Exodus 1:1-6:1


In this Torah portion, the new Pharaoh does not remember Joseph. Fearing their rise in population, Pharaoh makes the Israelites his slaves. Pharaoh then demands that all Israelites baby boys be killed upon birth. Moses’ mother puts her son in a basket in the river and he is saved by Pharaoh’s daughter. When he is an adult, Moses kills an Egyptian who was beating his Israelite slave. Moses flees to Midian and marries Tzipporah. God appears before Moses in a burning bush and tells him to free the Israelites from slavery. An apprehensive Moses returns to Egypt, where he and his brother Aaron demand that Pharaoh free the Israelite slaves. Pharaoh refuses and God promises to punish him.

Click here for a summary of Sh’mot.
Click here for a summary of the Haftarah
  for Sh’mot. 

moses in a basket
Moses’ mother put him in a basket in the river


Text Studies

Social Action and Environmentalism

Birthings and Beginnings
Hannah Graham, Hillel

A Burning Within
Sam Berrin Shonkoff, AJWS

Evolving Name of God
Rabbi Jordan Cohen, KOLEL

Our Burmese Sisters
Carol Towarnicky, AJWS

Pharaoh Didn’t Know Joseph
Rabbi Daniel Moskovitz, Union for Reform Judaism

Life of the Oppressed
Rabbi Joshua Gutoff,


The Book of Names
Udi Hammerman, Canfei Nesharim


From the Denominations

Pluralism and Outreach

These are the Names
Rabbi Bradley Artson, American Jewish Unversity

Becoming a Leader
Rabbi Shimon Felix, Bronfman Youth Fellowship

Symbolic Names
Rabbi Ismar Schorsch, JTS

The Torah’s Accessibility
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, Jewish Outreach Institute

Bumpy Road to Redemption
Rabbi Avraham Fischer, Orthodox Union

Political & Religious Power
Rabbi Irwin Kula, CLAL


Seeing the Broader Picture
Yossi Ziffer, UJA-Federation of New York


Leadership & Trust
Erica Brown, Partnership for Jewish Life & Learning

Parashat Sh’mot Quiz
Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies

Believing the Exodus Story
Rabbi Carol Balin, Women of Reform Judaism

Parashat Sh’mot Challah
Julie Seltzer


Parashat Sh’mot for Families
Torah for Families


Women as Heroes
Torah for Families


When Should Patience Trump Passion?
Torah for Families



Return to the index of weekly Torah portions.

Did you like this article? MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy