Yitro – Climb Ev’ry Mountain

What a strange choice of name of a Parsha that is so epochal in that it contains the narrative of receiving of the Torah and the listing of the Ten Commandments. Ironically, the name of the Parsha is Yitro – the name of the leading high priest of idolatry in his day, the master of the occult and the dark arts. The Torah is the singular most enduring code of morality and law in the world. It has been the basis of all major religious streams and underpins all civil and criminal legal systems. It is the mother religion of Christianity and Islam. It is the core of our Judeo-Christian ethos of the western world today. It is the very antithesis of black magic and idolatry, and is the basis of monotheism. Nevertheless there is an inherent lesson in the choice of the Parsha’s name. Yitro ‘s greatest virtue was his rejection of his idolatrous life and his leadership of the occult movements, and his adoption of monotheism, and indeed becoming a Jew. And this is the true lesson of the parsha’s name: For the Torah to become the central motif of our lives, we need to abdicate our more ‘natural’ lifestyle, being in truth our lazy habitual sensual life of immediate gratification and ‘easy-magic’, and do the hard yards of self-change and self-mastery – as did Yitro. Only then can we be ready to receive our personal Torah on our individual Mt. Sinai. Are you ready to ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’ (Richard Rogers) to get to Mt. Sinai?