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Parashat Yitro 2-Feb-2013

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Candle lighting time for Friday, February 1, 2013, 5:14 p.m.

Parashat Yitro

22 Shevat, 5773 / February 2, 2013
Triennial Cycle III: Exodus 18:1-20:23
Humash Etz Hayim, page 432
Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1-13; 7:1-6; 9:5-6, page 4513

  1. (18:1-12) Jethro comes to visit his son-in-law Moses, bringing Zipporah, Moses’ wife and his two sons. He rejoices at the rescue of the Israelites and acknowledges the greatness of God.
  2. (18:12-27) Jethro advises Moses to appoint officers and judges to help him lead the people, and then returns to his home.
  3. (19:1-25) Preparations for the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. God reveals himself to His people, accompanied by thunder and lightning, thick clouds and the sound of the shofar.
  4. (20:1-14) The Ten Commandments.
  5. (20:15-18) The people are terrified by God’s power, and they beg Moses to mediate between them and God.
  6. (20:19-23) Further commandments concerning the altar.


Parashat Yitro
By David Hoffman

CBD’s long-standing tradition of Board Installation Shabbat occuring on Parashat Yitro is not coincidental.  Yitro opens with a visit of Moses’ father-in-law, Yitro, in the wilderness.  Yitro brings with him Zipporah, Moses’ wife, and his two sons, Gershom and Eliezer.  The Parashat concludes with the awe and drama of receiving the Ten Commandments.  Between the beginning and end of this chapter, a new nation is born.

Yitro develops the conceptual framework of a new nation.  Leadership and Laws are the twin themes of Yitro.  While the Israelites had a leader in Moses, what they lacked was delegated leadership.  What Moses lacked were dedicated aides.  It took the visit of his father-in-law to point this out.  Norman J.Cohen in his book “Moses and the Journey to Leadership” posits that Moses’ ego got in the way of his leadership.  “Moses finds it difficult to recognize that he cannot do it all alone… Hearing Moses’ strong claim that only he can judge, Jethro responds with utter simplicity: ‘That which you are doing is not good.’ (Ex. 18:17).” (Emphasis added, p. 91). Moses was sure to burn himself out.  Yitro advised Moses to find men who are strong, (anshei hayyil), who believe in God, (yir’ei Elohim), who are truthful, (anshei emet), and who do not seek wealth, (son’ei vatzah).  Ex. 18:21.  These men, in turn, became chiefs of “thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.”  (Id).  Thus, the task of meting out justice was delegated throughout the Tribes.  As judges were also leaders, the system of delegated leadership, and, one might add, representational leadership, was developed.

The parallel to CBD’s Board Installation Shabbat is simple and direct.  Just as the Children of Israel needed leaders, so to does this congregation.  And just as the primary leader – Moses – required assistance, so too, does CBD’s president and executive committee require people who maintain high ethical standards and care for their community.  So we honor our Board members by installing them on the antecedent Parasha.

As for the second theme – Laws – the Ten Commandments was not the first list of “do’s and don’t’s.”  The seven Noahide laws predates the Ten Commandments.  As the commentary in Etz Hayim states, while other societies may have had similar laws, they “…were invariably phrased as conditional: ‘if… then.” If someone murders another, this is the punishment. The statements in the Decalogue were unique in being phrased as absolutes. ‘You shall not’.  These things are not only illegal, they are wrong.  They not only disrupt society, they violate universal principles.” (p. 441).  The Ten Commandments create the foundation of all other laws.  The first five establish the relationship between the Israelites and God, setting up the notion of a holy community.  The second set govern relationships between people within that society.

So to, does CBD’s vision statement establish our goals in establishing a sacred community – a Kehilla Kedosha – and our bylaws and policies govern how our Board members interact with each other, and with our membership.  While we conduct our Board installation on Parashat Yitro, it bears repeating as to why.  The story of Yitro, more than 4000 years old, is still relevant today.


Did you know? The plates, cups and cutlery being used at Beth David are completely COMPOSTABLE! Please dispose of them in the GREEN BINS when you are finished.

Upcoming Tot, Youth and Family Services

Mishloah Manot Fundraiser – Deadline is February 10th

Donate Items for Purim Silent Auction – Deadline is February 3rd

Purim Carnival Volunteers Needed – email

On Sale Now – Queen Esther’s Kitchen

Mitzvah a Month

SAVE THE DATE: Scholar-in-Residence Weekend, March 15th – 17th

Minyan – Sunday 9:30 am & Monday – Thursday 7:00 p.m.


Friday, February 1: Hagigat Noar – Celebration of Youth – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 2: Board Installation Shabbat

Saturday, February 2: Building Blocks of Jewish Prayer with Rabbi Orhiner – After Shabbat Kiddush Lunch (about 1:30 p.m.)

Sunday, February 3: Women in Your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s Come Join Z’havah for Coffee! – 10:15 a.m.

Sunday, February 3: Men’s Club Super Bowl Party – 3:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 5: Membership Committee Meeting – 7:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Friday, February 8: Cantorial Shabbat with Rabbi Ohriner – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 9: Jews’ Next Dor Lunch and Learn – 12:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 9: Book Discussion Group – 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 10: Diaspora and Homeland: Jewish Perspectives in the Greco-Roman Era – 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, February 10: Retirement Reception for Sue Glettig – 1:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 10: Jewish Pioneer Women of the American West – 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Tuesday, February 12: Women in Your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s Join Z’havah for Bowling – 7:00 p.m.

Monday, February 11: Share Your Business Expertise – 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 14: Become a Prayer Leader at CBD with Rabbi Ohriner – 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 16: Founders and Past President Shabbat – 9:30 a.m.

Saturday, February 16: Mussar Matters with Rabbi Pressman – 1:30 – 2:30

Sunday, February 17: Siyum (Completion Ceremony) on Sedar Nashim – 9:30 – 10:45 a.m.

Sunday, February 17: Mah Jongg Tournament – 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 17: Jews’ Next Dor CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point – 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 23: Erev Purim Megillah Reading – 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, February 24: Family Megillah Reading – 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Sunday, February 24: Purim Carnival – 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 2: 2nd Annual Hamantaschen Ball – 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, April 7: Celebrating Beth David at 50: Milestones and Memories – 1:00 p.m.


Sunday, February 3: Women’s Seminar at Oshman Family JCC – 9:45 am – 2:15 pm

February 17: From DNA to Genetic Genealogy: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask – 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 7: An Evening with Technion’s Distinguished Professor Dan Shechtman 2011 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry – 6:15 p.m.

March 2 – March 12: Jewish Music Festival

Sunday, March 17: 2013 Pillars of the Community – 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m

Sunday, April 14 – Thursday, April 18: Southern California College Tour with JCC