(Exodus 1:1 –6:1)

(Haftara: Isaiah 27:6- 28:13, 29:22,23)

1. [1:21] “…because the midwives feared God, He [he] made them  houses.”  There are two main explanations of this pasuk. One is that God made houses for the mid-wives as a reward for their devotion to God. The other is that Pharoah made houses for Egyptians among the Israelite houses, so that the Egyptians could hear that a new  Israelite baby was born, and they could inform the authorities. From the context of the pasuk (what comes before and after), which of these explanations seems like the better one?

2. [2:23] “…the Israelites sighed because of the work, and screamed…”  When the Israelites screamed, God heard them and the redemption started. The Torah does not say that they screamed to God, but only that they screamed. The screaming was preceded by sighing. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov tells us that a heartfelt sigh is a very precious thing. (Others disagree.) Why are a sigh and a scream so beneficial to a person?

3.  [3:2] “…the bush burned with fire and the bush was not consumed.”  God could have revealed Himself in many ways. Why did God reveal Himself with this rather small miracle?

4. [Haftara: Isaiah 27:12] “…and you will be gathered one by one…”  When Isaiah speaks of the final redemption, he says that we will be “gathered one by one”.  Where in our laws and customs do we see that the individual is very important in our tradition?

5. [Haftara: Isaiah 28:5]  “On that day, the God of hosts will be a crown of glory…”  What does it mean that God will be a “crown of glory” for us?

Commentary

The dynamic expression of the universal, divine psyche will be revealed in every cultivated soul . It will express itself in vision and in song. Its impact will be felt everywhere. At first it will make itself felt among the people of Israel, and before long, it will also be felt throughout mankind…all that has been forgotten will be recalled; and the joy of heaven and earth will return…

–R. Avraham Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer