Oh Boy! Sure feels like exile to me. Exile from what? Is freedom the opposite of exile? This week the first seven Plagues descend on Egypt and Pharaoh. What do these plagues mean? There is a lot in this weekly parashat to consider.

The second reading from the book of Exodus and fourteenth reading from the Torah is named Va’era (וארא), which means “And I appeared.” The title comes from the first words of the second verse of the reading, which says, “And I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty” (Exodus 6:3). The portion begins with four expressions of redemption whereby God promises to bring Israel out of the Egyptian bondage. The narrative progresses to tell the story of the first seven of the ten plagues that God unleashed on Egypt.

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