The Jewish people as a whole is currently in a time of crisis. Whether because of the Arab/Israeli conflict, the current drought in Israel, or the economic situation in America, we as a people are in some way feeling pained. While it would be inappropriate to assign the blame for these issues on any single person or event, we must internalize the messages learned from these hard times, and attempt to increase our closeness to the Almighty, removing ourselves from anything which is believed to be detrimental to our spirituality. We must hear the call from God and answer it with our sincerest Teshuvah.
A very similar notion can be found in this week’s Parashah. God revealed himself in an unsurpassed manner. Beginning with Moshe’s revelation of God at the burning bush, leading to the awe-inspiring Kriat Yam Suf, splitting of the Red Sea, God has shown His mighty hand in our world. One would logically speculate that the queues of individuals waiting to be converted would be endless due to the amazing exposure of God’s might; however, only one man, Yitro, heard God’s call and converted. Yitro instantly became a man of fame and power within the Jewish circles, and even instituted the process for the Jewish judicial system in the desert. Yitro transformed from a Nochri leader to a position of great respect within the Jewish community.
If Yitro was capable of rising from the bottom to the top of Jewish hierarchy, than the same can be true of any Jew who simply hears God’s calling. Therefore, whenever we hear of the troubles throughout the world, we must see the hand of God in the bigger picture of the world, and with that knowledge, rise to the honorable and venerable position of our leader, Yitro.
-Adapted from thoughts of Dr. Joel Berman