Parsha Talk Sh’mot 2021

Join Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Jeremy Kalmonofsky and Barry Chesler. Parashat Sh’mot [Exodus 1:1-6:1], which takes its name from the first key word, sh’mot [names], as does the book itself, is better described by the Latin/Greek name Exodus, since that is the, or at least a, great theme of the book. But the events that lead up to the Exodus and the Exodus itself take up less than the first half of the book.
Within the first few verses, B’nai Yisrael, the children of the patriarch Jacob who had been renamed Israel, become b’nai Yisrael, the people Israel. Indeed, the Hebrew word עם [am, people], is used for the first time in connection with the people in verse 9, by Pharaoh, which is appropriate, since names are often how other people call us, not necessarily how we call ourselves.
In a parashah which collapses the first 80 years of Moses’ life into a few chapters, there is a lot going on. The central part of the reading for those on the annual cycle is the scene at the Burning Bush, which we discuss. But events in the US yesterday also attract our attention, as we puzzle out what the Torah might possibly have to say about our national situation. As always, the conversation is spirited, and we hope that you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed recording! Shabbat Shalom!!