February 28, 2024 |

Israel is Born in Egypt

i
Jacob and his sons come down to Egypt. They are fleeing from famine. This flight begins the time of the Jewish people in that land.

And the verse says, And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen…and they took possession of it.

*
Note how the verse says they. They took possession of it.

Before, Israel was not a they. Israel was a man. Israel was the name that God gave to Jacob, the patriarch, God's angel telling him: Your name will no more be called Jacob, but Israel.

Now, in Egypt, Israel has become a they.

Israel has become a people.

ii
This happens in Egypt.

This happens, too, in Goshen: a land tucked within the land of Egypt.

iii
We are separate from the nations of the world (we were born in Goshen).

We are bound to the nations of the world (we were born in Egypt).

We are both of these things, from our birth.

~~~

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Abe Mezrich

Joined: October 11, 2007

Abe Mezrich is a new-York based writer and lecturer, and the author of a weekly dvar Torah. Contact him at amezrich@gmail.com.

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