Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What the Israelites left in Egypt

The Jerusalem Post (Mooli Brog)

With the passing of Pessah, now is the ideal time to look back on ancient Egypt, a nation whose history is inextricably linked to ours.

Two of the most significant events in the formation of the Hebrew nation took place in Egypt. The first was the exodus from Egypt: Wandering in the desert that served as a national rite of passage, the group disassociated itself from one territory and transferred itself to another through a tribal journey. The second was the Mount Sinai address, during which the tribe (nation) accepted a moral and theological code that defined its uniqueness as a people and its religious distinction from other peoples.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that in ancient times Egypt served as a cultural, religious and economic point of reference for the Israelites. Indeed, the biblical scribe deems it fit to invoke the name “Egypt” almost as often as he did “Jerusalem,” about 600 times.

Both the Bible and Egyptian writings describe the arrival of Semitic people in Egypt; the sources provide varied reasons for this immigration.

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