From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/shmot
Sh’mot (שְׁמוֹת — Hebrew for “names”) – Ex. 1:1-6:1
These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each coming with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. – Exodus 1:1-4
- The new king of Egypt makes slaves of the Hebrews and orders their male children to be drowned in the Nile River. (1:1-22)
- A Levite woman places her son, Moses, in a basket on the Nile, where he is found by the daughter of Pharaoh and raised in Pharaoh’s house. (2:1-10)
- Moses flees to Midian after killing an Egyptian. (2:11-15)
- Moses marries Zipporah, the daughter of Midian’s priest. They have a son named Gershom. (2:16-22)
- God calls Moses from a burning bush and commissions him to free the Israelites from Egypt. (3:1-4:17)
- Moses and Aaron request permission from Pharaoh for the Israelites to celebrate a festival in the wilderness. Pharaoh refuses and makes life even harder for the Israelites. (5:1-23)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemot_(parsha)#Haftarah
The haftarah for the parashah is:
- for Ashkenazi Jews: Isaiah 27:6–28:13 and 29:22–23
The parashah and haftarah in Isaiah 27 both address how Israel could prepare for God’s deliverance. Rashi in his commentary on Isaiah 27:6–8 drew connections between the fruitfulness of Isaiah 27:6 and Exodus 1:4, between the killings of Isaiah 27:7 and God’s slaying of Pharaoh’s people in, for example, Exodus 12:29, and between the winds of Isaiah 27:8 and those that drove the Reed Sea in Exodus 14:21.
- for Sephardi Jews: Jeremiah 1:1–2:3
The parashah and haftarah in Jeremiah 1 both report the commissioning of a prophet, Moses in the parashah and Jeremiah in the haftarah. In both the parashah and the haftarah, God calls to the prophet, the prophet resists, citing his lack of capacity, but God encourages the prophet and promises to be with him.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Women of Reform Judaism.org
PARASHAT SH’MOT STUDY GUIDE – INTRODUCTION BY RABBI KIM GERINGER
In Parashat Sh’mot, the Torah begins a new and significant chapter in the Israelite national history. The previous book, Genesis, focuses more narrowly on the founders of a people (the matriarchs and patriarchs) and on their complex relationships with one another and with their God. In exodus, called Sh’mot (“Names”) in Hebrew, the focus broadens and becomes communal and national. The spotlight now falls on the stirrings of nationhood. Complicated interpersonal relationships still abound, but the overall theme is one in which individuals are participants in a historical development larger than themselves. At the beginning of the first Torah portion in Sh’mot (referred to by the same title), we learn that the descendants of Joseph have died, and the Israelite experience in Egypt goes from one of security and prosperity to oppression and hardship. The national leader-to-be, Moses, is born, survives an early threat to his life, and begins the process that will ultimately lead to the liberation of his people from Egyptian servitude. This portion is particularly rich in its depiction of female characters. Six of them—two midwives, an Egyptian princess, and the mother, sister, and wife of Moses—function as nothing less than saviors of Moses and hence the people Israel. They work both independently and together, in the latter case pooling their intellectual, spiritual, and physical resources to accomplish their goals. In some of the stories, the women practice what we would call today “civil disobedience.” That is, at consider-able personal risk, these women directly defy edicts of the powerful. They also act as saviors in the broader sense, doing whatever is necessary to save and maintain life. [The study guide highlights] the intelligence, resourcefulness, courage, and action of these women: Puah and Shiphrah, the midwives; Jochebed, Miriam, and Pharaoh’s daughter, the lifesavers at the river; and Zipporah, the midnight heroine.
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
שמות Sh’mot – Exodus 1:1-6:1
The Birth of a Nation by Adele Berlin, pp.305-6
Parashat Sh’mot (“names of …”) is both a new beginning and a continuation of the book of Genesis. In that first book, God made a twofold promise to Abraham of progeny and land (12:2-3, 7; 15:1-7, 18-21; 17:1-8). This second book amplifies the passing notice in Genesis (47:27) that part of the promise has been realized: the family of Jacob has “multiplied and increased very greatly” (1:7). Now the Torah turns to the acquisition of the Promised Land, which can begin only with an exodus from Egypt.
Four prominent themes appear in this parashah: the fertility of Israel; the oppression they suffer; God’s decision to intervene; and the role of women in saving the nation. Israel’s oppression is directly linked to Israel’s fertility, for as the family of Jacob grows into the nation of Israel, Pharaoh becomes concerned that Israel will become too numerous and thereby too strong. Although he tries various ways to limit the population increase, he cannot stem Israel’s growth. Thus begins the contest between God and Pharaoh that will play out in the story of the signs and wonders (in English parlance, commonly called “plagues”) in the subsequent Torah portions.
Also intertwined with the theme of fertility is a more pervasive theme in the Bible: women save the nation. This conclusion emerges clearly from the stories of the matriarchs (Genesis 12-35) and the account of Tamar (Genesis 38), as well as in the book of Ruth: women ensure the continuity of the family–and ultimately the nation–through the birth or protection of a son through whom the line will continue. The beginning of Exodus explores this theme in unusual ways, through unnamed Israelite women and the agency of non-Israelite women. The fertile Israelite women increase the strength of the nation, fulfilling God’s promise and threatening the pharaoh. The midwives Shiphrah and Puah disobey Pharaoh’s command to kill the newborn boys. Moses’ mother and sister (whose names are not yet disclosed), and later Pharaoh’s own daughter, ensure that he is rescued and raised for future greatness. Finally, his wife, Zipporah, averts disaster by circumcising her son. Thus, while Moses and Aaron serve as the explicitly chosen instruments of God’s deliverance, these heroic women are nevertheless pivotal in Israel’s eventual salvation.
This parashah also marks a new stage in the national religion. In Genesis, the patriarchs had a personal relationship with God; in Exodus, the Israelites will enter into a communal relationship with the Divine. Previously, God was known to the patriarchs, and known in reference to them, as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Exodus 3:6, 16; 4:5). Now, as God hears the cries of the Israelites and resolves to rescue them, God’s “official” or personal name, יהוה, will be revealed.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 21 Tevet through 27 Tevet, we lovingly remember:
Syd E. Simons
TKH Memorial Board
Miriam bat Yosef
Grandmother of TKH Member Ruben Gomez
Cousin of TKH Member Mary Caron
TKH Memorial Board
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, December 24, 2021.
Zoom continues updating its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Shemot (triennial part) Ex 4:18-6:1
Time: Dec 24, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Dec 24, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!