The Torah names the sons of Yaakov who came down to Egypt. Yosef’s death is recorded again. His brothers also died. The nation increased in number.

A new Pharaoh came to power, who subjects the nation to hard labour. Yet the more they were afflicted, the more they increased. The Egyptians intensified the labour. Pharaoh instructed Hebrew midwives to kill new-born Hebrew males. They refused, instead giving the babies food and drink. Pharaoh commanded the Egyptians to drown all new-born males in the River Nile.

Moshe was born. After hiding him for three months, his mother Yocheved placed him in a basket in the riverbank reeds. Pharaoh’s daughter retrieved the basket and identified the baby as a Hebrew infant. Moshe’s sister Miriam, watching from afar, offered to get a nurse. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed; Miriam brought Yocheved, who looked after him until he was weaned. Moshe was then brought up in Pharaoh’s house.

When older, Moshe encountered an Egyptian striking a Hebrew; he killed the Egyptian. He then heard two Jewish men fighting, and tried to stop them. They told him they knew what he had done to the Egyptian, and his crime became known to Pharaoh. Moshe fled for his life, arriving in Midian, where he met the daughters of Yitro by a well. Moshe married his daughter Tziporah. They had a child, called Gershom.

God heard the Hebrews in Egypt crying out because of their hard labour. Moshe, shepherding Yitro’s flock, arrived at the ‘Mountain of God’. He encountered a fire in a bush, which was not consumed by the flames. God appeared, instructing Moshe to take off his shoes. God told Moshe that He will rescue the nation and that Moshe should go to Pharaoh and instruct him to let the nation leave Egypt.

God reassured Moshe that the elders of Israel will respond to his call. Moshe is to request from Pharaoh that he let the Hebrews out for three days, to bring offerings in the desert. Pharaoh will refuse, after which God will smite Egypt with plagues. God empowered Moshe with three signs to show the people – a staff that turns into a snake, his hand turning white with the appearance of leprosy and water taken from the Nile turning to blood. Moshe was reluctant to take the leadership as was he very humble and had a speech impediment. God told Moshe that his brother Aharon can be his spokesman.

Moshe returned to Egypt from Midian. God told Moshe to warn Pharaoh that He will kill the Egyptian firstborn if Pharaoh refuses Moshe’s requests. Moshe failed to circumcise his new-born son Eliezer when they stopped in lodgings on the way; Tziporah did it instead. Aharon greeted Moshe, who related God’s words to him. Aharon in turn conveyed these words to the people. Moshe performed the three signs.

Moshe and Aharon approached Pharaoh. Pharaoh refused their requests and increased the work load. The people complained to Moshe and Aharon. Moshe asked God why He sent him, if his intercession only made life more difficult.

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