parshat Shmot

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  • The Jewish Mother
    As we begin the Book of Exodus in our public Torah readings this coming Shabbat, the Torah tells us that Pharaoh wished to destroy the Jewish Nation even in the maternity wards. He instructed the Jewish midwives, Shifra and Puah, to kill all Jewish male babies, and to allow only the girls to live. However, the Torah tells us, "The midwives feared G-d, and did not do what Pharaoh had told them, and rather let the babies live" (Ex. 1,16). The Midrash asks: "Is it not obvious, if they did not listen to Pharaoh, that they allowed the babies to live? Why must the Torah specify this?" The Midrash answers that the verse offers praise-within-praise to Shifra and Puah...
  • Interactions between Yehuda and Yosef over the Generations
    In Sefer Bereishit, the struggle for leadership is between the half-brothers Yosef and Yehuda. Shemot starts with a new chapter in the national story, as Egypt goes from a king who was very close to Yosef to one who did not recall Yosef.
  • The Divine hand
    All of life is a mystery and certainly the Jewish story remains in its base an inexplicable one.
  • Jewish Idealism
    There were Jews who were willing to cooperate with the governmental authorities in policing the Jewish slave society. Eventually, these Jews also found themselves to be the victims of the Pharaoh and his cruel decree.
  • On Not Obeying Immoral Orders
    The opening chapters of Exodus plunge us into the midst of epic events. Yet it is one small, often overlooked episode that deserves to be seen as a turning-point in the history of humanity. Its heroines are two remarkable women, Shifra and Puah.
  • Reluctant Heroes & Jewish History
    But is this really Moshe? Does the great defender of Israel – humble as he may surely be – not want to help save Am Yisrael from their dreadful plight?! It almost seems that Moshe is more concerned for himself than for us!
  • Are The Jews Traitors?
    A common accusation against Jews is that they hold a divided loyalty. This is true but it's not the divided loyalty that most people think.
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