Shabbat Learning This Week After Kiddush
After this week’s Kiddush luncheon, Cliff Fishman will lead a study session about this week’s Torah reading, the first two chapters of Parashat Sh’mot (i.e., chapters 1-2 of Exodus). We’ll begin with a brief discussion: “Did any of this really happen, or is it all a myth – and does it matter?” Then we will study what the text does say, and what it does not say, and look at some ways our sages tried to fill in the blanks and explain (or explain away) some of the details. We will discuss:
- What kind of life did the Israelites have in Egypt when the story begins?
- Who are the real heroes of these chapters?
- Why did the political situation in Egypt prompt Pharoah to order all Israelite boys to be drowned?
- How could Pharoah’s own daughter defy her father’s decree – and get away with it?
- Was Moses justified in killing the Egyptian overseer who was beating an Israelite slave?
- How did other Israelites, or Pharoah, learn of it?
- How do Yitro’s daughters refer to Moses when they describe his actions at the well to their father?
We will also look at the some of the lessons our sages and rabbis have drawn from these incidents.
If you plan to attend the study session, you might find it helpful to read the first two chapters in Exodus – and the accompanying commentary in Etz Hayyim or another Humash – prior to Shabbat.
Note: Professor Fishman grudgingly promises that there will not be a quiz at the end of the class. After all, we aren’t allowed to write on Shabbat!