Shemot (שמות) is both the title for the second book from the scroll of the Torah and the title of the first Torah portion. Shemot means “names.” The English-speaking world calls this book Exodus. The Hebrew title for the book comes from the opening phrase of the book: “Now these are the names (shemot) of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob” (Exodus 1:1).
Exodus means “departure.” The book of Exodus tells the story of the children of Israel enslaved in Egypt and their miraculous redemption through the hand of Moses, the story of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, the construction of the golden calf and the construction of the Tabernacle.
We find the children of Israel in slavery. It seems at first that the God of their forefathers has forgotten them. But God has not forgotten His promises.
Today, our group has its first Sangha session. Have you ever had an experience of having a heavy tongue? Were you afraid to speak up? Were you uncertain, ashamed, fearful?