Parshat Hashavua

Parshah Shemot: Choosing a Name

Shabbat Shalom! We begin the second book of the Torah with this week’s parshah Shemot. While on the whole this second of the five books of Moses, Shemot, is concerned with the Exodus – this opening parshah begins by listing off names. Shemot itself is the plural form for the Hebrew word shem, commonly translated into English as: name/names.

Early in Shemot, the stage is set to enter the land of Egypt, on this journey Jacob our forefather is mentioned as well as his sons during their southbound travels. Later on, the origin story of Moses is revealed with his leadership role solidified by the end of Shemot. How was it that the Israelites (progeny of Israel (Jacob)) went from protected while Joseph was second in command of Egypt to enslaved? Exodus 1:6-10 answers this question by informing us that Joseph and his brothers died, a new Pharaoh rose to power who did not know about Joseph, and over the years the Israelites had grown to become a large community and were perceived as having strength. This concerned Pharaoh, who resolved to ensure the Israelites would not rise up with the enemies of Egypt to wage war. To prevent this hypothetical outcome, in Exodus 1:13 we are told that “the Egyptians harshly enslaved the children of Israel”.

As mentioned before this parshah also introduces Moses. We learn that Moses was brought up by Pharaoh’s daughter. We are also informed of how Moses was named. In Exodus 2:10, “ She named him Moses, and she said, “For I drew him from the water.”” This name was intentionally chosen, not for how it sounded, but for what it meant. Moses had been sent down the river by his mother, Yocheved, in an effort to save him. Pharaoh’s daughter, she herself is not referred to by a name just her relationship to Pharaoh, discovers Moses floating in a basket on the river and had mercy for him, knowing the fate of any boy born to the Israelite slaves. All of this came together in Pharaoh’s daughter bestowing the name Moses, because it was at that moment when she made a conscious decision to take him in.

Similarly, when we were thinking about names for our home we also wanted to have a strong connection. We have encountered many assisted living homes and facilities, but we were always searching for a place that felt like home. Our vision and passion did not end with simply a home, but a peaceful home in which those living in the home, our mishpacha, could feel whole and connected Jewishly, it is with this mindset and intention that Shalom Home was named.

With this in mind, Shalom Home is happy to announce we will be starting a Shabbos Cholent Study, abbreviated as SCS. Our first SCS session will take place THIS Shabbat Shemot, Saturday January 6th from 11:30am-12:30pm, at Shalom Home (813 E. Glendale Avenue in Phoenix – the home with the 11ft steel saguaro). Meat as well as vegan cholent will be served. We look forward to seeing you!

Shabbat Shalom!