Last week we read Parashat Yitro which is most famous for the giving on the ten commandments and the moment that all the Israelites gather together at the bottom of mount Sinai as Moses ascends up the smoke and fire wrapped mountain. But, before we get to this moment, there is a lesser known interaction between Moses and his father in law, Yitro. Yitro tells Moses;
לא־טוב֙ הַדָבָ֔ר אֲשֶ֥ר אַתָ֖ה עֹשֶֽה׃
“The thing you are doing is not right;
נָבֹ֣ל תִבֹ֔ל גַם־אַתָ֕ה גַם־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶ֖ה אֲשֶ֣ר עִמְָ֑ כִֽי־כָבֵ֤ד מִמְָ֙ הַדָבָ֔ר לא־תוכַ֥ל עֲשֹ֖הו לְבַדֶָֽ׃
You will surely wear yourself out, and these people as well. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. (Exodus 18:17 – 18).
The words ‘it is not good’ are said just two times in Torah and both these are in regard to people trying to do it alone. First, when God sees Adam alone and says, ‘It is not good’ so creates Eve, and then again in this latest conversation between Moses and Yitro. Even in times of Torah it was recognised that people need community and companionship in order to exist and thrive.
Later as the Israelites stand together at the bottom of the mountain for the momentous occasion of the giving of the ten commandments, they stand in community and with support of each other and Moses. Not only is it said that all of Israel stood there at the bottom of the mountain, but we were all there too. Tradition tells us that every Jew throughout history and today were there receiving Torah, standing side by side.
The ongoing Corona virus restrictions, as well as the seasonal struggle that many face, have left many of us feeling more alone and the task is too heavy. As friends and members of NLJC we are lucky to have that community around us and whilst we cannot meet in person, we are all still here.
However big or small you may feel your need to be, be sure to reach out and to know that it is okay to share the load. This third lockdown is long, and many are finding it harder. This too shall pass and until it does, we have each other.
There is a wonderful NLJC care group and I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we can make it through! Rabbi Anna Posner