Parshat Yitro – Making of a Leader

I’ve often wondered, why didn’t Moshe’s children play a role in the leadership of the Jewish People?

I think the answer can be found in this parsha, which begins with the words, “And Yitro heard.” According to the Midrash, cited by Rashi, Yitro heard about the miracle of the splitting of the sea, and the victory over Amalek. According to other commentators, the entire portion relating to him actually took place after the Jews received the Torah, making that one of the things he heard.

Yitro brought with him Moshe’s wife and two sons, who had been sent back to Midian when Moshe went down to Egypt to liberate the people. Moshe’s sons never experienced, or even witnessed, the slavery of Egypt, the miracles of the Exodus and the sea splitting, and possibly, even the revelation at Sinai. How then could they lead the nation?

A leader has to understand his followers. To truly do that, he must share in their joys and in their sorrows, in their suffering, and in their redemption.

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