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Shabbat Vaera (Ex. 6:2-9:25)

In the portion this week, God tells Moses that he appeared to the Patriarchs as “El Shadday” (literally “God of the Mountain”), not with the name he gave just last week. This poses a problem logistically because if you look back, God clearly uses that name in the text before this moment.

The great Rabbis, including Rashi, Nachmanides (Ramban), Ibn Ezra and others have an interesting explanation for this (we would expect no less!): God isn’t talking about knowledge of the 4-letter name, but rather that the Patriarchs never knew that aspect or manifestation of God. They knew the presence of “Big God of the Mountain”, regardless of the name they called God or that God used in identification.

Only here and now, with Moses in the midst of the Exodus story, does a human get to experience this new aspect of God.

Normally, we recognize that a change of name in Torah (Sarah, Abraham, Jacob, etc) indicates a new lease on life or a new role. How much more so that God begins this new phase of relationship with the Children of Israel – treating them as a national whole rather than individuals who lead a small tribe – with a change not only in name, but in the very nature of interaction.

SO… limited only by your creativity and the category of food which you will be assigned please bring a life altering food.


Not sure what this Torah portion is about? You can find a brief summary in The Edible Torah’s “Condensed Guide to the Weekly Torah Readings”. For more information on what The Edible Torah is all about, along with insight on how to set up a pot-luck Shabbat experience, check out “The Edible Torah”.

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