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Tikkun Leil Shavuot Torah Study: Parashat Yitro

With Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President, Union for Reform Judaism
Parashat Yitro, Exodus 18:1–20:23

Summary

  • Yitro brings his daughter Zipporah and her two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, to his son-in-law Moses. (18:1–12)
  • Moses follows Yitro’s advice and appoints judges to help him lead the people. (18:13–27)
  • The Children of Israel camp in front of Mount Sinai. Upon hearing the covenant, the Israelites respond, “All that God has spoken we will do.” (19:1–8)
  • After three days of preparation, the Israelites encounter God at Mount Sinai. (19:9–25)
  • God gives the Ten Commandments aloud directly to the people. (20:1–14)
  • Frightened, the Children of Israel ask Moses to serve as an intermediary between God and them. Moses tells the people not to be afraid. (20:15–18)

Questions

  • Rabbi Jacobs suggests that prior to the major Revelation of the Ten Commandments, Moses has his own revelation while speaking with his father-in-law, Yitro. Yitro sees how hard Moses is working, even at the expense of his own family, and he encourages Moses to find a greater balance in his life. Who can we turn to for advice when we need help setting our own priorities? How do we create balance in our own lives?
  • Our greatest sources of connection come from our encounters with others. How can we ensure that our encounters with family and friends have the potential to be revelatory moments?
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