Thursday, December 27, 2018

RYBS on "ish Mitzri... ish Ivri"

Va'yar ish Mitzri make is Ivri... vayach es haMitzri

R' Soloveitchik (quoted by R' Shachter) explained derech derush that Egyptian society projected itself as being an enlightened, liberal society.  This attracted a good number of Klal Yisrael, who cast off the old fashioned religion of their fathers in favor of this ethos of civility and tolerance that the culture around them represented.  What changed Moshe was seeing an "ish" Mitzri, a cultured individual, someone representative of the tolerant, liberal society around him, striking an "ish" Ivri, a Jew who also was an "ish," someone who had assimilated and adopted those same liberal cultural values.  Moshe lashed out at the Mitzri -- here the Torah does not say "ish" Mitzri because the mask was off.  Moshe saw this man for what he was -- a barbarian dressed in the trappings of enlightenment much like a wolf wearing sheep's clothing. 

1 comment:

  1. -- did ancient Egypt really present itself as "liberal", or is this yet one more thinly masked verbal swipe at Nazi Germany? {a nuclear swipe at Germany, in our you're talking...}

    "a barbarian"

    and yet barbarism has its place, as in sekila for removing a date pit on Shabbos [sereifa and chenek are none too delicate either]

    -- Hashem did however say, much later in the day, baruch ami Mitzrayim (Yeshayahu 19:25)