December 15, 2017 ~ Shabbat MIQES. Maqam SIGAH.

Shabbat Yitro

Jethro's Epiphany

עתה ידעתי - When the news of the Exodus reached the foreign nations, they temporarily feared God (שמעו עמים ירגזון), but then did little to correct their ways. By contrast, to show their complete rejection of God, Amaleq becomes the first tribe to wage war on Israel. To juxtapose these reactions, we read about Jethro, an outsider who was so inspired by the miracles of God that it causes him to open his eyes and change his entire outlook on life. Jethro is so happy (ויחד יתרו) that he makes a special trip to the desert to greet Moses. He then declares "Now I know (עתה ידעתי) that God is greater than all other gods." This powerful statement, coming from a polytheist, is testimony to Jethro's newfound belief in God, and is most welcomed by the elders of Israel as they joined with him in a sacrificial meal. The importance of Jethro is not that he had a major realization, but that he had the courage to take action (Beth Torah, 2/18/17).