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Parashat Vaera / פרשת וארא

Crop of Moses Speaks to Pharaoh by Joseph James Jacques Tissot


Parashat Vaera is the 14th weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the second reading of Shemot (“Exodus”). Vaera (וָאֵרָא) is Hebrew for And I Appeared and is the third word that HaShem speaks to Moshe (Moses) in the parashah, which begins with HaShem making reference to His appearance to and covenant with Avraham (Abraham), Yitzkhak (Isaac), and Ya’akov (Jacob).

HaShem sends Moshe to Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) with the good news of His salvation, but they are not receptive. HaShem sends Moshe to Pharoh (Pharaoh), yet even Moshe is lacking in confidence. The parashah then proceeds with a record of the genealogies of Reuven (Reuben), Shimon (Simeon), and Levi, the eldest sons of Ya’akov, even as far as Aharon (Aaron) and Moshe, Aharon’s sons, and Aharon’s grandson, Pinekhas (Pinchas).

Parashat Vaera continues with HaShem’s instructions to Moshe pertaining to his coming encounter with Pharoh, including the help which HaShem provides Moshe through his persistent lack of confidence, as well as a record of how old Moshe and Aharon were when they spoke to Pharoh. The parashah continues with a detailed record of HaShem’s instructions to Moshe regarding his interaction with Pharoh. The parashah records HaShem’s words, which He spoke to Pharoh through Moshe and Aharon, the actions Moshe and Aharon were to take through which HaShem sends the first seven of ten plagues upon Pharoh and Mitzrayim (Egypt), and how Pharoh and his people respond to these plagues.

Parashat Vaera concludes with the results of the seventh plague.

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Torah Portion: Exodus 6:2 – 9:35

1st Aliyah: Exodus 6:2-13 (12 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Exodus 6:14-28 (15 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Exodus 6:29-7:7 (9 verses)
4th Aliyah: Exodus 7:8-8:6 (28 verses)
5th Aliyah: Exodus 8:7-18 (12 verses)
6th Aliyah: Exodus 8:19-9:16 (26 verses)
7th Aliyah: Exodus 9:17-35 (19 verses)
Maftir: Exodus 9:33-35 (3 verses)

Special Maftir
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Numbers 28:9-15 (7 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
Ezekiel 28:25 – 29:21

When Parashat Vaera coincides with a special Shabbat,
a different Haftarah is traditionally read:

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Isaiah 66:1 – 66:24

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