16 Feb Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Yitro 5777
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Yitro in which the Israelites experience the revelation at Mt. Sinai. As special as the reading of the story of revelation is to us, it was infinitely more special for the Israelites who finally had the opportunity to experience the God they had prayed to, the same God that had redeemed them from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. Of course the interaction was not simply a social one; it had the important purpose of revealing the Ten Commandments which would ultimately be followed by the entirety of God’s laws and rules. God wastes no time in giving these commandments to the Israelites but comes right out and says them. It shows that God understood that structure is beneficial to peoples’ lives. Freedom is of course a good thing, but a complete lack of structure leads not to productivity but potentially anarchy. We see that in our own lives as our children need a schedule on a daily basis. Left to their own devices they will cause havoc. The truth is, it is helpful for us as well and a good structure for our own lives, such as the one Judaism provides, is something for which we should all be thankful.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik