• Home
  • Parashah
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals
  • Freemasonry
  • Articles
  • About
  • Books
  • Media

    An egyptian man – Sh’mot

    The Torah describes how Moses rendered assistance to the shepherd girls. The girls had no idea who he was, only that he was “an Egyptian man” (Ex. 2:19).

    If they had had more details, they might have said that he was “an Egyptian Hebrew”; it is unlikely that they would have called him “a Hebrew Egyptian” because in Egypt the Hebrews were an alien group, not real Egyptians.

    The episode reminds us of something Pinchas Peli wrote about Jews in America, that they are “American Jews”, not “Jewish Americans”. Their Jewish identity is somehow their main distinguishing factor even though at the same time they are full participants in American culture.

    Thinking about my life in Australia, I would have called myself an Australian Jew even though at the same time I was a Jewish Australian.

    The distinction may be that Australianism is an ethos whilst Jewishness is an arbiter. If ever there were a conflict between the two, my Jewishness would judge my Australianism.

    Franz Rosenzweig was asked which part of his being was paramount, the Jewish or the German. He replied that the only way to find out was to cut open his heart, but the operation would kill him.

    Comments are closed.