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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Sh'mot (January 2, 2016)
by Saul Kaiserman

THE SECOND BOOK OF THE TORAH is known in English as “Exodus,” which is Greek for “exit,” for it tells the story of our people’s liberation from slavery in Egypt. In Hebrew, however, the book and its first portion are called Sh’mot or “Names.” In this portion we learn the names of many figures, from Moses, Miriam and Aaron, to Moses’ wife, Zipporah, and his father-in-law, Jethro, to the heroic midwives Shifrah and Puah. Others remain anonymous, such as Pharaoh and his daughter, who rescues Moses from the Nile River. It is in this week’s portion as well, that the Bible in a manner most mysterious explains what we should call God.

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