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Parshat Shemot                                                         January 14, 2023    21 Tevet, 5783
                                                          Rabbi Sacks on Shemot

                     TORAH              This week’s parsha could be   whom there would not have   there would be no more
                                        entitled “The Birth of a
                                                                                             children. He had logic on his
                                                                 been a Moses.
               ARTSCROLL 292            Leader.” We see Moses,                               side. Could it be right to
                  HERTZ  206            adopted by Pharaoh’s     First is Yocheved, wife of   bring children into the world
                                        daughter, growing up as a   Amram and mother of the three  if there were a fifty per cent
                                        prince of Egypt. We see him
                                                                 people who were to become the  chance that they would be
                  HAFTORAH              as a young man, for the first   great leaders of the Israelites:   killed at birth? Yet his
               ARTSCROLL  1146          time realising the implications  Miriam, Aaron and Moses   young daughter Miriam, so
                  HERTZ  225            of his true identity. He is, and  himself. It was Yocheved who,   the tradition goes,
                                        knows he is, a member of an   at the height of Egyptian   remonstrated with him and
                                                                 persecution, had the courage to  persuaded him to change
                                        enslaved and suffering
                                        people: “Growing up, he went  have a child, hide him for three  his mind. “Your decree,”
                     Times              out to where his own people   months, and then devise a plan  she said, “is worse than
                                                                                             Pharaoh’s. His affects only
                                        were and watched them at
                                                                 to give him a chance of being
                   (Monday Edition)     their hard labour. He saw an   rescued. We know all too little   the boys; yours affects all.
                                          Egyptian beating a Hebrew,   of Yocheved. In her first   His deprives children of life
           Week of  1/8                 one of his own people” (Ex.   appearance in the Torah she is   in this world; yours will
                                        2:10).                   unnamed. Yet, reading the   deprive them of life even in
                                                                 narrative, we are left in no   the World to Come.”
           Mon/Thurs           6:35/7:45am   He intervenes – he acts: the   doubt about her bravery and   Amram relented, and as a
           Tue/Wed/Fri         6:45/7:45am    mark of a true leader. We see  resourcefulness. Not by   result, Moses was born. The
                                        him intervene three times,   accident did her children all   implication is clear: Miriam
           Mincha                 4:35pm   twice in Egypt, once in   become leaders.         had more faith than her
                                        Midian, to rescue victims of                         father.
                                        violence. We then witness the  The second was Miriam,
            Shabbat 1/14                  great scene at the Burning   Yocheved’s daughter and   Third and fourth were the
                                        Bush where God summons   Moses’ elder sister. It was she   two midwives, Shifrah and
           Candle Lighting        4:31pm
                                        him to lead his people to   who kept watch over the child   Puah, who frustrated
           Mincha                 4:35pm   freedom. Moses hesitates four  as the small ark floated down   Pharaoh’s first attempt at
                                        times until God becomes   the river, and it was she who   genocide. Ordered to kill
           Hashkama               8:00am    angry and Moses knows he   approached Pharaoh’s daughter  the male Israelite children
           Parsha Shiur                      8:30am   has no other choice. This is a  with the suggestion that he be   at birth, they “feared God
                                        classic account of the genesis  nursed among his own people.   and did not do what the
           Main                              9:00am   of a hero.   The biblical text paints a   king of Egypt had told them
           Youth                             9:00am              portrait of the young Miriam as   to do; they let the boys
                                        But this is only the surface   a figure of unusual fearlessness  live” (Ex. 1:17). Summoned
           Beit Midrash                      9:15am   tale. The Torah is a deep and  and presence of mind. Rabbinic  and accused of
                                        subtle book, and it does not   tradition goes further. In a   disobedience, they
           Gemara Shiur                      3:55pm
                                        always deliver its message on  remarkable Midrash, we read of  outwitted Pharaoh by
           Mincha                            4:25pm   the surface. Just beneath is   how, upon hearing of the   constructing an ingenious
                                        another far more remarkable   decree that every male Israelite  cover story: the Hebrew
           Shabbat Ends                      5:39pm   story, not about a hero but   baby would be drowned in the   women, they said, are
                                        about six heroines, six   river, Amram led the Israelites   vigorous and give birth
                                        courageous women without   in divorcing their wives so that
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