History, Anecdote Or Myth? My Struggles With Knowledge – By Marc

UnknownMy favorite holiday has always been Passover… Well, my favorite Jewish  holiday. I am also quite partial to the American Thanksgiving.

I know one is months behind us, and the mother months ahead, but our most current Torah portions and Parshas all deal with the story of Exodus, so it is in my brain. And obviously it is a pivotal story in Judaism… the birth of a nation kind of thing.

What I loved and love about Passover, was everything… Family gathered around the table, reading from the stained and torn Maxwell House Haggadahs… and wondering how much of it we were going to actually do. Back then, that little book seemed so very long… and we were always starving.

The search for the Affikomen… And the macaroons and candy I would sell for the Temple… and collect fabulous prizes for doing so.

Okay, the prizes were NOT fabulous… At least I don’t think they were… and the macaroons were dry and horrible… and while the candy was okay… I love those half-moon fruit gels… You know, the ones with the sugar rind…

Unless you had a parent in an office who could guilt the entire company to buy way too much stuff… the prizes were cheap and silly… But if you did… maybe THEN you could get the TV or high-end prize. Was it that good? I cannot even recall…

Gefilta_Fish-1-

Anyway… I love Gefilte fish (as long as I don’t ponder it for too long), Horseradish… red or white… And let me tell you, making my own was delicious, but the most physically grueling process ever… My eyes are still burning from my one and only attempt at it several years ago.

I love Matzoh and a great Matzoh Ball Soup… And I especially love Charoset. Mmm… I could eat that all day and every day! And the Hillel Sandwich… the sweet and the burn… is the best. Filled up on waaay to many of those.

I love the story of how we fled Egypt… and after taking the Discovery Class, the story of the Torah being given to 2 million people and all its mystery and wonder and revelation, and the Mossad-like techniques used to prove it were and are fascinating.

And yet… I am struggling.

This year I will be on my own for the first time… and while I am sure there will be offers of places to go and people to be with, including family, that is not what I am actually struggling with… At least right now.

As I delve back into the Tanakh, this time with the fabulous Jewish Study Bible close at hand… I find myself struggling and battling with something much more disturbing…

I had heard stories a while back discussing the timeline of the events surrounding Exodus… and hearing that they were off…

Okay, off is acceptable I suppose… but… when one Googles whether or not there is any evidence of Moses and the Jews being in and fleeing Egypt, the answers are far more troubling. There is little to no evidence, including, and especially archeological evidence or state records.

 

israel-in-egypt

So how do we reconcile THAT?

We have obvious evidence of our presence at Masada. We have the Kotel as the remnant of the Temple… our holiest of holies.

Archaeological digs in Israel reveal more and more information all the time… and date us back thousands of years.

But no record of Jews in Egypt… living as slaves… building the pyramids… being there in large numbers and then fleeing?

What do I do with this information?

Last week I wrote about Faith… and Emunah… and Bittachon… and how blind faith is not really a Jewish thing… For me and many, Judaism is more about a studied and investigated and debated faith, which I always believe gives it more power and relevance.

I am not a fan of things which are simply dismissed… I hate being told “That’s just the way it is…” with no further explanation or investigation.

I have reached out to my favorite Rabbis with this… wanting… no, needing an explanation… a deeper understanding…

When I hear back, you’ll know… because I will be posting more about this.

In the meantime, the question is out there… and I’ll pose it to all of you.

The Jews being lead out of Egypt is essential to our Torah.. and our story… and our beginnings… and to bringing the Jewish people together as one. So why is there no evidence showing that we were there in the first place?

I am not asking cynically, but sincerely and thoughtfully, so fill me in on what you know and have heard?

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