Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Quote of the Week: Teamwork

One of my boss' favorite phrases is "teamwork makes the dream work." I don't know where she picked it up and if it makes you groan at how corny it sounds, you are not alone. Yet, as we prepare to read Parsha Yitro this weekend, I can't help thinking that it is extremely relevant.

In this portion, Moses' father-in-law, Yitro (or Jethro) visits the newly-freed Israelites in the desert and almost immediately notices the inefficiency of this new nation. All issues in need of arbitration are brought to Moses, who personally hands down judgments on all the people's problems. Seeing that this is tiring for both Moses and the people waiting patiently for their turn to be heard, Yitro proposes a solution: teamwork. Moses chose trusted leaders in the community to hear cases and make judgments for the people's minor issues, leaving only a "major matter" (Exodus 18:22) for Moses to personally hear. By delegating the work in this way, Yitro lessened the burden for Moses and shortened the wait time for the people, so that they would not be overwhelmed.

Where the people had once spent entire days waiting to deliberate their problems, they could now be heard much more quickly, leaving time for other important matters, like finding food and water, protecting themselves from enemies, and worshiping God. We learn from this portion that asking for help and relying on others is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength and trust necessary for the furtherance of any nation and betterment of mankind.