And these are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt (1:1)

Names. On the one hand, the name is but a superficial label attached to a person and hardly an integral part of his nature and character. Yet, more than anything else he possesses, a person's name is the handle to his very essence: when one calls him by name, the person himself - not just a certain aspect of his persona- is referred to and responds.

This is why the section of Torah which deals with the state of golus ('exile')1 is called 'Names' ('Shemot' in Hebrew). Golus is a most external condition for the Jew, a state of being which is utterly foreign to his true self. But, like the name, golus evokes his most quintessential powers. It calls forth the deepest reserves of his soul - reserves which would otherwise remain buried in the innermost part of his being.

- Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory.

Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, who was orphaned from his mother at the age of three, was raised by his grandfather, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi.

One day, little Menachem Mendel was sitting on his grandfather's lap. The child was pulling on the Rebbe's beard and calling: Zeideh! Zeideh!('Grandfather! Grandfather!'). "But this isn't the zeideh," protested Rabbi Schneur Zalman, "this is zeideh's beard!" So the child grabbed his grandfather's head: "This is the zeideh," he tried. "Oh no" said Rabbi Schneur Zalman "this is the zeideh's head. Where is zeideh?"

And so it went. The child pointed in turn to his zeideh's eyes, hands, body. "But where is zeideh?" Rabbi Schneur Zalman kept insisting.

Suddenly, the child was off his grandfather's lap and behind the door. From his hidding place, little Mendel cried out: ZEI—DEH!! "What is it?" called the Rebbe, turning towards the child. "Aha," exclaimed the grandson, "there is the zeideh!"