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Shemot 1:22- Alternative explanation to Rashi


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Shevat 17, 5777
Shalom, Are their more commentaries on Exodus 1:22 from a Jewish perspective? I know what Rashi said about this part of scripture but I would like to know if other Jewish scholars explain this verse otherwise. Best regards, Paul Henkel The Netherlands
Shalom! You are correct in assuming that whenever Rashi cites a midrash or explains in a way that is not conducive with the more literal meaning, there are always alternative classic Jewish commentaries. In this case, the Ramban (Nachmanides) and many others explain that, like in Nazi Germany, the anti-Semitic laws were passed gradually and progressed to be more and more blatant, and thus were accepted by the population, and thus averted a sudden Israeli rebellion. Pharaoh began with special labor taxes for foreigners (Israel), then advanced to forced “hard” labor, then, in order to limit the great Jewish childbirth, gave the secret order to the midwives alone to clandestinely kill male newborns. Only after this gradual oppression and legalized murder of Jews, could Pharaoh order a legal allowance and open encouragement to the masses (all his nation, not just the midwives!) in Exodus 1:22, for all Egyptians who see a Jewish male, to throw him into the Nile.
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