Parashat Yitro: A Summary
This is the Torah portion containing the giving of the Ten Commandments. Did you know that there are differences in the Ten Commandments as stated here (Exodus 20:1-14) and related later in Deuteronomy 5:6-18? (Suggestion: have your children find the differences as a game at the Shabbat table during dinner).
Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro (Yitro or Yisro in the Hebrew) joins the Jewish people in the desert, advises Moses on the best way to serve and judge the people — by appointing a hierarchy of intermediaries — and then returns home to Midian. The Ten Commandments are given, the first two were heard directly from G-d by every Jew and then the people begged Moses to be their intermediary for the remaining eight because the experience was too intense.
The portion concludes with the Almighty telling Moses to instruct the Jewish people not to make any images of G-d. They were then commanded to make an earthen altar; and eventually to make a stone altar, but without the use of a sword or metal tool.