Yithro- Shared Reading
Torah Portions 2.5: Shemoth (Exodus) Chapters 18:1-20:23
Hebrew Word/Phrase of the Week: Yithro
Meaning: ‘His Excellence’
This week’s Torah Portion is called Yitro (יתרו), which means ‘His excellence’- a title used here for Re’u’el, Moshe’s father-in-law. In this portion, we read about YHWH descending on Mount Sinai and giving the 10 commandments.
Chapter 18: Yithro, Moshe’s father-in-law comes to visit Moshe in the wilderness and brings his wife and two sons. While visiting, he notices that Moshe is busy from day to night with all the people coming to ask him questions and seeking Elohim. When Yithro sees this, he advises Moshe to seek out men that could be leaders, and rule justly, so that there could be leaders over 1000s, 100s, 50s and 10s of people. That way, the heavy burden could be lifted off of Moshe and the people would be able to go back to homes in a timely manner. Moshe takes his father-in-law’s advice and they go back to their own land.
Chapter 19: Moshe then goes to speak to YHWH and YHWH tells him to set the people apart, and let them wash their garments, because in 3 days, YHWH would come down upon Mount Sinai before the all the people’s eyes and that they would believe Moshe forever. Anyone that touches the mountain, whether person or animal, or even touched the border of it would pass away. When the 3rd day came, there was thunder, lightening, and a thick cloud on the mountain. And the voice of a shofar was very strong, and the people trembled.
Fun Fact: Mount Sinai is in Saudi Arabia today, and the people there call it Mount Musa. The peak is still scorched.
Moshe brought them to meet with Elohim and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was in smoke because YHWH came upon it in fire! And it’s smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and the mountain trembled a lot!
When the sound of the shofar sounded long and became very strong, Moshe spoke, and Elohim answered him by voice. YHWH called Moshe up the mountain, and Moshe went to the top. YHWH told Moshe to warn the people to stay back and let the priests who are set-apart only come near, so YHWH would not break against any of them. So Moshe goes down to speak to the people.
Chapter 20: And Elohim spoke to the children of Yashra’el and gave them these commandments:
I am YHWH your Elohim- You have no other mighty ones
Don’t make for yourselves carved images- do not bow down to them or serve them
Don’t bring the name of YHWH your Elohim to nothing
Remember the Shabbath- set it apart
Respect your father and your mother
Do not murder
Do not commit adultery
Do not steal
Do not wrongly accuse another
Do not strongly desire things that are not yours (belongs to others)
Fun Fact: Want to live longer? When YHWH says to respect your father and mother, he says, “so that your days are prolonged” (your life will be longer).
And the people feared YHWH greatly when they saw the smoke and fire of the mountain and the lightenings, and asked that Moshe speak to them instead, because they feared they would pass away! And Moshe comforted them by telling them not to fear, for Elohim had come to test them, so that they would do well and not sin.
Want to know more? Join us next time and we continue to read about the Exodus!