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The website of Rabbi Moshe Pitchon

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Reading the Book of Exodus (Shemot)

Pessah is arguably “the single most popular and widely observed rite of Judaism.”

The holiday’s significance is grounded on a Judaism pregnant with meaning capable of harnessing the power of ideas and experiences that enrich and enlighten lives, a Judaism that engages and powers the community to work for a better world, not a Judaism based on nostalgia and ritual.

For this, the message of the holiday has to be heard and mulled over. It's challenging to accomplish this during the Seder. Despite what might seem paradoxical, the story from where the Pessah celebration arose is not found in the Haggadah- which is read aloud during the Seder- but in the first fifteen chapters of the second book of the Torah: Shemot (Exodus).


Seder, Monday April 22
Monday, April 29

Last Day

of Rabbi Moshe Pitchon

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Reading the Book of Exodus-שמות Today

An Incident in a Small Middle Eastern Tribe

What really happened that night, on that day hundreds and hundreds of years ago, when the Book of Exodus tells us that

Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt… And he called for Moses and Aaron by night and said: ‘Rise up, get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.’

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The Hyksos

“…we cannot ignore the possible inclusion of the expulsion of the Hyksos in the source materials which was available for literary activities. One may assume that the Hyksos experience was retold in different ways and in different circles through time. This is not to say that the Hyksos experience should be identified with the story about the Israelites living Egypt. However, the Hyksos event could have been part of the … common tradition which the biblical narrator used for background […] exodus and the consequent wanderings in the wilderness are part of a historical chain of happening and traditions […]”

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Line- by- line Biblicaltext and commentaries:

Jewish Holidays

The Passover Message

The unpredictable, inexplicable help that we encounter   With the exodus from Egypt, something radically new happened: history took an unexpected turn, and the world suddenly changed. Exodus, the book that recounts this event, tells us that…

Jewish Theology

God’s “Absence” in Egypt

“The four centuries in Egypt pass without a tale worth telling. As with much of Israel’s desert period and the later Babylonian captivity, the Bible considers this sojourn devoid of noteworthy events.”
This kind of historical “blackout” has driven critics to ask: “What was God doing during those years the Israelites suffered under the Egyptians?”

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