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    Yitro’s b’rachah

    Moses & Jethro, by James Tissot

    The priest of Midian who became Moses’ father-in-law had several names including Chovav. The most famous name he bore was Yitro.

    The rabbinic sources think highly of Yitro and say that he was the first person to utter a benediction, a b’rachah in praise of the Israelite God. He had no doubts in his mind that HaShem was greater than any of the gods of the nations because his spiritual journey had taken him through many faiths and he recognised how unauthentic, inept and ineffective the other deities were. He acknowledged that HaShem was Melech HaOlam, the Ruler of the World.

    There is a rabbinic view that when the Torah was revealed on Mount Sinai, Moses sent Yitro away somewhere so that he should not be embarrassed or put to shame by his earlier repudiation of the Divine Ruler.

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