Pharoah and the Jews: a Case Study in Anti-Semitism

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8 Responses

  1. Mr. Cohen says:

    Midrash Tanchuma, Parshat Shemot, chapter 5:

    When Joseph died, the Jews abandoned circumcision.
    They said: Let us be like the Egyptians!

    G_d then abandoned His love of the Jews, as it says:
    “ He changed their minds to hate His people (Tehillim, chapter 105, verse 25)”
    …then a new king arose in Egypt, and issued harsh decrees against the Jews.

    • Y. Ben-David says:

      Mr Cohen-
      Living in the Galut, outside our home in Eretz Israel INEVITABLY leads to inundation of non-Jewish values into even the most insular Jewish communities. It is impossible to prevent it. Up until the the 19-century Emancipation it may have been possible to limit the outside influence but even before that there were communities that weakened over the generations.

      • mycroft says:

        When was there a majority of Jews following both Torah shebeal peh and Torah shebichtav in Israel?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The Beis HaLevi, Netzviv, and Meshech Chachmah both state that Torah Shebicsav and TSBP were initially given together and were only split apart as part of the giving of the Luchos Shniyos. There is a statement in the Talmud that during the reign of King Hezekiah that the level of Torah learning was unprecedented-even in Dinie Tumaah vTaharah.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    There is an amazing comment by Ramban in this week’s Parsha that lends tremendous support to R Menken’s thesis. It is well worth learning this comment by Ramban ( as well as his commentary on a weekly basis) for in depth insight into the events in Mitzrayim tha led to the oppression of Am Yisrael.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    Assimilation blinds many to obvious facts they could learn from history and personal experience.

  4. dr. bill says:

    there is a difference between acquiring relevant perspective from the past, why maase avot are just a “siman” lebanim, and drawing facile comparisons. it is often also the case that people with disagreements about the present/future often dispute past events as well.

  5. Nachum says:

    Just a historical note: Around the time of Avraham, Egypt was taken over by Semites from Canaan called the Hyksos. They acted like Egyptians but weren’t really. They were still in power when Yosef arrived. Years later, the native Egyptians, who had built up quite the resentment of the interlopers, managed to throw the Hyksos out. (“Vayakam melech chadash…”) Naturally, they viewed with suspicion the other Semites from Canaan- the Hebrews- who had been pretty close to the ruling powers. You can see this in Pharaoh’s words- “If war occurs (i.e., if the Hyksos return) they will join our enemies…”

    (Tyrants love to scare their people into submission by warning of external threats, often imagined. The Hyksos actually disappeared almost immediately.)

    Of course, this doesn’t detract from any of the points made here, but provides a bit of background.

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