Parashat Shemot!

Dear Friends;


I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parasha summary followed by a Dvar Torah;


” Parsha in a Nutshell ”


The Children of Israel multiply in Egypt. Threatened by their growing numbers, Pharaoh enslaves them and orders the Hebrew midwives, Shifrah and Puah, to kill all male babies at birth. When they do not comply, he commands his people to cast the Hebrew babies into the Nile.

A child is born to Yocheved, the daughter of Levi, and her husband, Amram, and placed in a basket on the river, while the baby’s sister, Miriam, stands watch from afar. Pharaoh’s daughter discovers the boy, raises him as her son, and names him Moses.

As a young man, Moses leaves the palace and discovers the hardship of his brethren. He sees an Egyptian beating a Hebrew and kills the Egyptian. The next day he sees two Jews fighting; when he disapproves, they reveal his previous day’s murder, and Moses is forced to flee to Midian. There he rescues Yitro’s daughters, marries one of them – Zipporah – and becomes a shepherd of his father-in-law’s flocks.

One day when Moses was watching the herd, G-d appears to him in a burning bush at the foot of Mount Sinai and instructs him to go to Pharaoh and demand: “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me.” Moses’ brother, Aaron, is appointed to serve as his spokesman. In Egypt, Moses and Aaron gathered the elders of Israel to tell them that the time of their redemption has come. The people believe; but Pharaoh refuses to let them go, and even intensifies the suffering of Israel.

Moses returns to G-d to protest: “Why have You done evil to this people?” G-d promises that the redemption is close at hand.


“ Dvar Torah “


Parashat Shemot starts off by telling us that Joseph, his brothers and their entire generation died in Egypt. The Torah continues by telling us that “A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know of Joseph”…….. A very strange statement if you ask me. Is it really possible that anyone – let alone a king – would be unaware of all that Joseph had done for the country? This happened not too long after Joseph died. How could anyone in Egypt ever forget the vital role he played in its survival? Joseph, as second in command and sole architect of making Egypt the richest country on Earth, should have been immortalized for eternity. It defies logic that anyone could forget the one person who single-handedly saved Egypt and the entire world from famine.

After a little research, I came across an interesting explanation given by Adam Lieberman from Aish HaTorah. He says that Joseph wasn’t forgotten in the sense that no one “remembered” him. Rather, the significance of his life-saving contributions had simply faded from everyone’s memory. Joseph’s insights and wisdom clearly saved the lives of every man, woman, and child. But as soon as the necessity of his contributions were no longer needed, then the appreciation for Joseph ceased as well. When the pain of Egypt’s experience ended, so did their memory of Joseph.

During the massive famine that spread throughout the entire world, Joseph was at the center of it all. Every country was dependent upon Egypt for their survival. But when the famine ended, then Joseph’s help was no longer valuable or even needed. When a person’s contributions are no longer needed, the memories of when they were so desperately needed becomes smaller and smaller! And after an entire generation passed away, the people of Egypt simply did not remember Joseph’s valuable contributions.

But even if Pharaoh and the Egyptian people forgot about Joseph, unintentionally, it does not not give them any justified reason to put the Jews into slavery and kill their children. And that’s why Hashem brought upon the Egyptians the ten plagues, and took the Benei Israel out of Egypt with a strong hand and a stretched out arm.

Yes my friends, the Torah is teaching us an important lesson once again. It’s important to have a sense of gratitude, but more important is that we should not let it fade away. It’s not that hard to show appreciation toward someone right after he’s done something for you, but the whole challenge is to still show the heartfelt gratitude long after the fact. It is very easy to forget people who were there for us, because once their assistance is no longer needed, our appreciation for what they did can easily fade away True gratitude is not defined by a person who doesn’t forget; it’s defined by the one who always remembers!

We also had great leaders similar to Joseph who had done a lot for our community, who are not among us anymore. Let us not do the same mistake as Pharaoh by letting their memories fade away. We should not forget what they did for us back in Iran, in Queens and in Great Neck. Let their memories live on by telling our children about them and how amazing they were. We still appreciate what they have done for us in the past. May they all rest in peace.


Shabbat Shalom & Regards;