Exodus 6:2 - 9:35

Ezekiel 28:25 - 29:21

In this Torah portion, God tells Moses and Aaron to go to Pharaoh to demand freedom for the Israelites. Pharaoh refuses, and God unleashes plagues on the Egyptians. Pharaoh promises to free the Israelites, but God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. The portion ends with the plague of hail stopping and Pharaoh changing his mind once again.

FULL SUMMARY
HAFTARAH SUMMARY

Who Really Hardened Pharaoh’s Heart?

Was God responsible for the Egyptian leader's intransigence?

More on this Torah Portion

Serpents And Snakes

The different miracles performed before the Israelites and before the Egyptians symbolize the different messages communicated to each group.

How Aaron Helped Moses Overcome His Feelings of Inadequacy

Aaron bridged an existential gap that divided his brother from the Israelite slaves.

Overcoming Self-Doubt

Moses' complaint and God's response teach us that despite our doubts, we can and should work to accomplish our unique missions in life.

Environmental Appreciation

The actions and people that brought about the plagues teach us not only sensitivity towards people but also towards the environment.

The Shechinah: A Supernal Mother

A Kabbalistic interpretation of the suffering of the Jews in Egypt and their ultimate redemption.

The Corruption of Water

The first plague affected the entire water supply of Egypt.

The Earth is the Lord’s

Modern-day plagues are occurring with greatly increasing frequency around the world.

The Stick that Exacerbates the Plagues

Like the Egyptians devastated by the arrival of the plagues, we become concerned only when environmental degradation reaches our back door.

What’s In A Name?

Just as the introduction of God's new name represents a shift in our relationship with God, our different names and titles also symbolize different relationships and interactions.

The Four Steps Of Liberation

The unfolding experience of liberation enables the knowledge of new aspects of God.

Knowing the True Essence of the Divine

Moses was challenged with the task of trusting God despite adversity.

Part Of A Process

God tells Moses to remind the Children of Israel that their suffering and redemption is part of an ongoing covenantal process.

Bearing Fruit Even In Old Age

The Torah mentions the ages of Moses and Aaron to teach us that age is a source of pride and that by honoring the elderly we bring richness to our own lives.

Thanks When Thanks Are Due

A Midrash on the 10 plagues reminds us to recognize any good that has been done for us.

Brothers Bringing Redemption

Moses and Aaron play complementary roles in communicating God's message of redemption to both the Children of Israel and to Pharaoh.

Free Will

There is always a choice to be made.

Freedom Within Limits

Limits and guidelines in our own lives help us to accomplish tasks and fulfill our responsibilities.

Haftarah for Vaera

A prophecy of destruction for Egypt.

Parashat Vaera Quiz

Questions and answers about the Torah portion.

Unwilling Audiences

It takes a great deal of courage to leave what is comfortable and enter the wilderness.

Parashat Vaera: Summary

Through Moses and Aaron, God brings plagues on the Egyptians, and Pharaoh repeatedly refuses to allow the Israelites to leave.