Portions Library

A collection of essays on the weekly Torah Portions, from Genesis to Deuteronomy, adapted from Torah Club.

Va'eraRead / Listen to Portion


What's His Name?

The LORD reminded Moses that He appeared to the forefathers as God Almighty (El Shaddai, אל שדי), but He did not reveal His personal name the LORD (HaShem): "I appeared … as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them."

A Matter of Reputation

The LORD used the plagues, the signs, the wonders, and even the redemption of Israel to show His power and to proclaim His name through all the earth. He made His grand entrance onto the stage of world history and sent a message to the whole world: “I exist, I am God, there is none like Me!”

The Robber and the Strong Man

In the Midrash HaGadol, a collection of Yemenite Jewish commentary on Torah, the Jewish people were fearful of inciting Pharaoh further, so they protested to Moses, "Can a slave serve two masters? We are enslaved to Pharaoh and are afraid to transgress his laws." Israel could not serve both Pharaoh and God. Neither can we serve two masters.

Deliverance from Bondage

When a person is in bondage, he is not able to liberate himself. He needs someone on the outside to deliver him from the bondage. That is why people who struggle with addictions find their best success when they turn to counseling, support groups, and other systems of accountability. It takes someone outside of the situation to intervene.

To Proclaim My Name

The revelation of God’s name thematically runs through the story of the exodus from Egypt. The LORD told Pharaoh that he had raised him up and allowed him to remain “in order to show you My power and in order to proclaim My name through all the earth.”