A couple of years ago I heard a vort based on a midrash. The midrash apparently stated that when Yisrael were enslaved in Egypt, the Egyptians made them work very hard at building magnificent buildings and when everything was complete - they would destroy everything and make them build them all over again.

Does anyone know the source of this midrash?

1 Answer 1


Shemos Rabba 1:10

אֶת פִּתֹם וְאֶת רַעַמְסֵס, רַב וּשְׁמוּאֵל, חַד אָמַר פִּתֹם שְׁמָהּ, וְלָמָּה נִקְרָא שְׁמָהּ רַעַמְסֵס, שֶׁרִאשׁוֹן רִאשׁוֹן מִתְרוֹסֵס. וְחַד אָמַר רַעַמְסֵס שְׁמָהּ, וְלָמָּה נִקְרָא שְׁמָהּ פִּתֹם, שֶׁרִאשׁוֹן רִאשׁוֹן פִּי תְּהוֹם בּוֹלְעוֹ.

Pithom and Ramses: Rav and Shmuel gave different interpretations. One said the real name is Pithom, but it was called Ramses because as they built the buildings they collapsed (Ramses is similar to רוֹסֵס, shatter). The other said the real name was Ramses, but it was called Pithom because the depths swallowed the buildings as they were built (Pithom is similar to פִּי תְּהוֹם, "the opening of the depths").

  • 5
    The question asked for a source that the Egyptians would destroy the buildings.
    – chortkov2
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 20:41
  • 2
    The above quote is also in Gemara (Sotah 11a).
    – chortkov2
    Commented Apr 4, 2020 at 20:44

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