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Tuesday, Tevet 24 5783 (Hakhel Year) / January 17, 2023


In this week's Parsha, Va’eira, G-d commands Moshe to bring encouragement to the Jewish people who were enslaved in Egypt.  G-d tells Moshe to tell the children of Israel, "I am the L-rd and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgment; and I will take you to me for a people and I will be to you a G-d and you shall know that I am the L-rd your G-d who brought you out from the burdens of the Egyptians..."


"And Moshe spoke to the people of Israel, but they didn't heed to Moshe due to their crushed spirit and their cruel bondage."  G-d then tells Moshe, "Go speak to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, that he shall send away the children of Israel from his land."


Pharaoh refused and was punished with the ten plagues.  At each plague, Pharaoh promised to free the people, but as soon as G-d removed the plague, "his heart was hardened" and he refused to let them go.  Seven of the ten plagues are mentioned in this Parsha. The last three plagues and the Exodus from Egypt are recorded in next week’s Parsha, Bo.


Q.  How old were Moshe and his brother Aaron when all this took place?


A.  Moshe was 80; Aaron was 83.


Q.  From the time Yaakov (Jacob) moved with his family to Egypt until the Exodus was 210 years. How many of these 210 years were the Jewish people actually enslaved in Egypt?


A.  They were enslaved for 116 years.  When Yaakov moved to Egypt, his son, Joseph, was the ruler of the land and he took very good care of them. The enslavement began only after the last of Yaakov's children died.  Yaakov's third son, Levi, lived the longest.  He died at the age of 137.  He was 43 when he first came to Egypt and lived there 94 years.  Thus, if we deduct 94 from 210, we are left with 116. This is the total amount of years that the Jewish people were actually enslaved by the Egyptians. 


Q.  Where was Moshe’s wife, Tziporah, and his two sons during the time he was in Egypt?


A.  Moshe married Tziporah in Midyan and had two sons there. When G-d told him to go back to Egypt and command Pharaoh to let the Jewish people out, he took his wife and children with him. At the same time, G-d commanded Aaron to go out and meet Moshe before he comes to Egypt.  Aaron, who didn’t see Moshe for many years and never met Moshe’s family, asked, “Who are these?” Moshe told him that they were his wife and children. “Where are you taking them?” protested Aaron. “We are in great pain over those who are already here, why bring more people to Egypt?” Moshe then sent his wife and children back to her father, Yitro.  After the Exodus Yitro brought them to join Moshe.




This Torah Fax is dedicated in memory of Yaakov ben Moshe & Charna – on his first Yartzeit.

May his memory be a blessing to his family. May his Neshama rest in peace in Gan Eden. Amen.