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Jan. 21, 2017
Tevet 23, 5777

 

Shemot
 

Exod. 1:1-6:1
[Table Talk]

Isa. 27:6-28:13; 29:22-23

Acts 7:17-35;
1 Cor. 14:18-25

 

Revelation and Deliverance...

The Book of Exodus (סֵפֶר שְׁמוֹת) begins directly where the book of Genesis left off, by listing the "names" (shemot) of the seventy descendants of Jacob who came down to Egypt to dwell in the land of Goshen. Over time Jacob's family flourished and multiplied so greatly that the new king of Egypt who did not "remember" Joseph - regarded them as a threat and decided to enslave them. The story is then told of the birth of Moses and how he was miraculously delivered from the waters of the Nile River to become a prince of Egypt.

The narrative then jumps ahead many years to tell the story of how Moses killed an Egyptian taskmaster who was abusing an Israelite slave - an act of treason that caused him to become an enemy of Pharaoh's court. Moses then fled to the desert region of Midian where he rescued Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite priest named Jethro. Not long afterward, Moses began to work for Jethro, married Zipporah, and had a son named Gershom.

After nearly 40 years living in Midian as a shepherd, God called out to Moses from the midst of a burning bush and commissioned him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt back to the Promised Land. When Moses protested that he was inadequate for this task, God gave him three "signs" to authenticate his message. God also appointed his brother Aaron to be his spokesperson. Moses and Aaron then went to the Pharaoh and demanded that the Israelites be permitted to leave Egypt to worship the LORD in the desert. The Pharaoh, however, arrogantly dismissed Moses and his God, and increased the workload of the slaves by forcing them to make bricks without straw.

As the Israelites suffered even more, Moses despaired over his mission and asked the LORD why he sent him to Pharaoh in the first place: "For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your Name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all." But the LORD replied to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for he shall let the people go because of a greater might; indeed, because of a greater might he shall drive them from his land."
 

Blessing before Torah Study:

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Some terms:

  • Parashah is the weekly Scripture portion taken from the Torah. Each parashah is given a name and is usually referred to as "parashat - name" (e.g., parashat Noach). For more information about weekly readings, click here.
     
  • Aliyot refer to a smaller sections of the weekly parashah that are assigned to people of the congregation for public reading during the Torah Reading service. In most congregations it is customary for the person "called up" to recite a blessing for the Torah before and after the assigned section is recited by the cantor. For Shabbat services, there are seven aliyot (and a concluding portion called a maftir). The person who is called to make aliyah is referred to as an oleh (olah, if female).
     
  • Maftir refers to the last Torah aliyah of the Torah chanting service (normally a brief repetition of the 7th aliyah, though on holidays the Maftir portion usually focuses on the Holiday as described in the Torah).  The person who recites the Maftir blessing also recites the blessing over the Haftarah portion.
     
  • Haftarah refers to an additional portion from the Nevi'im (Prophets) read after the weekly Torah portion. The person who made the maftir blessing also recites the blessing for the Haftarah, and may even read the Haftarah before the congregation.
     
  • Brit Chadashah refers to New Testament readings which are added to the traditional Torah Reading cycle. Often blessings over the Brit Chadashah are recited before and after the readings.
     
  • Mei Ketuvim refers to a portion read from the Ketuvim, or writings in the Tanakh. Readings from the Ketuvim are usually reserved for Jewish holidays at the synagogue.
     
  • Perek Yomi Tehillim refers to the daily portion of psalms (mizmorim) recited so that the entire book of Psalms (Tehillim) is read through in a month. For a schedule, of daily Psalm readings, click here.
     
  • Gelilah refers to the tying up and covering the Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) as an honor in the synagogue.
     
  • Divrei Torah ("words of Torah") refers to a commentary, a sermon, or devotional on the Torah portion of the week.

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