Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section
is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person
"goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.
Yisro brings Moshe's wife and two sons to join him in the desert.
In 18:10, Yisro proclaims his belief in Hashem (G-d) and identifies His manifest
justice as the primary motive for his belief and conversion.
2nd & 3rd Aliyot:
Yisro observes Moshe's daily schedule as chief
administrator, judge, and teacher. He advises his son-in-law to delegate some
responsibilities to a hierarchy of worthy judges and administrators. This
would allow Moshe to focus his attention on those issues that demand his
specific attention. Moshe listens to Yisro's advice.
This begins the preparation for Revelation. It is the 1st day of
Sivan, and the Bnai Yisroel have been in the desert for 43 days. Moshe is told
by Hashem to explain to the nation that they are a "kingdom of priests..."
Moshe tells the nation of G-d's expectations and they respond, "all
that Hashem will command we will do." Moshe is further instructed to tell the
people to prepare themselves by immersing themselves and their clothing in a
Mikveh, and to remain apart form their spouses for 3 days. Mt. Sinai is to be
fenced off so that no person or animal could ascend the mountain until the
shofar sounded the conclusion of Revelation. On the 3rd day, Revelation began
with lightning, thunder, the sounding of a Shofar, and Mt. Sinai completely
engulfed in clouds, smoke, and fire. Moshe led the nation to assemble at the
foot of a trembling Mt.Sinai.
Hashem summoned Moshe to ascend the mountain and instructed him to
re-emphasize the prohibition against anyone ascending the mountain during
Revelation. Moshe descends and discharges G-d's wishes. With Moshe standing
among the people at the foot of the mountain, Hashem spoke the Ten
Commandments to the entire people.
This last Aliya describes the reaction of the nation to Revelation.
In 20:19, the Pasuk factually states that the Bnai Yisroel (Jewish Nation) collectively heard
G-d speak. It is among the most fundamentally important statements in the
entire Torah. The Parsha concludes with the three commandments regarding the