Yitro: Good Advice from the Shver
Yitro is the shver, the chotain, the father-in-law of Moses, and he is also a Midianite priest. Within the first 15 verses this relationship to Moses is reiterated 10 times. Yitro is positioned in Torah as having a far greater influence on Moses, as he leads the Israelite people into the lands out of Egypt, than his own father. But one wonders, as with all repetitions, why this aspect of their relationship is so stressed. Why isn’t Yitro merely introduced as the father-in-law and then named in subsequent verses?
February 6, 2023 by Rabbi Lynn Greenhough • From the Rabbi's Desk Tags: yitro •
Yitro, the man of many names. Yitro (in English, Jethro) had seven names: Re’uel, Yeter, Yitro, Chovov, Chever, Keini, Putiel. Revenue Canada might have had something to say about all those names!
Most of us have our English names and our Jewish names, but we may also have pet-names, or titles (Bubbe, Zeyde, Rabbi, Savta (Hebrew, grandmother), Sabba (Hebrew, grandfather), Shver (Yiddish, father-in-law) and Shvigger (Yiddish, mother-in-law). We may also be known to particular people with a particular name, perhaps from our childhood, or a time living in another country. Noah, our Bar Mitzvah this week, will be teaching us about who Yitro was, and how we deeply honour his memory. Yitro in many ways was the father of democracy! Yes, even back then, thousands of years ago, Yitro held an ideal that we utilize to this day.More