This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Kingdom of Priests
Scientists have claimed that the Jewish priests, the Cohanim, are distinguished from other Jews by a particular gene transmitted through the male line. This distinction applies both to Ashkenazim (western Jews) and Sefardim (eastern Jews).
According to the Torah, all Cohanim are descended from one man: Aaron, the brother of Moses. Further, while any human being can convert to Judaism, no one can convert to become a Cohen. These points help to substantiate the claim that Cohanim are actually genetically distinguished from other Jews.
Two Loaves of Manna
Every Shabbat table boasts a goblet of wine and two loaves of bread -- challah. Why do we have two loaves? Our Parshah teaches that, in the desert, G‑d gave our ancestors a daily portion of manna. On Friday He gave them two portions, one for Friday and the other for Shabbat. We mark this miracle by placing two loaves of bread on our Shabbat table.
The Secret of Light
"There was thick darkness over the entire land of Egypt for three days. [One Egyptian] did not see his brother, and no one rose from his place for three days, but for all the children of Israel there was light in their dwellings" -- Exodus 10:22-23.
As opposed to the other nine plagues which afflicted the Egyptians in a very practical way, each causing catastrophic personal and/or property damage, the Plague of Darkness didn't cause any tangible harm.