Parshat Vaeira Summary

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Parshat Vaeira is the 2nd parsha in Sefer Shemot (also known as Exodus).

This parsha is verses Shemot 6:2 – 9:35, or a total of 121 verses.

Here is a brief summary for each aliyah.

Aliyah 1: Shemot 6:2 – 6:13, 12 verses

Parashat Shemot ended with Moshe asking God, “Why have you sent me?” Now God explains to Moshe that He knows the plight of the Jewish people in Egypt. He remembers His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and He is going to redeem His people.

Aliyah 2: Shemot 6:14 – 6:28, 15 verses

The Torah presents the family lineage of the tribes of Reuvain, Shimon, and Levi. Moshe and Aharon are descended from Levi. This is the first time we learn the names of Moshe’s parents.

Aliyah 3: Shemot 6:29 – 7:7, 9 verses

Moshe again complains that he’s not a fluent speaker. (He’d raised a similar argument at the burning bush, Shemot 4:10). God appoints Aharon to speak for Moshe when they go to Pharaoh.

Aliyah 4: Shemot 7:8 – 8:6, 28 verses

Moshe and Aharon confront Pharaoh in the palace. Aharon throws his staff on the ground and it turns into a snake. Pharaoh’s sorcerers did a similar “trick.” As a result, Pharaoh was not convinced that Moshe and Aharon were speaking for God.

Plague #1: At Moshe’s command, Aharon raises his staff over the Nile River. God turns all of the Egyptian’s water into blood.

Plague #2: God causes the Nile to bring a frog infestation over the land of Egypt.

Aliyah 5: Shemot 8:7 – 8:18, 12 verses

The plagues continue.

Plague #3: God turns the dust of Egypt into lice. The Egyptian magicians are unable to duplicate this with their magic. They proclaim this plague to be “the finger of God.”

Plague #4: God sends a swarm of wild beasts to harass the Egyptians.

Aliyah 6: Shemot 8:19 – 9:16, 26 verses

Pharaoh asks Moshe to remove the wild beasts from the land. Even though the beasts are gone, Pharaoh still does not recognize that it is God Who is causing the plagues.

Plague #5: The next plague is an epidemic of disease against the Egyptian’s livestock. The livestock of the Jews was not affected at all.

Plague #6: This plague is an affliction of boils on the skin of men and animals.

Aliyah 7: Shemot 9:17 – 9:35, 19 verses

Plague #7: This is a plague of hail, but not ordinary hail. This time it was a combination of thunder, hail, and fire.

Again, Pharaoh asks Moshe to end the plague. The hail ends exactly as Moshe said it would. Pharaoh remains obstinate in his refusal to let the Jewish people go.

Haftarah Summary

This week the haftarah comes from Ezekiel 28:25 – 29:21.

The prophet Ezekiel is commanded by God to speak against Egypt. In Verse 6 we read, “Then all who dwell in Egypt will know that I am Hashem…”

In the parasha, Shemot 6:7, says, “and you [the Jewish people] shall know that I am Hashem your God.”

And then in Shemot 7:5 “And Egypt shall know that I am Hashem …” So we see part of the reason that God sends afflictions into the world is so that people will know that God rules over the entire world.

Further Reading

I have an article that goes into more detail about Aharon’s staff turning into a serpent and what we can learn from the miracle.

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