Yitro Part 4 05 February 2015 16 Shvat 5775 ×‘×¡''×“ Moses is Messenger
Previously in Yitro: “A Great Spectacle” is an understatement of an understatement. Mount Sinai looked like it was on fire, with a pitch black cloud hanging around it. There were loud thunder and blasts of the shofar. All the Israelites stood at the foot of the mountain, as God spoke to Moses, and they heard God speak to Moses. He spoke about ten issues that the people of Israel are always to pay particular attention to. Nowadays it's called the Ten Commandments.
Now the people were trembling in fear. They did not want to get close to the mountain… which is good because if anyone touched the mountain, they'd die. They called Moses and said; Please, you talk to Him, and tell us what He says. If He talks directly to us, we'll die.
Moses told them not to be afraid, that God had come to prove to them that He was the Real God and this fear that they have should deter them from sin.
The people took little comfort, and they stepped back a little more.
Meanwhile, Moses goes right up to the thick darkness. God said to him, “This is what you should tell all the people. Remind them that they have seen that G-d has talked to you from Heaven. Tell them NOT to make images of ME. No gods of silver or gold.
All you have to make for me are alters of earth where you will sacrifice sheep and oxen as burnt offerings, peace offerings.
As you wander along, every place that I cause my name to be mentioned there will I bless you.
Before you get started on stone altars, remember that you're building in the name of God. Do not use hewn stones, because if you use a tool to cut the stone, it profanes the stone.
In the same vein, you should not walk up steps to the altar. When you wear a robe or a skirt, walking up steps is not modest from the point of view of the steps.
So Parashat Yitro begins with Yitro telling Moses about his system of tens. And the parasha ends with the Ten Commandments. Very poetic.