Leah’s Blog Parashat Yitro 2022
Leah’s Blog Parashat Yitro
Yitro – the righteous gentile who had the seychel (sense)
I’m sure I’ve told you this – I’m in the middle of writing a book. It got stuck somewhere in 2001 when I stumbled in the chapter “War stories”. A close friend, Rico and I always call our interesting negative experiences on our speaking tours war stories. So, I wasn’t referring to wars in Israel if you were thinking that. I was reeling from a rising tide of anti- Israel sentiment prevailing and becoming widespread in the USA and Europe at the turn of the century. Too frequently we found ourselves wading in the mire of progressive Jewish morass. Eye opening at first, like when we came to a JCC innocently to talk about the blood of our neighbors, the Fogels who were bludgeoned to death in their beds by two monsters that lived on the adjacent hill, but even ten years earlier we decided to leave Itamar for a two-week speaking tour in 2002 after the murder of the Shabo family, Gilad Zar, Yosef Twito- all close friends and neighbors of ours. A JCC meeting set up for us had us thinking we would be bringing back support for our community, yet the ten board members attacked us with questions about how our enemies were faring and if they were afraid of us?!? Um, I said- we are the ones with security cameras and barbed wire. HUH!?? The victim had become the hoodlum. Corruption, perversion and a complete turn- about from Torah ideals took over pulpits. The innocent congregants became the biggest victims to this form of brain washing. There was no way to speak with them about Eretz Yisrael- our homeland, their “Rabbis” made sure of it. Their deity became changing liturgy leaving GOD out of their Shabbat service and inviting terrorists from the PLO to speak. At first, I remembered Yosef thrown in the pit by his brothers. Similar ratio. But how did it come to this, this illness? Looking back into Jewish history, there have been no lack of capos. After the Roman conquest of Judea, there were Jews who joined the ranks of the terrible enemy. A famous one, Tiberius Julius Alexander who was born into a prestigious Jewish family, brutally quelled the rebellion in Jerusalem, backing Titus at the time of the siege 70 C.E.
The book of Shemot begins with a very significant Passuk: “קם מלך חדש על מצרים שלא ידע את יוסף” – “And a new King took over Egypt that did not know Yosef”. Pharaoh wanted us to be sure that he and he alone reigns King. We serve him- not Hashem- you got that? After the riveting story of the plagues, Baruch Hashem the Bnei Yisrael were released from the shackles, both physical and mental, reaching the Sea of Reeds. Our Rabbis teach us that only one fifth of the nation of Israel actually got out of Egypt; many preferring to remain loyal to their King Pharoh and their shtetyl. The survivors that experienced the Exodus prophesized in the pinnacle of Shirat HaYam. “Hashem will reign for everlasting time”- “Hashem yimlohch leOlam Vaehd!” The King. Our King. He always was, is and will be. No human can obliterate faith, even when it’s not popular, nor can humans call you to worship them (in the free world). Parshat Yitro is all about the not perfect puzzle being completed. Without the righteous gentile that gives his counseling to G-d’s appointed one, Moshe Rabbeinu- we would not have the living Torah we have today. His instruction and intervention led to the preservation of Mishpat Tzedek. Yitro is honored in the portion of the Ten Commandments not by chance. Juxtaposing Pharaoh to Yitro- one had stipulated a new way to think, a new policy intended for evil. The other- a righteous caring individual with a good “eiztah”- (counsel) preserving the splendor and magnificence of Hashem in our lives. Preventing implosion through these laws and legal methods, Yitro contributed to the greatest service of Hashem. HASHEM MELECH – G-d is King is what my friend Rico always says. Rico Cortez is an incredible friend to me and our family. He has “Come up to the Land” and has brought multitudes of people to meet with the Promise Land, has let us feel we are never alone, and has given and gives wonderful advice in also wellness and healthy living. He is man of many talents and has created an app together with Joseph Good another righteous man from the nations which allows one to take a virtual tour through the second temple. It is an incredible app based on scholarly research delving deeply into Jewish sources and archeological findings. Although as Jews, we obviously differ greatly in our theological understanding, the app is totally kosher and I highly recommend it for those who want to learn about the temple.
Shabbat shalom dearest friends- please remember to tell your friends about Friends of Itamar and sign up to Rabbi Goldsmith’s YouTube channel – xoxoxoxoxoxoxoox LEAH