The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary

By Steven; Sarah Levy | Go to book overview

SHEMOT

❖ Name-Calling
As every successful politician knows, addressing someone by name evokes feelings of warmth and closeness. Parashat Shemot (Names) begins by recounting the names of Jacob’s sons who accompanied him to Egypt.

These are the names of the sons of Israel [Jacob] who came
to Egypt with Jacob, each coming with his household.
(Exod. 1:1)

Given that the names of Jacob’s sons were previously mentioned, Rashi explains why they are repeated here:

These are the names of the sons of Israel: Although [God]
counted them in their lifetime by their names, He counted
them again after their death, to let us know how precious
they were [to Him], because they were likened to the
stars, which He takes out and brings in by number and
by their names, as it states (Isa. 40:26): “He who sends
out their host by count, who calls them each by name.”
(Rashi, Exod. 1:1)

By repeating the names of Jacob’s sons, Rashi tells us that God focused attention on and thereby expressed affection for each son individually.In today’s wired age most of us do not have to remember friends’ phone numbers and birthdays, as people once did. Moreover, in a single session, with just a few clicks, we can arrange to send all our friends birthday e-cards for the year. We have also become accustomed to having full conversations with people (via text or e-mail) without ever using their names. Perhaps, now more than ever, addressing another person by name can amplify our shared sense of connection.
Questions for Discussion
1. Have you ever felt a sense of connection to someone in part because that person remembered or repeated your name?
2. Do you ever have difficulty remembering people’s names? What methods do you use to help remember them?
3. Do you think using online communication causes people to feel more or less connected to other people (or both)? If it can cause people to feel anonymous, what can be done to minimize this phenomenon?

❖ Growing Up

At the time Moses was born, the Egyptians had enslaved the Jews, and Pharaoh had decreed that all Jewish baby boys were to be killed at birth. When Moses reached three months of

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The JPS Rashi Discussion Torah Commentary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction - Introducing Rashi xv
  • Genesis 1
  • Bere’shit 3
  • NoaḤ 6
  • Lekh Lekha 9
  • Va-Yera’ 12
  • Hayyei Sarah 15
  • Toledot 18
  • Va-Yetse’ 21
  • Va-YishlaḤ 24
  • Va-Yeshev 27
  • Mikkets 30
  • Va-Yiggash 33
  • Va-YeḤi 36
  • Exodus 39
  • Shemot 41
  • Val-‘Era’ 44
  • Bo’ 47
  • Be-ShallaḤ 50
  • Yitro 53
  • Mishpatim 56
  • Terumah 59
  • Tetsavveh 62
  • Ki Tissa’ 65
  • Va-Yak’Hel 68
  • Pekudei 71
  • Leviticus 75
  • Va-Yikra’ 77
  • Tsav 80
  • Shemini 83
  • Tazria’ 86
  • Metsora’ 90
  • ’AḤarei Mot 93
  • Kedoshim 97
  • ‘Emor 100
  • Be-Har 103
  • Be-Ḥukkotai 106
  • Numbers 111
  • Be-Midbar 113
  • Naso’ 116
  • Be-Ha’Alotekha 120
  • ShelaḤ-Lekha 123
  • KoraḤ 127
  • Ḥukkat 130
  • Balak 134
  • PinḤas 138
  • Mattot 141
  • Mase’Ei 144
  • Deuteronomy 147
  • Devarim 149
  • Va-EtḤannan 152
  • ‘Ekev 156
  • Re’Eh 160
  • Shofetim 163
  • Ki Tetse’ 167
  • Ki Tavo’ 171
  • Nits Avim/Va-Yelekh 174
  • Ha’Azinu 177
  • Ve-Zo’t Ha-Berakhah 181
  • Subject Index 185
  • Index of Sources 189
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