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Parshat Shemot

This week’s parsha post was written by Laurie Hunt, Yahel alumna and intern, and a student at the University of Maryland.

The Israelites endure major suffering in this week’s parsha, Shemot, as the Pharaoh of Egypt decreed that they must work as slaves and all of the newborn sons should be killed. Because the Israelites were so weak in comparison to the powerful Pharaoh, they complied to the decrees and their suffering went on for quite some time. Change did not happen until someone decided to take action.

In an effort to save her son, Yocheved put her precious newborn baby in a basket and sent him along the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby and raised him as her own son. This boy turns out to be Moses–the leader of the Jewish people who brings them out of Egypt and into the Land of Israel.

Moses took action. Although he was lucky to grow up with the lavish lifestyle of Egyptian royalty, he could not ignore the injustices that the Israelites faced. He chose to give up all of his privileges and turn against the Pharaoh, demanding the he let the Israelites out of slavery and out of Egypt.

Moses did not face Pharaoh alone, however. Because of a speech impediment, Aaron served as the orator. These two biblical figures put their strengths together in order to accomplish a goal that at one time seemed impossible.

It is truly amazing what ONE person can accomplish if they actually take a stand against injustice, and even more amazing is the change that can occur when many people pull their strengths together, like Moses and Aaron.

It is certainly not always easy to take action, especially when the hardships do not directly impact you, however the ultimate goal of attaining justice and helping to improve the lives of others is far greater than a lavish lifestyle.

Shabbat Shalom.

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