web analytics
April 20, 2015 / 1 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Pesach’s Dusty Windows (Part Four)


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

At first glance this is puzzling, since the actual bondage did not commence until almost eighty years later, when the last of Jacob’s sons died. So what is the deeper meaning of this teaching?

Our sages explain that one of the reasons why spaces are left between sections is to invite us to meditate on the preceding verses. But the very fact that there is no break between these two portions indicates that the children of Jacob did not fully grasp the import of the last words of Vayigash, “Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen and were fruitful and acquired property.” The Hebrew words for “acquired property” – “vaye’achazu” – mean much more than simply buying real estate. They connote taking possession of the land, becoming part of the culture and assimilating.

Assimilation was the first step toward bondage – a reality to which the Jews in Egypt were blind.

Now we can understand why the Torah teaches us that our bondage commenced with the death of Jacob. As long as he was alive our people stayed in their own environment, in their unique Jewish community, but after his demise they “took possession of the land,” buying homes and real estate throughout the country.  The Book of Exodus opens with this new reality: “The children of Israel were fruitful and multiplied. They prospered very much and the land was filled with them.”

Jews became a vital force in every segment of Egyptian society, and our sages explain that this included whatever form of entertainment was popular in those days. This acculturation – assimilation – was paralleled by a total change in government: “A new Pharaoh arose over Egypt who did not know Joseph” (Exodus 1:8). But how could that be? Can a president of the United States claim he doesn’t know who preceded him? Could the new Pharaoh not have known Joseph?

Once again our sages shed illumination. Pharaoh did not want to know Joseph.  He abolished the laws that Joseph enacted, denied Egypt’s indebtedness to Joseph and his family, and accused them of exploitation and sabotage.

Overnight, Pharaoh demonized the Jewish contributions that had helped transform a famine-plagued country into a great and prosperous empire. He accused the Jews of being a fifth column that threatened the very survival of Egypt. He levied special taxes on them and commanded that they build cities for the welfare of the state; he cast them into slave labor camps and broke their bodies under the weight of excruciating labor; and he crushed their spirit with meaningless, futile tasks. And then he ordered that every male child be killed at birth (Exodus 1:10-7).

Does it sound familiar? Do you recognize 20th-century Europe? Do you see parallels to the Holocaust? And do you see similar winds blowing today?

(To be continued)

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Pesach’s Dusty Windows (Part Four)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Said Arikat, al-Quds Washington, D.C. reporter. Jan. 29, 2015
More PA Lobbying from the State Dept Briefing Room
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman

Daf-Yomi-logo

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Pesach bonds families and generations: “So that you may relate it to your son and your son’s son.

Amalek’s hate never dies; its descendants are eternal & omnipresent; Hashem is our only protection

I try to be observant, davening daily, but it hasn’t awakened my heart or my mind or changed my life

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

“Surely,” my family insisted, “there must be someone suitable for you. You can’t be so picky.”

Shouldn’t we Jews, having experienced the barbarism of many societies, speak support the NYPD?

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/pesachs-dusty-windows-part-four/2014/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: