When Moshe first encountered Yitro back at the beginning ofSefer Shemot, the Book of Exodus, he knew the man was special. Not only was he the father of seven daughters, he was the priest of Midian. Little did he know that one day, Yitro would be Moshe’s judicial consultant.
As Moshe reconnects with his wife, sons, and father-in-law in this week’s portion, one wonders if he had any time to be with them. “Next day, Moses stood as magistrate among the people, while the people stood about Moses from morning until evening” (Exodus 18:13). Yitro quickly observes that his son-in-law is on the fast track to burnout. Yitro reprimands Moshe for his overzealous work ethic, and suggests an alternate judicial system.
“You shall also seek out from among all the people capable men who fear God, trustworthy men who spurn ill-gotten gain. Set these over them as chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens” (18:21). With these words, Yitro establishes a blueprint for every subsequent organization.
Why do you think Yitro was so specific in his organizational flow chart? What’s with the “thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens?” On Shabbat morning, as part of Sisterhood Shabbat, Rebecca Reich will be addressing this section and theme. We look forward to learning from her!
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise