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Torah from Asher Hashash: Yitro

Yitro – The highest level

Moses prepared the Israelites to receive. They were to wash and be ready. It will take time and dedication to detail. He needed this time to get himself ready. As he ascended the mountain, the camp below took on a new meaning. They were small and defined. Not long ago they were in Egypt. Now in the desert, everything was moving quickly.

Above, Moses walked around. Certain he knew where he was and what he wanted to do, the mountain looked different. He was different. Moses lost his way. A day had passed. He wanted return and start over, but every turn was not the way. He wished he brought along a partner. Yitro, his father-in-law, told him he can’t do it all by himself. Moses felt the big weight. Another day passed. He felt anguish. In his bag he looked and there was a cloth. Joshua prepared his food and water. He also packed Moses’ childhood cloth. It was a gift from his Egyptian mother. She packed it for him when he left Egypt. The cloth had wrapped him in the basket while floating downstream. It had writing sown by his birth mother.

Moses had a memory of a Hebrew slave. She told him stories to amuse when his Egyptian mother was away. One day another woman joined them. She was older. They spoke quietly. His caretaker then told him she has a special story that day. The older woman held his birth cloth and touched the markings and looked at him the whole time.

There was a boy who was away from home. Angry with his family, he ran so far, he lost his way back. By nightfall, he curled up to sleep crying. It was dark and cold, there were animal sounds. He was not used to being outdoors. He missed his parents terribly. The next day he was sad and confused of what to do. Nightfall came and he held his fears in his bosom. ‘My parents must hate me’, he thought. ‘I am an ungrateful son’. He tried to sleep but for the wind sounds. He opened his eyes, unable to hide. He stared at the flames of his fire. Their light flickered shadows on a tree. It had many, many branches, he noticed. They stretched out wide, going higher and higher up. Small animals were on the branches, climbing like steps. He got up, circled the tree. There were even more branches in the back where small animals were coming down. This was such a mystery. He wondered, ‘where are they going?’ He went back to lie for sleep and the tree folded itself.

He thought about his dream. It helped forget the awful fight he had with his family. The third night, and the boy was intrigued to discover the tree. He built a fire, then watched as the light faded and the tree opened itself. Up close, it felt it wanted him to also climb. He looked but the animals had no markings, no faces, made no sounds. The branches travelled up and down. There was no top. The tree suddenly stretched, like it was breathing. ‘What kind of tree is this?’. He returned to sleep soundly. In the early daylight his fear had left him. He remembered so many things now. He knew why he left and where he was going. He advanced to the tree and acknowledged its guardian. ‘Thank you’, he said softly, one hand on the trunk. ‘You were there for me when I thought I was alone’.

Another day passed for Moses. His birth cloth for a pillow, he recalled the story in his sleep. In the morning, he resumed his path rather than go back to the camp. He saw, to his amazement, a large tree in a clearing. It had many branches and no top. The tree widened its branches, then kneeled before him. Moses stepped closer and said, ‘I am ready’. He rose steadily with each step. His feet lighter and determined. To the highest level he climbed

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