Yitro is such a seminal figure in Jewish history that he has his own parsha, but more importantly is singled out by the Torah with descriptive words that connect him to the Torah in a profound manner.
Firstly, names embody destinies, and Yitro’s name rearranged spells tori, allegorically meaning “my Torah.” Indeed, he adopted the Torah of Jews as his Torah. The verse also says vayichad Yitro, which commentators explain to mean he was prickly, connoting his extreme happiness in overhearing the events that the Jews experienced. But we may suggest that within the word vayichad is chad, one. Yitro recognized the oneness of God, as opposed to all the other nations that stayed devoted to their own pagan religions, despite the miraculous happenings in Egypt.
Yitro’s dedication to the Torah and the oneness of God made him the perfect adviser to Moshe, who had no finite plan on how to set up the court systems. Yitro, with the Divine spirit within, advised Moshe on how to adjudicate the law with appropriate delegation and balance that would ensure that the judgment can result in fairness. Din is the expression of the Torah’s truths, and Yitro was blessed with establishing it for Israel, as he recognized God’s oneness and personified the perfect Torah.
Steven Genack is the author of “Articles, Anecdotes & Insights,” Genack/Genechovsky Torah from Gefen Press.