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PARASHAH "YITHRO" Shemot 18:1-20:23 Thy Torah is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalms 119:105) This week's Torah portion is a momentous one and is about the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, The word "Torah" means "teaching, instruction” ("New Unger's Bible Dictionary"). The word, "Torah", is translated "law" in our Bibles because in the first translation of the Scriptures, the translators chose the Greck word "noms", meaning "law" to represent the word “Torah”. The words "nomos" and "law” are inaccurate translations of the word, “Torah”, because these words give us the false idea that the God who gave the Torah is a God who is just waiting to punish His people when, in reality, OT instruction of Torah is given in the first five books of Moses-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy- these books are known as the books of Torah. Because the Greek language does not have separate words for the concepts of Torah, the law of sin and death, and legalism, there arc many times when the word "law" is used in the Scriptures and it is not referring to ‘Torah (Romans 6:14 is one notable example). Sometimes the word, "law" is referring to the oral law of the Pharisees and Sadducces (Galatians 3:2). This inadequate translation of the word, "Torah", along with other translation choices which favor a Greco-Roman understanding of the Scriptures, as well as the elimination of numerous books from the Hebrew Scriptures at the time of the ‘Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. which were originally part and parcel of the Hebrew Scriptures, as well as intentional additions, substractions, and twisting of the Scriptures, has resulted in much misunderstanding about the meaning of the concept of "Torah" as well as many other foundational concepts of the faith as it was originally delivered to the saints. Romans 7:12 states: "So the Torah truly is set-apart, and the command set-apart, and righteous and good." All of these words concerning the Torah represent good things and, therefore, indicate that the Torah is a good thing for all believers. Torah is, however, what defines sin (Romans 7:7) and is death to us when we are not walking in Torah (including belicf in the saving power of YHWH Yahshua, Shemot/Exodus 20:2) because it is the measure of man's sin (7:9-11) and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Similarly, Yahshuah's life on earth is the standard against evil even though Yahshua, Himself is "good", (being "Elohim", Mattityahu/Matthew 19:17). This is why He is understood to be the "Living Torah", the "Word" of Elohim personified (Yohanan/John 1:14). Let us cling to the truth that Torah is a good thing as we continue to study the written Torah, and we can cling to this truth with confidence because Psalm 119:142 states: "Your righteousness is righteousness forever, and Your Torah is truth.” The name "Yithro" is translated "Jethro” in most standard Christian Bibles. We know that "Jethro" spelled with a letter "J" was not Mosheh's father-in-laws name, just as YHWH is not "Jehovah" and Yahshua is not "Jesus" because the Scriptures were first revealed and written in the Hebrew language and these names in English translations of the Scriptures are not Hebrew words. There is no sound equivalent to the letter "J" in the Hebrew language to this day and, indeed, the letter "J” was not present in any language until many centuries after Yahshua came to dwell on the earth. Chapter 18 of Shemot/Exodus opens, "And Yithro, the priest of Midyan, Moshch's father-in-law, heard of all that Elohim had done for Mosheh and for Yisra'el His people, that YHWH had brought Yisra'el out of Mitsrayim"(18:1). This opening to Chapter 18 is further evidence that word of YHWH's power and might on behalf of Yisra’el had spread among the nations all around (15:14-15). 2 Yithro came to Mosheh, which is not as surprising as it has seemed to us when we thought that the children of Israel were wandering around on the Sinai Peninusula. ‘The children of Yisra'el are in the land of Midian (east of the Gulf of Aqaba). The words, “in the wilderness" are given here, even though we know that the people of Israel are in the wilderness, to emphasize that Yithro left the comfort of his home to come to Mosheh. Yithro brings Musheh's wife Tsipporah about whom we have not heard since prior to Mosheh’s return to Egypt from Midian, as is recorded in Shemot Chapter 4. Chapter 18 verse 2 reveals that Mosheh had sent Tsipporah his wife, back to Midian, and she had apparently gone back to her father's house with their two sons, Gereshom and Tliezer. It is possible that this took place even before they left Midian, or, more likely, after they arrived in Egypt. Commentary states ("Stone Chumash") that when Mosheh met up with his brother Aharon (Shemot 4:27), Aharon urged Mosheh to send his family back because of the hard times that the Israelites were suffering. Since the Hebrew reads, "achayr sheelukheha’, "after her sending”, some interpret this phrasc to mean that Tsipporah had sent word to Mosheh concerning where they could find him in the wilderness. Yct again, the words, "after her sending", are connected with the word, "shilluchim" meaning "marriage portion" and this might be understood to mean that Yithro, Tsipporah, and the sons came following T'sipporah's sending of a dowry to Mosheh, or, alternatively, Mosheh's sending of a marriage gift to Tsipporah. Mosheh's son Bliezer's name is explained for the first time in this passage, "The Elohim of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh" (v. 4). Eliezer means, "Elohim, my Helper" (Bersheit 49:25) as we also saw with Ellezer, the servant of ‘Avraham, who went to procure Yitzchak's bride, The name, "Eliezer’, is a picture of the role of the "Ielper", the Ruach Elohim, (Holy Spirit, Spirit of Yahshua, Tchullim/ Psalms 54:4, Ivrim/Hebrews 13:6) who is going about the business of gathering Yahshua's Bride and who is also going to deliver us in a powerfull way. It is understood that Yithro came not only because he had heard about what had been done by YHWH Elohim in Egypt and at the crossing of the Sea of Reeds, but because he heard about the victory of the Israelites in their battle with the Amalekites, which showed that YHWH was acting specifically on behalf of the people of Israel, rather than, possibly, just punishing an unrighteous nation (17:13). Yithro is secn as a contrast to the Amalekites. Both represent outsiders, the one heard of the works of YHWH Elohim and came to join in with Israel and to be a blessing and an assistance to Israel, and the other heard and came against (he weak and weaty people whom YHWH had saved. Yithro was called both "Yither" and "Yithro” in Shemot 4:18, The name "Yithro" is understood to be a name given in recognition of his aligning himself with the Torah of Israel, in which a letter, "vav", was added to his name, which may be understood to refer to the sacrifice of Yahshua on’the tree ("vav" being originally the pictograph of a peg or nail), which has provided the way hack to the Father for those who have been outside of Torah (Beresheit 25:1-2, Romans 11:23). Many people who come into Torah today, also, have had it come upon their hearts wo take a Hebrew name for themselves. Yithro is said to have had seven names altogether, according to commentary in the "Stone Chumash", if onc includes the name, "Re'uel, (which may, however, have referred to Yithro's father). Thc other names are Hobab, Heber, Keini, and Putiel. According to commentary, Yithro had been not only a priest of Midian but an advisor to Pharaoh at the time when he and Mosheh first met (Shemo/Exodus 2:16) and, therefore, Yithro had been the one with status at that time when Moshch was a wandering fugitive, ut now Yithro is introduced as "Mosheh's father-in-law” showing a reversal of role. Verse 5 states that Yithro came to meet Mosheh "where he was encamped at the mountain of Elohim", As we have seen this place is called "Horeb” and is the same as "Mt. Sinai" (Shemot/Exodus 3:1, 12, 4:27, 24:13) ‘Mosheh greeted his father-in-law with the ummost respect, going out to meet him, bowing down to him, and kissing him (Beresheit 18:2, Shemot/Exodus 4:27). Mosheh treated his father-in-law with respect even though he was past the point of needing anything from him. So should we treat our elders, and in particular, anyone in the role of parent, with the utmost respect, no matter how they have treated us in the past or are eating us at present. Mosheh shared the details of what YHWH had done an behalf of the Yisrw'elites_ in Egypt and at the Sea of Reeds, and "on the way" in the wilderness, ie., the miracles of food, water, and deliverance from their enemies, the Amalekites. This was a testimony for Yithro concerning YHWH's goodness and served to teach Yithro more specifically about YHWH and His ways. Interestingly, nothing Is said in this passage concerning Moshch's mecting with his wife and sons and there is no commentary about it. And Yithro rejoiced for all the good which YHWH had done for Yisra'el, whom Tle had delivered out of the hand of the Mitsrites [Yeshayabu/Isaiah 63:7-14]. And Yithro said, "Blessed be YHWH, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Mitsrites and out of the hand of Pharaoh, and who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Mitsrites. Now I know that YHWH is greater than all the mighty ones, indeed in the matter in which they acted proudly, above them” (vs. 9-11, Shemot/Exodus 1:10, 16, 22, 5:2, 7). It seems as if Yithro believed in who YHWH is and clearly saw Him as unique. The words, "the matter in which they acted proudly, above them’, is understood to refer in a specific way to how the Egyptians had the babies of Israel drowned so now the Egyptians have drowned which is understood to be YHWH's measure for measure of justice, Le,, we reap what we sow in this world. The word "yichad”, meaning "to rejoice”, from the root, "chadah", is closely related to the word, “chadad" meaning “to sharpen” or "prickles" and it is interpreted that Yithro was so delighted for Yisra'el that he was physically thrilled (as in having goose-bumps). This, too, should be the degree of identity which we have with the land of Israel and with our Jewish brethren, as they are either victorious or, conversely, at the times when. they suffer persecution and death on their way to YHWH's final deliverance. The news media today even in Israel are very sympathetic to the enemies of the people of YHWH Elohim, in the amount and type of coverage they give to their losses when Israel finally retaliates against them, but, relative to the number of hits the Jews take continuously and their horrendous losses, they say and show very little by comparison. Ant- Semitism (against Jews) is so ingrained in the world culture that many times we don’t even see it. A most interesting passage along the lines of identifying with righteousness and grieving over unrighteousness in relation to YTWI's land in people is found in Yehezqel/Ezekiel 9:4-7 which clearly parallels end time events in the book of Revelation. "Then Yithro, the father-in-law of Mosheh, brought a burnt offering and other