Friday, January 21, 2011

Parshah Yitro

This week's parshah is one that always brings me back to the same question. I can't even consider the rest of the parshah, because my mind is always floating on one man: Yitro, Moshe's father in law.

Did Yitro Convert?

If you google yitro convert, you'll notice that (beyond my blog) a lot of things come up, citing Yitro as the first convert and as being, plainly and without explanation, simply a convert. But was he? What language dictates this? Why do we count him among the converts like Ruth? And how do we define, in the Tanakh makes a convert a convert? A ger in the Tanakh is simply a stranger, someone sort of floating along with the Israelites. The Rabbis later used and understood the term ger as convert, which is how we understand it today. But the great converts of the Tanakh, like Rahab and Yitro and Ruth, what made them converts?

I know what I think -- what do you think?

Shabbat shalom!