Parshat Yitro :The story of Zipporah


Tamar Pelleg

Since then, a lot of water has flowed in the river of my life. Today, apart from my everyday writing in my “Morning  Diary”, I write regularly on topics related to the Hebrew Bible’s portion of the week, from a psycho-spiritual perspective and on topics  related to relationships that I post on  Facebook, blog, digital story collections and recently I am engaged in writing a  book and my  dream begins to come true.


Exodus 18:2-5

The story of Zipporah

Part A

She couldn’t remember exactly when he spoke to her about separation.

Maybe after the Nile turned into blood?

But one day he turned to her and said:

“Zipporah, it’s not going to work”.

“While I love you,” he continued, “you are a beautiful, sexy and smart woman, I will never forget that you agreed to let me, the stranger, who fled from Egypt, rest under your wing with love. You took me as a husband, you embraced me to your bosom, and gave me two sons. I will not forget your loyalty to me and your willingness to leave your father’s house and go with me on the mission to Egypt, a mission I was so afraid of, how you supported me and saved my life on the way when God almost killed me. And I feel that I was a disappointment as a husband and a father.”

A lump of lead in the pit of her stomach weighed heavily on her breath, sending a sour, bitter taste to her throat, squeezing it to the point of pain, shutting off the words and the cry that tried to burst out of her.

She could hardly listen to his words:

“The truth is, that I am unable to function as both a leader of the people and a husband and father. I neglected you and you deserve a better partner than me, one who can open his heart and love you the way you deserve. Someone who can give you a future, and security and stability.

“I have no future to assure you. Today, it is clear to me that my destiny has been associated with the fate of the Hebrew people, they are my brothers and my blood, they are my family and my people, their God is my God and my place is with them. The future is very foggy and even if Pharaoh eventually will agree to release them from slavery – we will head towards the Promised Land.

“My conscience does not allow me to cut you off from your homeland, from your father’s house, from the people you loved, from your tribe and let you live in solitude.

Forgive my love, it’s not because of you it’s because of me.”


She heard a small voice inside her that couldn’t allow her tongue to speak the words.

What is this nonsense? It’s either you love me or you don’t!

He continued: “Zipporah, I’m sending you back to your father’s house. It’s better that way.”

She burst into tears, against her will; the tears marked paths of desert dust on her face, revealing painful ruts of grief engraved on her heart.

She wanted to disappear, she wanted to hit him, she wanted to hug him and not let go until he returned to being the husband who loved her.

She remembered the young man whom she thought to be an Egyptian, when he suddenly appeared and rescued her and her sisters from the shepherds who were harassing them at the well.

She remembered the fire in his eyes that ignited a fire in her heart, his stature, and his royal manner.

How happy she was when her father Jethro consented to him as my husband and deposited his flock into his hands.

She gladly gave him her heart, gave him two sons, Gershom and Eliezer.


Part B

It all started with the voice, she recalled, the one speaking to him from the bush.

Ever since he started hearing voices something had changed in him.

It wasn’t the man she knew anymore. She was afraid he might have gone crazy.

But they say love is blind.

She agreed to accompany him on this crazy mission: to persuade Pharaoh King of Egypt to agree to give up his slaves.

Maybe her anxiety that rose then, her fear that something bad might happen to him. made her hold onto him as long as she could?

It was hard for her to admit it, but the words he said were painfully true and shattered her illusions.

Ever since she arrived in Egypt, she has felt lost. invisible. With no voice.

Even the boys did not have quality time with their father.

He was constantly “at work”, married to his mission, he spent more time with Aaron than with his own family.

Her life had become unrecognizable and nothing seemed to change. To the contrary, every day he would hear the “voice” speak to him and run to Aaron to tell him and share it, and they would both go out to Pharaoh, again and again.

It was as if someone had put her in a merry-go-round that was spinning at horrifying speed and she was about to lose her balance.

My beloved Moses, what happened to us? Maybe we’ll try anyway?

He didn’t give her a choice. He decided to send her back to her father’s house

She knew very well what this step meant. To be back under her father’s protection means that he will no longer be her husband.

Part C

As a daughter to the priest of Midian, she did not allow herself to lose face. The insult and the pain were concealed deep inside her and she told herself it was for the better. She even managed to feel a small sense of relief, returning to something familiar, stable and secure, For the sake of the children.  And when they heard the rumor about what had happened in Egypt, about the plagues and about the death of all the first-borns, she even breathed a sigh of relief, for leaving Egypt before it started relieved, that her children did not have to experience this and witness the death of neighbor children.


Part D

The news recently came to them of the great miracle that the God of Hebrews had done liberation of the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage, the miracle of the parting of the Sea of Reed by Moses and his people passing on dry land, how the sea once again closed over Pharaoh and his soldiers.   For a moment, a thought passed through her mind: how Moses felt in those moments when he saw Pharaoh drowning. The father of his adoptive mother who saved himself from drowning, was there any emotion left in him at all?

Her father Jethro was most excited to hear about the miracles that were being done and the rumor that the people were about to receive the Torah from God.

She had never seen him so thrilled. He called to her and said:

“Zipporah my daughter, it turns out that your Moshe wasn’t just crazy to hear voices after all. He really heard the voice of the God of the Hebrews, and now, I became convinced that He is the greatest of all gods!

“And so, now that the Hebrews have been set free and Moses is their leader, I do not see a reason for you not to return as a family together. I decided that tomorrow we are off, I will take you and the boys, and we will go together to meet him in the desert near the mountain of God, and we all will be blessed.

Part E

Wow! What excitement she felt. To meet Moshe again. The man who use to be her beloved husband.

At the same time a deep-seated concern rose up and climbed to her chest. A voice whispered within her: to return to Moses and live among his people and to feel alien again? Isolated? Away from her tribe, her status, her safe place? Be exposed to so many eyes?  To the criticism of other women among his own people who may desire him for themselves.

But the closer encounter with Moshe silenced those whispers, and the excitement about the possibility that this time it will be different, overrode her fears.

Maybe, now that his mission to liberate the people from slavery is complete, with his job now leading the nation toward the promised land with full backing from God whose miracles and wonders have impressed even her father, Priest of Midian, he will be able to function as husband and father?

The desert spoke to her in its silence.  And the silence helped cultivate her dreams and the wishes of her heart.

How their reunion will be? Will she recognize the old spark of love he had in his eyes for her? Will he look at her? Will he hug her? Will her heart overflow when she sees him?

Sunset. The silhouettes of the mountain against the purple and red background rekindled her desire for him.

The last glitter of the sun ignited a fire within her that whispered his name.


Part F

As they neared the camp, the messenger was sent to announce their arrival and Moshe went out for them.

Her heartbeat accelerated to his approaching appearance.

He went straight to her father, bowed before him, kissed him and without even looking at her began to speak in praise of his God and tell her father “Of all the good that YHVH did to Israel and how God saved them from Egypt”.

A small sword began to pierce her body and dig into a wound that did not close.

Like seeing your husband married to another woman. So much dedicated to his work that you have become invisible to him. And the insult of the boys whose father would hardly even address them.

Her father sat mesmerized by all the stories.

A black screen seemed to come down and covered her. Shutting down her soul.

The next day, her father accompanied Moshe and generally gave him his great wisdom and many years of experience: how to judge the people, how to delegate authority in order not to get burned-out.

She thanked him for it, maybe he saw into her heart and understood her distress, maybe it would give Moses more time to be with her and the boys?

Then her father departed from them and returned to his country.

Part of her, very frightened, like a little girl who was left behind, wanted to run after him and come home with him.

And another part within her was left full of prayer and hope for a better future.

Maybe this time we will succeed? Maybe?

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