Exodus 1:1 - 6:1

Isaiah 27:6 - 28:13; 29:22 - 29:23

In this Torah portion, the new Pharaoh does not remember Joseph, and makes the Israelites his slaves. Pharaoh then demands that all Israelite baby boys be killed at birth. Moses’ mother puts her son in a basket in the river, and he is saved by Pharaoh’s daughter. As an adult, Moses kills an Egyptian taskmaster who was beating an 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.

FULL SUMMARY

Stop Making Excuses and Step Up to the Plate

Moses' excuses at the Burning Bush parallel three great human fears.

More on this Torah Portion

When Should Patience Trump Passion?

Like Moses, we need to transform our natural impulses into something higher.

Women As Heroes

When to have the courage to defy.

Believing the Exodus Story

Why is it that the most unbelievable of Jewish stories is that which is most believed in?

Leadership & Trust

Some leaders make promises, but do they follow through?

A Burning Within

We must find the causes that make us most passionate--and work for change.

The Torah’s Accessibility

The Torah was given early on--available to anyone who seeks it.

The Book of Names

Our names are our essence.

Our Burmese Sisters

The brave women of Exodus remind us of the brave women leading pro-democracy movements in Burma.

Symbolic Names

The name Gershom, and the word for Hebrew, Ivri, carry a message about what it means to be Jewish.

Becoming A Leader

Before God calls on Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery, Moses develops his leadership skills and his ability to see beyond narrow struggles and his role as liberator.

Parashat Shemot: Summary

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

Seeing The Broader Picture

The differences between the midwives' encounter with Pharaoh and the officers' and taskmasters' encounter teach us to appreciate the context of biblical narratives.

Pharaoh Didn’t Know Joseph

The reference to forgetting Joseph raises questions about how oppression is linked to a group's commitment to the larger society.

The Life Of The Oppressed

The antidote to the terror of living in a dangerous world is to participate in the liberation of others.

The Bumpy Road To Redemption

The complicated beginnings of the Exodus from Egypt establish the expectation that redemption is often not a smooth process.

The Evolving Name Of God

The divine name that God tells Moses at the burning bush expresses the different and evolving relationship that God has with every individual.

How Two Midwives Tricked Pharaoh

Shifra and Puah's defiance of Pharaoh's decree and allegiance to God set the stage for the liberation of the Israelites.

Political And Religious Power

The debate overhow Moses killed the Egyptian has implications for the Jewish response topolitical and military power.

These Are The Names–Where Is Yours?

By listing the names of Jacob's family members who went into Egypt the Torah reminds us of the number of people who affect our lives and our potential to affect the lives of numerous others.