Egypt: The Decline & Roots of Redemption
Join Mrs. Sarah Rudolph as she follows the decline and roots of redemption in Egypt. From what point can we trace the initial decline, and how does the redemption begin? How can we better understand Moshe’s early life as part of that process? This course will explore these questions and more through a careful reading of the pesukim with analysis of classical commentators and midrashic traditions.
Egypt: The Decline & Roots of Redemption: A Preface to Oppression?
In this class we will take a close look at the opening “paragraph” of Exodus chapter 1 and its description of the massive population growth of the children of Israel. We will see how Rashi (citing Exodus Rabbah and other midrashic texts), Rashbam, Ramban, and Seforno each dig into the nuances of the biblical text to derive meaning in a narrow context and perhaps more broadly as well.
Egypt: The Decline & Roots of Redemption: The Change?
After the positive – or perhaps vaguely ominous – portrayal of the Israelites’ status in Egypt in Exodus 1:1-7, we find a turning point and clear decline in their situation over the course of the rest of the chapter. We will explore midrashic and other analyses of this decline, noting how it does and doesn’t progress and preparing for the introduction to Moshe in chapter 2.
Egypt: The Decline & Roots of Redemption: Birth of Moshe
Just as things are going from bad to worse for the Israelites as a whole, Exodus Chapter 2 narrows focus to one family and the birth of one baby. As readers, we know the significance of this baby’s birth to the nation as a whole. What, if anything, do his family members know? What hints can we glean from the text to shed deeper light on the birth of this baby, and the actions of all those who played a role in his survival, as roots of the redemption?
Egypt: The Decline & Roots of Redemption: Why do the Israelites Cry Out, and Why does G-d Respond?
Egypt: The Decline & Roots of Redemption: Moshe, the servant of God
We met Moshe at his birth in Exodus chapter 2; in this class, we will rejoin him in Midian as he is summoned to fulfill his destiny. But what is the nature of that destiny? How does Moshe’s role as a human leader, bringing his people to redemption, interact with God’s role as the bringer of that miraculous redemption? Borrowing heavily from the insights of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, we will explore the dialogue between Moshe and God in Exodus chapters 3 and 4 and elsewhere for clues.
Sarah Rudolph is a freelance Jewish educator, writer, and editor. She has been sharing her passion for Jewish texts of all kinds for over 15 years, with students of all ages. Sarah’s essays have been published in a variety of internet and print media, including Times of Israel, Kveller, Jewish Action, OU Life, The Lehrhaus, TorahMusings, and more. She is Editor-At-Large, Deracheha: womenandmitzvot.org. Sarah lives in Cleveland with her husband and four children, but is privileged to learn online with students all over the world.