Shabbat Parashat Shemot The Blessing of a Name

Dear Friends,

One of the most beautiful things about being part of a kehilla kedosha – a sacred congregation – is the fact that most of us know the names of most of our fellow congregants!  It is a blessing for us to be known by our names.

I mention this today because I recently realized that the Torah and, in particular, the Book of Shemot – which is literally translated as the Book of Names – does not name anyone, Israelite or Egyptian, with the exception of the midwives, Shifra and Puah, from the time of the death of Joseph and all the way to the birth of Moses!

With such an emphasis on names at the beginning of the Book of Shemot, it is all the more significant that no names are mentioned during the entire period of the enslavement in Egypt!  No doubt, this omission reflects the reality of slavery, when a person’s dignity, as reflected in a person’s name, is absent.

How blessed we are to be in a kehilla kedosha, where, for the most part, we all know almost everyone’s name!

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror