Liquid error (sections/custom_mobile-menu line 86): Expected handle to be a String but got LinkListDrop
  • Group 27 Login

Yitro's Rhapsody Torah's Global Symphony

The portion of Yitro. What is its essence?
The portion should have been called the portion of Moses!

After all, Moses is the one who brings us the Ten Commandments; the entire grand process of the giving of the Torah revolves around him, the central personality of the portion. And yet, tradition decided that we should refer to the portion in which the most sublime revelation ever to the children of Israel and through them to all of humanity occurs by the name of a non-Israelite—Yitro. Yitro does not belong to the people of Israel. True, he has close family ties with Moses, but despite not being an Israelite himself, he identifies with the destiny of the people of Israel. He wants to be present when the Torah is given. Perhaps the text intends that the Torah cannot be given to the people of Israel without partnership, at least in the form of the presence of someone from the nations of the world.

Not only did the sages count the letters of the Ten Commandments and find that the number of letters is 620 (620, for those familiar with a bit of mathematics, is 613 + 7), but they also suggested that the 613 commandments were given to the people of Israel, but the Torah could not be given without an additional seven commandments. These seven commandments were given to the descendants of Noah, making the total number 620, which corresponds, in gematria, to the word "Keter" (Crown). Keter signifies that the crown of the Holy One, blessed be He, is revealed in the world, not only over the children of Israel but the world as a whole. Without Yitro, the Torah could not have been given.

Similarly, we find later in the Tanakh another non-Israelite personality joining the narrative for the people of Israel—Ruth, the Moabite, the great-grandmother of King David, and the mother of the entire future messianic dynasty destined to rectify the world as a whole. The gematria of the letters of Ruth is 610, and if we add another seven commandments, we arrive at 613—the total number of commandments given to Israel. There is an important lesson here for future generations: the Torah is given to the entire world through the conduit of the children of Israel.

More Articles

A Bridge between Faiths
An Open Letter to Islam
[Part 1]

Rabbi Oury Cherki's "A Bridge between Faiths: An Open Letter to Islam, Part 1" delves into the intricate dynamics between Judaism and Islam post the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel. The piece probes the philosophical and legal facets of Islam's status in Jewish literature, uncovering points of unity and contention. Cherki scrutinizes Islam's potential for spiritual progress and calls for a nuanced understanding amid the unique historical context. The article accentuates the scarcity of literature exploring Judaism's stance on Islam, presenting itself as a contribution to fostering mutual comprehension.

Cherki elucidates the shared beliefs in monotheism, rejecting God's corporeality and idolatry, while acknowledging differences in their understanding. Notably, he highlights the significance of the Seven Noahide Laws, urging Islam to embrace them more unequivocally for enhanced cooperation. Judaism's recognition of Islam as a sister religion and the potential for collaboration are explored alongside historical perspectives, celebrating the initial affinity between the two faiths.

However, the article confronts substantial disagreements, including Islam's assertion of the nullification of the Mosaic Torah and claims of corruption by Jews. It underscores the necessity for Islam to acknowledge the eternal validity of the Torah and the divine promise of the Jewish return to their homeland. Cherki posits three prerequisites for Judaism to accept Islam as a legitimate religion for all, calling for recognition, abandonment of claims of corruption, and acknowledgment of the divine promise.

Concluding with a call for peace, Rabbi Oury Cherki sets the stage for Part 2, promising an exploration of Muhammad's status, Judaism's potential contributions to Islamic faith, and more. This open letter seeks to build a bridge between the believers in the One God, urging Islamic religious leadership to engage in dialogue on critical issues for future harmony.