Exodus 18:1 - 20:23

Isaiah 6:1 - 7:6; 9:5 - 9:6

In this Torah portion, Moses tells his father-in-law, Jethro, about the miracle of the exodus. Jethro proclaims that the Israelite God is greater than all other gods, and he makes a sacrifice. Jethro then advises Moses to delegate leadership roles in order not to tire himself out. The Israelites camp at the bottom of Mount Sinai. After three days, the mountain fills with smoke, and God delivers the Ten Commandments to His people.


Soul Memories

What actually happened at Mount Sinai?

More on this Torah Portion

Listening, or Really Hearing

It can often be difficult to truly hear what others are saying to us.

Learning From Everyone

Each and every person we interact with can teach something.

Women and Revelation

When Moses altered the message given to him by God, he cut women out of the revelation at Sinai.

Yitro’s Advice

The Midianite has concerns about the well-being of the Israelites and their leader Moses.

Reimagining Spirituality

Examining a new model of activism.

Parashat Yitro Quiz

Questions and answers about the weekly Torah portion.

Love of God and Material Desire

There is a lot to learn from the commandment not to covet.

Separation and Togetherness

There are times we should separate from our neighbors--and times we should reach out.

Negative and Positive Freedom

We are called on daily to "proclaim liberty throughout the land."

The Word Made Animate

Seeking the living soul of our sacred texts.

Preparing To Receive God’s Message

Unlike the first tablets, the second tablets, which were hewn by human hands, endured.

Money Is Tainted

Yitro tells Moses that only people of integrity, who themselves would never engage in legally questionable business dealings, are qualified to serve as judges.

Parents Make It To The Top Ten

The placement of the commandment to honor our parents in the midst of the Ten Commandments highlights the complex ways in which parents serve as our bridge between God and the world.

Parashat Yitro: Summary

Jethro, Moses' father-in-law suggests a system for establishing lower courts to settle disputes; God speaks the Ten Commandments to the Children of Israel amidst fire, smoke, and the sound of the shofar.

How We Hear

Jewish tradition places great emphasis on the way in which we hear and how we interpret the messages we receive.

I Know Who You Are

The image of God carrying the Israelites on eagles' wings, and the promise that they will be a treasured nation if they keep the commandments raise questions about our complex relationship with God.

A System of Justice and the Details of a Moral Life

Establishing an equitable human judicial system is the necessary condition for receiving the divine moral wisdom of the Torah.

Portable Holiness

God was careful to teach the Israelites that holiness derives from encounters with God in Torah study; it is not intrinsic to locations like Mount Sinai.

Wisdom From The Margins

Jethro's position at the outside of the Jewish people allowed him to understand how to make the Torah work for a multiplicity of people with a multiplicity of views.