This Week in Torah
This week, we begin the book of Exodus. In Hebrew, the name of the book and its first portion is Sh’mot, meaning “names,” referring to the names of the Israelites who came to Egypt with Jacob. A new Pharaoh, who does not know Joseph, has taken control of Egypt and made the Israelites his slaves. Moses is born and in turn “gives birth” to the people of Israel.
There are many lessons to be learned from our torah portion. The one I’d like to focus on is that each of us has the ability to accomplish much more than we realize. Too often, we let our fears and feelings of insecurity or not being good enough stand in our way.
In Parshat Shemot, Moses encounters God at the burning bush. God tells Moses that He has chosen him to be the one to lead the Jewish people out of Egyptian slavery. God instructs Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him that God wants him to let the Jewish people go free. Moses, who had a speech impediment since he was a child, tells God, “I am no man of words…I am heavy of mouth and heavy of speech.” But God reassures him, reminding Moses that He is the Creator, the One who made his mouth and that He will give Moses the power to overcome his limitations and do what he has to do. With God’s help, Moses discovered his innate strength and changed the course of human history. We, too, can learn how to see our true abilities, overcome the feelings that hold us back, and accomplish what we never thought we could.
Cantor Diane Yomtov