In Yithro Portion the children of Israel receives the Torah. This fusion of the material and the spiritual was made possible in the first three words of the Ten Commandments: Anochi Havayah E-lohecha, “I am G‑d, your L-rd.” This recognition has the power to shift a human behavior.
This week we will read Yithro portion after we have celebrated Tu B'Shvat - the new years (Rosh Hashana) for the trees. It is well known that the holy land - Israel - isn't just like any other land.
Israel as the holy land has many unique features. One of them is the fact that it corresponds its timing with the sacred story of the bible – of the Torah. In Israel what happens in the Biblical story reflects inward in our souls but also outwards on the land. This time of year in Israel is a time when nature is renewed and all the living rises from the slumber of winter.
As nature around the holy land grows and blooms and winter is coming to its end, we can sense an internal and external renewal. Every year in this time as nature start blossom, we welcome G-d with a special blessing:“Blessed are you HaShem our G-d for your cosmic majesty, for there is nothing lacking in the world at all, and good creatures and good trees were created in it, through which pleasure is brought to the children of Adam.”
However, imagine what a person feels like when reading this blessing, while he / she is compelled to cope with difficult life circumstances such as violence or loneliness, instability, separation from a dear loved one or while enduring endless entanglement of life storms. Look around you - not everyone get to have the simple story. There are people who really experience the challenge within renewal, the difficulty of growth from a state of withering. Some of us need to go through really painful and great difficulties in order to restore ourselves, in order to get up and stand tall again, to upright ourselves from previous traumas or difficult times. Each and every one of us has a different story, a private struggle - something unique that we have to deal with. But for all of us together it is crystal clear, that the in most private challenge we face reflects the challenges of others and that every difficulty we have is more than relevant to a wider scale of people.
This feeling – this essential need to cope with challenge is something we all share. Our hearts is fragile, our soul remembers.and we all here together for a reason.
We all share the same struggles. We all have human needs - need for affection, need for security, a need to feel loved and a deep need to love. When we are together or when we are giving to others, the heart opens and grows stronger. It beats is expanded and blood starts to flows throughout the body - nourishes it with something that is bigger, greater, stronger and much more real.
This colorful and special holiday of Tu bishvat is renewing our senses. Everything awakens around us, everything opens up, everything is fresh now with new smells and new sensations. Our inner soul and body shifts in corresponding with nature that start to wake up from the deep slumber of winter. Sp what will be the right approach for us in this time of the year?
Our sages say that the man is like a tree of the filed and in fact, while observing many of the circles within nature concepts relates to trees and how they grow, we can actually learn a lot about ourselves. We can start to ask ourselves questions like:
· What makes us grow or?
· What do we need to shed away?
· What is the right soil for our roots to grow and expend in?
· Where is it that we receive the right amount of lighting?
· What would be a nurturing environment for us to grow in?
· What are the places or people that nurtures us and
· What would be best to maybe live behind
These questions may seem trivial but there are key factors we should take under consideration if we wish to get to a state of renewal. If we wish to walk along with the portions of Torah and the Divine Holidays - these divine time capsules which allows us to engage in spiritual growth and become firm and more aligned and knowledgeable in our inner believe system.
When we begin to ask ourselves these questions, we do not always have immediate answers and then naturally we can begin a process of going inwards to a deep sense of ‘I am’ that is more attentive and observant. An ‘I am’ that seeks a devotional path that will lead it to a different perspective on life.
Tu Bishvat helps us to prepare ourselves for something new. It marks for us a fresh begging. It is a time of an inner gathering, Tu Bishvat is also the Jewish equivalent to Valentine's day. marks a state of Love and appreciation for everyone and everything around us.
This is a time that reflect some sort of an inward movement. Now how appropriate is it that the Holy Torah goes with us through our most inner transformations, which also corresponds with the outside world and the surrounding nature. The Torah allows us to live life in a shared sense of a heartbeat with nature, with G-d, with the divine, with spiritual realms - with all that is sacred and clean.
This Saturday as we will read Yithro portion in which Israel receives the Torah leads us exactly to that. To a deep inner gathering followed by a tremendous renewal. To a moment of silent before something new is born, before divinity revels itself as an uplifting scenery. The silence that Israel sensed before the lightning, thunders, sights and sounds of G-d states a feeling we must become one with - because great things will follow.
When the Torah has been given to the children of Israel, it took humanity forward 2000 years.
For the first time, there were laws to which human behavior should adjust itself to in terms of morality standards and ethics. All are suddenly very much plain humans that are to answer a divine authority. That act and react under divine laws and a court which is in the heavens.
When Torah was given it “elevated the material to the spiritual”. Part of the purpose for the lightning, fire, smoke and thunder that accompanied the giving of the Torah and the fusion of the material and the spiritual, was made possible in the first three words of the Ten Commandments: Anochi Havayah E-lohecha, “I am G‑d, your L-rd.” This recognition has the power to shift a human behavior.
When under Mount Sinai and devoting themselves to silence, suddenly out of the silence, the Israeli nation could hear and sense things it couldn't sensed or heard before. Under the sensation of owe they could connect to a deeper vibration. They could custom themselves to a deeper feeling in which they could - for the first time in their lives - listen to sights and see voices.
When thoughts are silenced the heart connects to a higher state of awareness in which there are no words and or material reality. When in silence our senses becomes more subtle and tuned-in, our awareness starts to shifts inward and our higher mind becomes more receptive. When in this state, we can connect to a greater power that can shake us, lift us, and give us the opportunity to grow. This feeling of owe have the power to move us from one state to another that is higher, more true and defiantly more complete.
The thing is that what prepared or prepares us for this kind of shifting, is actually the connection between to great figures in the Biblical story - Moshe and Yithro
As we have said before, when reading the Torah we need to be aware of the forces that come to life in terms of the characters within us. In this portion Moshe father-in-law Yithro [lay a big roll.
In general, when we observe this portion there is a momentary powerful connection between those two man – forces – inside us - as well as a connection between the spiritual and the material. The Divine and the children of Israel. But let us start with the connection between the two man – forces - inside us.
Yithro was a high priest known to all nations. Back in the day he was an extremely respected person among all as someone who can connect and relate with the spiritual deities – those of impurity. Yithro had a massive crowd of followers who have paid for him great respect for years. Now imagine what it was like for someone like him to jeopardize all that and admit he was wrong all along. Imagin how it was like for someone like him to shift his entire believe system.
As a person who practiced idol worshiping for all of his life, he had to resign his prestige roll as a high priest and reclaim a new believe which he wasn’t familiar with - a believe in the G-d of the Hebrew nation. The G-d that freed the children of Israel from Egypt, who split the ocean in two, who saved his chosen nation from the great powerful army of Amalek. Yithro after hearing all that had to rearrange his believe system. He had to neglect his old ways and to convert. Imagine how painful and embracing this is for someone with such great knowledge, social powers and respect - to someone with such a humongous group of followers.
We can say that Yithro in a way prepared the ground (or the world for that matter) to a new believe system. To a renewal of human recognition in the Magesty of G-d, and for that he received the merit to join the Israeli nation as a convert right before they received the Torah on Mount Sinai as well as the merit the portion will be named after him.
As we can probably guess by now, G-d sends Yithr deliberately as a force within ourselves that can prepare us to a tremendous shifting. To the option of re-acknowledging G-d sovereignty. And this man – this force within us, just as he arrives what does he do? as a good and caring father in-low he gives him a wise advice to in how to rearrange his leadership skills. Yithro is a force within us which allows us to reorganize are ourselves, to master ourselves in terms of what would be important for us to mind, care for and cherish and what we can give up and send away.
Yithro comes and sees Moses - the people's leader - functions as a judge, as a consultant and as a mediator. When Yithro arrived in the Israeli camp, he was shocked to discover that Moshe was serving as a one-man educational and judicial system for a community of several million souls.
Yithro then suggest that Moshe will select from among the people able men, man that fear G‑d, men of truth, who abhor profit, and appoint them as arbiters and judges of the nation. According to Yithro’s plan, Moshe would continue to teach the people the laws and the instructions – the path they should follow and the laws they should obey to, but the application of these laws, the resolution of questions and the settlement of disputes, should be delegated to these men who would judge the people. The great matters they shall present to Moshe and the minor things they shall arbitrate themselves.
Yithro was an outsider — a convert to Judaism while. Moshe saw the people of Israel from the inside — from the perspective of the inner core of their souls as they are one with his in the singular soul of Israel.
Yithro saw them from the outside — their everyday selves, their petty cares and conflicts, so he suggested to Moshe that the people of Israel learn to govern themselves. Moshe was to remain the sole source of laws, but implementation was to be achieved by a body of magistrates and counselors at every level of the community (captains of tens, captains of hundreds, etc.).
The force of Moshe inside us is a strong force and therefor it can take a lot on his shoulders and his shoulders are wide enough to accommodate the entire people. However, sometimes when we spread ourselves too wide it makes it difficult for us to focus on things that can really build us.
In order for us to really be present and give deep attention to many details, we need first to know how to let go of things we do not necessarily need. We need to get into focus and focus is made possible when there is order in our thoughts and our emotions. when there is order within the 'community of Souls' inside us. When we start prioritizing - what is more important and what is there that delay us.
Yithro made it possible for Moshe - the inner force inside of us to to understand that his power depended on his ability to delegate authority, to trust others just as he trusted himself,
since others like him too - receives their n rder, thoughts and emotions from above as well.
Moshe receives Yithro ideas, even though he is the leader, he receives Yithro constructive criticism,
he receives his wise advice.
Like Moshe, we always need to know how to identify a smart advice.
But Yithro signifies another thing.
The name of Yithro consists of the letters YUD and VAV when between them we have the word TAR.
Lets start to understand this name.
As we know, YUD is the tenth letter.
It is the letter from which everything spreads. the Tree of Life consists of ten counts.
The letter VAV is the sixth letter, it is the connecting letter, it is the face of ZA.
The middle in Yithro name are the letters TAV and REISH that together make up the Hebrew word of TAR.
– the meaning of this Hebrew word is to quest, search or wander around.
To quest the land, to quest our thought or emotions – to look for a way,
To search within ourselves for a different vantage point. To listen to a good advise.
To look or search for a specific path with which we can move on.
So if we consider this than it would be safe for us to say that Yithro is the part within us, who has the ability to search a way to utilize or work correctly with all spheres within the tree of life.
How with the six in the VAV we can reach to the Ten in the YUD – how we can activate all counts in the Tree of Life.
How we can build with them the right impact that will take everyone in consideration - top down and six directions of the world.
At Sinai we were charged to serve as "a light unto the nations" — to actualize in our own lives, and to teach all of humanity, that no matter what the conditions of a particular time, place or society may be,
there is an all-transcendent, unequivocal, divinely ordained truth and moral code of behavior to which to adhere.
For at Sinai, the essence of every created being was made consistent with, and wholly receptive to, the goodness and perfection which G‑d desires of it.
According to Torah law, your neighbor is not just the fellow on the other side of the fence, or your door, but someone toward whom you have certain responsibilities and obligations.
This is what is meant when we say that "G‑d desired a dwelling in the lowly realms."
G‑d has many venues for the expression of His reality. He created many spiritual "worlds" or realms, each of which conveys another face of His infinitely faceted truth.
The physical world is His home, the environment that houses His essence.
For the wisdom of the sage is not revealed in his scholarly discourse with his colleagues, but in his ability to explain the loftiest of concepts to the simplest of minds.
The power of the torch is expressed not by the light it sheds upon its immediate surroundings, but by its illumination of the most distant point its light can reach.
By the same token, the infinity and all-pervasiveness of the divine is expressed not in the spirituality of the heavens, but in the sanctification of material earth.
Yithro was a high priest of Idol worshiping before he converted.
He recognized and identified all the false deities in the world.
Our Sages implied that he was aware of all the different media through which G‑d channels energy to the world.
Despite his knowledge of these spiritual powers, he rejected their worship, declaring
“Blessed be G‑d…. Now I know that G‑d is greater than all the deities.”
Yithro’s acknowledgment of G‑d was not merely a personal matter.
His words of praise brought about “the revelation of G‑d in His glory in the higher and lower realms.
Yisro’s individual acknowledgment of G‑d expressed the purpose of the giving of the Torah. And this prepared the macrocosm, the world at large, for such a revelation.
“The Torah was given solely to create peace within the world.” Yet peace is not the purpose for the Torah’s existence; the Torah existed before the creation of the world. It is G‑d’s wisdom, at one with Him.
Thus just as G‑d transcends the concept of purpose, so too does the Torah.
Peace refers to harmony between opposites. In an ultimate sense, it refers to a resolution of the dichotomy between the physical and the spiritual.
On the verse “The heavens are the heavens of G‑d, but the earth He gave to the children of man,” our Sages explain that originally, there was a Divine decree separating the physical from the spiritual but at the time of the giving of the Torah, however, G‑d allowed for unity to be established between the two.
There is G‑dliness in every element of existence.
At every moment Creation is being renewed
in a personal sense, Yisro’s acknowledgment of G‑d’s supremacy accomplished this objective. From his involvement with “all the false deities in the world,” he came to a deep recognition of G‑d’s sovereignty. The transformation of Yisro made possible the giving of the Torah, which in turn transforms the world.