I am looking for Jewish sources that touch on the question of where (on a modern map) the crossing of the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds) took place.

In my research, I'm finding several possible locations, each with their proponents and opponents. The problem is that the sources I'm finding are either from religious Christians (or sometimes Muslims) or from people who are secular and without a Jewish background.

Of course Jews would have weighed in on these possible locations but, after hours of reading books and Googling articles, I just can't find commentators who are Jews drawing on Jewish traditions in their arguments.

So I'm not asking for a discussion of the various locations, but rather names of Jewish scholars who have studied this and written about it (with pointers to the relevant books or articles, with a brief summary if possible). They can be coming from any Jewish tradition (Orthodox, Liberal, etc.) or time period. For contemporary scholars, a plus if they can merge the religious aspects with modern scientific research.

The main sites I've found posited are:
Lakes/wetlands north of the Suez Gulf
The northern tip of the Suez Gulf
The Straits of Tiran at the southern end of the Gulf of Aqaba
Eilat or other areas on the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba

Thank you!

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya Cyn! FWIW, my research has favored the areas above the the northern tip of Suez. The Gulf of Aqaba seems too far away to fit with the Biblical narative. Aqaba is attractive due to perceived underwater "land bridges" at certain "crossing points" (like the Straits of Tiran), but I don't think Scripture can support the distance from Egypt. – David Kenner Oct 3 '18 at 9:04
  • bible.ort.org/books/… – Dr. Shmuel Oct 3 '18 at 9:15
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thank you for bringing your question here. – Monica Cellio Oct 3 '18 at 14:43
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    Thanks. My personal favorite is Straits of Tiran which makes so much more logistical sense than the other choices. I've done the timeline as best I can (first post here was looking for sources that support anything but Rashi's 7 days from Egypt claim) and it's tight, but the distances are within reason. I just don't know if there are any Jewish sources that support it. I was surprised when researching the date (# of years ago) to find that one popular answer is actually skewed to fit Christian theology. I want to be sure that each of these crossing locations can be supported within Judaism. – Cyn Oct 3 '18 at 15:59

This book sounds like it might be what you're looking for: Searching for Sinai by R. Alexander Hool.

To quote from the Amazon blurb:

In this unique and ground-breaking book, readers will:

  • investigate various possible locations of Mt. Sinai and the crossing of the Red Sea and judge if they conform to the Biblical narrative and Rabbinic Tradition
  • trace the footsteps of the Israelites from the Exodus until their arrival at Mt. Sinai.
  • be guided by clues hidden between the words of the Biblical narrative, ancient Rabbinic sources and a topographical study of the area.

In the course of our investigation, we will be led to new and startling locations for both the crossing of the Red Sea and Mount Sinai.

  • Thanks Joel K. It's not in my county library system or in the one for the nearby county, but I will see if I can find it. – Cyn Oct 3 '18 at 15:54
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    Only location within 2000 miles is a university library 60 miles away (but in same town as some family members). I think I need to go for a visit. :-D (or just spend the $20 on Amazon) The book looks potentially very helpful, thanks again. – Cyn Oct 3 '18 at 16:07
  • Ok, I've read the book (yea Amazon & next day shipping). Wow that is some collection of logical fallacies there. But still, there are a lot of citations & research to keep me busy, even if I spent half the book laughing. He mentions the Straits of Tiran once, only to dismiss it as a candidate because it's too far to travel in just 2 days (then cites Rashi). BUT Rashi says it takes 7 days & the author later says the 2 days business is bogus & it was longer. Then he goes on to claim that the distance to Mt. Sinai (which he places deep in Saudi Arabia, beyond the SoT) is a 3 day journey. – Cyn Oct 5 '18 at 4:32
  • My conclusion? All (well most) of these theories are consistent with Jewish thought. It was worth $20 to me to be sure that I wasn't parroting a Christian belief that contradicted Judaism. The book also has some decent maps, photos, and modern info that will help me come to my own conclusions (even though they're generally different from this author's). – Cyn Oct 5 '18 at 4:36

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