This week’s parsha, Yitro, mentions Moses’ father-in-law (known by seven names in Tanakh.) In Yitro, he swoops in, Jean-Luc Picard style, to teach Moses how to delegate and manage his community more efficiently and then swoops out again.
This midrash was written at Pardes in 2009-2010 and tells the story of their meeting and how their mentor-mentee relationship came about.
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Reuel, Friend of Gd
I touched my forehead to the earth at my tent’s entrance at the end of my midday prayer, as I do each morning, noon and evening. I intended to rise again and return to the ebb and flow of my afternoon in preparation for the return of my daughters but as soon as my skin touched the earth, its coolness enveloped me like a black night. I settled my weight onto my hands at my ears and turned my cheek to the earth to hear its rumble more clearly.
“Ooold Friend,” it said. The voice came neither from earth nor from sky. I could feel it tremble in my bones. “Friend of El”. My eyelids felt heavy and the vibrating of this voice inside me was like sweet water on this hot, dry day. I never wanted to rise again. I knew this voice and its timbre and I welcomed it as I had done every time before. Continue reading