“Why do you sit alone with all the people standing by you from morning to evening?… You will surely become worn out … as well as this people that is with you….” (Exodus 18:14-17)
In this week’s Parasha, Moses’ father-in-law, Yitro, took two buses and a metrolink from Midian to the Israelite camp because he had seen the omnipotent power of God. Yitro witnessed the splitting of the sea and the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.
However, upon his arrival, the Yitro states the sentence listed at the top of this piece of writing…Moses, why are you sat alone whilst giving advice to all of these people?
Yitro was flabbergasted that Moses sat for hours speaking to hundreds and thousands of people about their daily issues and what the right thing to do is. However, aside from moaning and groaning, Yitro took Moses to one side and gave him a piece of advice.
One can only presume that Yitro took Moses out for some good old-fashioned Hummus whilst dishing out this advice – all the best conversations happen over a delicious bowl of boiled chickpeas and fluffy pitta, complimented by the blunt acidity of a Zionist olive…anyway, I digress.
Yitro said, “Moses my son, can you not see that not only is the system that you currently have in place is the epitome of inefficiency?! – But it is also not the sort of system that should be in place if you want to create a united jewish people who are empowered and engaged with one-another.
After a Turkish coffee, a visit to the toilets and a couple of immodiums, Moses returned and created a judicial system within the Israelite camp, appointing a hierarchy of magistrates and judges to assist him in the task of governing and administering justice to the people.
The new court system was a huge success! People were talking to one another, feeling empowered to make their own decisions, drawing upon the wisdom of their peers and most importantly, delegation enabled the Jewish people to be UNITED rather than UNTIED.
And it is this concept that I leave you with to ponder over your Friday night meals and to dream about during your Shabbat shlof – Habonim Dror as Youth Movement run Summer Camps, Israel Tours, Shnat programmes, Weekly Kenim, Reunions and Seminars etc, but it is all with one goal in mind, to empower the Youth and to delegate responsibility throughout the community.
The movement workers don’t call all the shots in the movement, nor do the Roshim on camp. So take a moment during this Shabbat to analyse your position within the movement and your position within your respective community – are you part of a united body of decision makers who interact with one another? Or are you another piece of string, isolated and untied without partners and at the bottom of a long line of decision makers?
Because, Chaverim, the key is where you place the ‘I’. If we are all united rather than untied, we push the ‘I’ to one side and work together as a movement, as a community and as the jewish people.
Aleh Ve’Hagshem and Shabbat Shalom