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Parshat Shmot: Shiur by Menachem Leibtag Presentation by Ronni Libson Let My People Go – A Hoax or a Mission?

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Presentation on theme: "Parshat Shmot: Shiur by Menachem Leibtag Presentation by Ronni Libson Let My People Go – A Hoax or a Mission?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Parshat Shmot: Shiur by Menachem Leibtag Presentation by Ronni Libson Let My People Go – A Hoax or a Mission?

2 Burning Bush Moshe receives his mission concerning what he must tell Pharaoh: No request for freedom from slavery! Moshe’s initial confrontation with Pharaoh: Requests only to worship God in the desert

3 Moshe and Aharon claim: Pharaoh denies request: Purpose of ten plagues: It is in the best interests of the Egyptians to allow Bnei Yisrael this short trip to worship their God in the desert

4 Warnings before the plagues: No hint that Bnei Yisrael plan to leave for good – only request three-day journey to worship God in the desert

5 Negotiations between Moshe and Pharaoh Round 1: Place of worship (8:21-28) Pharaoh agrees to let them worship, but in Egypt; Moshe refuses – Egyptians would stone them seeing them sacrifice Pharaoh agrees to let them journey to the desert, but not too far away; Later hardens his heart Round 2: Who may worship (10:8-12) Pharaoh agrees to let the men sacrifice in the desert; Moshe insists women and children come along too – all family members are needed to worship God Round 3: What possessions may be taken (10:24-26) Pharaoh agrees to allow women and children to join, but not sheep and cattle; Moshe insists all animals must come along – they do not know what animal they will need to sacrifice to God

6  Moshe rejects any concession or compromise  Never suggests that they plan to leave for good Pharaoh Agrees to Bnei Yisrael’s three-day journey and requests they pray on his behalf After “makkat bchorot” Pharaoh realizes original warning of “dever” or “cherev” has come true Egyptians want Bnei Yisrael to go worship their God to bring an end to the plagues “Lend” Bnei Yisrael their finest wares to encourage them to leave as quickly as possible (only going on a short journey and will return)

7 Only makes sense if Pharaoh had not granted them total freedom Bnei Yisrael don’t go to desert: Pharaoh concludes they’ve run away Declares war on Bnei Yisrael, rebellious nation of slaves

8 Moshe’s mission at the burning bush: Moshe has been a fugitive from Egypt for many years – why should Pharaoh even allow him an audience? Moshe has been away from his people for most of his adult life – why would they accept him as their official leader? Moshe’s response to this command: Doesn’t tell how!  Who am I that I can go to Pharaoh?  How can I take Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt?

9 God’s answer to Moshe: Doesn’t answer Moshe’s question!!! 2 Possibilities:  Reinterpret Moshe’s question to fit God’s answer  Reinterpret God’s answer to fit Moshe’s question Rashi: A: Merit of receiving the Torah (purpose of Yetziat Mitzraim) renders them worthy to be taken out Q: Why am I (and/or Bnei Yisrael) worthy of being taken out of Egypt?

10 Rashbam: 2 parts to God’s answer, corresponding to 2 parts of original command and 2 parts of Moshe’s question Part I: 3:10CommandGo, I have sent you to Pharaoh! 3:11QuestionWho am I, that I can go to Pharaoh? 3:12AnswerFor I will be with you, and this [the sneh] is the sign that I have sent you… 3:10CommandTake Bnei Yisrael out of Egypt! 3:11Question[How] can I take them out of Egypt? 3:12Answer[In order to] take them out of Egypt, [tell Pharaoh that] this nation must worship their God on this mountain Part II:

11 Rashbam: Supports for Rashbam’s interpretation:  God specifies this later:  Moshe never asks for freedom, rather for a three-day journey to worship God in the desert Reinterprets God’s answer to fit Moshe’s question Interprets “pshat” to be that Moshe never asked Pharaoh for freedom, only to go on a short journey to worship God

12 Questions on Rashbam’s interpretation  Moshe’s mission included telling Bnei Yisrael of the plan: Is it possible for all of Bnei Yisrael (over a million people) to know the ‘real’ plan and Pharaoh not to find out?  What does Moshe have to gain by not telling the truth?  Is God not powerful enough to bring plagues capable of forcing Pharaoh to grant Bnei Yisrael total freedom? Is it better to deceive Pharaoh rather than tell him the truth?

13  Population over 2 million Difficult to provide food and water for so many people (in Egypt, Nile provided) Survival of nation in desert, even for a few weeks - impossible  Even if survived desert, would not be able to conquer land with fortified cities and armed enemies  Bnei Yisrael in Egypt for over 200 years - view it as their home Bnei Yisrael have no realistic alternative other than staying in Egypt Oppressed working class who desire a lighter workload and better living conditions Not yearning for Zion Cry of Bnei Yisrael:

14 Had Moshe gone to Pharaoh requesting to leave with the entire nation to Eretz Canaan, Pharaoh would have dismissed him as insane! Answers question: How would all Bnei Yisrael know ‘real plan’ without Egyptians finding out? God instructs Moshe to make a reasonable request – to allow his afflicted brethren to worship their God If Egyptians found out, would scoff at idea – Physically impossible! Emigration of entire nation to Canaan - unfeasible

15 What worries Pharaoh? Original reason for enslaving Bnei Yisrael: Fear that Bnei Yisrael may take over his country Reluctant to allow entire nation to leave with their belongings Pharaoh imposes limits: Not traveling too far, leaving women and children behind, leaving livestock behind Nature guarantees they will return to Egypt; No guarantee they will return to servitude

16 Two independent issues in Moshe’s mission: 1) To redeem Bnei Yisrael from Egypt – to fulfill Brit Avot 2) To ‘teach’ Pharaoh and his country the lesson of “ANI HASHEM” – that the God of Israel exists Critical element of God’s plan: Confrontation with Pharaoh about religious freedom Pharaoh rejects requestActs as if he himself is a god! Needs lesson of “v’yadu Mitzraim ki ANI Hashem”

17 Sefer Breishit Goal of Nation of Israel is to establish a model society which can bring all mankind to recognize God Yetziat Mitzraim Israel becomes a nation Egypt recognizes God Significant that these occur at the same time  Initially goal must be achieved through force (plagues)  Eventually, when Israel becomes a nation in its own land, this goal can be achieved peacefully, through education, if Bnei Yisrael follow the Ten Commandments and mitzvot Link between Ten Plagues and Ten Commandments

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