Va'eira, Va'era, or Vaera (וארא — Hebrew for “and I appeared” the first word that God speaks in the parshah, in [ Exodus 6:3] ) is the fourteenth weekly Torah portion ("parshah") in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the book of Exodus. It constitutes Exodus [ 6:2–9:35.] Jews in the Diaspora read it the fourteenth Sabbath after Simchat Torah, generally in January.


God spoke to Moses, identified Himself as the God of the Patriarchs, and acknowledged hearing the moaning of the Israelites. ( [ Ex. 6:2–4.] ) God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that God would free them, make them God’s people, and bring them to the Promised Land. ( [ Ex. 6:6–8.] ) But the Israelites would not listen. ( [ Ex. 6:9.] ) God told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, but Moses complained that Pharaoh would not heed him, a man of impeded speech. ( [ Ex. 6:10–12.] )

The text interjects the genealogy of Moses and his family. ( [ Ex. 6:14–25.] )God placed Aaron in the role of Moses’ prophet, to speak to Pharaoh. ( [ Ex. 7:1–2.] ) God intended to harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that God might show signs and marvels. ( [ Ex. 7:3.] ) God told how Aaron could cast down his rod and it would turn into a snake, and Aaron did so before Pharaoh. ( [ Ex. 7:9–10.] ) Pharaoh caused his magicians to do the same, but Aaron’s rod swallowed their rods. ( [ Ex. 7:11–12.] ) Pharaoh’s heart stiffened. ( [ Ex. 7:13.] )

The plagues of Egypt

God began visiting ten plagues on Egypt. God told Moses to go to Pharaoh at his morning bath, demand of him to let the Israelites go to worship in the wilderness, and have Aaron strike the Nile with his rod and turn it into blood. ( [ Ex. 7:14–18.] ) Moses and Aaron did so, and the fish died and the Nile stank. ( [ Ex. 7:20–21.] ) But when the Egyptian magicians did the same, Pharaoh’s heart stiffened. ( [ Ex. 7:22–23.] )Seven days later, God told Moses to have Aaron hold his arm with the rod over the river and bring up frogs, and they did so. ( [ Ex. 7:25–8:2.] ) The magicians did the same. ( [ Ex. 8:3.] ) Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron to plead with God to remove the frogs; Moses did so, but Pharaoh became stubborn. ( [ Ex. 8:4–11.] )

God told Moses to have Aaron strike the dust with his rod, to turn it to lice throughout the land, and they did so. ( [ Ex. 8:12–13.] ) The magicians tried to do the same, but they could not. ( [ Ex. 8:14.] ) The magicians told Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart stiffened. ( [ Ex. 8:15.] ) God loosed swarms of insects against the Egyptians, but not Goshen, where the Israelites dwelt. ( [ Ex. 8:16–20.] ) Pharaoh told Moses and Aaron to go sacrifice to God within Egypt, but Moses insisted on going three days into the wilderness. ( [ Ex. 8:21–23.] ) Pharaoh agreed, in exchange for Moses’ prayer to lift the plague. ( [ Ex. 8:24.] ) But when God removed the insects, Pharaoh became stubborn again. ( [ Ex. 8:27–28,] )

God struck the Egyptian’s livestock with a pestilence, sparing the Israelites’ livestock. ( [ Ex. 9:1–6.] ) But Pharaoh remained stubborn. ( [ Ex. 9:7.] )

God told Moses to take handfuls of soot from the kiln and throw it toward the sky, so that it would become a fine dust, causing boils on man and beast throughout Egypt, and he did so. ( [ Ex. 9:8–10.] ) But God stiffened Pharaoh’s heart. ( [ Ex. 9:12.] )

God told Moses to threaten Pharaoh with hail. ( [ Ex. 9:13–19.] ) Those who feared God’s word brought their slaves and livestock indoors. ( [ Ex. 9:20.] ) God sent thunder and hail, which struck down all exposed in Egypt, but did not strike Goshen. ( [ Ex. 9:23–26.] ) Pharaoh confessed his wrong, agreed to let the Israelites go, and asked Moses and Aaron to pray to end the hail. ( [ Ex. 9:27–28.] ) Moses did so, but Pharaoh reverted to his guilty ways. ( [ Ex. 9:33–34.] )

In classical rabbinic interpretation

Exodus chapter 6

Rabbi Simai found evidence for the resurrection of the dead in the words, “And I also have established my covenant with them (the Patriarchs) to give them the land of Canaan,” in that the Israelites’ bondage in Egypt ended on Rosh Hashanah. The Baraita noted that that Joseph went forth from the prison on Rosh Hashanah. (Babylonian Talmud Rosh Hashanah 11a–b.)

Rabbi Nehemiah cited the use of the words “will bring you out” in to mean: “When I "shall bring" you out, I will do for you something that will show you that I am the One Who "brought" you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” (Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 38a.)

The Jerusalem Talmud cited the four promises of salvation in says, “And she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the days when she came up out of the land of Egypt,” implying that circumstances upon the coming of the Messiah will be similar to those upon the Israelites’ entry into the Land of Israel. (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 111a.)

The Gemara asked why the Tannaim felt that the allocation of the Land of Israel “according to the names of the tribes of their fathers” in mentioned Aaron before Moses, teaching that the two were deemed equivalent. (Tosefta Keritot 4:15.) The Gemara taught that the use of the pronoun “he ("hu")” in an introduction, as in the words “These are ("hu") that Aaron and Moses” in to teach David’s enduring humility, in to teach Ahaz’s enduring wickedness, and in that Pharaoh began to sin first before the people, and thus as indicated by that a demonic spirit cannot produce a creature less than a barleycorn in size. Rav Papa said that a spirit cannot even produce something the size of a camel, but a spirit can collect the elements of a larger object and thus produce the illusion of creating it, but a spirit cannot do even that with a smaller object. (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 67b.)

Exodus chapter 9

The Pharisees noted that while in ) In both the parshah and the haftarah, God attacks the river ( [ 6,] [ 16,] [ 21.] ) And in both the parshah and the haftarah, God proclaims, “I am the Lord.” ( [ 10:1,] [ 20,] [ 27;] [ 11:10;] [ 14:4,] [ 8] (hardening Pharaoh’s heart).
*Numbers [ 14:30] (God lifted up God’s hand).
*Deuteronomy [ 2:30;] [ 15:7] (hardening of heart).
*Joshua [ 11:20] (hardening of heart).
*Jeremiah [ 7:23] (I will be your God and you will be my people); [ 11:4] (you will be my people, and I will be your God); [ 30:22] (you will be my people, and I will be your God); [ 31:32 in JPS;] 31:33 in NJPS (I will be their God, and they will be my people).
*Ezekiel [ 20:5] (God lifted up God’s hand); [ 36:28] (you will be my people, and I will be your God).
*Nehemiah [ 9:15] (God lifted up God’s hand).

Early nonrabbinic

*Romans [–18%20;&version=31; 9:14–18.] 1st Century. (hardening Pharaoh’s heart).
*2 Timothy [–9;&version=31; 3:8–9.] Rome, 67 C.E. (magicians opposing Moses).
*Revelation [;&version=31; 16:12–16] (frogs); [;&version=31; 17:17] (changing hearts to God’s purpose). Late 1st Century.
*Josephus. "The Wars of the Jews", Circa 75 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition". Translated by William Whiston, 716. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
*Josephus. "Antiquities of the Jews" [ 2:13:3] – [ 2:14:4.] Circa 93–94. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition". Translated by William Whiston, 72–74. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1987. ISBN 0-913573-86-8.
*Qur'an Arabia, 7th Century.

Classical rabbinic

*Mishnah: Shavuot 5:3; Yadayim 4:8. Land of Israel, circa 200 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Mishnah: A New Translation". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 630, 1131. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
*Tosefta: Megillah 3:21; Sotah 4:12; Keritot 4:15. Land of Israel, circa 300 C.E. Reprinted in, e.g., "The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction". Translated by Jacob Neusner, 649, 848, 1571. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
*Jerusalem Talmud Pesachim 10:1. Land of Israel, circa 400 C.E.
*Genesis Rabbah 1:15; 5:7; 18:5; 19:7; 37:3; 46:1, 5; 82:3; 88:5; 92:7; 96, 97. Land of Israel, 5th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Midrash Rabbah: Genesis". Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, 1:14, 37–38, 144, 153, 296, 389, 392; 2:754, 816, 853, 898, 929. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
*Mekhilta of Rabbi Simeon 2:1–2, 5; 3:1; 15:4–5; 16:1, 4; 19:4; 21:4; 22:6; 26:3, 6; 35:1; 47:2. Land of Israel, 5th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai". Translated by W. David Nelson, 5–7, 9–11, 50–51, 54, 56, 78–79, 89, 93, 114, 117, 150, 209. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2006. ISBN 0-8276-0799-7.
*Babylonian Talmud: Berakhot 38a, 54b; Eruvin 83b; Pesachim 53b, 99b; Rosh Hashanah 11b; Megillah 11a; Moed Katan 6a, 18a; Chagigah 13b; Nedarim 51b; Sotah 11b, 43a; Bava Kamma 80b; Bava Batra 91a, 109b–10a, 116a, 117b; Sanhedrin 12a, 26b, 58b, 67b, 82b, 90b, 111a; Shevuot 35b; Menachot 68b, 84a; Chullin 134a; Bekhorot 41a. 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.


*Rashi. "Commentary". [ Exodus 6–9.] 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, 2:53–90. 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, 46, 86. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
*Exodus Rabbah 6:1–12:7. 10th Century. Reprinted in, e.g., "Midrash Rabbah: Exodus". Translated by S. M. Lehrman, vol. 3. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
*Zohar [ 2:22a–32a.] Spain, late 13th Century. Reprinted in, e.g, "The Zohar". Translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon. 5 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1934.


*Thomas Hobbes. "Leviathan", England, 1651. Reprint edited by C. B. Macpherson, 456, 474. Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Classics, 1982. ISBN 0140431950.
*Thomas Mann. "Joseph and His Brothers". Translated by John E. Woods, 788. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1-4000-4001-9. Originally published as "Joseph und seine Brüder". Stockholm: Bermann-Fischer Verlag, 1943.
*Ziony Zevit. “Three Ways to Look at the Ten Plagues: Were They Natural Disasters, A Demonstration of the Impotence of the Egyptian Gods or an Undoing of Creation?” "Bible Review" 6 (3) (June 1990).
*Bernhard Lang. “Why God Has So Many Names.” "Bible Review" 19 (4) (Aug. 2003): 48–54, 63.
*Jeffrey H. Tigay. “What’s in a Name? Early Evidence of Devotion Exclusively to Yahweh.” "Bible Review" 20 (01) (Feb. 2004): 34–43, 47–51.
*Marek Halter. "Zipporah, Wife of Moses", 245–49. New York: Crown, 2005. ISBN 1400052793.
*Lawrence Kushner. "Kabbalah: A Love Story", 78. New York: Morgan Road Books, 2006. ISBN 0-7679-2412-6.

External links


* [ Masoretic text and 1917 JPS translation]
* [ Hear the parshah chanted]


* [ Commentaries] from the Jewish Theological Seminary
* [ Commentaries] from the University of Judaism
* [ Torah Sparks] from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
* [ Commentaries] from the Orthodox Union
* [ Commentaries] from the Academy for Jewish Religion
* [ Commentaries] from
* [ Commentaries] and [ Family Shabbat Table Talk] from the Union for Reform Judaism
* ['era Commentaries] from Reconstructionist Judaism
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from [ Torah from Dixie]
* [ Commentary] from [ Ohr Sameach]
* [ Commentaries] and [ Shabbat Table Talk] from [ The Sephardic Institute]
* [ Commentaries] from []
* [ Commentaries] from [ Parshah Parts]
* [ Commentary] from [ Anshe Emes Synagogue, Los Angeles]
* [ Torah Sermons] and [ Torah Tidbits] from [ Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah]
* [ Commentaries] from the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
* [ Commentary] from [, Torah Education at Cherry Hill]

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