The Torah portion is Parsha Yitro – Exodus [Sh’mote] 18:1 – 20:23
This Torah portion is named for Moses’ father-in-law, a high priest of Midian. Yet, even though the portion is named in his honor, we hear very little about Yitro (Jethro) when this parsha is discussed. The reason is that there is a very big section in this parsha that always steals the thunder. THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.
In my drash this Shabbat I would like to remedy some of this slight and shed some light on this luminary (no pun intended).
We will, however, read the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments.
The Haftarah is Isaiah 6:1 – 7:6, 9:5, 6
The weekly portion contains the revelation at Sinai, an event witnessed by the entire people of Israel. The haftarah brings us the personal revelation of G-d to Isaiah and the beginning of his prophetic career.
Isaiah lived in the kingdom of Judah (of which Jerusalem was its capital) during the second half of the 8th Century B.C.E. This was the first of 5 (or 6) Isaiahs whom we group together as one.
In this haftarah we have two very often referred to sections. The first is Isaiah’s dream in which he sees G-‘s throne room with the seraphim flying about and uttering, “Holy, holy, holy is the L-rd of hosts, the whole earth is full of H-s glory”. In our service we say, “Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh, Adonai tzvaot, melo-chol ha’aretz kavod oh”.
The second is later in the haftarah in which Isaiah prophesies the coming of a bringer of peace. This is interpreted by Christians as a harbinger of Jesus Christ. The correct interpretation is, however, the arrival of Ahaz’s son Hezzekiah, who does eventually become king.