Parsha Yitro

Sh’mot (Exodus) 18:1 — 20:23

1st Aliyah: 18:1—12
Chapter 18
1Yitro, the minister of Midian, the father-in-law of Moshe, heard everything that G-d did to Moshe and to Yisra’el, His people—that HaShem had taken Yisra’el out of Mitzrayim. 2Yitro, the father-in-law of Moshe, took Zipporah, the wife of Moshe, after she had been sent away; 3and her two sons; of whom the name of one was Gershom, for he had said, “I was sojourner in a strange land”, 4and the name of the other was Eliezer, for, “the G-d of my father came to my aid, and He saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
5Yitro, the father-in-law of Moshe, came to Moshe and his sons and wife, to the Wilderness where he encamped, by the Mountain of G-d. 6He said to Moshe, “I, your father-in-law Yitro, have come to you, with your wife and her two sons with her.
7Moshe went out to meet his father-in-law, and he prostrated himself and kissed him, and each inquired about the other’s well-being; then they came to the tent. 8Moshe told his father-in-law everything that HaShem had done to Pharaoh and Mitzrayim for Yisra’el’s sake—all the travail that had befallen them on the way—and that HaShem had rescued them.
9Yitro rejoiced over all the good that HaShem had done for Yisra’el, that He had rescued it from the hand of Mitzrayim. 10Yitro said, “Blessed is HaShem, Who rescued you from the hand of Mitzrayim and from the hand of Pharaoh, Who has rescued the people from under the hand of Mitzrayim. 11Now I know that HaShem is greater than all the gods, for in the very matter in which the Mitzrayim’s had conspired against them …!” 12Yitro, the father-in-law of Moshe, took an elevation-offering and feast-offering for G-d; and Aharon and all the elders of Yisra’el came to eat bread with the father-in-law of Moshe before G-d.

2nd Aliyah: 18:13—23
13It was on the next day that Moshe sat to judge the people, and the people stood by Moshe from the morning until the evening. 14The father-in-law of Moshe saw everything that he was doing to the people, and he said, “What is this thing that you do to the people? Why do you sit alone with all the people standing by you from morning to evening?”
15Moshe said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to seek G-d. 16When they have a matter, one comes to me, and I judge between a man and his fellow, and I make known the decrees of G-d and His teachings.”
17The father-in-law of Moshe said to him, “The thing you do is not good. 18You will surely become wore out—you as well as the people that is with you—for this matter is too hard for you, you will not be able to do it alone. 19Now heed my voice, I shall advise you, and may G-d be with you. You be a representative to G-d, and you convey the matters to G-d. 20You shall caution them regarding the decrees and the teachings, and you shall make known to them the path in which they should go and the deeds that they should do. 21And you shall discern from among the entire people, men of accomplishment, G-d-fearing people, men of truth, people who despise money, and you shall appoint them leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, and leaders of ten. 22They shall judge the people at all times, and they shall bring every major matter to you, and every minor matter they shall judge, and it will be eased for you, and they shall bear with you. 23If you do this thing—and G-d shall command you—then you will be able to endure, and this entire people, as well, shall arrive at its destination in peace.”

3rd Aliyah: 18:24—27
24Moshe heeded the voice of his father-in-law, and did everything that he had said. 25Moshe chose men of accomplishment from among all Yisra’el and appointed them heads of people, leaders of thousands, leaders of hundreds, leaders of fifties, leaders of tens. 26They judged the people at all times; the difficult thing they would bring to Moshe and the minor thing they themselves would judge.
27Moshe sent off his father-in-law, and he went to his land.

4th Aliyah: 19:1—6
Chapter 19
1In the third month from the Exodus of the Children of Yisra’el from Mitzrayim, on this day, they arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai. 2They journeyed from Rephidim and arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai and encamped in the Wilderness; and Yisra’el encamped there, opposite the mountain.
3Moshe ascended to G-d, and HaShem called to him from the mountain, saying, “So shall you say to the House of Yaakov and relate to the Children of Yisra’el. 4‘You have seen what I did to Mitzrayim, and that I have borne you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Me. 5And now, if you hearken well to Me and observe My covenant, you shall be to Me the most beloved treasure of all the peoples, for Mine is the entire world. 6You shall be to Me a kingdom of ministers and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the Children of Yisra’el.”

5th Aliyah: 19:7—19
7Moshe came and summoned the elders of the people, and put before them all these words that HaShem commanded him. 8The entire people responded together and said, “Everything that HaShem has spoken we shall do!” Moshe brought back the words of the people to HaShem.
9HaShem said to Moshe, “Behold! I come to you in the thickness of the cloud, so that the people will hear what I speak to you, and they will also believe in you forever.” Moshe related the words to the people of HaShem.
10HaShem said to Moshe, “Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and they shall wash their clothing. 11Let them be prepared for the third day, for on the third day HaShem shall descend I the sight of the entire people on Mount Sinai. 12You shall set boundaries for the people roundabout, saying, ‘Beware of ascending the mountain or touching its edge; whoever touches the mountain shall surely die. 13A hand shall not touch it, for he shall surely be stoned or thrown down; whether animal or person he shall not live; upon an extended blast of the shofar, they may ascend the mountain.’ ”
14Moshe descended from the mountain to the people. He sanctified the people and they washed their clothing. 15He said to the people, “Be prepared after a three-day period; do not draw near a woman.”
16On the third day when it was morning, there was thunder and lighting and a heavy cloud on the mountain, and the sound of the shofar was very powerful, and the entire people that was in the camp shuddered. 17Moshe brought forth the people from the camp toward G-d, and they stood at the bottom of the mountain. 18All of Mount Sinai was smoking because HaShem had descended upon it in the fire; its smoke ascended like the smoke of the furnace, and the entire mountain shuddered exceedingly. 19The sound of the shofar grew continually much stronger; Moshe would speak and G-d would respond to him with a voice.

6th Aliyah: 19:20—20:14
20HaShem descended upon Mount Sinai to the top of the mountain: HaShem summoned Moshe to the top of the mountain, and Moshe ascended. 21HaShem said to Moshe, “Descend, warn the people, lest they break through to HaShem to see, and a multitude of them will fall. 22Even the Kohanim who approaches HaShem should be prepared, lest HaShem burst forth against them.”
23Moshe said to HaShem, “The people cannot ascend Mount Sinai, for You have warned us, saying, ‘Bound the mountain and sanctify it.”
24HaShem said to him, “Go descend. Then you shall ascend, and Aharon with you, but the Kohanim, and the people—they shall not break through to ascend to HaShem, lest He burst forth against them.” 25Moshe descended to the people and said to them.

Chapter 20
1G-d spoke all these statements, saying:
2I am HaShem, your G-d. who has taken you out of the land of Mitzrayim, from the house.
3You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence. 4You shall not make yourself a carved image nor any likeness of that which is in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the water beneath the earth. 5You shall not prostrate yourself to them nor worship them, for I am HaShem, your G-d—a jealous G-d. Who visits the sin of fathers upon children to the third and fourth generations, for My enemies, 6but Who shows kindness for thousand of generations to those who love Me and observe My commandments.
7You shall not take the Name of HaShem, your G-d, in vain, for HaShem will not absolve anyone who takes His Name in vain.
8Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. 9Six days shall you work and accomplish all your work; 10but the seventh day is Sabbath to HaShem, your G-d; you shall not do any work—you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, your animal, and your convert within your gates—11for in six days HaShem made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, HaShem blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.
12Honor your father and your mother, so that your days will be lengthened upon the land the HaShem, your G-d gives you.
13You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness against your fellow.
14You shall not covet your fellow’s house. You shall not covet your fellow’s wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your fellow.

7th Aliyah: 20:15—23
15The entire people saw the thunder and the flames, the sound of the shofar and the smoking mountain; the people saw and trembled and stood from afar. 16They said to Moshe, “You speak to us and we shall hear; let G-d speak not speak to us lest we die.”
17Moshe said to the people’ “Do not fear, for in order to elevate you has G-d come; so that awe of Him shall be upon your faces, so that you shall not sin.” 18The people stood from afar and Moshe approached the thick cloud where G-d was.
19HaShem said to Moshe, “So shall you say to the Children of Yisra’el, ‘You have seen that I have spoken to you from heaven. 20You shall not make images of what is with Me; gods of silver and gods of gold shall you not make for yourselves.
21“ ‘An Altar of earth shall you make for Me, and you shall slaughter near it your elevation-offerings and your peace-offerings, your flock and your herd; wherever I permit My Name to be mentioned I shall come to you and bless you. 22And when you make for Me an Altar of stones, do not build them hewn, for you will have raised your sword over it and desecrated it. 23You shall not ascend My Altar on steps, so that your nakedness will not be uncovered upon it.’ ”

Haftarah for Yitro

Yeshiyahu (Isaiah) 6:1—13; 7:1—6; 9:5—6
1In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw our L-rd sitting on a high and lofty throne, and its legs filled the Temple. 2Seraphim stood above, at His service, six wings, six wings to each; with two it would cover its face, with two it would cover its legs, and with two it would fly. 3And one would call to another and say, “Holy, holy, holy is HaShem, Master of Legions, the whole world is filled with His glory.” 4The doorposts moved many cubits at the sound of the calling, and the house became filled with smoke.
5Then I said, “Woe for I shall die, for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwelled among a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, HaShem, Master of Legions.”
6One of the Seraphim flew to me and in his hand was a coal, which he took with tongs from atop the Altar. 7He touched it to my mouth and said, “Behold! This has touched your lips; your iniquity is removed and your sin shall be atoned.”
8I heard the voice of our L-rd saying, “Whom shall I send and who shall go for us?” and I said, “Here I am! Send me!”
9He said, “Go and say to this people, ‘Surely you hear, but you fail to comprehend; and surely you see, but you fail to know. 10The heart of this people is fattened, its ears are heavy, and its eyes are sealed; lest it see with its eyes and hear with its ears and its heart understand, so that it will repent and be healed.’ ”
11I said, “How long my L-rd?” and He said, “Until cities become desolate without inhabitant, and houses are without a person, and the land becomes desolate, wasted. 12HaShem will send the true man far away and there will be much forlornness in the midst of the land. 13There will be ten more kings in it, then it shall regress and become barren; still have vitality in them, so will the holy seed be vitality of the land.

Sephardim and Chabad Chassidim conclude the Haftarah here. Ashkenazim continue.

Chapter 7
1It was in the days of Ahaz son of Yotham son of Uzziah; king of Yehudah, that Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Yisra’el, ascended to Yerusalim to wage war against it, but could not triumph over it. 2It was told to the House of David, saying, “Aram has encamped with Ephraim.” His heart and the heart of his people shuddered, as the trees of the forest shudder before the wind.
3HaShem said to Yeshiyahu, “Go now toward Ahaz, you and your son, Shear-yashub, to the edge of the conduit of the upper pool, on the path of the launderer’s field. 4Say to him: Stay behind, be calm, fear not, let not your heart grow faint before these two tails of smoking firebrands, before the burning wrath of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. 5Because Aram has counseled evil against you, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliahu, saying, “Let us go against Yehudah and cause it distress and sunder it for our benefit, and install the son of Tabe’el as king in it.’ ”

Chapter 9
5For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us, and the authority will rest on his shoulder; He Who is Wondrous Advisor, Mighty G-d, Eternal Father shall give him the name, “Prince of Peace.” 6To him who will be great in authority, and have peace without limit upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to establish it sustain it through justice and righteousness, from now to eternity—the zealousness of HaShem, Master of Legions, will accomplish this.

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