THE TRUTH OF TORATH MOSHE & WHAT TO DO WITH IT
ח וַיָּקָם מֶלֶךְ-חָדָשׁ, עַל-מִצְרָיִם, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדַע, אֶת-יוֹסֵף.
8 There arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Yoseph.
ט וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶל-עַמּוֹ: הִנֵּה, עַם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל–רַב וְעָצוּם, מִמֶּנּוּ.
9 And he said to his people: ‘Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us;
י הָבָה נִתְחַכְּמָה, לוֹ: פֶּן-יִרְבֶּה, וְהָיָה כִּי-תִקְרֶאנָה מִלְחָמָה וְנוֹסַף גַּם-הוּא עַל-שֹׂנְאֵינוּ, וְנִלְחַם-בָּנוּ, וְעָלָה מִן-הָאָרֶץ.
10 Let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass that, in the event of a war, they also join themselves to our enemies and fight against us, and leave the land.’
יא וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלָיו שָׂרֵי מִסִּים, לְמַעַן עַנֹּתוֹ בְּסִבְלֹתָם; וַיִּבֶן עָרֵי מִסְכְּנוֹת, לְפַרְעֹה–אֶת-פִּתֹם, וְאֶת-רַעַמְסֵס.
11 Therefore they set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Ra’meses.*
Egypt’s hatred for the b’nei Yisrael (Israelites) is a theme running through the first Torah portions of Shemoth. Below are stunning images of ancient Hebrews in ancient Egypt.1 With the possible exception of the image directly below, which could be pre-Sinaitic, I assume them to be from the New Kingdom era (First Temple times in Israel). However, it is possible that some of the relics found in the tomb of Tutankhamen were inherited from earlier pharaohs. Regardless of their exact date of origin, they give us a clear glimpse at how we were seen in the eyes of Egyptians throughout biblical times. They give us a real-life sense of the historical context of the accounts of the Tanakh.
Note that the only slave/captive with tattoos all over has a Hebrew hairstyle (see the Pharoah’s footstool below). If this is post-Sinai, tattooing being forbidden by Torah law; could this have been forcibly done to the Hebrew captive as a vile, anti-Semitic act? This would still be possible if the image were pre-Sinaitic, from the time of our bondage—assuming tattoos were taboo even before the Giving of the Torah. Or it could simply be a glimpse into a time of the sojourn in Egypt, when tattooing was permitted.
How precious few Jews in the Western world know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were slaves in Egypt, and that HaShem took us out of Egypt with an outstretched arm? How many would seriously consider returning to a life of Torah and miSwoth if only their inner faith were substantiated by clear proof? It was mainly for such honest truth-seekers that this article was written.
As I’ve written before, I believe “The Riddle of the Exodus” by James D. Long (Lightcatcher Books 2006) to be mandatory reading for all mankind. With his explicit permission, I will quote and borrow heavily from his book here, mainly in my own words, including my own insights.
Despite the naysayers as to the origins of Sefer haYashar and the fact that layers were definitely added over the millennia, the text in our possession is a primary source for Rash”i and Me’am Lo’ez—who quoted from it generously. Its original translation into English in 1840 “contains endorsements from Hebrew linguists and biblical scholars attesting to the authenticity of the work.” However, nothing more legitimizing can be said, neither for Sefer haYashar or the authenticity of the traditions it contains, until one finds precise correlations between details in the midrash and those discovered by historians and archaeologists…
According to Sefer haYashar, the second to the last pharoah of Egypt (whose army would drown in the sea), the one referred to by biblical historians as “the pharaoh of the oppression” lived a remarkable 94 years. It is his death that HaShem referred to, telling Moshe, “all who seek your life have died”. The name of this sadistic tyrant was “Melol“, although we who suffered from his cruelty called him “Maror”. His firstborn son should have inherited his throne, but was found to be mentally incompetent. His brother Adikam, at the age of 20, became the next pharaoh, reigning four years—which explains how he escaped the destruction of the firstborn.
Consider the “Kings List, a record of seventy-five kings from the First to the 19th Dynasty” carved on the wall of the ancient temple at Abydos in Southern Egypt. Lo and behold, among the very last pharaohs of Old Kingdom—before it utterly crashed due to “natural disasters” according to the Egyptologists—was Pepi II, also called “Merire“. (There was no hieroglyph for the “l” sound, so “l” was pronounced as “r”, like in Japanese. M-r-r = M-l-l). He enjoyed the longest reign in Egyptian history: a stunning 94 years… His reign is also recorded in the Turin Royal Canon (the official name for an ancient papyrus housed in Turin, Italy, with information about the pharaohs of the past) as being succeeded by a son who reigned only a year, preceding the last, reign of the dynasty. Although this may seem to contradict Sefer haYashar, it doesn’t: the events of the death of pharaoh “Maror”, Moshe’s return to Egypt, and the beginning of the ‘Ten Strikes’ (Ten Plagues) to Egypt all took the span of a year. Now according to tradition, pharoah “Maror” suffered from an incurable skin disease for years. By the time he died, his body was already in an advanced state of decay. During his father’s last years and even the short-lived rule of his handicapped brother, Adikam may have fulfilled the functions of leadership, thus being remembered in Sefer haYashar as direct successor to Malul.
Who replaces “Neferkare the Younger” (Adikam) when he disappears from history? No surprise here: there was no mail heir to the thrown… a woman becomes pharoah… Something must have happened to his firstborn son.
What is incredible is that this amazing correlation, besides proving the authenticity of our Oral history, proves that the last pharaohs of Egypt (before HaShem brought it to its knees) were the last pharaohs of the 6th dynasty, which we know to be the fall of the Old Kingdom. Housed in the Museum of Leiden (Netherlands) is a damaged, ancient Egyptian papyrus, known to us as the Admonitions of Ipuwer. It is a list of dreadful events that shook the Egyptian nation to its very foundations at the time… It is dated to the end of the Old Kingdom: the same final days of Pepi II and Neferkare the Younger (Malul and Adikam)… and it reads like a newscast straight from the scene of the Ten Strikes (Ten Plagues). I quote from Riddle of the Exodus (In all quotes, the use of boldface and italics are my own additions):
Papyrus 2:6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.
Papyrus 2:10 Forsooth, the river is blood.
Papyrus 7:4 Behold Egypt is poured out like water. He who poured water on the ground, he has captured the strong man in misery. [According to Exodus 4:9 and 4:30, one sign Moses performed publicly was pouring water out on the ground, becoming blood. “The strong man” here might be a euphemism, even a degrading reference to pharoah]
Papyrus 2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire; while the [….] of the king’s palace stands firm and endures.
Papyrus 4:14 Trees are destroyed…
Papyrus 4:1 Forsooth, hair has fallen out for everyone.
Papyrus 5:4 Forsooth, all animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan because of the state of the land.
Papyrus 9:8-10 Destruction… the land is in darkness.
Ex-slaves Spoil Egypt…
Papyrus 2:4 Forsooth, poor men have become the owners of good things. He who could not make his own sandals is now the possessor of riches.
Papyrus 3:3 Gold, blue stone, silver, carnelian, bronze and Yebet sone and ….are fastened to the necks of female slaves.
The `erev rav… (mixed multitude of Egyptians who left with the Banei Yisrael)
Papyrus 3:14 Those who were Egyptians have become foreigners.
The Pillar of Fire…
Papyrus 7:1 Behold the fire mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth before the enemies of the land.
Hatred for the B’nei Yisrael…
…Would that he [pharoah] perceived their nature in the first generation (of men); then he would have repressed their evils, he would have stretched forth (his) arm against it, he would have destroyed their seed and their inheritance…”
Not enough people have any awareness that the Egyptians apparently enshrined the memory of the Exodus in the hieroglyphs covering an ancient, black granite naos on display at Ismailia, in Egypt. It was a mystery until 1890, when it was translated, but it shouldn’t be today. It reads:
“Evil fell on the earth…the earth was in great affliction…great disturbance in the residence.”
“…neither man nor the gods could see the faces of those next to them…”
It describes how the king and his men fight “the evil ones at the Place of the Whirlpool,” whose location is described as Pi-Kharoti” (= Pi ha-Hiruth, see Exodus 14:2,9, Leviticus 33:7). It relates how the pharoah commands his men to follow him, and then disappears from their midst: “There at Pi-Kharoti the Pharoah is thrown by a whirlwind high into the air and seen no more.” (Consider the wind that blew the whole night, drying the seabed.) He is referred to as Par’o “T’hom”, which sounds very much related to “T:hom” in Hebrew, meaning “the depths”… i.e. “Pharoah of the Depths”! Note that although the midrashic account takes on a mythical character at that point, Pharoah’s disappearance from the scene is mentioned specifically in Sefer haYashar (parashath beshallaH).
James Long, the esteemed author, makes an fascinating linguistic connection: We already learned that the pharoah lost in the sea is Neferkare the Younger (see above), who was also referred to as “Nem-t’m-saf II” Could the consonants “t” and “m” be a shortened form of “T’houm”? An even more direct correlation can be made between the name of the pharoah T’houm and one of the treasure cities we built in Egypt: Pit’om. Long writes, “The prefix ‘Pi’ can be roughly translated ‘city of’ or ‘dwelling of. The above verse from the book of Exodus could very well be referring in retrospect to the “City of T’houm”, city of the drowned pharaoh.
There are more amazing parallels and correlations, but they are beyond the scope of this article. In the end, one must buy the book: http://lightcatcherprod.com/products_books_riddle.shtml
I can find no more appropriate concluding words than those in the article “The Truth About Yoseph and What to Do About It” © (see Beith Midrash, “Torath Emeth–A Torah of Truth”):
The first miSwah (commandment) 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 is 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 through deductive reasoning alone—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 on that knowledge. 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 Ohal Moshe
Below are more images from ancient Egypt that bring life to our history.1
“Above [the image below is a close-up]: Racial imagery from Tutankhamen’s tomb: the ecclesiastical throne, shown assembled, and a full view of the footrest. Bound Semitic and Black prisoners appear on the footstool: the Egyptian king would rest his feet on his foes. There is reason to believe the dates to the First Temple period.”3
“Above: Racial imagery from Tutankhamen’s tomb: bound Semitic and Black prisoners decorating the curved end of Tutankhamen’s walking stick: when the Egyptian king went for a walk, he would hold the enemies of Egypt in his palm.”
“Below: Racial imagery from Tutankhamen’s tomb: the Egyptian king’s sandals have bound Black and Semitic prisoners inlaid into the soles: when the king walked in these shoes, he would crush the enemies of Egypt underfoot.”3
Based on the article O”M 12 of the original Ohel Moshe series, written for parashoth Wa’era and Bo 5767.
* Quote from Bible was copied from the authentic Yemenite manuscript edition found at the ‘Mechon Mamre’ website, www.mechon-mamre.org. The English translation is original, but close to the electronic text (c) by Larry Nelson.
- Thanks to the painstaking web-research of the Aluf Abir Yehoshua Sofer.
- An image called “ram3captives” (Rameses III?) apparently from a Lutheran site called “The Old Testament and the Ancient Near East”, http://fontes.lstc.edu/~rklein/.
- These pictures and their captions are from an unlikely source: a racist website with photos from the tomb of King Tutankhamon, called “Egypt: The Nordic Desert Empire” http://www.vivamalta.org/forum/showthread.php?t=2299. There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of the images: I have personally seen the throne below at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Conveniently, these wicked racists ignore a famous painting showing Tutankhamon to have been darker, negro-like complexion.)