Parshat Yitro: Foreign to Prime Minister

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10 Feb 2009
Arts & Media

To administer truth takes no tape at all.


It is only the administration of things

False – those paper-pushing societies

Where the secretaries’ secretaries have

Secretaries and the boardroom is indeed

A room for all things bored, to meet and

Discuss the boredom crisis; committees

Creating more committees committed to

The compilation of yet more committees

(And alliterations) – that are susceptible to

The tangled and sticky miles of red tape


(Not to mention never-ending documents

Longer yet for their infinite abbreviations




Yitro the minister of Midian


He was a minister of one such an administration,

With temples full of many gods but empty of one

Unified purpose and peace;


He would administer both in the religious and

Societal sense, a minister of a foreign people

And of foreign affairs – people foreign to the

Mission, affairs foreign to the soul: he would

Worship the pen instead of the Writer, pray

To the building instead of its Builder, bow

To the heavens instead of to the heavenly

Creator – he would serve the art and not

The Artist, the chisel and not the Craftsman


Yitro the minister of Midian

The father-in-law of Moshe

Heard everything that G-d

Did to Moshe and Israel


And he changed; he converted in the classic

Sense of the word: converted all his previous

Knowledge of things mundane to knowledge of

Things Divine, converted his belief in things

Multiple and fragmented to belief in the One

And Only, who creates all things multiple and

Fragmented…but only so that we can bridge and

Unify them – heaven and earth so that we can make

Them hug one another, body and soul so that we

Can make them dance together, mind and heart so

That we can have them merge as one, you and me

So that we can complete each other – man and G-d:

So that we can be and illuminate and make Him proud


Even the splitting of the sea could only merge the

Dry land and the wet sea, the worlds revealed and

The worlds hidden…


It takes a minister of an idol culture and an idle heart,

A leader of things faux to become a follower of things

Friendly for the real bridge to suspend and draw-

Out the creases, draw-in the sweetness and

Draw-on the beauty


You shall be to Me

A kingdom of ministers

And a holy nation


And this, only this – the transformation of a man, a minister

Of a foreign service to a minister of the Divine service; only

This transcendence – and therefore unification – of body and

Soul is worthy and can inspire the ultimate transcendence and

Unification: the marriage of heaven and earth at Mount Sinai –


And every moment since.


Now no longer ministers of foreign affairs;

But prime ministers, administrators, leaders

Of the most precious, prime thing out there –

Our bodies and our souls

Heading to the most precious, prime real estate –

The Promised Land


Mendel Jacobson is a writer, poet and journalist living in Brooklyn. His weekly poetry can be seen at

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.