Parashah 17 – Yitro (Jethro)

Parashah 17 – Yitro (Jethro)

Exodus 18:1–20:23

18 Now Yitro the priest of Midyan, Moshe’s father-in-law, heard about all that God had done for Moshe and for Isra’el his people, how Yehovah had brought Isra’el out of Egypt. After Moshe had sent away his wife Tzipporah and her two sons, Yitro Moshe’s father-in-law had taken them back. The name of the one son was Gershom, for Moshe had said, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” The name of the other was Eli‘ezer [my God helps], “because the God of my father helped me by rescuing me from Pharaoh’s sword.” Yitro Moshe’s father-in-law brought Moshe’s sons and wife to him in the desert where he was encamped, at the mountain of God. He sent word to Moshe, “I, your father-in-law Yitro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”

Moshe went out to meet his father-in-law, prostrated himself and kissed him. Then, after inquiring of each other’s welfare, they entered the tent. Moshe told his father-in-law all that Yehovah had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Isra’el’s sake, all the hardships they had suffered while traveling and how Yehovah had rescued them. Yitro rejoiced over all the good that Yehovah had done for Isra’el by rescuing them from the Egyptians. 10 Yitro said, “Blessed be Yehovah, who has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh, who has rescued the people from the harsh hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that Yehovah is greater than all other gods, because he rescued those who were treated so arrogantly.” 12 Yitro Moshe’s father-in-law brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God, and Aharon came with all the leaders of Isra’el to share the meal before God with Moshe’s father-in-law.

13 The following day Moshe sat to settle disputes for the people, while the people stood around Moshe from morning till evening. 14 When Moshe’s father-in-law saw all that he was doing to the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing to the people? Why do you sit there alone, with all the people standing around you from morning till evening?” 15 Moshe answered his father-in-law, “It’s because the people come to me seeking God’s guidance. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it comes to me; I judge between one person and another, and I explain to them God’s laws and teachings.”

17 Moshe’s father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing isn’t good. 18 You will certainly wear yourself out — and not only yourself, but these people here with you as well. It’s too much for you — you can’t do it alone, by yourself. 19 So listen now to what I have to say. I will give you some advice, and God will be with you. You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases to God. 20 You should also teach them the laws and the teachings, and show them how to live their lives and what work they should do. 21 But you should choose from among all the people competent men who are God-fearing, honest and incorruptible to be their leaders, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Normally, they will settle the people’s disputes. They should bring you the difficult cases; but ordinary matters they should decide themselves. In this way, they will make it easier for you and share the load with you. 23 If you do this — and God is directing you to do it — you will be able to endure; and all these people too will arrive at their destination peacefully.”

24 Moshe paid attention to his father-in-law’s counsel and did everything he said. 25 Moshe chose competent men from all Isra’el and made them heads over the people, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 As a general rule, they settled the people’s disputes — the difficult cases they brought to Moshe, but every simple matter they decided themselves.

27 Then Moshe let his father-in-law leave, and he went off to his own country.

19 In the third month after the people of Isra’el had left the land of Egypt, the same day they came to the Sinai Desert. After setting out from Refidim and arriving at the Sinai Desert, they set up camp in the desert; there in front of the mountain, Isra’el set up camp.

Moshe went up to God, and Yehovah called to him from the mountain: “Here is what you are to say to the household of Ya‘akov, to tell the people of Isra’el: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep my covenant, then you will be my own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you will be a kingdom of cohanim for me, a nation set apart.’ These are the words you are to speak to the people of Isra’el.”

Moshe came, summoned the leaders of the people and presented them with all these words which Yehovah had ordered him to say. All the people answered as one, “Everything Yehovah has said, we will do.” Moshe reported the words of the people to Yehovah. Yehovah said to Moshe, “See, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, so that the people will be able to hear when I speak with you and also to trust in you forever.” Moshe had told Yehovah what the people had said; 10 so Yehovah said to Moshe, “Go to the people; today and tomorrow separate them for me by having them wash their clothing; 11 and prepare for the third day. For on the third day, Yehovah will come down on Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people. 12 You are to set limits for the people all around; and say, ‘Be careful not to go up on the mountain or even touch its base; whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death. 13 No hand is to touch him; for he must be stoned or shot by arrows; neither animal nor human will be allowed to live.’ When the shofar sounds, they may go up on the mountain.”

14 Moshe went down from the mountain to the people and separated the people for God, and they washed their clothing. 15 He said to the people, “Prepare for the third day; don’t approach a woman.”

16 On the morning of the third day, there was thunder, lightning and a thick cloud on the mountain. Then a shofar blast sounded so loudly that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Moshe brought the people out of the camp to meet God; they stood near the base of the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was enveloped in smoke, because Yehovah descended onto it in fire — its smoke went up like the smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. 19 As the sound of the shofar grew louder and louder, Moshe spoke; and God answered him with a voice.

20 Yehovah came down onto Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; then Yehovah called Moshe to the top of the mountain; and Moshe went up. 21 Yehovah said to Moshe, “Go down and warn the people not to force their way through to Yehovah to see him; if they do, many of them will perish. 22 Even the cohanim, who are allowed to approach Yehovah, must keep themselves holy; otherwise, Yehovah may break out against them.” 23 Moshe said to Yehovah, “The people can’t come up to Mount Sinai, because you ordered us to set limits around the mountain and separate it.” 24 But Yehovah answered him, “Go, get down! Then come back up, you and Aharon with you. But don’t let the cohanim and the people force their way through to come up to Yehovah, or he will break out against them.”

25 So Moshe went down to the people and told them.

20 Then God said all these words:

א “I am Yehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery.

ב “You are to have no other gods before me. You are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline. You are not to bow down to them or serve them; for I, Yehovah your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but displaying grace to the thousandth generation of those who love me and obey my mitzvot.

ג “You are not to use lightly the name of Yehovah your God, because Yehovah will not leave unpunished someone who uses his name lightly.

ד “Remember the day, Shabbat, to set it apart for God. You have six days to labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Shabbat for Yehovah your God. On it, you are not to do any kind of work — not you, your son or your daughter, not your male or female slave, not your livestock, and not the foreigner staying with you inside the gates to your property. 11 For in six days, Yehovah made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Yehovah blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself.

ה 12 “Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land which Yehovah your God is giving you.

ו 13 “Do not murder.

ז 14 “Do not commit adultery.

ח “Do not steal.

ט “Do not give false evidence against your neighbor.

י “Do not covet your neighbor’s house; do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

15 All the people experienced the thunder, the lightning, the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled. Standing at a distance, 16 they said to Moshe, “You, speak with us; and we will listen. But don’t let God speak with us, or we will die.” 17 Moshe answered the people, “Don’t be afraid, because God has come only to test you and make you fear him, so that you won’t commit sins.” 18 So the people stood at a distance, but Moshe approached the thick darkness where God was.

19 Yehovah said to Moshe, “Here is what you are to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘You yourselves have seen that I spoke with you from heaven. 20 You are not to make with me gods of silver, nor are you to make gods of gold for yourselves. 21 For me you need make only an altar of earth; on it you will sacrifice your burnt offerings, peace offerings, sheep, goats and cattle. In every place where I cause my name to be mentioned, I will come to you and bless you. 22 If you do make me an altar of stone, you are not to build it of cut stones; for if you use a tool on it, you profane it. 23 Likewise, you are not to use steps to go up to my altar; so that you won’t be indecently uncovered.’”

Isaiah 6-7:6

6 In the year of King ‘Uziyahu’s death I saw Yehovah sitting on a high, lofty throne! The hem of his robe filled the temple. S’rafim stood over him, each with six wings — two for covering his face, two for covering his feet and two for flying. They were crying out to each other,

“More holy than the holiest holiness
is YehovahTzva’ot!
The whole earth is filled
with his glory!”

The doorposts shook at the sound of their shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. Then I said,

“Woe to me! I [too] am doomed! —
because I, a man with unclean lips,
living among a people with unclean lips,
have seen with my own eyes
the King, YehovahTzva’ot!”

One of the s’rafim flew to me with a glowing coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. He touched my mouth with it and said,

“Here! This has touched your lips.
Your iniquity is gone,
your sin is atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of Yehovah saying,

“Whom should I send?
Who will go for us?”

I answered, “I’m here, send me!” He said, “Go and tell this people:

‘Yes, you hear, but you don’t understand.
You certainly see, but you don’t get the point!’

10 “Make the heart of this people [sluggish with] fat,
stop up their ears, and shut their eyes.
Otherwise, seeing with their eyes,
and hearing with their ears,
then understanding with their hearts,
they might repent and be healed!”

11 I asked, “Yehovah, how long?” and he answered,

“Until cities become uninhabited ruins,
houses without human presence,
the land utterly wasted;
12 until Yehovah drives the people far away,
and the land is one vast desolation.
13 If even a tenth [of the people] remain,
it will again be devoured.

“But like a pistachio tree or an oak,
whose trunk remains alive
after its leaves fall off,
the holy seed will be its trunk.”

7 During the days of Achaz the son of Yotam, the son of ‘Uziyahu, king of Y’hudah, Retzin the king of Aram and Pekach the son of Remalyah, king of Isra’el, advanced on Yerushalayim to attack it but were unable to conquer it. It was told to the house of David that Aram and Efrayim had become allies. Achaz’s heart began to tremble, as did the hearts of his people, like forest trees shaken by the wind.

Then Yehovah said to Yesha‘yahu, “Go out now to meet Achaz, you and your son Sh’ar Yashuv, at the end of the aqueduct from the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderers’ Field; and say to him, ‘Take care to stay calm and unafraid; don’t be demoralized by these two smoldering stumps of firewood, by the blazing anger of Retzin and Aram or the son of Remalyah; or because Aram, Efrayim and the son of Remalyah have been plotting against you, thinking, “We will invade Y’hudah, tear it apart, divide it among ourselves and appoint the son of Tav’el as king there.”

Isaiah 9:6-7

(6) For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us;
dominion will rest on his shoulders,
and he will be given the name
Pele-Yo‘etz El Gibbor
Avi-‘Ad Sar-Shalom
[Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God,
Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace],
(7) in order to extend the dominion
and perpetuate the peace
of the throne and kingdom of David,
to secure it and sustain it
through justice and righteousness
henceforth and forever.
The zeal of YehovahTzva’ot
will accomplish this.

Matthew 5:8-20

“How blessed are the pure in heart!
for they will see God.

“How blessed are those who make peace!
for they will be called sons of God.

10 “How blessed are those who are persecuted
because they pursue righteousness!
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

11 “How blessed you are when people insult you and persecute you and tell all kinds of vicious lies about you because you follow me! 12 Rejoice, be glad, because your reward in heaven is great — they persecuted the prophets before you in the same way.

13 “You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on.

14 “You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.

17 “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

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