In the Name of HASHEM, G-d Eternal
In the Name of HASHEM, G-d Eternal

The Truth About Yoseph and What to Do About It

Our Sages of blessed memory taught us “דע מה להשיב לאפיקורוס” –Know what to answer the heretic (Pirqei Avoth).  Even beyond the imperative to know how to respond in certain situations, the Torah clearly views knowing history as a value in and of itself (D’varim [Deuteronomy] 32:7):

ז זְכֹר יְמוֹת עוֹלָ בִּינוּ שְׁנוֹת דֹּר-וָדֹר  שְׁאַל אָבִיךָ וְיַגֵּדְךָ זְקֵנֶיךָ וְיֹאמְרוּ לָךְ. 

7  Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will relate it to you, your elders, and they will tell you.

However, stories from your family elders alone are not something likely to shut the mouth of the heretic.  Heretics are convinced that we have inherited myths and exaggerations.  What makes sense is the critical importance of knowing the secular history that proves the Torah to be true.  Never was this more true than today, when billions of children worldwide are actually being “educated” about history on a basic level by a global Western culture that has been given free reign to wipe the Jewish People out, off the pages of ancient history…  What they haven’t succeeded in doing to us physically, they are having much more success in the realm of rewriting history–the political war strategy of governments through academia. 

In the epic battle for truth, a warrior has arisen, one of the most important, righteous non-Jewish teachers of our generation, to my knowledge: Jim Long.  It is an honor for Beith Midrash Ohel Moshe to have the esteemed author of Riddle of the Exodus * (© Lightcatcher Productions, 2006), a speaker in high demand by yeshivoth and synagogues around the world, as our supporter and member.  His book should be required reading for every Jew and perhaps every human being (presently, it is only available in the English language (see http://lightcatcherprod.com/products_books_riddle.shtml).

A seasoned, amateur Egyptologist (therefore one who can actually be honest and objective) and painstaking researcher, Jim Long actually did his research en situ (on site) in Egypt.  Among the greatest events that Riddle of the Exodus sheds light, are those from this week’s parashah (‘weekly Torah portion’ –this was parashath MiqeS): the life of Yoseph (Joseph).  The Torah’s account can actually be proven from the ancient Egyptian records.

 In a chapter called “Remembering Yoseph” (pp.149-159), Long writes [hi-lighting and comments by me):

In the Third Dynasty, during the reign of Pharoah Djoser, there was a Prime Minister known as Imhotep.  This noble figure exhibited remarkable wisdom as a consummate administrator.  He is best known as the designer of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara…

“The resemblance between the Biblical Joseph and Imhotep is hard to deny.  Consider an inscription found among the rocks at Sehel, on the first cataract of the Nile.  The text on the stele is from the Ptolemaic period and said to be a copy from an older inscription.  It relates that during the reign of King Djoser the monarch was deeply distressed because of a seven-year famine.  He sought the counsel of the wise Imhotep… 

“Likewise, the burial site for Imhotep has yet to be found… The Torah tells us that Joseph was interred on a temporary basis, and his bones were brought out from Egypt by Moses.  If Imhotep were Joseph, it might explain the absence of his remains. 

“There is also evidence to suggest that Joseph served as vizier during the days of the Fifth Dynasty king known as Unas.  Some may suggest that the span between the Third and Fifth Dynasties is a bit of a stretch, but there is a strong possibility that some of these kings were actually co-regents  [I add: Yoseph began his service to the Pharaohs at the age of 30, and lived to be 110.  That time span could have encompassed the reign of a number of kings.]…

“That Joseph was vizier while Unas of Elephantine [island] was alive is further underscored by a remarkable artifact found at his [Imhotep’s] pyramid at Saqqara.  The causeway in front of this edifice features a limestone block carved in low relief which depicts starving foreigners. This commemorative relief in the causeway of Unas could very well be recalling a time when emaciated foreigners came to Egypt seeking grain stored during Joseph’s rule as Prime Minister.  But there is more:

“Located beneath the crumbling exterior of the Unas pyramid are well-preserved vaults…covered with the famous Pyramid Texts. … Once inside, we viewed a startling inscription on the east wall of the antechamber.  Typically, the virtues of the dead pharaoh are inscribed along with the words of praise for him as he carries out various tasks alongside…the other gods of Egypt.  The most curious line on this east wall reads as follows:

“‘Unas will judge with Him-whose-name-is-hidden on the day of the slaying of the eldest.‘  …Is it possible that the vizier Joseph, during one of his audiences with Unas, revealed that the Egyptians would one day forget how he saved the nation from starvation? …

“The death of the firstborn, the eldest, would come at the hands of a G-d whose name would never be uttered in the presence of Pharaoh.  To the Egyptian monarch, a worshipper of many gods, the G-d of Joseph would most certainly be ‘Him-whose-name-is hidden.'”

Truth to tell, it is clear from the biblical context (see Sh’moth [Exodus] 5:1-3]) that the future Pharaoh of the Exodus did not know the Name of the G-d of the Hebrews. 

Supporting this find, Jim Long continues how the future exodus seems to have been revealed to Yoseph, a prophet, in light of B’reshith [Genesis] 50:25 (Here I also quote the preceding verse):

כד וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו אָנֹכִי מֵת וֵאלֹהִים פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד אֶתְכֶם וְהֶעֱלָה אֶתְכֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב:

24 And Yoseph said to his brothers: ‘I am dying; but  G-d will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land unto the land which He swore to Avraham, to YiS’Haq, and to Ya`aqov.’

כה  וַיַּשְׁבַּע יוֹסֵף אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר פָּקֹד יִפְקֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶתְכֶם וְהַעֲלִתֶם אֶת-עַצְמֹתַי מִזֶּה:

25 And Yoseph made the children of Israel, swear an oath, saying: ‘G-d will surely remember you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.’

Another connection between Imhotep and Yoseph is linguistic.  Quoting Egyptologist A.S. Yahuda, the vizier of Egypt was called “Itf”, meaning “father”.  “Itf “, of course is clearly linked to the root of Imhotep (or Imhotef). Jim writes: “In Genesis 45:8, Joseph describes his new status as vizier or prime minister, ‘G-d has made me a father to Pharoah.’

One final point that Jim makes in the video documentary version of Riddle of the Exodus is that Yoseph and Imhotep share a remarkable similarity:  they both lived to the ripe old age of 110.  There was a proverb passed down through the centuries among the Egyptians.  It was said that to achieve perfect wisdom, one should live to the age of 110!

The first miSwoh described in Mishneh Torah, is to know that there is a  G-d.  (Laws of Foundations of Torah 1:1)   Not to believe, not to have faith, but to know.  While many people believe that seeing is believing, they are mistaken:  Seeing is knowing.  Once an idea has been observed to be true, time and time again, it is a known fact and not merely believed.  The connections between Yoseph and Imhotep are only one subject treated in Riddle of the Exodus.  However, even all of Jim Long’s honest egyptology is but the tip of the iceberg of all the proofs of Torah through the principles and discoveries of modern science, archaeology and recorded history.   

Why are we commanded to know, and not merely to believe?  To me it is clear that any religion that considers belief or faith in its theology–not action–as the adherent’s greatest goal, admits its own weakness:  It’s as if they realize deep down that believing in their fallible belief system is quite a feat:  it’s not easy, even for the uneducated!  Therefore, the one who succeeds in ‘believing’ earns his/her way to Heaven… 

Being that the Torah and HaShem are ultimately provable to the honest, sincere researcher, and not only through deductive reasoning, we are expected to know it to be true and then move on to fulfill 612 other miSwoth.  After all, when you know something to be true, there is only one thing left to do about it:  act accordingly.  As our faith solidifies into true knowledge, may we be moved to action: to love HaShem and keep His miSwoth with all our heart, soul, and resources.

Written by Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron, Beith Midrash Ohel Moshe

Based on his article O”M 10 of the original Ohel Moshe series, parashath MiqeS 5767

_______________________________________________________________

Quotes from Bible are according to the authentic Yemenite manuscript edition posted on www.mechon-mamre.org.  The English translations in my articles are original, with influence and occasional borrowings from the JPS Bible based on the electronic text (c) by Larry Nelson, and the The Living Torah: The Five Books of Moses by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Maznaim Publishing Corporation, New York, 647 pp. 

One Response to “The Truth About Yoseph and What to Do About It”

  1. Repha'el Martínez Says:

    Great connections and much necessary reminder in the end.

    Toda raba

    Berakhoth

Leave a Reply