Parashah #13: Sh’mot ( Exodus) 1:1-6:1

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #13: Sh’mot (Names) Sh’mot (Exodus) 1:1-6:1
Haftarah: Haftarah: Yirmeyahu ( Jeremiah) 1:1-2:3
B’rit Chadashah: Hebrews 11:23-26

Although this commentary starts as I wrote it last year, stay with me because I am going in another direction with it. There is a “small” but significant letter that starts this parashah. In Hebrew, the parashah starts with the word “and.” This conjunction indicates there is no separation from the previous parashah. In fact, in the Hebrew, the first six words of the parashah is identical to those In Genesis 46:8. Taking us back to review Genesis, we are better equipped mentally to appreciate the forward progress of G-d’s plan to redeem mankind; that is, those who follow His Torah. This one concept of connecting Genesis and Exodus serves as a reminder that everything is connected. We cannot treat the Books or verses of the Bible in isolation any more than we can separate the complex unity of the G-dhead into three separate “persons.”
One of the potential dangers of realizing the interconnectedness of everything in the universe is that there are those who advance the theory of Quantum mechanics propose that because we cannot know with certainty where any particle of matter is at any specific time, that G-d cannot possibly know either! If we believe that, then we “degrade” G-d’s intelligence and knowledge concerning all He created including His intervention in man’s affairs as limited. The domino effect is then initiated and those who subscribe to this idea of limited knowledge concerning G-d and a belief system is adopted and spread that G-d may have created the universe, but He has no control over it including mans affairs. This is a dangerous inaccurate explanation and understanding of the interconnectedness of all matter and energy, which have been proven to be interconvertible. This is the belief system of people such as Thomas Jefferson and most recently by Harold S Kushner who wrote “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” According to a review of the book by Ralph Lewis, MD, Rabbi Kushner simply dropped his belief in G-d’s omnipotence. Quoting Kushner, Lewis states “ I believe in G-d. But I do not believe the same things about Him that I did years ago, when I was growing up or when I was a theological student. I recognize His limitations. He is limited in what He can do by laws of nature and by the evolution of human nature and human moral freedom.” According to Lewis, “According from a scientists point of view, Kushner’s G-d (or any version of G-d, actually) is superfluous, an unnecessary addition to the scientific explanation for the existence of the universe and everything in it.
The extension of this line of thinking is that the universe has no purpose, but humans do. The question is not one of why something happens to us, but how we react. Sadly, according to Lewis, Kushner, and so many who subscribe to this secular explanation for life events, there is noting beyond human physical life; no resurrection, no hope of salvation and an eternity with the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, no evolving relationship with G-d based on our response to His intervention in our lives, no sense of wonder at or for G-d’s creativity, mercy, grace, and love, no blessed assurance that He will return to deliver His people and destroy evil once and for all. The deist belief system is finite and empty, believing in their own created theology of nature without the divine oversight of YHVH/Yahshua.

I provide this brief narrative on Deism to illustrate just how different the events in our parashah and the complete Torah for that matter, would be described without G-d’s intervention in the lives of humans and world history. Simple human logic dictates the need to prayerfully research and consider how the complete Torah including the Old Testament and B’rit Chadashah (Refreshed, renewed Covenant) is consistent and true. All one need do is study the history of the world to see that all prophecy to date has occurred just as prophesied in the Bible. Even someone who likes to gamble would take the bet that all prophecy that is predicted yet has not occurred, will come to pass just as it is prophesied. World events to date could not have happened by chance or by determined laws of nature and physics. To deny G-d and/or His intervention in the universe He created is more than naive. It is chosen denial of G-d and His Torah/instructions, also known as antinomianism. This belief system will take its advocates down the broad road to destruction that such people will realize is real and final when they face the G-d they deny (Matt. 7:13-14; Rom. 8:7-8;1 John 3:4).

One of the gods of Egypt was the Nile during the time described in our parashah. G-d knew this of course and would use this against Pharaoh as we shall learn. Now that Israel had flourished and grown as a nation, Pharaoh expressed his perceived power by way of enslaving the Israelites and making it extremely difficult to carry out their work with fewer supplies. Furthermore, they were beaten constantly. When that did not affect the desired outcome, he ordered the midwives to kill all of the male newborns. Thanks to G-d’s intervention in this lives of His people and His perfect plan the two midwives Shiphrah and Pu’ah loved and feared G-d more than Pharaoh let the male infants live (Ex. 1:17). The action of these two women set the stage for many other women who played a crucial role in G-d’s plan as it unfolded like tightly wrapped knots in the tzitziot. Not only are women used by G-d throughout His Torah, but a few were given the privlege of a very close relationship with Him such as Mary who was the vehicle for his physical manifestation as Messiah, and others who faithfully followed Him throughout His ministry. By the way, this event of Messiah’s conception is a perfect example of Einstein’s theory of relativity. That is, G-d converted some of his potential energy to kinetic energy and then sent it at the speed of light to Mary’s womb which at that time became “Matter” (Yahshua)!
In our parashah we see how G-d intervenes (present tense) in the lives of women in diverse ways; through the midwives, Pharaoh’s daughter, and Moshe’s mother. G-d’s power can soften the hearts of anyone, Egyptian or Israelite; Gentile or Jew as we read in this parashah.
As for Moshe, he was taken in to be raised as an Egyptian. Interestingly, Moshe’s name means “pulled out” which is exactly what happens when an individual comes to G-d by accepting Yahshua’s sacrifice, learning and following G-d’s commands. Although Moshe was raised in the house of Pharaoh, he was moved with compassion when he saw one of the Egyptians strike a Hebrew kinsman. Perhaps he developed this sense of compassion remembering the compassion shown him by Pharaoh’s daughter, his sister, and his mother as she was raising him, knowing she had to relinquish him to Pharaoh’s daughter.

I want to revisit a relevant narrative in the Zohar that provides an interesting Messianic perspective from this Kabbalistic commentary. We are jumping ahead to the punishment of Egypt and Edom that is in the works explained in our parashah and in the B’rit Chadashah. I am going to quote directly from the Zohar as the narrative cannot be improved upon. It is my hope that the reader can read into this text and “see” the connection to the Book of Revelation and Yahshua’s return:
“ Now if Egypt was punished, notwithstanding the kindness with which she treated Israel, especially at first, it can certainly be expected that Assyria and Edom, and, in fact, all the nations who have maltreated Israel, will receive their punishment from the Holy One, when He will manifest the glory of His Name to them, as it is written, ‘Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself, and I will be known among many nations (Ezek. 38;23).
R. Simeon lifted up his hands and wept. ‘Alas,’ he said, ‘for him who will live at that time! Yet happy he who will live at that time! When the Holy One comes to visit the “Hind” (Israel), he will examine who it is that remains loyal to her at that time, and then woe to him who shall not be found worthy, and of whom it shall be said, ‘I looked and there was none to help” (Isa. 62:23). Many sufferings shall then befall Israel But happy he who will be found faithful at that time! For he shall see the joy-giving light of the King. Concerning that time it is proclaimed: “ I will refine them as silver is refined, and I will try them as gold is tried ( Zech. 13:9). Then shall pangs and travail overtake Israel, and all nations and their kings shall furiously rage together and take council against her. Thereupon a pillar of fire will be suspended from heaven to earth for 40 days, visible to all nations. Then the Messiah will arise from the Garden of Eden, from that place which is called “The Bird’s nest”. He will arise in the land of Galilee, and on that day the whole world will be shaken and all the children of men shall seek refuge in caves and rocky places. Concerning that time it is written: “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the L-rd and the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth (Isa. 2:19). “The glory of his majesty” refers to the Messiah when he shall revel himself in the land of Galilee; for in this part of the Holy Land the desolation first began, and therefore he will manifest himself there first, and from there begin to war against the world.”

Scrolling down in the text a bit further we read that after a designated time “ The Holy One shall show forth his power before all the nations of the earth, and the messiah shall be manifested throughout the whole universe, and all the kings will unite to fight against him, and even in Israel, there will be found some wicked ones who shall join them in the fight against the Messiah. Then there will be darkness over all the world, and for 15 days shall it continue, and many in Israel shall perish in that darkness. Concerning this darkness it is written “Behold, darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the peoples” (Isa. 60:2)’

The above narrative clearly supports scripture in the B’rit Chadashah that the verse “all Israel shall be saved” in Rom 11:26 does not mean every biological Jew or those within the confines of the state of Israel will be saved. Just as the Israelites had to choose whether or not they would obey G-d’s instructions apply the blood of their sacrificial lambs on the lentils(doorposts) of their homes to be spared from the angel of death about to pass through Egypt that night, all men must choose to either accept the sacrifice of Yahshua who was the sacrificial lamb for all who seek the Living Water and the Bread of Life or die the second death that is eternal separation from G-d in Hell (Matt. 25:1-13; Rev.13:8;Rev. 8:4)

Haftarah: Yirmeyahu ( Jeremiah) 1:1-2:3
This haftarah speaks to similarities between Moshe and Jeremiah as they were called by G-d for their specific missions. They were both humble men who initially attempted to recuse themselves from their G-d-given tasks. G-d reassured both men that they were prepared for their missions and that they would not be killed at the hands of their enemies. This does not mean they could not be injured! Jeremiah saw a staff from an almond tree, a symbol described in Numbers 17:23 to designate Aaron as the man G-d chose as the High Priest before all Israel, and to represent that the legitimate priesthood would remain with Israel. Only the Kingship would be lost through their disobedience.
Similarly, we need to accomplish our purpose in life which is to glorify G-d as did these great prophets. Our specific mission is made known to us at G-d’s chosen time, whether in our youth or in old age. We need to prepare our hearts and minds to take advantage of the opportunities as they are presented. Like Jeremiah, G-d is with us to rescue us (Jer.1:19). We have opportunities to glorify G-d every day simply by living according to His instructions /Torah found in Deuteronomy 6:4-11 as one of many scriptures repeating these same instructions. Remember that Yahshua promises us “ For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:29-30).
Brit Chadashah Hebrews 11: 23-26
This narrative reiterates and emphasizes the inextricable connection between trusting and obedience. In fact, trusting is an action verb that indicates that true belief in YHVH/Yahshua mandates action. This is accomplished by loving obedience to G-d’s commands as we read in the scriptures below.
(11: 1) Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see. 2. It was for this that Scripture attested the merit of the people of old.) Trusting or “faith,” Greek pistis.
Being confident, Greek upostasis (literally, “that which stands under”), what gives present reality to what we hope for. In contrast to the rest of the chapter, which analyzes various “heroes of faith” chronicled in the Tanakh, this verse sets forth a basic function of trusting, namely, that by trusting we understand—or, as the 11th-century Christian theologian Anselm put it, Credo ut intelligam (“I believe in order to understand”). Those who refuse to take the tiny step necessary to trust in G-d cannot understand the most basic truths: the benevolent consequences of faith are not only emotional but affect the realm of the mind.
23 By trusting, the parents of Moshe hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they weren’t afraid of the king’s decree.
24 By trusting, Moshe, after he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose being mistreated along with G-d’s people rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin. 26 He had come to regard abuse suffered on behalf of the Messiah as greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he kept his eyes fixed on the reward.
The author devotes more space to Moshe than to any of the other heroes of faith except Avraham.
Verse 23 The parents of Moshe, Amram and Yoch‘eved (Exodus 6:20), hid him by placing him in a basket to float in the Nile, so that he wouldn’t be killed according to Pharaoh’s decree. In answer to their faith, Pharaoh’s daughter found him there and raised him as her own son, even employing the child’s own mother to nurse him (Exodus 2:1–10).
24–26 Moshe had every possible advantage Egypt could offer. Jewish tradition maintains that as the adopted child of Pharaoh’s daughter he may even have been in line for the throne. But he also had knowledge of G-d’s revelation and of his own identity as an Israelite and chose being mistreated along with G-d’s people rather than enjoying the perquisites of his position, until finally (Exodus 2:11–15) he was forced to flee for his life.
26 He had come to regard abuse suffered on behalf of the Messiah …. Moshe did not know of Yahshua, nor is there evidence that he had specific knowledge of a coming Messiah, Savior or Son of G-d, although he did refer to a Star that would come out of Jacob (Numbers 24:17–19) and to a future prophet like himself (Deuteronomy 18:15, 18–19). But Yn 5:46 says that Moshe nevertheless wrote about Yahshua. One may fairly say that Moshe suffered on behalf of all G-d’s promises, both those known to him at the time and that G-d would make in the future; and, after the fact, it is clear that this implies his suffering abuse on behalf of the Messiah. Sha’ul, in many ways the Moshe of his day, suffered similarly
He kept his eyes fixed on the reward, which was “not seen” (v. 1).

May we learn and internalize the truth that G-d uses those He chooses no matter their past for His glory and that we need only be good and faithful servants, making Him our top priority in all things. Yes, He intervenes in all the affairs of the universe including man and He will never leave us nor forsake us! (Deut. 31:6-8; Matt. 28:20).

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah-Davis-Hart