This is one of the very few Parshiyot named for an individual. There is not an obvious message there since other instances occur with Balak, an enemy of the Jewish people and Korach, a self centered, ambitious rebel. Yitro himself, though Moshe’s, father-in-law, was a Midianite priest, an idolater and reputed to have been a ranking member of Pharaoh’s high council. However, Yitro is one of the great and treasured converts to Judaism and a source of great wisdom and support for Moshe and our people. It is Yitro’s advice that first organizes the civil and criminal court system that will allow Moshe to perform his role as Chief Judge (instead of being the only judge) and rely on other lower courts that he establishes. Yitro’s idea was that a judiciary would be established as a meritocracy of very capable individuals with different judges based on major and minor offenses and for different population sizes. (Shemot 18:13-27). Next time you are fighting a ticket in one of our district courts, you can thank Yitro for the system.
This Shabbat, Rabbi Shere teaches us. 10:00 a.m. in the Youth Lounge.