Parashat Sh'mot

The Israelites are slaves to Pharaoh and God instructs Moses to liberate his people. Moses and Aaron approach Pharaoh, who refuses their request.

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"If they do not believe the first sign," said God, "they will believe the second sign. But if they still do not believe, you shall take the waters of the river and pour it on dry land. The water will then turn into blood."

"O Lord, I am not a man who is good at speaking."

"Who has made man’s mouth or who makes one mute or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, God? And now, go! I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."

"Oh Lord," said Moses. "Please send this message through someone else."

Then the anger of God was kindled against Moses. God said, "Aaron, your brother, will gladly speak for you. Behold! He is coming to meet you. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what you shall do. And you shall take into your hand this staff with which you are to perform the signs."

So Moses took his wife and his sons and returned to Egypt.

Let My People Go

God said to Moses, "You shall perform convincing wonders before Pharaoh, but I shall harden his heart and he will not let the people go until you will say to Pharaoh: This is what God has said, 'Israel is My son, My first-born. I have told you, let My son go so that he may serve Me, but you have refused to let him go. I will therefore kill your own son, your own first-born.’"

God told Aaron to meet Moses. Moses told Aaron what God said. Moses and Aaron then gathered the elders of the sons of Israel. Aaron uttered the words that God had spoken to Moses and the signs were performed. The people bowed their heads in trust.

Afterwards, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh saying, "God, the God of Israel says: 'Let My people go so that they may celebrate a festival for Me in the wilderness.’"

"Who is God that I should let Israel go?" said Pharaoh. "I do not know God and I will not let Israel go." That same day Pharaoh commanded that the slaves were to no longer to be given straw to prepare bricks. "Instead," said Pharaoh, "the slaves are to go and gather themselves their own straw. But the quota of bricks they are to make remains the same. Because they are lazy, they cry for this holiday to worship their God."

The Hebrew slaves went to Moses and Aaron and said, “May God look down upon you and judge, because you have brought us into foul odor in the eyes of Pharaoh!"

Moses returned to God and said, "My Lord! For what purpose have you made this misfortune for the people? Why did You send me to do this? Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, Pharaoh has abused the people even more and You have not rescued Your people even from this?"

And God said to Moses, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh; for by a strong hand will he let them go. Indeed, by a strong hand will he drive them out of his land!"

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Nancy Reuben Greenfield

Nancy Reuben Greenfield has written three adaptations of the Torah, including an
interactive family version at, and an engaging
Jewish immigrant novel, The Golden Medina, available on itunes and Amazon.