Bar Mitzvah Favors

Today is:  

kasher,kosher,kashrut,kosher supervision,kosher directo






Amazing New Kosher
Cookbook. BUY



The Torah's Weekly Portions
Exodus/Shmot - Shmot 102
Posted January, 2001
Back to Torah Portions Archive 

Jewish Celebration Vendor directory

Last week, we completed Sefer Bereshit (the Book of Genesis) and this week we begin Sefer Sh’mot (the Book of Exodus).  There are a couple of interesting points that can be covered in this particular Parashah and specifically in the area that will be discussed.  First, the word “sh’mot” (shin mem vav tav) means “names.”  It has nothing to do with the story that will be related further on about B’nei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) leaving Mitzrayim (Egypt).  Rather, it has to do with the names of those who came to Mitzrayim.  The non-Jewish religious works, for some reason, missed the entire essence of what was being discussed here.  The second point, which is no less interesting, has to do with a number.  In the psukim (verses) that will be quoted this week, you will see the number “70” as in “all the souls that descended from Yaakov (Jacob) were seventy souls.”  In the non-Jewish works, this somehow got changed to 72.  Even with my background of having been a follower of that other religion for many more years than I have been an Orthodox Jew, I cannot explain how that happened nor have I ever heard an explanation that makes the least amount of sense.  The most common explanation is, “The rabbis changed it.”  Of course, I have asked which rabbis and why would they change the Torah, something which God specifically prohibits, but there are no answers to those questions either.  In any event, Parashat Sh’mot begins with the first word of Sefer Sh’mot and continues through and includes Perek Vav (Chapter Six), pasuk aleph (verse 1).

This week, our focus will be on the very beginning of this Parashah.  The translation from The Pentateuch, Translation and Commentary by Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch is as follows: 

1. And these are the names of the sons of Yisrael (Israel) which came to Mitzrayim (Egypt), every man and his household with Yaakov (Jacob). 

2. Reuven, Shimon, Levi, and Yehudah. 

3. Issachar, Zebulun, and Binyahim. 

4. Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 

5. And all the souls that descended from Yaakov were seventy souls, and Yosef (Joseph) was already in Egypt. 

6. And Yosef died and all his brethren and all that generation. 

7. And the children of Yisrael were fruitful by multiple births, they increased abundantly and were exceedingly strong; and the land was filled with them. 

8. Now a new King raised himself over Egypt which knew not Yosef. 

9. And he said unto his people: Behold, the children of Yisrael are a nation, too numerous and too mighty for us. 

10. Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and then when there falleth out any war, they also join themselves to our enemies or fight against us, and get them up out of their land. 

11. They set over them fiscal officers in order to afflict them with their burdens, and so they built store cities for Paro (Pharaoh), Pithom, and Raamses. 

This is the first recorded incidence of anti-Semitism.  It is unfortunate that it wasn’t the last.  There are many commentaries that focus on just this point and all the details around it.  However, the pasuk that I find most interesting is chet (8) and specifically that the new king did not know Yosef. 

Rav Hirsch says the following: 

The first causes of the oldest anti-Semitism can unfortunately not be definitely established from these first sentences.  “Now a new King raised himself over . . .” by no means designates an ordinary lawful change of dynasty.  The Hebrew language used always represents an overthrow by force.  So it seems that the old dynasty was overthrown and Egypt fell under the power of an invading dynasty from outside, hence also “which knew not Yosef.”  To a fresh native dynasty Yosef would not be unknown.  It is quite characteristic that the motive given for the whole subsequent enmity against the Jews is that the new King did not know about Yosef.  The people did know of him and did not look askance at the Jewish province and at the Jewish people growing in it.  They considered the Jews as benefactors and not as intruders, and did not feel their own security threatened by their growth. 

Although I could not find a commentary that discusses what I saw, there is the interesting point that the word used in this pasuk is “melech” meaning king as opposed to “paro” which was the designation of the ruler of Mitzrayim.  I believe this is also an indication that the new ruler was not of Mitzrayim but rather elsewhere. 

There is another interesting subtle point in pasuk zayin (7), the “fruitful by multiple births.”  Rav Hirsch indicates that this means exactly what it says, twins, triplets, etc.  Sh’mot is a very rich Parashah and warrants a thorough read with an eye toward those little phrases that might have multiple interesting meanings contained within them. 


Translations in Torah Portions of the week are partially taken from the ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash

Back to Torah Portions Archive
click here or Torah for Tots


 · Wedding Gifts
  · Bar Mitzvah Gifts
Baby Gifts
  · Jewish Books at Great Prices

Summer Love!




Check the Jewish Celebration Bookstore

Mazor Guides: Wealth of Information and Resources
- Mazor Guide - The Ultimate Guide to Living Jewish -
- Guide to Jewish Holidays -
- Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah Guide -
- Guide to a Jewish Wedding -
- Guide to Jewish Celebrations -
- Guide to Kosher Living
- Infertility and Judaism: A Guide
- The Get (Gett) - the Jewish Divorce: A Guide
- Zei Gezunt: Jewish Perspective on Health -
- Jewish Genetic Diseases -
- Death and Mourning in Judaism

Advertise on Mazornet's Jewish Celebrations Directory And Reach Your Target!!

Copyright 1998-2013 MazorNet, Inc.

Other Mazornet, Inc. Websites | | | |


myspace analytics