A Study in Redemption

A Study in Redemption

Jan 28, 2012 By Judith Hauptman | Commentary | Va'era

If you followed last week’s Torah portion closely, you are probably sensing that this week’s portion, in the words of Yogi Berra, is “déjà vu all over again.” Last week, in Parashat Shemot, we read an account of Moses’s lineage, of God’s announcing that He will take the people out of Egypt, of a staff turning into a snake and water into blood, of Moshe’s speech-impairment, and of God’s appointing Aaron as surrogate spokesperson for Moshe. Every one of these topics appears in this week’s parashah too.

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Not Rhetoric, but Reality

Not Rhetoric, but Reality

Jan 8, 2013 By Marc Wolf | Commentary | Va'era

One of the more disheartening reports about Israeli society these days is that our brothers and sisters in Israel are simply not as concerned with the struggle for religious pluralism to the degree that we are in North America. Reporting this past week from the JTA, Ben Sales added his voice to the chorus of journalists writing about what many in the Diaspora consider to be of preeminent importance, but what many in the Israeli population are, at best, disinterested in.

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Divine Compassion

Divine Compassion

Dec 27, 2013 By Julia Andelman | Commentary | Va'era

The biblical book that we began last week—Shemot—is known in English as Exodus, a name that highlights one of the key dramatic episodes of the book.

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Eternity in a Word

Eternity in a Word

Jan 16, 2015 By Joel Alter | Commentary | Va'era

God’s name YHVH is the verb “to be” with the past, present, and future tenses folded into the same conjugation: Eternity or Being in a single word.

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The Lessons of Va-era

The Lessons of Va-era

Jan 5, 2008 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Va'era

This week’s parashah abounds in venerable theological problems, beginning with its name and opening verses. How could it be that God “appeared” to the ancestors but that some aspect of God—or some truth articulated in God’s name—was not “made known” to them and will be revealed only now, to Moses? The answer that seems most persuasive to me bears a lesson that, like so many others in the Torah, is not so much theological as ethical; it teaches far less about the nature of God than it does about human responsibility.

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On Preventing the Hardening of Hearts

On Preventing the Hardening of Hearts

Jan 16, 2015 By Danielle Upbin | Commentary | Va'era

After a long walk across the park on a Shabbat winter morning in New York City, services concluded, guests assembled at an Upper East Side apartment. The host of this particular Rabbinical School student gathering held the meal hostage. The ransom was the answer to his question: “Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?”The host had a group of well-educated, eager to answer, soon-to-be rabbis at his disposal. From them, he wasn’t going to accept any rehearsed responses, such as “God had to prove Himself to the Israelites.” Much to the students’ relief, this trial was interrupted by the hostess, and the first course was served. It was a meal unfinished, for even as we all said grace after the meal, we remained, as our host, unsatisfied.

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Va’era

Va’era

Jan 1, 1980

2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord.

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Va’era

Va’era

Jan 1, 1980

25 Thus said the Lord God: When I have gathered the House of Israel from the peoples among which they have been dispersed, and have shown Myself holy through them in the sight of the nations, they shall settle on their own soil, which I gave to My servant Jacob,

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