The Bondage in
Egypt and Anti-Semitism Today
E-mail to the
Editor from Patricia Stone:
How and why did
Jews happen to come under the bondage of Egypt? Also, why
the century after century of persecution? What started the
whole thing and why does it continue to this day; this whole
Your enquiry consists
of two questions the bondage in Egypt and anti-Semitism.
THE BONDAGE IN
The River Nile
provided Egypt with a more or less reliable source of irrigation
but it needed labourers to bring the water up from the river.
Canaan, on the other hand, was mainly irrigated by rainwater
which was not labour-intensive but the trouble there was the
droughts that occurred from time to time.
In years of famine
many people migrated from Canaan to Egypt where there was
a sizeable migrant community in the Delta, in the north of
the country. When Jacob and his tribes went to Egypt in a
period of famine they too settled in Goshen in the Delta region.
At that time Jacobs son, Joseph, was the Viceroy of
Egypt. It was he who turned the Hebrews and the rest of the
population into slaves of Pharaoh! Whenever Jews attain high
office they become plus royalistes que le roi
more royalist than the king. And so it was that Joseph hatched
up his 14 year plan to corner the grain market, filling up
the stores in the 7 years of plenty, and selling the grain
at exorbitant prices in the 7 years of famine. Such an activity
is illegal nowadays but in those days it was deemed to be
very clever. At the end of the 14 years all the people of
Egypt had sold first their cattle, then their land, then themselves,
in order to get sustenance.
period was past, a new nationalist Pharaoh (Ramesis I) who
started the 19th dynasty came to the throne. He released all
the Egyptians from slavery but kept the Jews in bondage for
many years until the end of the long reign of Ramesis II and
the coming to the throne of his son, Mer Nephta, when Moses
returned to Egypt and demanded from Pharaoh Let my people
go. The rest is history.
of God to choose the Jews goes the rhyme, and some answer
by saying it is not so odd as those who choose a Jewish God
and spurn the Jews.
Jews liked to
believe that the Holy One, Blessed Be He chose us from amongst
all the nations just like that, and this is reflected in all
our blessings. However the Talmudic Rabbis who became more
mature in Babylon, did not like the idea that the Jews were
chosen as an act of favouritism without any merit, and they
advanced the theory that the Torah was first offered to the
nations of the world who rejected it when they read the small
print! It was only then that the Almighty turned to the fledgling
nation of Israelites and offered them the Torah. They asked
how much it cost and when told it was free they all said together,
we will take it, without bothering to read the small print.
What was then
in the small print? It was the conditions that as Chosen People
we have to suffer for God, the wickedness of mankind . For
mankind is wicked. We are in paradise and we have made a mess
of it. But who can blame us, who are created in Gods
image? It is as simple as that and the result is that the
sufferings we undergo from anti-Semitism is no doubt the result
of the wickedness of mankind.
What is the evidence
that the Torah was first offered to the Gentiles? At one time
Pharaoh Akhenaton, influenced by the tradition of Joseph,
introduced monotheism into Egypt by making the sun disc, which
is the undisputed visible source of all life, as the one God
but he was overthrown by the powerful Egyptian priesthood.
However, it appears that Mer Nephta was himself inclined to
monotheism. That is why he saw Moses several times and it
appears that at these meetings Moses tried to convince the
King to accept monotheism but he was again ruled out by the
powerful priesthood. When Moses finally said goodbye to the
King telling him we are going to worship our God, the King
told Moses Bless me also.
How odd of God
to choose the Jews?
It is not so odd.
The Jews chose God.
Slaves we were
to Pharoah in Egypt and slaves we remain, albeit to a Higher
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