Metaphors in the Torah: “Jethro” (Exodus 18.1 – 20.22)

Illustration: Moses Coming Down from Mount Sinai
by Gustave Dor'e


In this week’s Torah portion we see quite clearly that the Modern Hebrew word for: “conversion” does not mean conversion in the Torah. What is beyond doubt is that Moses sojourned with Jetho, he did not convert to the religion of Jethro.

In addition to this, we also see clearly that the group of men called: “judges” was not the idea of God, but was the idea of Jethro the Midianite. Nevertheless, as noted in other articles of this series, many stories in the Torah appear twice and with slightly different versions. In the story about the people demanding meat, we see that, at the behest of Moses, God agrees to appoint seventy leaders of the community as helpers to Moses and he takes some of the spirit that was in Moses and transfers it to these seventy men.

The point here, however, is that in both versions it is very clear that it was not God’s idea to appoint these leaders (In the same way, it was not God’s idea that Israel have a king or that Israel build a temple).

Either way, all these judges and teachers of the oral law will die wandering around in the desert because they sided with the ten dishonest spies against Moses, Joshua Ben Nun and Caleb. So, if the original teachers of the oral law died in the desert for counseling the people not to enter the Promised Land, then maybe it is not too smart to listen to modern day teachers of the oral law who counsel their followers to remain in Brooklyn (For sure, it was not a good idea to listen to the teachers of the oral law who advised their followers to remain in Poland).

Also, it should be noted that not a single one of these newly appointed judges spoke out when Aaron decided to cast a molten calve out of gold. In fact, the way it appears in the story, it was these teachers of the oral law, together with the people, who were the ones who actually demanded that Aaron make the golden idol.

So, I would urge anyone reading this article to go, right now, to the Chabad website and look at their version of the Haggadah:
Not once is Moses mentioned in the Chabad Haggadah, yet numerous times the service provides the names of famous teachers of the oral law like Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Hillel. How is it possible to tell the story of Passover without mentioning Moses even once ? Truly, these are sick people…
*** Correction: A reader named Carlos scanned the Chabad Haggadah and found Moses mentioned once. It does not describe what Moses did, it does not quote Moses, and does not acknowledge that Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. It simply says...the people believed in God and his servant Moses.
I stand by what I said: the Chabadniks are sick people....
Just to put this in perspective: What would you say if someone told the story of Apple Computer and only mentioned Steve Jobs once ???

Regardless, the point of these articles in the Jerusalem Post is to explain that everything in the Torah has a double meaning. Therefore we shall attempt to show that the Ten Commandments also have a double meaning based on metaphors.

The first commandment says that one should not have any other Gods. That seems clear enough when we look around the world and see God’s like: Zeus, Ra, Jesus, Shiva, etc. etc. Nevertheless, Mount Moriah is called: God’s Mountain and the Hebrew name: Moriah comes from the same root as the word for: teacher. In previous articles we have already demonstrated that: land is a metaphor for: a school, hence: “a mountain” would be a metaphor for a “high level school” or: “a source of higher understanding”.

If this is correct, then what the first commandment is really saying is that:

“Thou shall have no other teachers except God”.

In Israel, and throughout the Jewish world, unfortunately that is not the case. For years and years the Torah commentator for the Jerusalem Post: Rabbi Shlomo Risken would declare that: “the rabbis are God’s partners”. Really? So, according to Rabbi Risken: If Moses is the servant of God and the rabbis are God’s partners, doesn't  that mean that Moses is the servant of the rabbis ???

Thus, in my opinion, the first commandment is warning the children of Israel not to have any other teachers, especially teachers who make up their own laws as they go along and insist that the Talmud is a higher authority than the Torah.

The second commandment is about not having any idols or images. This again, appears to be referring to foreign gods, but when we see people like the Chabadniks declaring that their rabbi is the messiah and distributing giant posters of him all over the world, we begin to understand that the idols we should be worried about are: “us”.

The third commandment has to do with not using the lord’s name for evil purposes and when, taken literally, we could say that this applies to the rabbis who commandeered army helicopters to curse the people of Israel who did not vote in the elections the way these rabbis wanted. None the less, when we recall that God is a teacher and that the only condition of the covenant with Abraham was that he teaches God’s ways to his descendants, then we can begin to appreciate that “evil” is teaching something that does not come from God. So, using God’s name in vain or for evil purposes means to teach the laws of the rabbis and insist that these are God’s laws, when clearly they are not.

The forth commandment has to do with keeping the Sabbath and most people believe that this has to do with not working on the Sabbath. Some people also think this has to do with not producing energy on the Sabbath.

Regardless, we have shown again and again and again that in the Torah: "food" is a metaphor for: "knowledge". In addition to this, in the previous Torah portion, the people were told not to go from their places to seek food. Finally we said that the Hebrew word used in the Torah in relation to work was actually closer to creating a piece of art, than physical work.

Rabbinical Judaism says that walking along the way is a metaphor for following God’s ways. The Torah, however, says that we are not to leave our place on the Sabbath. Obviously then, we cannot walk along ways on the Sabbath, because we cannot leave our place. In a previous article, we discussed the fact that Esau was a hunter who chased after meat and meat was a metaphor for preaching or a sermon. We also noted that Abraham and Jacob sat near the doors of their tents and did not chase after meat. In fact, in Abraham’s case, the angles brought their message to him.

Accordingly, it was my conclusion that on the Sabbath we should not study God’s ways, we certainly should not study the Talmud and we should not give lectures in the synagogues about what we think are God’s ways. On the Sabbath, we should sit in our place and wait for God to speak to us, not seek out a rabbi to provide the answers.


 The fifth commandment has to do with honoring one’s father and mother. Here I think the literal interpretation means:  my literal father and my literal mother. If we see a father as a metaphor for a teacher of the law and a mother as a metaphor for a spiritual intermediary, then the commandment seems to be suggesting that we must obey the law, but we must also respect the spiritual nature of God’s word.

The sixth commandment is about murder and the literal interpretation means not to murder anyone. Unfortunately, in English Bibles this has been mistranslated as: kill, which is ridiculous since Moses himself ordered to Israelites to kill every man, woman, child and infant in Canaan and, sometimes, even their animals. The only people to be spared were virgin girls who the Israelites were permitted to marry, thus proving that Judaism does NOT pass thru the mother.

The most famous murder in the Torah is, of course, the murder of Abel by Cain. What is important about this act is that the motive for the murder was food and, as noted, food is a metaphor for knowledge. Also, the murder took place in a field and we have shown repeatedly that a field is a metaphor for a school as it still is till this very day (i.e. What is your field of study?) Accordingly, the commandment then appears to be talking about discrediting the religious ideas of others.

The seventh commandment deals with adultery and we have already discussed in other articles that the Bible speaks of: “whoring after other god’s”. We have also noted that the word: “adulterated” means “to water down” and that certain types of water can be compared to the oral laws. Thus, since the Torah is the bread of life and on Passover we should not add things to the bread, to adulterate the Torah means not to add things to God’s word and weaken its message.

The eighth commandment has to do with stealing and we have already noted how the rabbis have stolen the story of Passover from Moses and given it to their fellow rabbis. After all, everyone knows Rabbi Akiva split the Red Sea, right? That is why he is in the Chabad version of Haggadah and Moses is not…

The ninth commandment speaks about bearing false witness and I guess, literally, this means lying in court. It can’t just mean lying because Abraham , Isaac and Jacob all lied…So, bearing false witness means saying somebody did or did not do something which we know is not the case.

Spiritually, in my opinion, telling the readers of the Jerusalem Post for 30 years that "the rabbis are God’s partners" is a pretty good definition of bearing false witness.

The tenth commandment has to do with coveting a neighbors’ wife, cow or donkey etc. and we have already discussed in a previous article that an ox is a metaphor for a religious scholar and a donkey is a metaphor for a prophet.
So, not coveting these things has to do with not worshiping foreign God’s or being envious of foreign religions. So for example: when the people tell Samuel they want a king so they can be like other peoples of the world, God tells Samuel: "It is not you they are rejecting, but me"


In conclusion: I guess now it should be pretty clear why the rabbis don’t want you to place the Ten Commandments on your doorpost….because there is absolutely no doubt that 3,000 years ago, the Israelites did indeed place the Ten Commandments on their doorposts, until the teachers of the oral law convinced them to stop doing so...