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Va’Eira  Ex 6:2 - 9:35

“Va’eira” is (Hebrew for “And I [G-d] appeared.”   The portion’s name is similar to “Va’yera” (“And He appeared” – Gen 18 through 22) – and it may be more than coincidence that the rabbis named it such.

Summary: YHVH restates the covenant that was made with Abraham.  YHVH sends Moses and Aaron to tell the Pharaoh to let the Children of Israel to go.  Moses says that the Children of Israel won’t listen to him, let alone the Pharaoh.  YHVH repeats that Moses will be an Elohim and Aaron will be his prophet (in last week’s portion, Aaron was going to be a mouthpiece).  Moses and Aaron meet with Pharaoh and they attempt to demonstrate G-d’s power by having Aaron’s staff turn into a crocodile (the traditional translation is a snake, but in Hebrew, it is crocodile – which was a symbol of Egypt).  The Pharaoh’s magicians repeat the trick with their staffs, but Aaron’s staff swallows theirs.  In the rest of the Torah portion, G-d sends the first 7 of the 10 plagues against Egypt.  (1) the water turns to blood, (2) frogs on the land, (3) gnats, (4) swarms, (5) cattle disease, (6) boils, (7) hail mixed with fire.  And yet Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and he will not free the Hebrews.