Rabbi Aron Tendler
Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person "goes up" to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.
1st Aliya: The Jews had been in Mitzrayim since 2238. The Parsha begins as Pharaoh orchestrated the oppression of the Bnai Yisroel. Starting in 2362, with the birth of Miriam, the oppression began in earnest as newborn males were drowned in the Nile. The heroism of the two Midwives was rewarded.
2nd Aliya: Moshe's birth and "basket river cruise" is detailed. He was adopted by Basya, the daughter of Pharaoh, and raised by his own mother, Yocheved.
3rd Aliya: Moshe killed the Egyptian but was turned in by his own people. Forced to flee, he ended up in the house of Yisro. Moshe married Tziporah, Yisro's daughter, and Gershon, his first son, was born. The year was approximately 2428, and Moshe was 60.
4th & 5th Aliyot: Moshe received his mission at the Burning Bush. The Medresh says that the entire conversation lasted 7 days. At its conclusion, Moshe, armed with the power of Hashem's promise and the three "signs", was prepared to confront Pharaoh.
6th Aliya: Moshe asked Yisro for permission to go on his mission. Along the way, Hashem attempted to kill Moshe, but Tziporah saves him by giving their son a Bris Milah. Aharon went to greet Moshe, as per G-d's commandment. Moshe and Aharon met with the Elders and received their support.
7th Aliya: Moshe and Aharon unsuccessfully confronted Pharaoh. Pharaoh punished the Jews by refusing to supply straw for the making of bricks. The Jewish officers were held responsible and were beaten by the Egyptian overseers. The Jewish officers confronted Moshe and Moshe then confronted G-d. Hashem reassured Moshe that his mission would be successful.
Summary of The Haftorah:
The Navi forewarned of the eventual destruction of the nation, which began, with the exile of the ten tribes of Israel. The entire nation was in the grips of a spiritual and moral decline, and the exile seemed inevitable. The nation of Israel was immersed in physical pursuit and excess which the Navi described as arrogance and drunkenness. The nation of Yehudah wasn't much better. They lost sight of the holistic intent of the Torah. Instead, they related to the Torah as a series of individual commandments and demands that were overwhelming and burdensome. The beauty and meaning of a G-dly life style was lost. Nevertheless, the Navi reassured us that in the end, our essence, the "root" of Yakov, would survive and flourish, as it had throughout history.
Parsha Summary, Copyright & copy 2009 by Rabbi Aron Tendler and Torah.org.
Rabbi Tendler is also the author of the Rabbis-Notebook class.