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    Yitro & the converts – Yitro

    Sinai was not just a Jewish experience, symbolising the acceptance of the Torah and commandments for every generation of Jewish history.

    It symbolises too the acceptance of Judaism by anyone who comes to join the Jewish people.

    The Yalkut Shim’oni tells us (sec. 268) that Yitro (Jethro) was the prototype of a Sinai convert.

    It puts into God’s mouth the words, “I am the One who drew Yitro near and did not reject him; you too, when someone comes to convert for the sake of Heaven, draw him near and do not reject him”.

    Maimonides says that every sincere convert re-enacts the Revelation at Sinai through undertaking circumcision if a male, immersion whether male or female, and bringing an offering (Hilchot Issurei Bi’ah 13:1-4).

    For centuries there has been debate about whether Jews should do more than wait passively for people to come forward and want to be Jewish.

    Today there are many good reasons for being more active in bringing Judaism to the world. So many people’s lives need a firm philosophy and pattern of good habits; the alternatives available are often too threadbare to be satisfying.

    How can anyone manage without having their lives enlarged by Shabbat, Pesach, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and so much else?

    (There was a Jewish teacher who said he was not interested in his place in the World to Come because he would have no Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur there!).

    There is so much that Judaism could give to so many. Bringing Sinai to the world, or bringing the world to Sinai – whichever way you want to put it, it may be time for us to be more activist and dynamic.

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