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A Historic Progressive Conservative Congregation in Valley Village, CA
A Dynamic Jewish Early Childhood Center Serving Children Ages 6 Weeks to Entering Pre-K
A Jewish Day School serving students in Grades TK-6
A Historic Progressive Conservative Congregation in Valley Village, CA

Parshat Hashavua Yitro

02/14/2020 12:08:52 PM


Eric Chafetz


In this week’s Parsha, Yitro, we read about the Israelites receiving the Torah from Mt. Sinai.  There is a famous midrash that when the Torah was given, no bird chirped, no animals moved and no person uttered a sound.  At that moment God said, Anochi Adonai Elohecha  - I am Adonai your God. God did not say Eloheichem  which would have demonstrated that God was addressing the community as a whole.  Rather, God’s use of the singular Elohecha denotes a more intimate interaction with everyone who was present.

It may be too early in the calendar to start discussing Passover as we have not even celebrated Purim yet.  However, there is an important correlation between Peasach and this Parsha. During the Pesach seder we are asked to retell the story as if we were there ourselves.  Similarly, tradition teaches us that not only those who were a part of the Exodus but all future generations of the Jewish people were present at Sinai. As such, even though God spoke the Ten commandments to all the people, the wording Anochi Adonai Elohecha  - I am Adonai your God, implies that God was speaking to each person individually.  

If God did indeed speak to every person, present and future, individually, we have an obligation to fulfill these commandments.  Last week during our school’s Tu B’Shvat program our students did just that. They took ownership of their obligation to perform acts of Tikkun Olam by learning about composting, planting vegetables in our Biblical Garden and learning how to properly care for the animals that now live at Adat Ari El.  The Jewish Journal came to document the day and wrote a nice article with accompanying video which features many of our students.  

As we go into Shabbat, I invite you to find ways in which you can demonstrate your ownership of the commandments.

Shabbat Shalom,




Sun, March 29 2020 4 Nisan 5780