Shemot January 4, 2018

In this week’s parasha, Moses is born — in frightening times. Pharaoh has decreed that all Hebrew boys are to be thrown into the Nile; thus, Moses’ parents are forced to hide him. Ultimately, Moses is raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, which saves his life. During the last week of 2017, on a visit to Amsterdam, we had a walking tour of Jewish Amsterdam, which dates to the 16th century when Portuguese Jews fled the Inquisition. Our 83 year-old guide had been a hidden child, during the 20th Century’s frightening times. Like Moses, she had to be spirited away and raised by others in order to survive. Ever since the Book of Exodus, our people have been subject again and again to evil decrees and plots to wipe us out entirely.  Each year as we revisit Exodus, we are confronted with this age-old truth.  We wince at our people’s suffering and marvel at our continued survival in spite of improbable odds.