|With the death of Yosef, the era of the Avot and the Book of Bereshit (Genesis) come to an end. The Book of Shemot (Exodus) now chronicles the creation of the nation of Israel from the descendants of Ya’akov.|
At the beginning of this week's Parashah, Pharaoh, fearing the population explosion of Jews in Egypt, enslaves them. However, when their birthrate continues to increase, he orders the Jewish midwives to kill all baby boys.
Yocheved gives birth to Moshe and places him in a basket in the Nile before anyone can kill him. Pharaoh's daughter finds and adopts the baby even though she realises he is probably a Hebrew. Miryam, Moshe's older sister, offers to find a nursemaid for Moshe. She arranges for his mother Yocheved to be his nursemaid and help raise him.
Years later, Moshe witnesses an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, and Moshe kills the Egyptian. When Moshe realises his life is in danger, he flees to Midyan where he rescues Tsiporah, whose father Yitro approves their subsequent marriage. In Chorev, Moshe witnesses the 'burning bush' where HaShem commands him to lead the Jewish People from Egypt to Erets Yisrael, which HaShem has promised to their ancestors. Moshe protests that the Jewish People in Egypt will doubt him being HaShem's agent, and so HaShem helps Moshe perform three miraculous transformations to validate him in the eyes of the people: changing his staff into a snake, his healthy hand into a leprous one, and water into blood.
When Moshe declares that he is not a good public speaker HaShem tells him that his brother Aharon will be his spokesman. Aharon greets Moshe on his return to Egypt, and they petition Pharaoh to release the Jews. Pharaoh responds with even harsher decrees, declaring that the Jews must produce the same quota of bricks as before, but without being given supplies. The people become dispirited, but HaShem assures Moshe that He will force Pharaoh to let the Hebrews leave.