Parashat Yitro 5784

January 31, 2024

Rabbi Rob Scheinberg

Moses was famously close with his father-in-law, Yitro (Jethro), the Priest of Midian. This week’s Torah portion is named after Yitro, celebrating the reunion between Moses and Yitro shortly after the Exodus from Egypt.  

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Parashat Yitro 5783

February 6, 2023

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Yitro By Rabbi Greg Schindler (’09)   “She generally gave herself very good advice (although she very seldom followed it)” Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll How good are you at taking advice? I know that I could use a lot of work in this department, especially when it comes to unsolicited advice. If someone starts a sentence with, “I think you should”, I often nod my head appreciatively… and tune out. This seems to be a part of human nature. According to research, people generally start out with a personal bias towards their own opinions, and discount the advice of others. Most of us feel like the Duchess in Alice: “If everybody minded their own business ..the world would go round a deal faster than it does.” Perhaps to counteract this bias, our tradition is replete with advice about taking advice:...

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Parashat Yitro 5782

January 21, 2022

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah A D’var Torah for Parashat Yitro By Rabbi Matthew Goldstone This week the American Jewish community finds itself processing the events of last Shabbat, during which a rabbi and three congregants were taken hostage in Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. As a minority in the United States, many are reflecting on the dangers of being Jewish in this moment. Our parasha this week mentions the names of Moshe’s sons, the meanings of which echo sentiments some of us may be feeling: Gershom, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land,” and Eliezer, “The God of my father was my help, and God delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh” (Exod. 18:3-4). In some ways, despite having been a presence in North America for hundreds of years, we are still strangers, those who are misunderstood by the majority of people (as highlighted by the antisemitic...

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Parashat Yitro 5781

February 4, 2021

Click HERE for an audio recording of this D’var Torah Every Action has an Equal and Opposite Reaction A D’var Torah for Parashat Yitro By Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman Three months after leaving Egypt, our ancestors arrived at the foot of Mt. Sinai. God called Moses to the mountain and gave him the words by which he would prepare the people for a remarkable event. Moses would tell the people that God desires us to be God’s treasure, God’s nation of priests, God’s holy people. In three days, God would descend to the top of the mountain while the people stood at its foot. God would be revealed to the people, and in God’s own voice, the people would begin to receive the Torah. Three days later, the moment arrived. With thunder and lightning, a heavy cloud and an ever louder sound of the shofar, God “appeared.” The people shuddered and trembled as Moses brought them to...

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Parashat Yitro 5780

February 12, 2020

A D’var Torah for Parashat Yitro By Rabbi Heidi Hoover (’11) This week’s Torah portion includes the single most intense episode in the whole Torah—the revelation of Torah at Mount Sinai. The Israelites, having left Egypt, stand together at the foot of the mountain. There’s thunder and lightning, and the blaring of a horn. The mountain is shaking and smoking, because God has come down on it in fire. This is when the Israelites really become a people, God’s people—when God gives them the Torah. We don’t call this Torah portion “revelation,” though. And we don’t call it “the 10 Commandments.” The name we use for this Torah portion is Yitro, because the portion begins with something else, something that is also very important, though more mundane. At the beginning of parashat Yitro, Moses and the Israelites are encamped at Mount Sinai. Moses’s father-in-law, Jethro—Yitro in Hebrew—comes to visit. Jethro and Moses have a...

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