yet he did convert to be a Jew. Just shows you that despite all the prejudice and other stuff, it is really worth while to stick to the true path of freedom both spiritually and psychologically.  When he leaves Moshe, he goes to travel to bring other people closer to Judaism. They also say that Zipporah was black.
The reading of the 10 commandments is the sixth section of the seven sections read on shabbat. Moshe gives over to the people what Hashem said to him for the people could not set foot on the sanctuary of the mountain. If they did so they invited destruction. Moshe ascended to speak and hear Hashem and Aaron was allowed to come closer at the next level and then the priests, but the people had to stay within and behind the boundaries set around the mountain for the mountain was sanctified ground.
chapter 20 Verse 15
Ve col ha'am roi'im et hakolet ve'et halapidim ve'et kol shofar ve'et hahar ashan ve'yire ha'am va'ynu'oo vayamdu merachok.
This verse tells us that there was not one blind person, nor one deaf person nor a mute among the people gathered at the foot of the mountain. They all bore witness to the wonders before them and with awe, they trembled in fear. They all responded in the affirmative to the positive commandments and in the negative to the negative commandments. All their senses were opened to the holiness of Hashem and the magnificence of the gift that was bestowed on them was not lost. In fact, there were not just six senses opened and working, but the seventh sense of divine spirituality and mystical wonder was revealed and for those few moments all B'nai Israel understood the nature of Moishiach and his coming and then the portals of knowledge were closed until the redemption. We need to work to build the world and the land of Israel to become worthy of Moishiach. The generations just before Moishiach can be compared to those  before the Mabul (flood). There are some very corrupt and difficult people in the world. But Hashem does operate Neged Ke Neged and metes out the appropriate justice to everyone eventually.
G-D should bless us all for a good shabbes and just a link to a very interesting blog. This on going war. David Cameron had a very sharp put down for Galloway an British MP who is a notorious supporter of Terrorism in the UK and elsewhere.

On that note Shabbat Shalom for the first of February and one month of the Gregorian year gone and eleven to go.Eight weeks to Pesach or is it seven now!

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