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Shemos / Shemot / שְׁמוֹת Parsha Overview: Moshe, a new leader

This is a basic overview of the continuation of the parsha story in a “Q&A” format adaptable for kids of any age.  Answers in brackets are traditional responses, from parsha text and midrash.  But be open to anything your child might have to say!

Please see the Vayeishev overview for how we use them in our homeschool!  There are also copywork sheets to go with the weekly parsha… enjoy!

At the beginning of this parsha, the בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל are still inמִצְרַיִם .

יַעֲקֹב , יוֹסֵף , and all of יוסף’s brothers had died.  בני ישראל did well there and had lots of children!

But then there came a new פַּרְעֹה , who forgot that יוסף had saved all the מצריים during the famine.


image The new פרעה made בני ישראל work hard as slaves!

Two women from בני ישראל were midwives.  Their names were (שִׁפְרָה and פּוּעָה).

פרעה told the midwives that they must… (kill all the baby boys!)

Did the midwives listen?  (no; they told פרעה the babies were already born when they arrived!)

So פרעה made things worse:  he said to throw… (the boy babies in the river!)


Then, אמרם and יוכבד had a baby boy.

They already had two children… (אַהֲרֹן and מִרְיָם )

יוכבד decided to… (place the baby in a תֵּבָה, a small boat, and set it in the river)

She sent… (his big sister, מרים, to watch over him)

פרעה’s daughter… (בַּתְיָה) was going… (down to the river – to become a convert/גִּיּוֹרֶת)


She named the baby מֹשֶׁה, which means she took him out of the water.

מרים offered to take the baby… (home to יוכבד to nurse until he was older)

When משה grew bigger, יוכבד brought him… (back to פרעה’s palace)

There, משה grew up, thinking… (that he was a מצרי, not part of בני ישראל)

But while he was out walking one day, he saw… (a מצרי slave master beating a ייד.)


משה knew that wasn’t fair.  What could he do? 

Quickly, he killed the מצרי and then… (buried the body so nobody would find out)

But the next day, דתן and אבירם were fighting, and משה came to… (stop them)

They said, “will you kill us, like you killed that מצרי?”  Then, they went and told… (פרעה)

פרעה was very angry!  He wanted to… (kill משה!)


So משה ran away – straight to מִדְיָן!

משה helped the daughters of יִתְרוֹ (רְעוּאֵל) and married… (צִפֹּרָה)

He worked as a shepherd in מדין and had two sons:  (גֵּרְשֹׁם andאֱלִיעֶזֶר )

Back in מצרים, were בני ישראל happy?  (No!  פרעה died; things got so terrible they cried out to ה׳!)

While looking after יתרו’s sheep, ה׳ called to משה from inside… (a burning bush!)


image ה׳ told משה to go tell פרעה to let בני ישראל go free!

משה was worried about two things:

·         that he had trouble… (speaking), so ה׳ said his brother אהרן could speak instead

·         that בני ישראל wouldn’t… (believe him, so ה׳ gave him two signs)

ה׳ gave משה two signs to prove that he was sent from ה׳:

·         his staff, which would… (turn into a snake), and

·         his hand, which would… (develop צָרַעַת  and then be clean again)

ה׳ also taught משה special words to prove that he was the leader:  (Pakod Yifkod / “פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד”)


משה and אהרן told בני ישראל that ה׳ was going to take them out.

Did בני ישראל believe that משה would be their leader?  (yes, they did!)

משה and אהרן asked פרעה to let בני ישראל go to the מִדְבָּר and… (daven to ה׳)

Did פרעה listen to them?  (no, he did not!)

Instead, פרעה punished בני ישראל by forcing them to… (make bricks without straw!)


ה׳ promised that פרעה would soon see how ה׳ defends בני ישראל.

We will see, too, in next week’s parsha!