Egypt

Parashat Va'era - Exodus 6:2-9:35

The Sacred Name Revealed

If we are paying close attention, we will realize that this week’s portion begins with a rather odd statement that begs for clarification. At first, the opening words of our portion seem contradictory to the basic storyline of what we have learned about God’s relationship with both the patriarchs and with Moses up to this point. Let’s take a careful look at the opening words of our parashah:

Parashat Beshalach - Exodus 13:17-17:16

Don’t Pray. Just obey.

Aren’t we supposed to pray about everything? Shouldn’t we pray before doing anything? After all, Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Why wouldn’t we pray about everything we do? This week’s parashah offers an interesting insight into a very good reason why prayer might not always be the best thing for our situation.

Va'era - Holding on to the Promises

Our parashah begins with God telling Moshe, “Ani Hashem” (6:2). Isn’t this obvious? Hasn’t He already revealed this to Moshe at the burning bush? Why does He tell Moshe this obvious fact here, at the beginning of our portion? Why does He repeat this phrase 16 more times throughout the book of Shemot? Why does He emphasize this fact by using this phrase 49 times in the book of Vayikra, 5 times in the book of Bamidbar, and 2 more times in the book of Devarim? Does Moshe not remember who this Deity is? Does he forget easily and need constant reminding?

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