Parsha Talk Va’era 5784 2024

Parsha Talk with Rabbis Eliot Malomet, Barry Chesler and Jeremy Kalmanofsky. Parashat Va-era [Exodus 6:2–9:35] is the 2nd parashah of Exodus. Unlike many of the parashiyot, it takes its name from the first word of the 2nd sentence, in which God declares that He appeared to the patriarchs as El-Shaddai, but did not make known to them the 4-letter name, YHVH. In modern critical scholarship this verse looms large, but alas, that is the subject of another conversation. We focused our attention on the phrase sh’lakh et ammi v’-ya’avduni, a trope in this chapter in its manifold iterations. It translates as “send forth My people, they might worship Me”. We spent most of our conversation trying to unpack this enigmatic phrase. Near the end we took up Moses’ description of himself as aral-s’fata’im, of uncircumcised lips. What did Moses intend to say about himself in describing himself so?
There is much we did not get to, including the 7 plagues and the verses of redemption [6:6–8], which are the foundation of the 4 cups of wine at the Pesach Seder. We hope you enjoy what we did talk about! Please let us know, here on Facebook or at [email protected]
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the hostages, may they be returned to their homes safely, and the soldiers defending Israel, may they be removed from harm’s way. Shabbat Shalom.