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08/23/2022 02:32:42 PM


Themes of the Exodus

As we continue this year exploring pivotal points in Jewish history, the next big turning point in the Torah, following the call to Abraham, is the liberation from slavery. When the Genesis saga, a family story, concludes, we begin the national account of slavery and redemption. Once again, it is impossible to point to concrete proof that the biblical events related in the Book of Exodus occurred as written, just as we do not have Joseph’s ornamented tunic or Jacob’s pillow. There is no “smoking gun” of Pharaoh ordering the Hebrew male babies to be killed. (Not that Pharaoh would have put that into hieroglyphs anyway.) Nevertheless, the themes of the saga, including hope in despair, and a solid faith in God, are integral to the religion that we practice. This is our meta-story.

The tale is plausible in that it feels possible and relevant. Trying to determine its veracity misses the point. Redemption is not only historical but existential. Do we identify with those who left Egypt? And do we have compassion for those who are in “Egypt” still?

More to discuss next week!

(And please feel free to email me with your thoughts. )

Sun, February 5 2023 14 Sh'vat 5783