After arriving in the desert with Moshe’s family, Yitro, Moshe Rabenu’s father-in-law, observes the scene of Moshe dealing with the multitudes of people giving them blessings, adjudicating disputes, and clarifying Torah laws.
Yitro reproaches Moshe and suggests a more efficient process. Moshe, in his unmatched humility, adopted his father-in-law’s advice that G-d himself confirmed and openly credited Yitro for his insight and wisdom.
The commentators grapple with why it took Yitro to figure out that there was a problem with the way Moshe was handling the cases. Wasn’t it a simple, straightforward suggestion?
In his work HaDerash V’hayiyun (Maamar 150), Rabbi Aharon Levine suggests that Yitro helped Moshe uncover a fundamental flaw in the behavior of the Jewish people. Yitro observed that people were asking Moshe questions in all areas of halacha to find out what to do. However, when it came to issues of bein adam lechavero – issues between man and man, they would wait until they got into a disagreement with someone else and then call for a Din Torah (adjudication through a Jewish court). Yitro encouraged Moshe to be proactive in teaching people how to treat others, setting up lower courts to handle cases as they happen.
Whether you consider vaccination boosters a necessity or not, indeed, there is no debate about the need to vaccinate ourselves from another disease, the disease of machloket (discord). Yitro taught us that the best ‘booster’ is to proactively teach people to be mindful of how their actions affect others before it escalates into a more significant issue.
Rabbi Shlomo Gabay