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Vaeira – Shlishi
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Before the divergence into Moshe’s family tree, G-d was giving him instructions to visit Pharaoh and Moshe was protesting. G-d told Moshe not to worry. “Here’s what you can expect,” G-d told Moshe. “I will give Pharaoh the ability not to be intimidated, so he won’t cooperate. I’ll work a few miracles and eventually bring […]
Vaeira – R’vi’i
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G-d told Moshe and Aharon that Pharaoh would ask them for a sign. When he did, they were to pull the staff-into-a-snake trick. The brothers went to Pharaoh and did as they had been instructed. Pharaoh responded by calling his magicians. By using sleight of hand, they appeared to replicate the feat of turning staffs […]
Vaeira – Chamishi
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After Moshe and Aharon departed from Pharaoh, Moshe prayed to G-d about the frogs. G-d answered Moshe’s prayers and the frogs died. The Egyptians shoveled them into huge heaps of stinking frog carcasses. But Pharaoh again steeled his resolve and refused to release the Jews. And so, G-d told Moshe to have Aharon strike the […]
Vaeira – Shishi
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And so, G-d sent wild animals to attack the Egyptians. Pharaoh summoned Moshe and told him that he would allow them to sacrifice to G-d in the land of Egypt. “That won’t do,” Moshe replied. “Our sacrifices are animals that your people revere. If the Egyptians saw us offering them up, they’d riot. Nope, we’ve […]
Vaeira – Sh’vi’i
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For the seventh plague, G-d had Moshe reach towards the sky, triggering a miraculous hail storm throughout Egypt. Huge hail stones fell, with lightning flashing among them. Any person or animal that dared venture outside during the hail was killed by it. It also smashed the trees and the crops, though the Jews in Goshen […]
Vaeira – Haftarah
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This haftarah is a complex piece of writing, with many themes, but repeated review shows that it overall deals with how and when nations should see world events as connected to the hand of God, a question central to our times as well. Many people instinctively recoil from the topic, since it is so widely […]
Shemot – Rishon
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This aliyah begins with a recap of the names of Yaakov’s sons, who descended to Egypt. (Names = Shemos, hence the name of this sedra and the Hebrew name of this Book!) All told, there were seventy blood relatives of Yaakov, including Yoseif and his sons, who were already in Egypt. The generation of Yoseif […]
Shemot – Sheini
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Pharaoh called the midwives and castigated them for not carrying out his orders. The midwives excused themselves by telling him that the Jewish women were more robust than the Egyptians; they usually deliver before the midwife even arrives! Because the midwives risked their lives in defense of the helpless, G-d rewarded them with “houses.” (Rashi […]
Shemot – Shlishi
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Moshe grew up under Pharaoh’s own roof as a prince of the nation. He got in the habit of going out to see what his native people were up to. One day, he saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating a Jewish slave. (It’s possible that the taskmaster killed the slave; the Hebrew verb to strike could […]
Shemot – R’vi’i
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Moshe worked as a shepherd for his father-in-law, Yisro. On one occasion, he brought his flocks to a particular mountain in Choreiv (Horeb – AKA Mount Sinai; we’ll be seeing more of this particular mountain in a few weeks!) G-d appeared to Moshe from the midst of a thorn bush that was on fire but […]