The Wisdom of In-Laws — A poem for Parsha Yitro (Aliyah 3)

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Moses obeyed his father in law,
and he did all that he said.

Exodus 18:24

When I first met my father-in-law
naturally, he was suspicious.
Who was this man, who was not him?
Who had not supplied his daughter
with a lifetime of foreign dolls
or a baby grand piano, or music lessons
or decades of food and shelter?
Who had flown across the country
to meet him purporting to be
someone worthy of providing
his little girl with anything?
It took a while to build trust
especially when I came off with
the confidence of Gunga Din
who I later found out was a
fictional character, thus matching
the legitimacy of my confidence.
I was so sure how all that I was
it took years before I saw
the immensity of the empire he had built.
Built with the long-haul in mind
Built with a foundation so solid
he could lose a job and still
buy you dinner for a year.
He’s taken care of generations
of people in every direction
without breaking a sweat.
The intricacies of his structure
are what inspires me to
create the same for his daughter
and grandson. I may never
be able to feign an interest in golf
but I follow his lead like Moses
followed Jethro. Putting all the
pieces in place so everyone
connected has what we need.
Moses obeyed his father-in-law
and did all that he said.
We should all be so lucky
to have a Jethro
or a Bernie.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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