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With the death of Yosef, the Book of Bereishis
to an end. The Book of Shmos (Exodus) chronicles the creation
of the nation of Israel from the descendants of Yaakov.
At the beginning of this week's Parsha, Pharaoh, fearing the
population explosion of Jews, enslaves them.
However, when their birthrate continues to increase,
he orders the Jewish midwives to kill all baby boys.
Yocheved gives birth to Moshe and places him in a basket in the Nile.
Pharaoh's daughter finds and adopts the baby even though she
realizes he is probably a Hebrew. Miriam, Moshe's older sister,
offers to find a nursemaid for Moshe. She arranges for his mother
Yocheved to be his nursemaid and help raise him.
Years later, Moshe witnesses an Egyptian beating a Hebrew,
and Moshe kills the Egyptian. When Moshe realizes his life is in danger,
he flees to Midian where he rescues Tzipporah, whose father Yisro
approves of their subsequent marriage.
On Chorev (Mt. Sinai), Moshe witnesses the burning bush
where G-d commands him to lead the Jewish People from Egypt
to Eretz Yisrael, which G-d has promised to their ancestors.
Moshe protests that the Jewish People in Egypt will doubt his being
G-d's agent, and so G-d enables Moshe to perform three
miraculous transformations to validate him in the eyes of the people:
changing his staff into a snake, his healthy hand into a leprous one,
and water into blood.
When Moshe declares that he is not a good public speaker G-d
tells him that his brother Aharon will be his spokesman. Aharon
greets Moshe on his return to Egypt and they petition Pharaoh
to release the Jews. Pharaoh responds with even harsher decrees,
declaring that the Jews must produce the same quota of bricks as before,
but without being given supplies. The people become dispirited, but
G-d assures Moshe that He will force Pharaoh to let the Jews leave.