Texts and beliefs By Masorti Judaism 31st May 2016

And Moses said unto Hobab, ‘¦Moses’ father-in-law: ‘We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said: I will give it you; come thou with us’¦’

And he said unto him: ‘I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.’

And he said: ‘Leave us not, I pray thee…’

Although Moses’ entreaty is never answered, commentators both classical and modern are unanimously agreed that his father-in-law can’t have returned home. How else can the reference to his descendants – the Kenites – in the Book of Judges be explained?

Yet in the context of parashat Behaalot’cha, it’s much less clear. Hobab – formerly known as Yitro – was Moses’ management consultant. Back in Shemot 18, Yitro advised Moses to create a hierarchy of officials and delegate authority, telling him, ‘The business is too heavy for you; you can’t do it alone.’

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