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We know that it was impossible for a slave to leave Egypt אמרו: מתחלה לא היה עבד יכול לברוח ממצרים, שהיתה סוגרת ומסוגרת ועכשיו הוציא ששים ריבוא בני אדם ממצרים, here

so how did the Bnai Efraim manage to leave. בספר דברי הימים מוזכר האירוע :" וַהֲרָגוּם אַנְשֵׁי-גַת הַנּוֹלָדִים בָּאָרֶץ כִּי יָרְדוּ לָקַחַת אֶת-מִקְנֵיהֶם" 2 ורש"י מבאר:"בני אפרים. שיצאו ממצרים בזרוע לפני הקץ ובטחו בגבורתם ובחציהם וסופם הפכו לנוס ביום קרב כמפורש בדברי הימים והרגום אנשי גת הנולדים בארץ" here

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The Shach on the Torah says that since they were the sons of royalty, the Eframites lived in peace and security in Egypt, and were not enslaved.

One of Efrayim's descendants (Gozan? - not sure who that is) announced that G-d told him that he was to take them out of Egypt. Then, the Bnei Efrayim, left.

However, we are told that the more the Jews were enslaved the more they reproduced, which is why the tribe of Levi (who were not enslaved) had the smallest tribe. If so, why did Efrayim have such a large tribe? The Shach says that it is because they had the special blessing of Yaakov (V'Yidgu Larov). So even though they weren't slaves, they still reproduced.

  • @user6591: I never said it was. You can see the author here on the title page: hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20766&pgnum=1 . The commentary is referred to as "Shach Al HaTorah" . However, I can see that the way I worded it is confusing. – Menachem May 2 '16 at 16:51
  • I've only ever heard it referred to as "Shach Al HaTorah" – Menachem May 2 '16 at 17:45
  • I quoted a midrash which says the same thing. But my comment was deleted . Why have you got against a midrash who says the same as the shach @Menachem – newcomer May 2 '16 at 19:17
  • As a simple answer Pharaoh only increased his homeland security because the bnai Ephraim left. But can do a lot better – newcomer May 2 '16 at 19:20
  • It says everywhere that 600 thousand were slaves in Egypt. If yosef tribes didnt work that makes it a lot less @Menachem בב"י מובא מדברי המהרי"ל 'יש סמך בלוקח כרפס אותיות ס' פרך ששעבדו מצרים ששים רבוא', – newcomer May 2 '16 at 21:40
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My answer is this. As the other answer has already stated it was only slaves who could not leave Egypt but not free men. Pharaoh also said before he enslaved them that they would go out the land. For some reason he wanted to keep them in.

The Bnai Efraim who went out of their own accord, they believed the "shibbud" had finished, the 400 years were over and considered themselves therefore as free men.

Whereas when the rest went out. They went out reluctantly. "ki gorshu mimitsraim" They were thrown out. They really wanted to remain as slaves. They still had the slave mentality. All the time in the desert they wanted to go back. Hashem even never wanted them to go through "plishtim" because they would turn back to Egypt. When pharaoh chased after them with a force much less than 600,000 they were still scared. The slave mentality had not yet worn off.

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