Studies in Torah

Parashat Va’era (וארא): Exodus 6:2-9:35

It’s no coincidence that the freedom of Yisra’el from bondage in Mitzraim was accompanied by 10 plagues and the release of mankind on the coming Day of the LORD comes after seven plagues. Why such drastic measures are required to give people freedom is behind this week’s Torah portion, וארא Va’era (“I appeared,” Exodus 6:2–9:35).

The standard haftarah reading for Va’era is Ezekiel 28:25–29:21.

The following are notes and recordings of discussions led by Hallel Fellowship teachers on passages in Va’era.

Parashah discussions

Exodus 6:2–9:35: Name dropping the first seven plagues on Mitzraim

Exodus 6

God reiterated His call of Moshe, Aharon; Levi, Reuben, Shimon noted as leaders of Israel

Try to put yourself into Moshe‘s shoes here. His first presentation with Pharaoh doesn’t go very well — just as Moshe had told God it wouldn’t. His confidence is even lower now than it was before. Yet God does not change His mind about his call on Moshe and Aharon.

Moshe of ‘uncircumcised lips’ learns The Name

Moshe in Exodus 6 said his lips were “uncircumcised” and insisted that prevented him from sharing The Name of God to Yisra’el. We know about circumcision of a man’s privates and metaphorically of the “heart,” but what is this, and how is it connected to sharing knowledge of The Name?

Exodus 7–8

Aharon’s rod ‘eats’ the magicians’ rods; the first three plagues on Mitzraim

The people of Israel didn’t follow Moshe initially. Moshe didn’t believe that Pharaoh would hear him either. God affirmed Moshe yet God told Moshe and Aharon to go to Pharaoh anyway. God had a plan to elevate Moshe and Aharon in the eyes of Pharaoh and the people of Israel.

The first three plagues were unleashed on Mitzraim but the magicians of Mitzraim have the same power and Pharaoh doesn’t want to believe that the hand of the Creator is at work in Moshe and Aharon.

First four plagues against Mitzraim

The 10 plagues against Mitzraim were judgments against the false deities of the land, to show the descendants of Yisra’el and the people of the land Who was the true God.

Exodus 9

Plagues of locusts, darkness, death of first-born against Mitzraim

The plague against the firstborn seems harsh because the innocent died because of the faults of the leadership of Mitzraim. However, like with the life of Yosef, that plague is a foreshadowing of the future death of an innocent Firstborn, Yeshua the Mashiakh.

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