OU Press

Parashat Shemot – Rabbi Goldin

December 15, 2010

A Blueprint for Persecution

by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, author of Unlocking the Torah Text


The Israelites, initially welcomed to Egypt at the end of the patriarchal era, experience a precipitous change of fortune after the death of Yosef and his generation.

A “new” Egyptian king initiates a campaign of persecution against the descendents of Yaakov, transforming them into a subgroup of slaves within the Egyptian population.


Why does the Torah dedicate twenty-two sentences of text to a detailed, step-by-step description of the enslavement of the Israelites at the hands of the Egyptians?

What eternal lessons can be gleaned from this tragic narrative?

Continued here: link

Adapted from one of the multiple essays on this parsha in Unlocking the Torah Text by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin.