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CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS OF JETHRO’S ARRIVAL (1)

February 1st, 2018

The arrival of Yitro (Jethro) together with Moses’ wife, Zipporah, and their sons, is sandwiched between the narrative describing the battle with Amalek and the revelation at Mount Sinai.

Yitro seems to have been inspired to come from Midian by what he had heard about events that had recently taken place, but there is disagreement in the Talmud and among the commentaries as to exactly what Yitro heard, and even about when he arrived.

Rabbi Dunner goes through a range of sources and offers a number of suggestions as to what Yitro heard, why he reacted in the way that he did, and why his appearance at this crucial moment in Jewish history is so significant.

Photo: “Jethro Advising Moses” by Jan van Bronchorst (Google Art Project)

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