Shemot (parsha)


Shemot (parsha)

Shemot, Shemoth, or Shemos (שמות — Hebrew for “names,” the second word, and first distinctive word, of the parsha) is the thirteenth weekly Torah portion ("parsha") in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the first in the book of Exodus. It constitutes Exodus [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0201.htm 1:1–6:1.] Jews in the Diaspora read it the thirteenth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in late December or January.

Summary

Affliction in Egypt

Seventy descendants of Jacob came down to Egypt, and the Israelites were fruitful and filled the land. () Therefore the Egyptians set taskmasters over the Israelites to afflict them with burdens — and the Israelites built store-cities for Pharaoh, Pithom and Raamses — but the more that the Egyptians afflicted them, the more that they multiplied. () But the midwives feared God, and disobeyed Pharaoh, saving the baby boys. () The Israelites continued to multiply, and Pharaoh charged all his people to cast every newborn boy into the river, leaving the girls alive. () He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, he looked this way and that, and when he saw no one, he struck the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. () When Pharaoh heard, he sought to kill Moses, but Moses fled to Midian, where he sat down by a well. () When they came home to their father Reuel, he asked how they were able to come home so early, and they explained how an Egyptian had delivered them from the shepherds, and had also drawn water for the flock. () Moses and Zipporah had a baby boy, whom Moses called Gershom, saying that he had been a stranger in a strange land. () God called to Moses from the bush, and Moses answered: “Here I am.” () God told Moses that God was sending Moses to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, but Moses asked who he was that he should do so. () God told Moses to tell the Israelites that the Lord ("YHVH"), the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had sent him, and this would be God’s Name forever. () God would make the Egyptians view the Israelites favorably, so that the Israelites would not leave empty handed, but every woman would ask her neighbor for jewels and clothing and the Israelites would strip the Egyptians. () God explained that this was so that they might believe that God had appeared to Moses. () God predicted that if they would not heed the first sign, then they would believe the second sign, and if they would not believe those two signs, then Moses was to take water from the river and pour it on the land, and the water would become blood. () God said that Moses’ well-spoken brother Aaron was coming to meet him, Moses would tell him the words that God would teach them, he would be Moses’ spokesman, and Moses would be like God to him. () Moses took his wife and sons and the rod of God and returned to Egypt. ()

Circumcision on the way

At the lodging-place along the way, God sought to kill him. () Moses told him all that God had said, and they gathered the Israelite elders and Aaron told them what God had said and performed the signs. () They said that God had met with them, and asked Pharaoh to let them go three days into the wilderness and sacrifice to God, lest God fall upon them with pestilence or the sword. () The Israelites cried to Pharaoh, asking why he dealt so harshly with his servants, but he said that they were idle if they had time to ask to go and sacrifice to God. () And God told Moses that now he would see what God would do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand would he let the people go, and by a strong hand would he drive them out of his land. ( that so long as Joseph and his brothers were alive, the Israelites enjoyed greatness and honor, but after Joseph died (as reported in One said that the “new” Pharaoh who did not know Joseph really was new, reading the word literally. The other said that only the Pharaoh’s decrees were new, as nowhere does the text state that the former Pharaoh died and the new Pharaoh reigned in his stead. The Gemara interpreted the words “Who knew not Joseph” in , and therefore was punished first when in indicates that God would punish the Egyptians with fire. If the Egyptians afflicted the Israelites with the sword, then “the Egyptians fled towards it.” This all bore out what Rabbi Eleazar said: In the pot in which they cooked, they were themselves cooked — that is, with the punishment that the Egyptians intended for the Israelites, the Egyptians were themselves punished. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11a.)

Rabbi Hiyya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi Simai that Balaam, Job, and Jethro stood in Pharaoh’s council when he formulated this plan against the Israelites. Balaam devised the plan and was slain; Job acquiesced and was afflicted with sufferings; and Jethro fled Pharaoh’s council and thus merited that his descendants should sit in the Hall of Hewn Stones as members of the Sanhedrin. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11a.)

The Gemara questioned why in used the singular in “to afflict "him" with their burdens,” when the text should have read “"them".” The Gemara deduced from this that the verse foretold that Pharaoh would be afflicted with the burdens of Israel. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11a.)

Rab and Samuel differed in their interpretation of the words in were not expressed in the past tense as “the more they "multiplied" and the more they "spread" abroad.” Resh Lakish interpreted the verse to teach that at the time, the Divine Spirit foretold to them that this would be the result of the affliction. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11a.)

The Gemara interpreted the words “And they were grieved ("wa-yakuzu") because of the children of Israel” in to teach that at first, the Egyptians made the Israelites’ lives bitter with mortar and brick, but finally it was with all manner of service in the field. Rabbi Samuel bar Nahmani said in the name of Rabbi Jonathan that the Egyptians assigned men's work to the women and women's work to the men. And even Rabbi Eleazar, who explained “rigor ("parech")” as meaning “with tender mouth” in (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11b.)

The Gemara interpreted God sent an angel to wash and straighten the babies as a midwife would, as reflected in After the Egyptians departed, the infants broke through the earth like sprouting plants, as reflected in “This is my God and I will praise Him.” (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11b.)

Rab and Samuel differed about the identity of the midwives Shiphrah and Puah, to whom Pharaoh spoke in which says: “Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he was at his work on the stones.” Just as a potter would have a thigh on one side, a thigh on the other side, and the block in between, so also a woman giving birth, would have a thigh on one side, a thigh on the other side, and the child in between. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11b.)

Rabbi Hanina deduced from the words “If it is a son, then you shall kill him” in to teach that not only did the midwives not kill the boy babies, but they supplied them with water and food. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11b.)

The Gemara interpreted the midwives’ response to Pharaoh in called Dan “a serpent.” called Joseph “a firstling bullock,” that “because the midwives feared God,” God “made them houses.” One said that God made them the ancestors of the priestly and Levitical houses, as Aaron and Moses were children of Jochebed. And the other said that God made them the ancestors of the royal house of Israel, teaching that Caleb married Miriam, whom that the Egyptians took pride before God only on account of the water of the Nile, and thus God exacted punishment from them only by water when in Pharaoh decreed “if it be a son, then you shall kill him”; (2) in the Gemara asked, where did he go? Rav Judah bar Zebina taught that he followed the counsel of his daughter. A Baraita taught that when Amram heard that Pharaoh had decreed (as reported in ) “A joyful mother of children.” (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 12a.)

Reading literally the words “a daughter of Levi” in reports that Jochebed “was born to Levi in Egypt”). Even though this would thus make her by the Gemara’s calculation 130 years old, Rav Judah taught that she was called “a daughter” because the characteristics of a young woman were reborn in her. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 12a.)Interpreting the words “she hid [the baby] three months” in thus meant to compare Jochebed’s delivery of Moses to his conception; as his conception was painless, so was his birth. The Gemara deduced that Providence excluded some righteous women from the decree of which says, “and when she saw him that he was good,” and ) demonstrated that righteous people’s money is dearer to them than their bodies, so that they should not be driven to steal. Rabbi Samuel bar Nahmani explained that she chose bulrushes for the ark because they provided a soft material that could withstand encounters with soft and hard materials alike. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 12a.)

A Baraita taught that Jochebed “daubed it with slime and with pitch” (as reported in where it says, “the reeds and flags shall wither away.” (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 12a–b.)

The Mishnah cited (Mishnah ) The Tosefta taught that a reward for good deeds is 500 times greater than the punishment for retribution. (Tosefta Sotah 4:1.) Abaye thus said that in connection with good deeds, the principle of measure for measure does not apply strictly with equivalence. Raba replied that the Mishnah taught, “It is the same in connection with the good,” so the Mishnah must mean that Providence rewards good deeds with the same sort of measure, but the measure of reward for good is greater than the measure of punishment. (Babylonian Talmud Sotah 11a.)Rabbi Isaac noted that ) and broke the sword. Rebbi said in the name of Rabbi Evyasar that the sword flew off of Moses’ neck and killed the executioner. The Gemara cited In a second explanation of how Moses escaped, Bar Kappara taught a baraita that an angel came down from heaven in the likeness of Moses, they seized the angel, and Moses escaped. In a third explanation of how Moses escaped, Rabbi Joshua ben Levi said that when Moses fled from Pharaoh, God incapacitated Pharaoh’s people by making some of them mute, some of them deaf, and some of them blind. When Pharaoh asked where Moses was, the mutes could not reply, the deaf could not hear, and the blind could not see. And it was this event to which God referred in for the proposition that whenever God spoke to Moses, God first called out to him. (Sifra 1:1.) And the Sifra cited and among ten things that God created at twilight at the end of the sixth day of creation. (Mishnah Avot 5:6.)

Exodus chapter 5

While the House of Shammai argued that the requirement for the appearance offering was greater than that for the festival offering, the House of Hillel cited Pharaoh acknowledged that God was righteous. Citing this juxtaposition, the Pharisees complained against heretics who placed the name of earthly rulers above the name of God. (Mishnah Yadayim 4:8.)

Commandments

According to Maimonides and Sefer ha-Chinuch, there are no commandments in the parshah. (Maimonides. "Mishneh Torah". Cairo, Egypt, 1170–1180. Reprinted in Maimonides. "The Commandments: Sefer Ha-Mitzvoth of Maimonides". Translated by Charles B. Chavel, 2 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1967. ISBN 0-900689-71-4. "Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education". Translated by Charles Wengrov, 1:93. Jerusalem: Feldheim Pub., 1991. ISBN 0-87306-179-9.)

Haftarah

The haftarah for the parshah is:
*for Ashkenazi Jews: Isaiah [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1027.htm#6 27:6–28:13] & [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1029.htm#22 29:22–23]
*for Sephardi Jews: Jeremiah [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1101.htm 1:1–2:3]

Ashkenazi — Isaiah 27

The parshah and haftarah in between the killings of and those that drove the Reed Sea in ), but God encourages the prophet and promises to be with him. ( [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0209.htm#12 9:12;] [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0210.htm 10:1,] [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0210.htm#20 20,] [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0210.htm#27 27;] [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0211.htm#10 11:10;] [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0214.htm#4 14:4,] [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0214.htm#8 8] (hardening Pharaoh’s heart).
*Deuteronomy [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0502.htm#30 2:30] (hardening of heart); [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0515.htm#7 15:7] (hardening of heart); [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0533.htm#16 33:16] (bush).
*Joshua [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0611.htm#20 11:20] (hardening of heart).
*Ezekiel [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1216.htm#3 16:3–5] (abandoned infant).
*Job [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2738.htm 38–39] (God asking who created the world).

Early nonrabbinic

*Hebrews [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=hebrews%2011:23-27;&version=31; 11:23-27.] Late 1st Century.
*Matthew [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%202:16-18;&version=31; 2:16–18.] Late 1st Century. (slaughter of the innocents).
*Romans [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%209:14–18%20;&version=31; 9:14–18.] 1st Century. (hardening Pharaoh’s heart).
*2 Timothy [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Timothy%203:8–9;&version=31; 3:8–9.] Rome, 67 C.E. (magicians opposing Moses).
*Revelation [http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%2017:17%20;&version=31; 17:17.] Late 1st Century. (changing hearts to God’s purpose).
*Josephus. "Antiquities of the Jews" 2:9:1–2:13:4. Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition". Translated by William Whiston, 66–73. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
*Qur'an Arabia, 7th Century.

Classical rabbinic

*Mishnah: Avot 5:6; Yadayim 4:8. 3rd Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Mishnah: A New Translation". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 449, 686, 1131. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
*Tosefta: Rosh Hashanah 2:13; Chagigah 1:4; Sotah 3:13, 4:12, 10:10. 3rd–4th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 615, 665, 841, 848, 877. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
*Jerusalem Talmud Berakhot 87a. 4th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Talmud Yerushalmi: Tractate Berachos". Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, vol. 2. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006. ISBN 1-4226-0235-4.
*Babylonian Talmud: Berakhot 7a, 55a; Eruvin 53a; Pesachim 39a, 116b; Megillah 29a; Sotah 11a–13a, 35a, 36b; Kiddushin 13a; Bava Batra 120a; Sanhedrin 101b, 106a; Chullin 92a, 127a. Babylonia, 6th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Talmud Bavli". Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, Chaim Malinowitz, and Mordechai Marcus, 72 vols. Brooklyn: Mesorah Pubs., 2006.

Medieval

*Exodus Rabbah 1:1–5:23. 10th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Midrash Rabbah: Exodus". Translated by S. M. Lehrman. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
*Rashi. "Commentary". [http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=9862&showrashi=true Exodus 1–6.] Troyes, France, late 11th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. "The Torah: With Rashi’s Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated". Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, 2:1–51. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-89906-027-7.
*Judah Halevi. "Kuzari". Toledo, Spain, 1130–1140. Reprinted in, e.g., Jehuda Halevi. "Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel." Intro. by Henry Slonimsky, 202, 221. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
*Zohar [http://www.kabbalah.com/k/index.php/p=zohar/zohar&vol=15 2:2a–22a.] Spain, late 13th Century.

Modern

*Niccolò Machiavelli. "The Prince", . Florence, Italy, 1532.
*Thomas Hobbes. "Leviathan", England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, 456, 460, 472, 671. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0140431950.
*Moshe Chaim Luzzatto "Mesillat Yesharim", ch. 2. Amsterdam, 1740. Reprinted in "Mesillat Yesharim: The Path of the Just", 31. Jerusalem: Feldheim, 1966. ISBN 0-87306-114-4.
*J. H. Ingraham. "The Pillar of Fire: Or Israel in Bondage". New York: A.L. Burt, 1859. Reprinted Ann Arbor, Mich.: Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library, 2006. ISBN 1425564917.
*Dorothy Clarke Wilson. "Prince of Egypt". Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1949.
*Arthur E. Southon. "On Eagles' Wings". London: Cassell and Co., 1937. Reprinted New York: McGraw-Hill, 1954.
*Sigmund Freud. "Moses and Monotheism". 1939. Reprint, New York: Vintage, 1967. ISBN 0-394-70014-7.
*Thomas Mann. "Joseph and His Brothers". Translated by John E. Woods, 101, 492–93, 729, 788, 859. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1-4000-4001-9. Originally published as "Joseph und seine Brüder". Stockholm: Bermann-Fischer Verlag, 1943.
*Thomas Mann. "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me." In "The Ten Commandments", 3-70. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1943.
*Sholem Asch. "Moses". New York: Putam, 1951. ISBN 999740629X.
*Martin Buber. "Moses: The Revelation and the Covenant." New York: Harper, 1958. Reprint, Humanity Books, 1988. ISBN 1573924490.
*Howard Fast. "Moses, Prince of Egypt". New York: Crown Pubs., 1958.
*Martin Buber. "On the Bible: Eighteen studies", 44–62, 80–92. New York: Schocken Books, 1968.
*A. M. Klein. “The Bitter Dish.” In "The Collected Poems of A. M. Klein", 144. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1974. ISBN 0-07-077625-3.
*James S. Ackerman. “The Literary Context of the Moses Birth Story (Exodus 1–2).” In "Literary Interpretations of Biblical Narratives". Edited by Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis, with James & Thayer S. Warshaw, 74–119. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1974. ISBN 0-687-22131-5.
*David Daiches. "Moses: The Man and his Vision." New York: Praeger, 1975. ISBN 0-275-33740-5.
*Elie Wiesel. “Moses: Portrait of a Leader.” In "Messengers of God: Biblical Portraits & Legends", 174–210. New York: Random House, 1976. ISBN 0-394-49740-6.
*Jan Assmann. "Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism". Harvard University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-674-58738-3.
*Orson Scott Card. "Stone Tables". Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998. ISBN 1-57345-115-0.
*Jonathan Kirsch. "Moses: A Life." New York: Ballantine, 1998. ISBN 0-345-41269-9.
*Brenda Ray. "The Midwife's Song: A Story of Moses' Birth". Port St. Joe, Fla.: Karmichael Press, 2000. ISBN 0965396681.
*Ogden Goelet. “Moses’ Egyptian Name.” "Bible Review" 19 (3) (June 2003): 12–17, 50–51.
*Joel Cohen. "Moses: A Memoir". Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8091-0558-6.
*Marek Halter. "Zipporah, Wife of Moses", 1–245. New York: Crown, 2005. ISBN 1400052793.
*Rebecca Kohn. "Seven Days to the Sea: An Epic Novel of the Exodus". New York: Rugged Land, 2006. ISBN 1-59071-049-5.

External links

Texts

* [http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0201.htm Masoretic text and 1917 JPS translation]
* [http://bible.ort.org/books/torahd5.asp?action=displaypage&book=2&chapter=1&verse=1&portion=13 Hear the parshah chanted]

Commentaries

* [http://www.jtsa.edu/x1941.xml Commentaries] from the Jewish Theological Seminary
* [http://judaism.uj.edu/Content/InfoUnits.asp?CID=908 Commentaries] from the University of Judaism
* [http://www.uscj.org/Shemot_57677217.html Torah Sparks] from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
* [http://www.ou.org/torah/archive2.htm Commentaries] from the Orthodox Union
* [http://ajrsem.org/index.php?id=201 Commentaries] from the Academy for Jewish Religion
* [http://www.chabad.org/article.asp?AID=15559 Commentaries] from Chabad.org
* [http://www.urj.org/torah/exodus/ Commentaries] and [http://urj.org/shabbat/exodus/ Family Shabbat Table Talk] from the Union for Reform Judaism
* [http://www2.jrf.org/recon-dt/index.php#Pekudey Commentaries] from Reconstructionist Judaism
* [http://www.torah.org/learning/parsha/parsha.html?id1=21 Commentaries] from [http://www.torah.org/ Torah.org]
* [http://www.aish.com/torahPortion/pArchive.asp?eventType=13&eventName=Shmot Commentaries] from [http://www.aish.com/ Aish.com]
* [http://www.shiur.com/index.php?id=C0_148_6&spar=148&s_id=148 Commentaries] from [http://www.shiur.com/ Shiur.com]
* [http://www.tfdixie.com/parshat/shmot/ Commentaries] from [http://www.tfdixie.com/ Torah from Dixie]
* [http://ohr.edu/yhiy/article.php/2470 Commentary] from [http://ohr.edu/index.php Ohr Sameach]
* [http://www.myjewishlearning.com/texts/Weekly_Torah_Commentary/shmot_index.htm Commentaries] from [http://www.myjewishlearning.com/index.htm MyJewishLearning.com]
* [http://www.parshaparts.com/archive/5767/shmos.php Commentaries] from [http://www.parshaparts.com/index.php Parshah Parts]
* [http://www.anshe.org/parsha/shmos.htm Commentary] from [http://www.anshe.org/ Anshe Emes Synagogue, Los Angeles]
* [http://www.rabbishmuel.com/files/torah_sermons123.serm-shemot.doc Torah Sermon] and [http://www.rabbishmuel.com/files/torah_tidbits62.intro-shemot.doc Torah Tidbits] from [http://www.ostt.org/ Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah]
* [http://www.judaic.org/addtl_files/shemot.htm Commentaries] and [http://www.judaic.org/tabletalk/shemot5762.htm Shabbat Table Talk] from [http://www.judaic.org/ The Sephardic Institute]
* [http://www.teach613.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=48 Commentary] from [http://www.teach613.org/index.php Teach613.org, Torah Education at Cherry Hill]
* [http://www.chiefrabbi.org/tt-index.html Commentaries] from the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth


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