19 votes
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Was Moshe deceiving Pharoh, or was the original "Exodus" from Egypt meant to be temporary?

To first clarify, even though lying is usually frowned upon, I'm pretty sure that, at least ethically speaking, there's no reason to frown upon lying to Pharaoh in this situation if it was necessary ...
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14 votes

How long was the period of Oppression

Brief Summary: The commentators almost all agree that the four hundred years was not the time spent in Egypt. Rather, the four hundred years is from an earlier time (with some disagreements as to ...
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11 votes

Question about Shemot, locusts

Rabbi Yosef Deutsch in Let My Nation Go, page 259, writes: The wind carried every single locust east to the sea so that not one locust remained in Egypt. The locusts would await the Egyptians by ...
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11 votes
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Is there a source that says only 1/5th of the Jews will make it past the messiah?

Sanhedrin 111a תניא רבי סימאי אומר נאמר ולקחתי אתכם לי לעם ונאמר והבאתי אתכם מקיש יציאתן ממצרים לביאתן לארץ מה ביאתן לארץ שנים מס' ריבוא אף יציאתן ממצרים שנים מס' ריבוא אמר רבא וכן לימות המשיח שנא' ...
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10 votes

Archeological proof of Exodus?

In the early 19th Century a papyrus, dating from the end of the Middle Kingdom, was found in Egypt. It was taken to the Leiden Museum in Holland and interpreted by A.H. Gardiner in 1909. The ...
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10 votes

Why are the 10 plagues in this specific order?

Tanchuma Parshas Bo 4 explains the sequence (from Sefaria.org) by comparing the plagues to a siege upon an enemy City: נטה (את) ידך על השמים (שמות י כא). בטכסיס [מלך] בשר ודם הביא הקדוש ב"ה עליהם ...
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9 votes

Is there any tradition of any Jews leaving Mitzrayim before the Exodus

"The tribe of Ephraim miscalculated the time of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt, and left the country thirty years before the appointed time. They were met by a hostile host of ...
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9 votes
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How is Rosh Hashanah a remembrance of leaving Mitzraim?

The Shibbolei HaLeket (286) quotes his brother R. Binyamin as asking this question about Rosh HaShana and Yom HaKippurim. He quotes his brother's answer that the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 11a) states that ...
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9 votes
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What day of the week was Yeziyat Mizrayim?

According to Seder Olam Rabbah 5, it was on a Friday: ממחרת הפסח, ערב שבת היה, נסעו מרעמסס, שנאמר ויסעו בני ישראל מרעמסס סכתה, וכתיב ויסעו מרעמסס בחדש הראשון בחמשה עשר יום לחדש The day after [...
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8 votes

Many Jews died in Plague of Darkness, why not Dathan and Abiram?

I collected a few links that discuss this question, with several different suggestions for an answer. For example: The Rosh says that only those who did not believe in the Exodus died in the plague ...
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8 votes

What did the Jews do all day in the desert for 40 years?

They were learning Torah. As it says in Shemot 34:32 Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he instructed them concerning all that the Lord had imparted to him on Mount Sinai. Rashi ...
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8 votes
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Why did the last plague target only the firstborn?

A few answers: 1) Shemos Rabbah 15:27 - It underscored the value of firstborns The Torah writes (Shemos 4:22): וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֑ה כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר ה' בְּנִ֥י בְכֹרִ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל Then you shall ...
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7 votes
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"ויחזק" Vs "ויכבד"

My favorite commentator when it comes to understanding the differences of meanings between words (that may seem like synonyms) is the Malbim. He has some wonderful and minute distinctions between such ...
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  • 3,784
7 votes

Did Israelites who stayed in Egypt become halachically Jewish?

Rashi on Shemot 10:22 writes regarding the plague of darkness And why did He bring darkness upon them? Because there were wicked people amongst the Israelites of that generation who had no desire ...
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6 votes

Jews were on 49th level of Tumah. Says who?

Here is a picture of the Zohar with the perush masok midvash on bottom. It is zohar charash yisro on daf lamed tes amud aleph in the original Zohar print.
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6 votes
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How did Paro know that "...that they may serve Me" meant sacrifices and not some other form of service?

In Shemos 5:3, Moshe introduces his request: נלכה נא דרך שלשת ימים במידבר ונזבחה ליהוה Now let us go on a three day journey in the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God
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6 votes

Leaving a mate behind in egypt

Rashi in Beshalach on "chamushim" states that all those left behind died during the three days of darkness. Every member of Bnai Yisrael who survived left in the Exodus. Thus, if a husband or wife was ...
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6 votes

How long was the period of Oppression

Before I actually answer your question, I'd just like to make one note. Jochebed, our Sages tell us, was 130 years old when Moses was born (Numbers Rabbah 13:21). She was born as the Israelites ...
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6 votes
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Children of the Exodus (families, names, ages)

Jochebed: I don't remember ever seeing a source whether she was alive or not. Based on the Midrash she would have been 210; even following the Ibn Ezra and others she had to be at least 100. But ...
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6 votes

How many Jews were in Egypt before the Exodus?

R. Judah Loewe explains in his commentary to this passage that the Talmud is referring to all the people who died in Egypt over the entire course of time the Israelites were there: והם כל הדורות ...
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5 votes
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Hashem to Moshe - *your* nation?

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch on the same usage in Ki Sisa 32:7 says that at this point they did not act or regard themselves as Hashem's nation but as people who had been brought out by Moshe. Many of ...
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5 votes
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Did the people of Israel know they would get the Torah?

Yes there is evidence that the people of Israel knew they were going to get the Torah prior to Kabalat HaTorah. Ray's answer cites Shemot 6:7. Even before that, in Shemot 3:12, God says to Moshe ...
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5 votes
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Uses of the word Etzem

The intuitive etymological connection is made by Radak. I'm sure that there are others who make the same point as well... I did manage to find a source for this connection here, although it still ...
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5 votes

If only 1/5th of the Jews left Mitzrayim, how could they be happy?

Beautiful question! The Belzer Rebbe asks it as well and says, "As lofty and climactic a moment as Shiras HaYam (Song of the Sea) may have appeared to the naked eye, for those who were actually ...
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5 votes
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Why do we quote the story of Rav Elazar Ben Azaryah in the Haggadah?

In the Rambam's version of the Haggadah (found at the end of his הלכות חמץ ומצה) this passage begins אמר להם רבי אלעזר בן עזריה, R' Elazar ben Azariah said to them. According to this version this ...
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  • 6,372
5 votes

The Orchos Tzaddikim in Shaar HaSimcha: What does Purim have to do with remembering the Exodus?

In the commentary of Alei Orach on Orchos Tzadikim, he suggests: 1 - "כולם" is referring to all but Purim. 2 - On Purim we accepted the Torah voluntarily, "קימו וקיבלו היהודים" which was the ultimate ...
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5 votes

Why did Batya get tzaraat?

The original text is in Pirkei d'Rebbi Eliezer 48: והחביאוהו בבית שלשה חדשים, ולאחר שלשה נתנו אותו בתיבת גומא והשליכוהו על שפת היאור, והכל צפוי לפני הב"ה, והיתה בת פרעה מונגעת בנגעים קשים ולא היתה ...
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5 votes

Does Torah mention actual living in Sukkot?

No, the Torah does not mention explicitly that the Jews built actual Succot. (If it had, there wouldn’t be an argument as to whether the Jews had real Sukkot or Sukkot made from the Ananei Hakavod). ...
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5 votes

טט בכתפי שתים - is Katfi Coptic?

Jastrow does, with a question mark: כַּתְּפִי m. (sub לשון) Coptic language (?). Snh. 4ᵇ; Zeb. 37ᵇ; Men. 34ᵇ (Ar. s. v. טט, some ed. גדפי, cmp. גִּיפְטִי). No word resembling either טט or פת meaning ...
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5 votes

Who was first to show that the first nine of the ten plagues could be grouped into three groups of three?

According to many commentators (esp. Maharal), this was the intent of Rabbi Yehudah when he broke the plagues into three groups in his mnemonic: רַבִּי יְהוּדָה הָיָה נוֹתֵן בָּהֶם סִמָּנִים: דְּצַ&...
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