In this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Yisro, Moshe’s father-in-law Yisro hears of the great miracles that Hashem performed when taking the Jewish People out of Egypt and comes from Midyan with his daughter Tziporah (Moshe’s wife), and their two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. Yisro advises Moshe to create a court system because the job is too big for Moshe to do alone. The appointed judges will be leaders of the Jewish People and will handle minor matters while bringing major matters to Moshe. Moshe took this advice and found leaders from throughout the tribes and set them up as judges.
The Jewish People travel from Rephidim and settle at the foot of Mt. Sinai. There they are told that Hashem has chosen them to be His “kingdom of priests” and “holy nation.” The people respond by proclaiming, “All that G-d has spoken, we shall do.” Following the instructions of Moshe, they prepare themselves for the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, which takes place seven weeks after the Exodus from Egypt and makes them into a nation. The entire nation comes together at the mountain and Hashem descends onto the mountain with thunder, lightning, a heavy cloud and shofar blasts, which terrify the Jewish People. Hashem calls Moshe up to the mountain and then says the Ten Commandments, the only moment in history in which all of the Jewish People had prophecy and heard the voice of Hashem. The Jewish People were so terrified by this moment of prophecy that they asked Moshe to receive the Torah from Hashem and teach it to them.
We are told that Mt. Sinai sprouted forth with flowers at the giving of the Torah. When I was going through the text of the parsha to prepare this blog post, I was troubled that I couldn’t find mention of this flowering in the text. I would like to thank my father, Rabbi Shimon Levine, for finding the source of this teaching for me, and for you. The commentators, the Magen Avraham and the Lavush, point out that we can see a hint to this in the instructions to the people regarding where they must stand while the Torah is being given. It says in the verse that no one should go on the mountain, no person or animal. An animal would only be on the mountain if there were vegetation to eat – therefore we learn that there must have been vegetation and flowers on the mountain when the Torah was given.
There are many symbols in this week’s parsha. Bubble Monsters can symbolize Yisro and Moshe’s wife and children who come at the beginning of the parsha, the judges that Moshe appointed from among the whole Jewish People upon Yisro’s advice, and the entire Jewish People who all came together like on at the foot of Mt. Sinai to accept the Torah from Hashem. Krembos (a favorite Israeli treat) symbolize the little mountain, Mt. Sinai, on which the Torah was given in this week’s parsha. Flower lollipops symbolize the flowers that grew on Mt. Sinai for this occasion. Marshmallows can represent the heavy cloud that descended on the mountain at the giving of the Torah. Candy lips can represent the advice of Yisro to set up the court system, the readiness to accept the Torah as the Jewish People said together “All that G-d has spoken, we shall do”, and the voice of Hashem that all of the Jewish People heard together in that moment when the entire nation had prophecy. Do you have other ideas for parsha-themed treats? Share your ideas in the comments section below.