The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories


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I paused for a moment, shook my head, and slipped the half bill in my desk drawer and continued with whatever I was doing. About a month later, I rediscovered the torn bill under a cluster of papers, and later, while making a bank deposit, presented it to the teller. What is half of a twenty dollar bill worth anyway? It is federal property. Each designated Israelite was commanded to bring a half shekel — which according to Maimonides was equivalent to about eight ounces of silver.

The great commentator Rashi notes that this collection of silver was used to fashion the sockets which held together the foundation of the Tabernacle. Rabbis over the centuries have mused over the significance of the half shekel. Why not a full shekel? The Spanish scholar Rabbeinu Behaye — saw the commandment as a reminder to think about others who may be financially or spiritually incomplete, and to ensure that they are cared for. Maimonides advanced as well the importance of balancing two halves of human endeavor: the study of Torah, and work. Indeed, we all need interaction with others — friends, partners, mentors — who challenge our beliefs and our perceptions.

The Israelites have created the golden calf. The transition in Ki Tissa from spiritual elevation to material obsession inspires us this week to consider whether we are putting our own material and spiritual assets to good use. Rabbi Elimelech Weisblum — , reminds us that money is like fire; it can be used to protect and nourish, or it can be utilized to burn and destroy. Which are we choosing: To worship those golden calves which isolate us, or to utilize our half shekel to create synergy with others? Recent studies have concluded that in spite of all of the technology now available at our fingertips, those who spend hours per day virtually connecting with others have never felt more alone.

Otherwise, we may find ourselves only partially fulfilled, as a half shekel without an equal, or a half twenty dollar bill blowing in the wind. Indeed, each of us is a half shekel, in search of another to help make us and the world complete. The two most unusual garments, the Ephod and the H oshen Mishpat essentially a vest and a breastplate both were adorned with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. I think the answer to that question lies with the contents of the breastplate, the mysterious Urim and Thummim.

Moses Speaks to The Pharaoh - Book of Exodus - Children's Bible Stories - Holy Tales Bible Stories

Common speculation is that they possessed a power of illumination by which they would light up letters in the tribal names to spell out the divine will Yoma 73b. But a story in 1 Samuel offers a somewhat more pedestrian explanation.

Genesis 41:1-45 : Pharaoh's Dream

Intent on determining the guilty party, he sets up a test to determine whether the sin lies in himself or his son on the one hand, or the Israelite army on the other. Were difficult questions placed before God as binary choices, the showing by the priest of one or the other would resolve the matter.

But the story has an interesting coda, and one that I think can help answer the question I posed above, namely, as a remembrance of what is Aaron carrying the names of the Israelite tribes into the sanctuary? Saul, conscious of his vow, promises to put his son to death. As the Lord lives, not a hair of his head shall fall to the ground! The Urim and Thummim , if they were indeed used, may have revealed the sinner, but they did not illuminate the path of justice. Perhaps this is why the H oshen Mishpat must be inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes. They remind the one who bears them that they are responsible not just for the truth of a particular matter, but also for the justice that truth must embody.

Sometimes that justice cannot be embodied in a simple, binary choice. Indeed, sometimes, as in the case of Jonathan and Saul, knowing the truth can obscure the just. Perhaps the inscribed names of the twelve tribes, representing the entire community, can remind the high priest that his responsibility extends beyond knowing the truth to knowing also what is just. Exodus Some people require periods of solitude in order to best function in the world. Parashat Terumah consists entirely of instructions given by God to Moses regarding the building of the mishkan, the portable sanctuary which will be kept throughout the time of the wanderings of our ancestors until the more permanent mikdash , the Temple, can be built.

Among the many details pertaining to measurements, materials, and placement, one aspect stands out — the order in which the instructions are given. When erecting a typical structure, one tends to begin with the frame and outer walls, and then work inwards. Furniture and belongings are placed inside only after the structure is complete. These begin with the innermost central feature, the ark which will house the sacred covenant of law along with the table for the showbread, and the menorah , then move outward to the curtains for the tent of meeting, followed by the walls, altar, and outer courtyard.

The order seems to be one of priority, not practicality, although one wonders then whether the description of the altar might also have come sooner. In any case, much has been written with regard to the primary importance of the ark of the covenant. To return to our initial question, perhaps God needs this quiet, solitary space as much as Moses and the Israelite people need to know that God will be there. Nor does it seem as if the situation is likely to calm down any time soon. And so, just as God rested on the seventh day of creation and we thereby inherited Shabbat, perhaps the creation of the sanctuary suggests a mutual need for this meeting place.

Today in our post-Temple world, where the inner sanctum and the ark and the cherubim have all been lost, we can create a virtual sanctuary within ourselves, a place where we can pause and reflect and where, perhaps, God can drop by from time to time. As composer Randy Scruggs wrote,. When we become tired from the work of repairing the world and repairing ourselves, or when we are just plain tired, we come home to our personal inner sanctum, the place where we keep our virtual ark, our sacred place of knowing.

We build our inner sanctuary for us and for God, a quiet place within our consciousness where Divine Truth can dwell. She received ordination from the Academy for Jewish Religion in Rashi, following the Talmud Gittin 88b , interprets this verse as teaching that the judicial rules are to be entrusted to the ordained Israelite judges, not to gentile courts or to Israelite lay persons.

On this reading, them refers to the judges playing on lifneihem to suggest lifnim [within]—a subset of the people. But the context of this passage suggests a broader audience. The content of the laws in Chapters 21 through 23 suggests a combination of both interpretations. Male and female slaves have thus-and-such rights —11 , 26— Certain offenses incur capital punishment — All such cases must be decided by courts.

But there are also rules that according to common sense are left to the initiative of every individual to observe: the obligations due to male or female slaves; returning lost objects ; giving roadside assistance ; showing compassion to the poor or the stranger —26 ; observing the festival pilgrimages and the Sabbatical year — One of the most suggestive and enigmatic sets of rules falls between the cracks of this distinction:. One way is to show undue deference to the mighty and powerful and exonerate them despite evidence pointing to their guilt.

Another is to be caught up in the passion of a lynch mob, where rumors and bigotry sway masses of people to persecute innocent victims. In each of these scenarios, responsibility falls both on the official custodians of justice and on the general populace to hold to the path of integrity and not be swayed by irrational influences, whether from the might of the few or the hysteria of the many, nor to participate in these injustices in any way. A just society requires the idealism and integrity of its leaders, rulers, and judges; but there is a reciprocal relation and influence between these and the moral commitment of its ordinary citizens.

In the rules governing courts, the authority to render judgment was restricted to those duly knowledgeable and qualified. The more severe cases were entrusted only to those judges who had received semikhah from the elders in Eretz Israel. Even ordinary commercial matters required, at a bare minimum, a court of three that included at least one scholar well-versed in rabbinic law.


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On the other hand, it was incumbent on every Jew to study Torah, and the most popular parts of the traditional curriculum included those parts of Talmudic civil law that had application to everyday experience, especially the laws of custodianship and returning lost objects in Bava Metzia. Rabbi Israel Salanter was reputed to have said that just as a certified butcher needed to be knowledgeable in the laws of kosher slaughter, so an ordinary businessman should be knowledgeable in the Jewish laws of business ethics.

The ethical idealism in the Bible spread beyond the confines of the Jewish people. In , a Protestant clergyman in Massachusetts delivered a sermon, prior to the first national election in the United States. Indeed, Mr.


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  • His message is still valid for our time. Moses goes out to greet Yitro and warmly welcomes him into his tent. Do prayer for Me; put your cheeks on the ground. Raise your head and touch your hand on your face and on of your body, so that you will be protected from troubles, pain, diseases etc. According to a reliable tradition Allah did not reveal anything for thirty or forty days to Musa. As You are Kind and Merciful. And always seek Your Mercy and Kindness. I found no one better and truthful than you. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir has narrated that once Musa passed along with seventy Prophets near the valley of Roha.

    Wherever I go, I put myself in trouble.

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    Theodosia and The Last Pharaoh

    There is a backbiter among your followers. Tell me who it is? It would be backbiting and I Myself hate backbiters? Do me a favor; so that people may not think that I am evil.

    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories — Kalamazoo Public Library

    He had two sons, Shabbar and Shabbir. In Arabic we say Hasan and Husayn. He said that the Copts will be successful over them and will put them in great trouble. One of his descendants will help them in their difficulties.

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    He will be strong, tall and wheat complexioned. They thought, he might be same Musa predicted by Yusuf. Imam Muhammad al-Baqir has stated that Musa did not rebel against them. Forty persons from The Israelites claimed to be Musa whose information was given by Yusuf. The Pharaoh came to know about this matter by the people of The Israelites that a person called Musa will destroy his kingdom and that he is in search of him. The soothsayers of the Pharaoh informed that that boy will destroy his kingdom and his religion and that he would be born in the Israelites.

    The Pharaoh appointed the mid-wives to examine the pregnant women of The Israelites. A midwife was appointed on the mother of Musa. When the Israelites learnt that they killed all male children, they thought the generation of The Israelites would be extinct. The male of The Israelites decided not to have sexual relationship with their female. A midwife was appointed to keep a watch on her. The midwife became attached to her. Once she asked why she was becoming pale and thin. When Musa was born, his mother was uneasy and the midwife consoled her.

    She wrapped the child in a cloth and hid him in a room and came out at the door to the watchmen of the Pharaoh standing outside and asked them to go away and said that she has given birth to a girl. Allah revealed to her to make a wooden box for a child, close the box and cast it on the Nile.

    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories
    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories
    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories
    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories
    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories
    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories
    The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories The Pharaoh Awakes! And Other Stories
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