Jethro tries to prevent Moses from becoming another Pharaoh.

In this week’s Torah portion, Yitro, Jethro comes to the encampment of Bnai Yisrael.  Upon seeing the goings on between Moses and the people, in which Moses receives all disputes, Jethro advises Moses to set up a system of courts so as to alleviate the stress of listening to all the people’s problems.  In thinking about this advise, I am reminded of a midrash discussed in Masechet Sotah.  The midrash says that when Pharaoh was deciding how to respond to the growth of the Jewish people and the fear about being overthrown, he consulted three advisors, Bilaam, Iyov and Jethro.  Bilaam advised Pharaoh to drown the baby boys.  Iyov stood silently by and Jethro protested and ran away.  As such, Jethro merited to have his daughters marry Moses and Aaron.  Jethro realized that it is very easy for a ruler to ignore his advisors for the sake of his own decision making process.  When Jethro sees Moses judge alone, he begins to fear that Moses will fall into the trap of Pharaoh, that Moses won’t listen to other’s advise and trust other’s judgment.  Therefore, he advises Moses that he can’t do it all on his own and that he will need judges under him for him to delegate authority.

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