Before Moses returned to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of their slavery, he sent his wife and children back to the house of his father-in-law Jethro. Now, after the redemption Jethro and Moses' wife and children come to meet him in the desert. There, Jethro sees Moses single-handedly judging the people and teaching them G‑d's laws and decrees for the entire day. Jethro advises Moses to delegate some of the responsibility by choosing men of stature to be judges and leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, etc…

"Now see to it to select from among all the people men of stature who fear G‑d, men of truth, who hate corruption…."(Ex. 18:21)

This verse reveals matters that are top secret….

It is written, "This is the book of the descendants of man [literally 'of Adam'] on the day G‑d created him in the image of G‑d." (Gen. 5:1). "This is the book" from among those deeply cryptic books [that were given to Adam]. Rabbi Shimon [bar Yochai] said: I have raised my hands in prayer to He Who created the universe. Even though this verse reveals matters that are top secret, one should examine and analyze the secrets found in the Book of Adam, from which the concealed work of King Solomon were drawn.

King Solomon…concealed this wisdom within the books that he wrote….

There are two possible interpretations of this: 1) that King Solomon wrote a work that was subsequently concealed; 2) that he concealed this wisdom within the books that he wrote…. The latter seems to be the intention of the next paragraph.

This is the book that was given to Adam, [enabling him] to know the deep hidden wisdom of the human visage. This wisdom was also transmitted to King Solomon. He inherited [the tradition] and encoded it in his written works.

We learned that Moses was puzzled by this [see Menachot 29a] until the Divine Presence taught him by examining [together with him] the visages of all those men and selecting them [to be judges and leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties etc.]. It was then that Moses learned with wisdom and delved into it. This is the meaning of [the verse] "…Now see to it to select from among all the people…." You, and no other, should see to it - know how to look at 600,000 men [and select those worthy of leadership].

These were the 600,000 male adults who comprised the Israelite army at that time. They are the soul-roots of the entire Jewish people.

There are six aspects of a person's countenance that need to be examined….

There are six aspects of a person's countenance that need to be examined (and know this wisdom clearly). They are: the hair, the eyes, the nose, the lips, the face itself, and the hands - that is, the lines of the hands.

The Zohar now analyzes the verse in greater detail and includes details that were not mentioned previously:

"Now see to it" - look at the hair [which includes] the lines on the forehead and the eyebrows.1 "From among all the people" - the eyes2 [which includes] the layers of the eyes [i.e. the pupil, iris, and the white of the eye] and the lines under the eye. "Men of stature" - those who have the ability to stand in the halls of the King [this alludes to] the glow of the face,3 at the face itself, [and] the lines and folds of the face, and the beard. "Who hate corruption…" - the hands, the lines and marks of the hands.4

All of these six aspects alluded to here [in the verse] were given to Moses to see - to get to know this hidden wisdom. This wisdom is inherited by the truly righteous tzaddikim. Happy is their lot!

[Zohar II:70a, Razin d'Razin, translation and commentary by Moshe Miller; First published by Fiftieth Gate Publications and Seminars]