Drash Cards for Shmot (5771)
by Marc Mangel
• We call this the book of names in Hebrew, of Exodus in English. Why not the book of Exile or Redemption? Why begin with the names of the children of Israel?
• Rashi says that they were counted in life and death to make it clear how precious they were. But the Chazal, Nehama Leibowitz, Aviva Zornberg are all silent on this question. The 6th Chabad Rebbe was not so silent
• In Beresheet 2:20, Adam’s first job is to name all the creatures — “call a living soul its name’
• It is foretold that Avram and Sarai would not have children, but in Beresheet 175: Avram becomes Abraham and Sarai becomes Sarah and then they do have children
• Names are arbitrary — we are not our names. However, our names are connected to our essence and can awaken it.
• We focus when called by name — we are awakened from a swoon when our name is called.
• Our essence is usually hidden behind many layers of social conventions but appears in times of challenge to our lives or our souls
• The Children of Israel needed to have their essence awakened going into Egypt in order to stay connected to their mission and to become a people.
• What do we learn? Our challenges today are more subtle but our task — creating a space for God in this world — is no less important than for the Children of Israel.