Text: Exodus 18:1 – 20:23
In Parashat (Torah Portion) Yitro, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (Yitro), joins the Israelites in the desert and bestows his blessing on the people his daughter, Tzipporah, has joined. Jethro notices that Moses is overwhelmed adjudicating all of the Israelites’ disputes and advises Moses to choose capable, trustworthy deputies to judge for the people, bringing only the most difficult matters to Moses himself. Moses heeds Jethro’s advice, at which point Jethro returns home. Three months to the day after the Israelites had left Egypt, they stand at Mount Sinai, and God tells the Israelites that if they keep God’s commandments faithfully, they would become God’s treasured people, a holy nation. God gives the Israelites the Ten Commandments, and at the end of the portion, the Israelites become overwhelmed by the thunder, lightning, and smoke over the mountain and ask Moses to speak to them rather than God directly.