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You Can't Do It Alone

Posted on 02/01/2013 @ 07:11 PM

Not many Biblical characters get a Torah portion named after them. There is no Parshat Moses, no Parshat Aaron, or Parshat Miriam. However, this week’s parsha –in which the 10 Commandments are read – is called Parshat Yitro after Moses’ non-Jewish father-in-law, Yitro! What did Yitro do to deserve this rare honor?

When the Jews were in the desert and on their way from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, Moses found himself overwhelmed by the amount of disputes that he had to adjudicate. People would wait in line all day to bring their disputes before Moses. And for Moses, because he was hearing cases all day, there was no work-life blend. Yitro noticed this and said: “The thing you are doing is not good. You will become burned out and the people will also get tired of waiting in line. This is too overwhelming a task for you and you can’t do it alone” (Exodus 18:17-18).

So Yitro suggested to Moses to delegate the more minor hearings to capable and committed people and to share the caseload with them. This shortened the day-long courtroom line, and allowed Moses to focus on the most complex cases and to have a more manageable portfolio.

Yitro’s message is as relevant to us today as it was to Moses then: You can’t do it alone. Without our capable and committed volunteer advisors, we would not be able to accomplish what we achieve with them. Without the teamwork and collaboration of BBYO’s dedicated professionals, the momentum and scope of AZA BBG IC 2013 would not be possible. I invite you to express gratitude to those people in our organization and in your lives that make what you have accomplished and what you achieve possible.

Yitro teaches Moses, possibly the greatest Jewish leader in history, an essential lesson on leadership and shared responsibility. And if Moses can’t do it all by himself, who can?

This Shabbat Message is brought to you by Ira J. Dounn, Director of Jewish Enrichment for the Northeast Hub, and is dedicated to his grandmother, Evelyn Dounn of blessed memory, who has made possible so much so much of what he was and is able to accomplish.

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