• Shemot ~ 5773 ~ שמות

    Click HERE to access our Parashah Summary Archive with week-by-week summaries and study questions

    Shemot ~ 5773 ~ שמות

    The second book of the Torah, Shemot (Exodus) begins; it chronicles the creation of the nation of Israel. The descendants of Jacob are enumerated at the beginning of this week’s Parashah.

    Pharaoh, fearing the population explosion of Jews, enslaves them. When their birthrate increases, he orders the Jewish midwives to kill all newborn males, but they secretly refuse. Yocheved gives birth to Moshe and hides him in the reeds by the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter finds and adopts him, although she knows he is probably a Hebrew.

    Miriam, Moshe’s sister, approaches the Princess and offers to find a nursemaid for Moshe and arranges for his mother Yocheved to fulfill that role. Years later, as an adult, Moshe witnesses an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and Moshe kills the Egyptian. Realizing his life is in danger, Moshe flees to Midian. There he rescues Tzipporah, whose father Yitro approves their subsequent marriage.

    While tending Yitro’s flock, Moshe witnesses the burning bush where G-d commands him to lead the Jewish people from Egypt to Israel, the land promised to their ancestors. Moshe fears that the Jewish people will doubt his being G-d’s agent. Therefore, G-d enables Moshe to perform three miracles to validate himself: transforming his staff into a snake, his healthy hand into a leprous one, and water into blood. When Moshe declares that he is not a good public speaker G-d tells him that his brother Aaron will be his spokesman.

    Aaron greets Moshe on his return to Egypt and they petition Pharaoh to release the Jews. Pharaoh responds with even harsher decrees, declaring that the Jews must produce the same quota of bricks as before but without being given supplies. The people become dispirited, but G-d assures Moshe that He will force Pharaoh to let the Jews leave.

    MAFTIR Exodus 5:22 – 6:1 ~ page 224

    HAFTORAH Isaiah 27:6 – 28:13, 29:22 – 23 ~ page 225 

    Like the Torah reading, in this haftorah the prophet tells the story of the exiles of the people of Israel. We read about Moshe at the burning bush, the redemption of Israel and the beginning of the redemption. The haftorah contains the prophecy that there will come a day when the Great Shofar will sound, the exiles will come from their places of dispersion and they will come to serve Hashem and bow to Him in Yerushalayim. The sedra speaks of the First Redemption; the haftorah refers to the Final Redemption.

    Parashah Study Questions

    1. What do you think is a better name for the second book of the Torah – Shemot or Exodus?

    2. What is the spiritual correlation between Shemot and the beginning of Winter?

    3. If Moshe was legally correct in executing the Egyptian why did he hide the body (2:12)?

    4. IF Moshe is ordered to remove his shoes because that area is holy, why weren’t we informed of its location for today (3:5)?

    5. Modernists explain that v. 3:22 reflects “First Generation Syndrome” – how so?