Weekly Torah Portion: Shemot (Exodus 1:1 – 6:1)


In this Torah portion, the new Pharaoh does not remember Joseph. Fearing their rise in population, Pharaoh makes the Israelites his slaves. Pharaoh then demands that all Israelites baby boys be killed upon birth. Moses’ mother puts her son in a basket in the river and he is saved by Pharaoh’s daughter. When he is an adult, Moses kills an Egyptian who was beating his 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. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“Surely no one has missed the beauty of Barack Obama being inaugurated the day after the national holiday known as Martin Luther King Day.” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2009 Read the full drash

“I always wonder how Moses would identify himself. I find it really interesting that there are never any detailed descriptions on what people looked like in the Torah. Did Moses look different from the Egyptians? Different hair color? Maybe different skintone? We’ll never know.” – Davi Cheng in 2009. Read the full drash

“When I started to study how children first relate to or think about God, it should be no surprise that children relate to God as a member of their family.” – Drash by Cantorial Soloist Fran Chalin and Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2007. Read the full drash

“These are not easy tasks- trying to figure out whether to stand or to run, insist or desist, change or remain the same. No easy tasks trying to figure out which voices to listen to…” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2007. Read the full drash

“A dear friend in my life Sandy Diamond was found of saying that we are all of us temporary able bodied.” – Drash by Cantorial Soloist Fran Chalin in 2002. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“A new king arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8; Parashat Sh’mot)

Other Suggested Readings

“Do you know that part of yourself that enslaves you to certain ideas, certain beliefs, certain habits? Can you hear the critical voice that talks down to you?” – Read from Leah Zimmerman’s blog, Experiencing Torah

On Shabbat New Year’s Eve 12/31/99 Rabbi Edwards and Cantorial Soloist Chalin each delivered a fresh talking about endings and beginnings, there on New Year’s Eve as the century ended, The cantor began, the rabbi continued, read their talks.


*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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