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Daily Aliya for Shemot, Rishon (1st Aliya)

General Overview: This week’s Torah reading, Shemot, begins the Book of Exodus. Pharaoh issues harsh decrees against the Israelites, beginning decades of Jewish suffering and slavery. Moshe is born and raised in the Egyptian royal palace. After killing an Egyptian, Moshe escapes to Midian and marries. G‑d appears to him in a burning bush and demands that he return to Egypt to redeem the Israelites. Moshe returns to Egypt with the intention of freeing the Jewish people.

Aliya Summary: Jacob’s sons all died. Jacob’s descendents in Egypt, however, were “fruitful and swarmed and increased and became very very strong.” A new Pharaoh arose, and he resolved to find a solution to the “Israelite problem.” He proposed to afflict the Israelites and impose slave labor upon them, thus preventing them from multiplying. He implemented the plan, and the Israelites were forced to construct storage cities for Pharaoh. “But as much as they would afflict them, so did they multiply and so did they gain strength.” Pharaoh then summoned the Hebrew midwives and instructed them to kill all the Hebrew sons that they delivered. The righteous midwives feared G‑d, however, and defied Pharaohs order.