Exodus 13.17 - 17.16
We offer this study in the loving memory of my parents and Revi's parents. may they rest in peace. May there memory be for good. May they be elevated in the heavens. May we dedicate our lives to good deeds, giving charity and loving others in there memory...
There are many translations and possible meanings for each verse of Ha Torah.
וַיַּסֵּב אֱלֹהִים ׀ אֶת־הָעָם דֶּרֶךְ הַמִּדְבָּר
יַם־סוּף וַחֲמֻשִׁים עָלוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל
מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם: יט
But God led the people around, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea; and the people of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.
And God led everything from Aleph to Tav of the nation [Yisroel] around, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea; and a fifth of the nation of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt.
The Word וַחֲמֻשִׁים Vah Chah Moo Sheem means armed or it could mean five. We call the Five Books of Moshe The Chumash, meaning the Five.
Rashi says an alternate meaning for verse eighteen is one out of every five went out of Egypt. Rabbi Avrohom Davis, The Mesudah Chumash A New Linear Translation Bereishis (Hoboken New Jersey, KTVA Publishing House, Inc., 1991) p 157 • Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Stone Edition The Chumash (Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, N.Y. 1993), p. 367
600,000 men between the age of twenty and sixty went out of Egypt. If 4/5th died in Egypt this means 2,400,000 died in Egypt during the three days of darkness. Rabbi Moshe Weissman, The Midrash Says (Brooklyn, New York: Benei Yakov Publications 1980), p. 60
The slave mentality was very strong. Those that did come out were horribly abused by the evil task masters in Egypt. The Nation Israel was not ready for war. They were not ready to stand up to another nation. They were fragile.
And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest perhaps the people change [their minds] when they see war, and they return to Egypt;
Dear Ones there are many possibilities to these two very different interpretations. We know that the nation Israel was frightened when they saw Pharaoh and his army coming after them. Even though they may have been armed, mentally they were not prepared to fight. They were devastated by years of slavery. It would appear that 4 out of 5 were weak, were sick, were hooked on being slaves and worshiping idols. The fifth that did leave would need to develop confidence and change the way they viewed life.
In Chapter four of my book Mysterious SIGNS Of The Torah REVEALED IN EXODUS I discuss constancy. The Nation Yisroel would need to begin learning how to be faithful to The Lord out of choice. The Nation Yisroel would need to develop being dependable to The Lord as people who were free. They would do this.
May each of us learn to be enduring and unchanging in our observance of the Torah portion of the Bible.
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Blessings, Love and Peace,
Dr. Akiva Gamliel