WWOT: Weekly Words of Torah – Parashat Yitro

To inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women
By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women’s League For Conservative Judaism

This week’s Torah Reading, Parashat Yitro, includes the giving of the Ten Commandments. Of course, there are more than Ten Commandments in the Torah, there are 613 commandments, but people often think of these ten commandments first.

A classic exercise to study Parashat Yitro, and make it relevant to one’s own life, is to ponder which commandment speaks most directly to each individual. This answer may not be the same each year. For example, the year one truly feels like they are surviving the sandwich generation, taking care of parents and children, the commandment Kabed Et avecha v’et emecha, honor your father and mother, may most speak to you. Or, the year Shabbat has become a focal point in your life, and you truly need to rest and recharge your batteries, maybe the commandment to observe Shabbat has become the most important. A discussion about which of the Ten Commandments speaks most to you is a great meeting starter or Kiddish table conversation. Another idea is to make a list of how each one of the Ten Commandments can be relevant in your life. For example, “You shall not murder” may not literally mean killing someone – but how can harmful words, or spreading rumors, murder one’s reputation, and so ‘murder’ a person? These exercises can be done across generations – what a great way to get people of all ages speaking! Enjoy your conversations, which include speaking, listening, and not judging others’ opinions and thoughts.

WWOT, Weekly Words of Torah is a brief paragraph prepared weekly by our new Executive Director, Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, presented in our “This Week @ Women’s League.” WWOT will provide meaningful thoughts related to the Weekly Torah Portion, an event on the Calendar, a Prayer, or something of Jewish interest, to inspire, guide, engage, enrich, and empower Conservative Jewish Women. If you have any particular interest in future topics, or want to send Rabbi Wolintz-Fields an email, you can contact her at ewolintz-fields@wlcj.org. Read previous Weekly Words of Torah here.

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