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Vaeira / וָאֵרָא Parsha Overview: The first plagues

This is a basic overview 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!

As we start this week’s parsha, בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל are in big trouble:

To punish מֹשֶׁה, the newפַּרְעֹה  is making them work harder than ever before!


משהimageasked ה׳ at the end of last week’s parsha why he wasn’t helping בני ישראל.

ה׳ reminds משה of the promises he made to… (אברהם, יצחק and יעקב)

ה׳ uses four special words to explain how much he loves בני ישראל:

·         וְהוֹצֵאתִי - I will bring you out of מִצְרַיִם

·         וְהִצַּלְתִּי  - I will save you from hard work

·         וְגָאַלְתִּי  - I will redeem you with נִסִּים , miracles, and finally,

·         וְלָקַחְתִּי  - I will take you close to Me

We remember these four words at the סֵדֶר (Seder) with… (four cups of wine or grape juice!)

ה׳ also makes a fifth promise:  וְהֵבֵאתִי  - I will bring you to אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן !


סֵפֶר שְׁמוֹת is all about ה׳ keeping promises; all these things will come true!

Was life good for בני ישראל?  (no, they were miserable)

Did they believe משה when he told them what ה׳ would do?  (no, they were working too hard!)

משה and אַהֲרֹן  went again to ask פרעה… (to let בני ישראל go)

Did פרעה listen to משה and אהרן?  (no, he did not!)


אהרן and משה tried proving they really were sent from ה׳!

אהרן threw down his stick and it… (turned into aנָחָשׁ , a snake – wow!)

Was פרעה impressed?  (no, his magicians could turn their sticks into snakes, too!)

What happened to the other magicians’ snakes?  (אהרן’s snake ate them all up!)

Did פרעה believe them then?  (no, he did not!)image


פרעה’s heart was “hardened”; ה׳ knew he wouldn’t listen, no matter what.

ה׳ needed to send ten punishments – we call them מַכּוֹת (in English, plagues)!

The first מַכָּה was… (דָּם, blood).  אהרן stretched out… (his stick, over the river)

All the water in מצרים turned… (into blood)

Did בני ישראל have water still?  (yes, in גושן, the water didn’t change)

image Did פרעה believe in משה and אהרן and listen to ה׳ after that?  (no, he did not!)


Each time, פרעה didn’t listen, so each time, ה׳ sent more מכות!

The second מכה was… (צְפַרְדֵּעַ, frogs).  Frogs were… (everywhere; in their beds, even their ovens!)image

Some people say there was only one… (big frog; the מצריים hit it & it turned into many little frogs!)

The third מכה was… (כִּנִּים, lice).  The dust everywhere… (turned into itchy bugs!)

פרעה’s magicians told him this was really from ה׳, but he still… (didn’t listen)

image The fourth מכה was… (עָרוֹב, wild animals).  They went… (everywhere, and destroyed the land!)


imageThis time, פרעה said בני ישראל could go.  But when the מכה ended, he changed his mind.

The fifth מכה was… (דֶּבֶר, cattle disease).  All the animals of the מצריים… (got sick and died)

Did בני ישראל have sick animals?  (no, all their animals stayed healthy)

image The sixth מכה was… (שְׁחִין, boils).  All of the מצריים… (got terrible, painful bumps on their bodies)

The seventh מכה was… (בָּרָד, hail).  Fire and ice… (rained down and destroyed the מצרי fields)image


Even after all of that, פרעה’s heart was hardened; he wouldn’t listen to משה and אהרן!

Why didn’t ה׳ kill the מצריים?

·         He hoped they would do תְּשׁוּבָה, and

·         He wanted בני ישראל to see how much He loved them.


We will learn about three more מכות in next week’s parsha!


  1. Fantastic. That's a good reminder to start finishing all the chametz in the freezer.


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