Parshat Shemot (The Names)

The Torah portion is Shemot, Exodus 1:1-6:1. In synagogues using the Triennial system, 5783 is year 1 and the Torah reading is Exodus 1:1-2:25.

This is the first parshah of the Book of Shemot, known in English as Exodus. The name of the book, as with all parshiyot, is simply the first distinctive word in the parshah. In this parshah, a new Pharaoh oppresses the Israelites in Egypt. Moses avoids the death ordered for all newborn males. He is raised in the household of Pharaoh but later flees. He sees the Burning Bush, returns to Egypt and makes a demand of Pharaoh from G-d but things get worse for Israelites. Parshah ends with foreshadowing of the upcoming plagues . . .

The haftarah is Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-29:23. Like the Torah portion, the Haftarah speaks of the suffering of Israel and the promise that the oppression will end and the oppressor will be punished. It skips a bit at the end to finish on a positive note.

In synagogues using the Sephardic tradition, the Haftarah is Jeremiah 1:1-2:3.