Choose Shabbat: Vaera
When you Choose Shabbat, you choose to learn that every Shabbat is different and special. This week I learned that Parashat Vaera, aka Va’era or Va’iera, (Exodus 6:2 through 9:35), is the 14th weekly Torah portion in the annual cycle of Torah readings. According to Wikipedia, Vaera contains 6,701 Hebrew letters, 1,748 words, 121 verses and 222 lines of the Torah Scroll. The underlying narrative of Vaera, (וָאֵרָא), translated as “and I appeared“, continues the narrative of the Passover Haggadah; the story of the first seven plagues that befell Egypt.
Rabbi Michael D Klein of Temple Torat Emet offers his insights on this week’s Torah reading, Vaera:
“Sedra Vaera is the connecting bridge between the initial decree by Hashem to liberate the Jewish People and the beginning of the plagues which were created to humble Pharaoh and bring about our ultimate freedom. The key to understanding the Sedra is in the details. Let’s focus on them and see if after reading through the Sedra you are able to answer these questions.
- What was the major difference between Pharaoh’s advisors and Moses?
- How is Moses different from other “prophets”?
- Why does G-d afflict the Nile River as the 1 st plague? How do the subsequent plagues arise from this?
- For the plague of frogs, the Torah uses the singular word Tzfardaya instead of Tzfardim. Why?
- Why was it necessary for Moses to strike the dust in order to bring about the plague of lice?
The most interesting lesson of theology is that Pharaoh could have chosen anywhere in the story to liberate us but instead hardened his heart each time and refused. This is why Moses and Aaron returned to Pharaoh’s palace after each plague to give Pharaoh the opportunity to do Teshuvah. We are often warned against hard-heartedness in the Torah. We must always keep our hearts open to Teshuvah and the possibility of improvement.“
Rabbi Michael D. Klein attended Yeshiva College of South Florida and served as Torah Reader, Hebrew teacher, Chazzan and spiritual leader of various synagogues throughout South Florida. In January 2015 he became Ritual Director, Bnai/Bnot Mitzvah instructor and 7th grade Hebrew instructor for Temple Torat Emet of Boynton Beach. In October 2019 he was accepted into an accelerated track and received his shicha from Yeshiva Adath Wolkowisk and has been the Rabbinic leadership of Temple Torat Emet since August 2020. In September of 2022 he was appointed Rabbinic and Spiritual Advisor of the Florida Region of FJMC.
Choose Shabbat; choose to celebrate, to light candles, sing songs and learn a little Torah.
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