This week we open a new book and begin Sh’mot (Exodus). We read from 1:1-6:1.

As has been written many places, but I will cite from here, each book of the Torah has a “theme” of sorts. Bereshit focused on Creation and the “Avot” (Fathers). Sh’mot is a little more difficult to simplify in that manner beyond “we leave Mitzrayim and approach the promised land”; we start with the exodus, we receive the commandments at Har Sinai, we are commanded to build the mishkan (tabernacle), there is the sin of the golden calf, and then we build the mishkan. Whew. No wonder there are piles and piles of commentary on this book. ;)

So, what does sh’mot mean? Names.


One reason, by Rashi is that each is special to HaShem and he counts them by name in life and in death (see also Isaiah 40:26).

So why is that one word used to name an entire diverse book? Perhaps to reiterate HaShem’s love despite things not always going how they should. It takes a long time (for many reasons) to leave Egypt and enter the land promised to the children of Israel. Many things happen along the way. I really don’t know and don’t have an answer I feel I can defend super strongly. I have a feeling that this is a start, but I need to learn and understand more.

Confused by some terminology I used? D’vorah’s Hebrew Glossary is comprehensive and somewhat easy to navigate. And as always, please take what I write here on this topic with understanding that I am a lay person attempting to puzzle out and understand a simple meaning for myself.

How goes my nach yomi learning? Err… Bli neder (without a vow) I hope to start up again and maybe catch up. I wanted to purchase nice Nach (because I need 3 volumes of “Megillot vol I”) [anyone want one of my copies?] or at least bring home the relevant copies from the Uni, but I didn’t.

שׁבּת שׁלום