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Key Phrases

‫ – גר הייתי בארץ נכריה‬I have been a stranger in a strange land.


‫ מיד‬,‫רֶׁשר הצילו‬-‫לֵאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬:  ‫ אִה רֶׁשֲא‬:‫ע ה יהוה לי ראל‬-‫רֶׁשר‬-‫לֵאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬:  ‫ אִה רֶׁשֲא‬,‫הָבה‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫הָבֹוּטואָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫הְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬-‫על כל‬--‫ויחד יתרו‬
#‫רי‬$‫מ‬. – And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Eternal One had done to
Israel, in that God had delivered them out of the hand of the [narrow places].

‫הָבר‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫הָבד ממך הדאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫ – כאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬the thing is too heavy for you
‫הָב פרעה‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫ – ויצלני מחראָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬God delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.
First, read a translation of Exodus chapter 18. Then, make your analogies.

1. ‫ – גר הייתי בארץ נכריה‬I have been a stranger in a strange land. I have


been a stranger – I have been told I don't belong, that I am a corrupting or
infecting influence, that I deserve to be either subjugated or eliminated.

2. , ‫רֶׁשר הצילו‬-‫לֵאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬:  ‫ אִה רֶׁשֲא‬:‫ע ה יהוה לי ראל‬-‫רֶׁשר‬-‫לֵאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬:  ‫ אִה רֶׁשֲא‬,‫הָבה‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫הָבֹוּטואָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫הְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬-‫על כל‬--‫ויחד יתרו‬
#‫רי‬$‫מיד מ‬. – And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Eternal One
had done to Israel, in that God had delivered them out of the hand of the [narrow
places]. God is the power that delivers us out of the Narrows. That power is
constantly present in the world. The Sea of Reeds is always parting. Truth can
pass through even impossible obstacles, like the sea. Falsehood ultimately
collapses, like the chariots of Pharaoh breaking apart under the heavy waters.
Truth seeks freedom, freedom to express itself, and it is very creative in finding
ways to knock down the walls suppressing it – very good at finding its way to pop
up. Truth gets pushed between a rock and a hard place (or an endless sea and a
team of Pharaoh's top warriors), but it has instincts about how to make its way
through or around those obstacles. Truth seeks freedom – freedom to express
itself. Notice how part of how the gay/lesbian community began much of its work
for freedom and equality was simply by expressing itself, daring to express itself
in public.

3. ‫הָבר‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫הָבד ממך הדאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬, ‫רֶׁשֲא‬-‫ – כאָרְׂשִיְל הָוהְי הָׂשָע‬the thing is too heavy for you.
We can't try to tackle the
project of justice all by ourselves. But together we can do it. It involves
organizing, training, empowering people to make sound decisions that uphold the
highest values, and accountability.

4. Jethro is an ally. The last of the letters in GLBTQA stands for “allies.” We
achieve our freedom and our security through our own efforts and through the
efforts of allies.

5. The 10 Commandments, as the rabbis understood them, were not the “top 10”
mitzvot out of all 613. All 613 mitzvot were each equally important for the
rabbis, the seemingly minor ones as well as the big ones. In other words, do sweat
the small stuff. Ve're Jews, ve gotta vorry about everyting!
1. As an aside, I was listening to a radio interview a few weeks ago in
which the journalist was talking to Rahm Emmanuel, the Chief of Staff
of the current president. The journalist went over the administration's
record in its first year regarding how often Congress approved
legislation that the administration publicly stated it supported. He told
Rahm E. that despite the setbacks they'd had around healthcare,
Congress actually had passed something like 94% of the items the
administration had stated it supported, which was a higher percentage
for an administration's first year than any in history. “Wouldn't anyone
think 94% was pretty good?” he asked. Rahm Emmanual laughed and
said, “You obviously weren't raised by a Jewish mother.”
2. Nor did the rabbis see them as 10 commandments, because the really were
statements. One way the rabbis looked at the 10 Statements was as category
headings, and they grouped the 613 commandments under these 10 category
headings. For example, the commandment to observe Yom Kippur is under the
category of Honor the Sabbath, because YK involves a holy day in which we
refrain from work.
3. Do not make a graven image and bow down before it. Swastika is a graven
image. People who worship it bow down before a fantasy of racial purity and
the elimination of much of the variety within humanity, including the
continuum of sexual orientation and the varieties in gender expression and
identity that are part of our humanity and our glory. A fantasy borne of fear,
unhealed and never worked through, turned into a force of hate.