14 Vaera

וַיְדַבֵּר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲנִי יְהוָה׃

And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord.

Shabbat

Name

Parasha

Haftora

Brit Chadasha

January 16
2021

Va’era
“He will appear”

Exodus 6:2-9:35

Eze 28:25-29:21

Romans 9:14-33

 

In this Torah portion, God tells Moses and Aaron to go to Pharaoh to demand freedom for the People of Israel. Pharaoh refuses, and God unleashes plagues on the Egyptians. When the people of Israel are been redeemed from slavery, then they will experience God’s promises fulfilled. Pharaoh promises to free the Israelites, but God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. The portion ends with the plague of hail stopping and Pharaoh changing his mind once again.

As they are set free from slavery, it will be easy for them to know God’s essential nature, expressed in HIS name, in a way their ancestors never could.  God understands that Pharaoh must see Moses as an equal; only then, will there be a chance of Pharaoh’s consent. Pharaoh sees himself as a god, and so protocol dictates he must interact with a fellow “god”. Moses’s confidence is fragile at best, so by appointing him as “god” to Pharaoh, God hopes to boost Moses’s stature and self-image and, in so doing, make him a successful messenger. Finally, though Moses has been chosen as the leader, God seeks to teach Moses that he cannot do it alone. His brother Aaron will be his right-hand man and, in this respect, their relationship will resemble that of God and a prophet. Just as God needs a prophetic messenger to mediate the divine word, so too does Moses need Aaron.

Both the parasha and the haftarah describe God's instructions to a prophet to confront the Pharaoh of Egypt and bring on Israel's redemption, address God's judgments against Pharaoh and Egypt, God attacks the river and kills fish, God's actions would cause the Egyptians to know God and HE proclaims, "I am the Lord. A monster (tannin) plays a role in both: In the parasha, God turns Moses' rod into a monster; the haftarah describes Pharaoh as a monster.