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The Eighth [Day]

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each coming with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. - Exodus 1:1-4

  • The new king of Egypt makes slaves of the Hebrews and orders their male children to be drowned in the Nile River. (1:1-22)
  • A Levite woman places her son, Moses, in a basket on the Nile, where he is found by the daughter of Pharaoh and raised in Pharaoh's house. (2:1-10)
  • Moses flees to Midian after killing an Egyptian. (2:11-15)
  • Moses marries the priest of Midian's daughter, Zipporah. They have a son named Gershom. (2:16-22)
  • God calls Moses from a burning bush and commissions him to free the Israelites from Egypt. (3:1-4:17)
  • Moses and Aaron request permission from Pharaoh for the Israelites to celebrate a festival in the wilderness. Pharaoh refuses and makes life even harder for the Israelites. (5:1-23)

When do we read Sh'mot?

2015 Jan 10 /19 Tevet, 5775
2016 Jan 2 /21 Tevet, 5776
2017 Jan 21 /23 Tevet, 5777


  • By Peter S. Knobel

    The Book of Exodus (Sh'mot) tells two key narratives of Jewish sacred history: the Exodus from Egypt and the gift of Torah. When they are joined to the Creation narrative of Genesis, the three stories constitute the basic theology of Judaism, which is enshrined in the blessings before and after the Sh'ma prayer.

    The opening parashah of the book, also called, Sh'mot (Names), presents us with many conundrums. Why has it taken God more than four hundred years to respond to the pain of His enslaved people? Why doesn't God simply go down to Egypt and rescue them without the help of Moses? Why does God harden Pharaoh's heart, preventing him from being morally responsible for keeping the people enslaved? Who is this God who when asked to identify Himself or Herself says, "Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh" (Exodus 3:14)?

For youth and families

Torah for Tots

Introduce young children to the lessons we can learn from Torah each week. These guides feature questions and ideas for both parents and children.

Torah for Tweens

Bring each week’s Torah portion alive for 6-12 year old children at the Shabbat table with these handy guides, including suggested questions to inspire conversation.

Torah for Teens

Torah commentary, Jewish learning, questions, and practical suggestions to help teens relate Torah to their daily lives.

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