Shemot

June 21, 2006
[English: Exodus]; the second Book of the “Chumash,” or Five Books of Moses. It deals with the enslavement of the Jews by Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the birth and rise of “Moshe” (Moses), and the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish People by G-d through the agency of Moses.

Physical Redemption is accomplished by the administration of the “Eser Makot,” or Ten Plagues, as well as by “Kriat Yam Suf,” the Splitting of the Sea of Reeds. This miracle allowed the Jewish People to cross over on dry land. But Nature was then allowed by the Almighty to take its course, and the Sea came crashing down upon the Egyptian Army, destroying it, when Pharaoh commanded it to pursue the People of Israel.

Spiritual Redemption, the purpose of Physical Redemption, is accomplished by the Jewish People’s Acceptance of the Torah, in the form of the “Aseret HaDibrot,” or Ten Commandments, at Mt. Sinai. But they almost immediately betray G-d and worship the “Egel HaZahav,” the Golden Calf, at the foot of the mountain. G-d threatens to destroy them, but Moshe intercedes with his prayers and prevents their destruction.

The Jewish People construct the Mishkan by donating gold and silver, other precious materials and their time and effort, atone for the Golden Calf and return again to the level of holiness of the Avot.