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Power of Humility: Yitro 5780

02/14/2020 10:44:59 AM


Moses has a reputation, according to the Torah, of being the “most humble man of the face of the earth.” But when his father-in-law comes for a visit, the extent of his immense patience and grace speaks for itself. When Yitro arrived in town, he observed his son-in-law, Moses, doing what he did every day:

And Moshe sat down to judge the people; and the people waited [to see] Moshe from morning till night.

Yitro essentially tells Moses that he has not acting efficiently and that his burden is too much for one person to bear. He suggests that authority to judge court cases be delegated and assigned to more judges and minor courts. Here is where the incredible humility of our teacher, Moses, is on full display. 

Moses may have felt justified in saying something like, “Thanks old man but kindly mind your business!” Perhaps a roll of the eyes or a conciliatory “thank you” would be more expected from someone of his stature. 

Nevertheless, Moses surprises by not only listening and considering the suggestions of his father but implementing them as well.  Although he may not have done precisely as Yitro had recommended, it is clear that he took seriously the advice he was offered. 

If Moses himself can, with an open mind, give such respect and import to the thoughts and ideas of an outsider, surely we can interact with others in a similar non-adversarial and constructive fashion. Indeed, too often our egos block us from being able to effectively hear and communicate. That is why the example set by Moses is so profound. If we could just approach that level of modesty then we can truly learn, as he did, from everybody. 

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Suson

Sat, July 2 2022 3 Tammuz 5782