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Exodus in the Jewish Experience: Echoes and Reverberations investigates how the Exodus has been, and continues to be, a

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Exodus in the Jewish Experience

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Exodus in the Jewish Experience Echoes and Reverberations Edited by Pamela Barmash and W. David Nelson

LEXINGTON BOOKS

Lanham • Boulder • New York • London

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Published by Lexington Books An imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706 www.rowman.com Unit A, Whitacre Mews, 26-34 Stannary Street, London SE11 4AB Copyright © 2015 by Lexington Books All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information Available Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Exodus in the Jewish experience : echoes and reverberations / edited by W. David Nelson and Pamela Barmash. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4985-0292-4 (cloth : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-1-4985-0293-1 (electronic) 1. Bible. Exodus—Criticism, interpretation, etc. 2. Jews—Identity. I. Nelson, W. David, editor. II. Barmash, Pamela, 1966- editor. BS1245.52E96 2015 222'.1206—dc23 2015005822

™ The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992. Printed in the United States of America

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Contents

Introduction: The Exodus: Central, Enduring, and Generative Pamela Barmash

1 Out of the Mists of History: The Exaltation of the Exodus in the Bible Pamela Barmash

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1

2 Discontinuity and Dissonance: Torah, Textuality, and Early Rabbinic Hermeneutics of Exodus

23

3 The Past as Paradigm: Enactments of the Exodus Motif in Jewish Liturgy

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W. David Nelson

Richard S. Sarason

4 The Impact of the Exodus on Halakhah (Jewish Law)

111

5 Passover and Thanatos in Medieval Jewish Consciousness

147

6 Observations on the Biblical Miniatures in Spanish Haggadot

167

7 From Myth to Memory: A Study of German Jewish Translations of Exodus 12–13:16

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Reuven Hammer

Kalman P. Bland Vivian B. Mann

Abigail E. Gillman

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Contents

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8 The Desert Comes to Zion: A Narrative Ends its Wandering Arieh Saposnik

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Index 247 About the Contributors

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Introduction

The Exodus: Central, Enduring, and Generative Pamela Barmash

In every generation, an individual should feel as though he/she had actually been redeemed from Egypt.

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—Traditional Passover Haggadah, author’s translation

xodus! No other event in Jewish history has so captured the emotions and thoughts of Jews throughout the millennia like the Exodus. The events of the Exodus have been told and retold by Jews throughout the ages. Its drama has stirred Jews in times of despair and shaken them in periods of complacency. The rites of Passover have been shaped and reshaped as Jews have faced the exigencies of exile and the corresponding challenges of intellect and spirit. In so doing, Jews have refashioned the story of the Exodus and the rituals of Passover by means of innovative religious, social and cultural strategies. In this publication, we investigate how the events of the Exodus and the celebration of the Exodus at Passover have been, and continue to be, the focus of so much emotional energy and intellectual activity. The contributors explore how the Exodus has served as a crucial source of identity for both Jews and Judaism and has inspired new reshapings and iterations of Jewish identity. They probe how the Exodus has functioned as the primary hermeneutical model from which Jews have created theological meaning and historical self-understanding. They illuminate the relationship between the Exodus and the commemoration of Passover. They assess how the Exodus is portrayed in the range of Jewish culture, such as literature, historiography, religious thought, liturgy, art, and so forth, and investigate the process by which the Exodus has been transfigured and vii

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reimagined multiple times. In so doing, they address essential questions assessing how the Exodus has remained vital to Jews throughout the unfolding of the Jewish experience. As an interdisciplinary work, this publication incorporates contributions from a range of Jewish Studies scholars in order to explore the Exodus from across the spectrum of disciplinary vantage points. As such, the contributors begin from various starting-points: the Exodus in the Bible; the progressive unfolding of the Exodus in the Jewish interpretive tradition; the religious expression of the Exodus as ritual in Judaism; the appearance of the Exodus in Jewish art and literature; the reflection of the Exodus in halakhah (Jewish law); and the Exodus as an ongoing lens of self-understanding for both the State of Israel and contemporary Judaism. Yet the essays are guided by a common goal—to render comprehensible how the re-envisioning of Exodus throughout the unfolding of the Jewish experience has enabled it to function as the central motif for the Jewish people for thousands of years. Although each essay is the product of a specialist in his or her own field, we have sought to move across the boundaries of particular disciplines and chronological periods, with the goal of discerning the parallel hermeneutical processes at work throughout the generations. However much the distinctive theological, historical, and literary forms of each era in Jewish history may fit a specific historical context, it is also the case that common interpretive strategies and methods of reshaping have been employed by Jews in diverse periods and communities. When considered as a whole, the essays that comprise this work demonstrate the manner in which parallel processes have reshaped different forms of the expression of the Exodus, allowing events, motifs, rituals, and images to be infused with significance that is both old and new. Central to this work is the understanding that for Jews and Judaism, “Exodus” refers to much more than a specific limited one-dimensional religious-historical event. Rather, it represents the central, enduring, generative Jewish concept or trope of self-understanding and existential imagination. This is to say, “Exodus” throughout Jewish history is an ongoing process of Jewish meaning-making—an eternal production, re-appropriation and refashioning of Jewish ideas, events, rituals, symbols, all images in response to the dynamic created between the cultural memory of Jewish past and the reality of Jewish present. There exists a concrete correspondence between remembering one’s past and forming one’s identity in the present. For Jews and Judaism, this correspondence is mediated through the lens of the Exodus experience fully constituted and broadly writ. Exodus is the past made present. It is not an event of mere antiquarian interest. Rather, it is a symbolic representation of distant past as both

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The Exodus

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embedded and mirrored in contemporary reality and action. The Exodus may be grounded in the past, but it is experienced in the present. When Jews remember the Exodus, they feel that they are part of a collective, a group continuing throughout time. They link their history to their remote ancestors and reaffirm their standing as part of a historical people extending through time. The Exodus creates a meaningful and accessible Jewish past, one that shapes and reshapes how Jews perceive themselves to be—powerful in times of powerlessness, exalted in times of humiliation, liberated in times of oppression, taking action in times of passivity. The Exodus enables Jews to see beyond the limits of their contemporary existence by utilizing the past to lay claim to the future. ECHOES AND REVERBERATIONS: THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN EXODUS PAST AND PRESENT As the elements of Exodus are reshaped, they take part in an ongoing process between the elements of Exodus as fashioned in the past and the challenges of Jews in a particular time and culture. Through negotiation between the memory of the Jewish past with contemporary reality, new significance is given to the Exodus, yet it is not divorced from its prior significance. The process both displaces and keeps in place prior meanings of the Exodus. The innovations introduced can be designed to accentuate elements already present. The new crystallization bears traces of the older conceptions. In fact, the past shapes present reality. The past acts as a pattern for the present. Using the Exodus as a pattern promotes the sense that nothing new or earth shattering has taken place and, paradoxically, any difficult circumstances in which Jews found themselves could be overcome. A situation of distress was in complete continuity with the pattern of adversity followed by liberation that had always been true. The Exodus is not a onetime event in the past but a recurring redemptive pattern. The Exodus tells a story whose outcome is known, in contrast to a new story whose denouement is unknown. The Exodus becomes the major pattern of history and deliverance. It is imposed on other events and conceptualizations, and to it history, theology, and culture are assimilated. But the process is not only one-way, with the past shaping the present. At the same time the Exodus is used to transform the present, it is also transformed. When Jews envision a contemporary event as a recurrence of the Exodus event, the Exodus becomes reactivated and in the process gains meaning. The Exodus is freed from the past and gains new valence. The Exodus is released from past interpretation, and the fixed boundaries of past significance are traversed. Old vocabulary and symbolism are

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infused with new meanings. The Exodus is fluid and itself assimilates to different constructions. The interplay between past and present, how the past shapes the present and in turn is reshaped by the present, reflects how the Exodus evokes and manifests now and then, here and there, for Jews. Indeed, this evocative nature is the very power of the trope of the Exodus—its creative capability to both retain and reimagine the Jewish past in such a way as to reinvigorate the Jewish present. Part of the potential of the Exodus lies in its multi-dimensionality. The narrative is thick and complex. At what point in the Pentateuch does the Exodus story begin: with the promise to Abraham or the selling of Joseph as a slave destined for Egypt or the enslavement of the Israelites at the orders of a new Pharaoh? And which event is the climax of the Exodus story: the triumphal exit from Egypt or the theophany at Sinai or the entry into the land of Israel? And what are its theological and cultural consequences: the covenant between God and the Israelites, monotheism, freedom from oppression or the ethnogenesis of the Jewish people? Selecting the starting and stopping points and adjusting the highlights shape the meaning of the story, and the varying contours of the Exodus allow it to fit many circumstances. In fact, narrative allusions do not require that the entire story be patterned on the Exodus narrative, but even a single motif gives an Exodus coating to a later event. Similarly, the symbols, rites, and rituals of the commemoration of the Exodus interact in a complex and dynamic manner. Whether in the formal commemoration of Passover or in practices of personal piety, in the liturgical year or in life-cycle events, the use of the Exodus creates a sense of fellowship. There is a sense of continuity: a group is transformed into a community, and an individual becomes linked to a historical camaraderie. The stock of symbols and rituals is vast, and in one sense they remain the same as they are transformed in another sense. New meaning can be placed in old vessels. The symbols, public and private rituals, and liturgy have been refashioned and reformulated, remolded and recast, modified and altered, throughout the generations yet they project a sense that they have always been the same. Elements central in one era may become marginalized in the next, while heretofore obscure elements come to the fore. Yet the discontinuity is not felt because they all comprise the repertoire of the Exodus. Traditions that appear to be old may be recent in origin, and traditions that are indeed old may be radically transformed in meaning. When an element, either narrative, symbol, or ritual, reappears centuries later, the aesthetic may be changed. It may be articulated in a different voice or from a different vantage point. Yet its echo of the Exodus gives a sense of continuity, of unity.

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Through the array of narrative and religious elements associated with the Exodus, Jews form communities of memory. They live a historical experience, even though they themselves did not experience it. For Jews, the Exodus takes the chaos of experience and places it in intelligible order, and in that order Jews find transcendent significance. FOCAL POINTS IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE EXODUS The Exodus was dynamically altered in the diverse historical and sociopolitical contexts that Jews found themselves, and we have selected a number of focal points that illuminate the process of transformation and recrystallization of the Exodus. While the essays are presented in roughly chronological order, the continuities and discontinuities are apparent. Strategies of interpretation reemerge after a gap of centuries and even millennia, motifs disappear and reappear, and symbols remain outwardly the same but are infused with new significance. Pamela Barmash highlights that while the historical reality of the Exodus may be lost in the mists of history, the trope of the Exodus enabled a number of disparate groups to coalesce into a shared ethnicity: the story of one segment eventually became the memories of the whole. The native Canaanite origins of the majority were obscured, and the memory of Egyptian tyranny and the possible escape of a few of the Israelites’ ancestors became the catalyst for the formation of a new identity. Afterwards, events of momentous significance were reimagined as recurrences of the Exodus. Memory rituals periodically refreshed the immediacy and relevance of the Exodus. The Exodus was recalled in narrative, ritual, law, historiography, and pedagogy, and the multiplicity and redundancy led eventually to the dominance of the Exodus. The Exodus was used by biblical authors as a means to reinforce and amplify other events and ideologies. A psalmist employed the Exodus as a means of reinforcing the ideology of the Davidic monarchy, while a prophet dislodged royal Davidic ideology in favor of radical theological innovation expressed in Exodus motifs. W. David Nelson examines how the modes of midrashic interpretation of the Exodus experience enabled early Rabbinic Judaism to come to terms with theological dissonance and historical discontinuity. In the aftermath of the Roman conquest and the loss of the biblically-based models of priestly leadership and Temple-based sacrificial worship, Jewish communities were grappling with an acute sense of vulnerability, both theological and cultural. The earliest generation of rabbis used their oral-performative and textual engagement to foster a rabbinic hermeneutic of the Exodus experience. They

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grounded their concept of the Exodus in both the creation of the cosmos and the theophany at Mount Sinai and asserted that the Exodus was fundamental to the creation of the world. As Kalman Bland demonstrates, the Pharaoh and Egypt underwent a metamorphosis in the Zohar: they became the embodiments of the demonic Sitra ‘Ahra, the shadowy other side of divinity. The Exodus thereby became the existential struggle against the cosmic and metaphysical forces of evil. The rituals of Passover were infused with layers of mythological meaning. Every bite during Passover, for example, had cosmic significance. Consuming leavened bread was considered idolatry, the anathematized worship of demonic forces, while eating matzah became a step on the path that ascends from sin toward unification with the divine. The Zohar’s transformation of Passover reflects Jewish adjustment to being a dissonant minority in Christian Europe. For Jews in a later diaspora, the Exodus serves as an ancestral language. It provides the conceptual articulation and linguistic modes of expressing the reality of Jewish existence in a non-Jewish society, a society transformed by the Enlightenment. Referencing the Exodus is a choice taken in pursuit of continuity, and as illuminated by Abigail Gillman, we see how the translations of the biblical book of Exodus produced by Jews in the modern period, written for Christian as well as for Jewish readers, functioned as a defense against the majority religion. The translators incorporated comparative philology stemming from the research of nonJewish scholars and images from the British Museum while presenting the Hebrew in its Masoretic garb, using secular scholarship to buttress and lend authority to Jewish tradition. Jewish translators did not filter the Exodus to make it suitable for the majority culture but rather they used sources that were authoritative in the majority culture to affirm a minority culture over and against the majority. Jewish Bible translation in this instance was deeply creative and profoundly conservative. Memories of the Exodus command public and private space in Jewish community. Public and private rituals enable Jews to reaffirm their collective historical identity and to utilize that historical identity to serve their current needs. As Richard Sarason delineates in his study of the transformation of the Exodus in liturgy, the primary biblical significance of the Exodus is as the formative event in Israel’s covenant with God and the rationale for obedience to God’s commandments. In Rabbinic Judaism, however, the Exodus became the guarantor and paradigm of God’s future redemption of the Jewish people. This tradition created by the rabbis was enhanced by the repetition and regularity afforded by festival and ritual observances. The Exodus became, at once and at the same time, a cognitive framework, a technique for cultivating specific virtues and abilities, a proscription of forbidden

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behavior and a structure of devotional practice. The Exodus experience of salvation is invoked on a daily basis in liturgy, not just on Passover, and in so doing, the events of the Exodus are dramatized and reenacted. The redemption is recalled so that redemption may take place again. This process of reinventing liturgy continues in Jewish worship in modern times, when traditional prayers were revised. New pieces of liturgy were composed that reflected changed sensibilities and aspirations. Prayer books were rewritten, and, most notably, new haggadot were composed whether from the vantage point of the secular kibbutz in Israel, the civil rights and the Vietnam war protests, feminism, or GLBT congregations. In the reverberations of Passover in the liturgy, the constant juxtaposition between the inherited past and experienced present demonstrates the mutual interpretation and interdependence between received tradition and transformed tradition. Jews have placed Jewish law into an Exodus framework in order to comprehend and come to terms with Jewish law. In turn, the Exodus has shaped the overall meaning of Jewish law. Reuven Hammer calls attention to a paradox: while the Exodus is the foundation of halakhah, it is rare to see specific mention of the Exodus in halakhic discussion in the Talmud and medieval codes. This is deeply counterintuitive. The law in the Bible is based on the liberation from Egyptian bondage. Indeed, specific social laws are provided with the motive “because you were a resident alien in the land of Egypt,” and protection for the resident alien was enshrined in biblical law. Rabbinic law transformed the biblical statues on the resident alien, the ger, to apply to the convert, giving scriptural authority for an honored place of the convert among Jews. Slavery, never abolished in biblical law and an accepted fact of life, was imposed with many restrictions in rabbinic law, so much so that the Talmud states that he who buys a slave acquires a master (Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 20a). Moreover, the Exodus was used only as the narrative structure for rabbinic law, not as a generative principle yielding specific statutes. The observance of Passover demonstrates in high relief the centrality of the Exodus in rabbinic law as the foundational story, yet surprisingly the foundational story does not generate specific statutes, truly astonishing in light of the myriad of rules related to the observance of Passover. The concomitant absence and presence of the Exodus is found again in modern Zionist thought. Arieh Saposnik calls attention to the near absence of the Exodus story in the Zionist national liturgy. It would seem that the Exodus and Passover, celebrating both universal human ideals as well as a particularist national impulse, would be attractive to Zionists in Palestine. Strangely enough, they created a host of new rituals, among which Passover was submerged. Nonetheless, its imagery and themes were absorbed in the Yishuv’s cultural forms of expression, although the

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Exodus was not the centerpiece of a new national narrative and ritual system. By contrast, Zionists in the diaspora made ample use of the Exodus. Theodore Herzl and Ahad Ha-Am cast themselves as a modern Moses, providing guidance for Jews lost in their wanderings. The lesser prominence of the Exodus in Palestine is tempered by its unmistakable presence. The echoes of the Exodus stress the centrality of the land and its settlement by the Jewish people, rather than the wandering of countless generations. The conclusion of the Exodus takes center stage. The Exodus has been especially prominent in Jewish art, and of great interest have been the images in Haggadot. Vivian Mann theorizes that the sudden appearance of richly illuminated Haggadot circa 1300 may be due to the work of the illuminators producing images for both Jewish and Christian patrons. Compositions, whether Jewish in origin or Christian, had influence on works for the other faith. It might even be that medieval Christian art might have served as a conduit for ancient Jewish images developed in the land of Israel and surrounding areas. Here we have the possibility of the majority culture’s influence on Jewish works. Transformation of tradition is at times accomplished by inward acculturation, whereby the first generation adopts or rejects customs of the majority culture that the second generation then regards without any sense of rupture as part of Jewish tradition, to be transmitted to the following generation. Exodus! No other event has taken hold of the Jewish imagination like the Exodus. The Exodus, its motifs and symbols, rituals and narratives, is always in flux, as Jews adapt it to fit new circumstances and challenges. The elements emphasized may change, and their interpretation may transform them almost beyond recognition. But by drawing on a set of narrative and religious elements, the continuity of the Exodus from one generation to the next is assured. Other Jewish theologies were fused with the Exodus. Jews have placed other concepts, events and rituals into the Exodus model in order to memorialize and come to terms with them. The Exodus has shaped the meaning of these concepts, events and rituals for Jews and they in turn have reshaped the Exodus. In so doing, Jews have drawn from a cultural system in which the tradents innovated by transforming the elements that made up a whole. The Exodus in the Jewish imagination is not a limited event or a narrow set of elements: rather, it is a rich, multifaceted congeries from which Jews have drawn resources as they face intellectual, cultural, and social challenges. The Exodus is cumulative, a developing agglomeration of symbols, narrative motifs, rites, rituals, stories—all of which are unified under the Exodus. Through the following chapters that will now unfold before us, we will listen to the echoes and reverberations of the Exodus.

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1

Out of the Mists of History

The Exaltation of the Exodus in the Bible Pamela Barmash

Hadassah gathered a congregation for the three-day fast on Passover, The head of an evil house was hanged on a fifty-cubit gallows on Passover. . .

I

—Traditional Passover Haggadah, author’s translation

n the piyyut recited during the seder on the second night of Passover, the paytan (poet) imagines the significant events of biblical history as occurring on Passover. Events whose day and month are not specified in the biblical text are associated by the poet with the date of Passover. Even more strikingly, he sets the culmination of the Purim story among them, even though the biblical text specifically dates it to another date and month, the twenty-third day of the month of Sivan (Esther 8:9), not the fourteenth day of Nisan. Passover has exerted a magnetic attraction upon Purim, and despite the explicit month and day mentioned in the book of Esther, Purim in the imagination of the liturgist has been transferred to the timing of Passover. Passover’s magnetic attraction was already exerted in the Bible. Momentous events in the Bible are reimagined as celebrations of the Exodus. Josiah launches the Deuteronomic reform with a covenant renewal ceremony on Passover (2 Kings 23:21–22). He inaugurates an era of profound religious and social change: the sweeping reform will purge all the sins the Israelites have committed since the time the covenant was originally established at Sinai. The narration emphasizes that such a commemoration was not done in such a manner before, not in the days of the other kings nor even during the period of the judges. Another momentous event, Ezra’s journey to Judea, when his (re)establishing the law will invigorate a 1

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moribund community, is imagined as a replica of the Exodus.1 This is so, even though Ezra is travelling from the opposite direction, from Babylonia, not Egypt, and is going to join a community of Jews already settled in Judea, not leading a tenuous group that must avoid the main road in order to avoid fragmenting. Ezra is depicted as setting the month of departure to be Nisan, the month associated with the Exodus and the preparations for leaving Egypt (Ezra 7:8), so that the travellers imitate the old Exodus by their journey. The emphasis on the Exodus in the book of Ezra causes an almost jarring overabundance of Exodus celebrations: the editor of the book of Ezra concludes the period before Ezra with a rebuilding of the Temple, the main goal of the original returnees in the reign of Cyrus, expressed in Passover language (Ezra 6:19–22). The editor, however, leaves in silence the intervening six or seven decades, when the community of returnees grows weakened and embattled, and immediately without a pause recounts Ezra’s mission in Exodus proportions. The Exodus occupies the overwhelming bulk of the Pentateuch, and it is physically central in the Pentateuch. It is an event limited in time and place that has been writ large upon the fabric of the whole. It is evoked in retrospect throughout the Bible more times than any other event. Despite the seeming ubiquity of the Exodus tradition, the historical reality of the Exodus is lost in the mists of history. The evidence for the historical reality of the Exodus is elusive. The biblical text records the names of the midwives2 but not the name of the pharaoh, to the everlasting regret of historians. Certain elements of the Exodus narrative are authentic, even unique, to ancient Egyptian culture: the stone birthstool, ‫אבני לידה‬, not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, is referenced in both Egyptian texts and pictorial representations.3 Local color is invoked in the reminisinces of “the waters of Egypt . . . its rivers, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water” (Exod 7:19, echoed in 8:5).4 Perhaps verbs of heaviness and stiffness, used to describe the heart of Pharaoh and his stubbornness,5 echo the emphasis on the lightness of an innocent heart in Egyptian concepts of death.6 But even these Egyptian touches are scant. Other elements in the biblical narrative do not accurately reflect the historical context of Egypt in the Late Bronze Age (1550–1200 BCE) or the locale of Egypt at all.7 The personal name Moses, a name with Egyptian affinities—the affix mose, appears in such names as Thutmose, Ramesses, and so forth, the names of a number of pharaohs—was pronounced -mase in this period, and the rendering -mose was extant only in the first millennium.8 The cameo of the birth of Moses does not fit the reality of the Nile, where crocodiles would make it dangerous to send a babe in a basket onto the water or even to bathe by the shore: even if the poor were forced to take the risk, no princess would.9 Extrabiblical evidence is equally tantalizing and baffling. There is no direct mention of the Exodus in Egyptian sources, but many Egyptian

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texts and images refer to the presence of foreigners in Egypt in this period.10 Egyptian evidence reveals the presence of what is termed “Asiatics” in Egypt, doing what the Bible describes the Israelites as doing in bondage,11 but it is impossible to tell whether the “Asiatics” would be Israelites or members of another ethnic/territorial group from the Levant (Syro-Palestine). An image from a fifteenth century BCE tomb in Thebes depicts laborers from the Levant making bricks.12 A list of personnel serving in Egyptian households in the thirteenth (Egyptian) Dynasty (mideighteenth century BCE) contains the names of numerous Asiatics.13 A model letter, meant for education in scribal arts, reports of the escape of two slaves from Egypt to the Sinai desert, but this is our only reference to fleeing slaves and then only to a small number. Furthermore, all this may only represent a phenomenon, the presence of foreigners, that is attested throughout Egyptian history, with the stress on the New Kingdom due by chance to more extensive documentation or by a change in attitude on the part of the Egyptians.14 The Israelites are described in the Bible as participating in the building of two places in Egypt, Pithom and Raamses. The site of Pithom (Per Atum), modern Tell el-Maskhuta, was occupied briefly during the last two thirds of the seventeenth century BCE and not again until 610 BCE, bypassing the date of the Exodus by a wide margin.15 The identity of the site of Raamses, mentioned in Exod 1:11 and 12:27, is more difficult to determine: if the geographic name “Raamses” is meant to be Piramesse, Per Ramesses (modern Qantir and its nearby tell, Tell el-Dab̒a), then the site of Piramesse, one of the capitals during the nineteenth and twentieth Egyptian dynasties,16 occupied from ca. 1300 BCE to the beginning of the first millennium BCE, accords well with a thirteenth century date for the Exodus.17 But Ramesses II’s extensive building program did yield many places in the Nile Delta that were called after him as well as much building material that was reused in later sites and attributed to him.18 Otherwise in the Bible the capital of Egypt is Zoan (Tanis), the official residence of the pharaoh as of the founding of the twenty-first dynasty, ca. 1176, until the end of the twenty-second dynasty, ca. 725 BCE.19 While evidence for the presence of Israelites in Egypt is both suggestive and ambiguous, the celebrated mention of Israel in the Hymn of Victory of Merneptah (Year 5 Victory Stele) puts the Israelites definitively on the stage of history for the first time.20 The hymn reads: Canaan has been plundered into every sort of woe. Ashkelon has been overcome. Gezer has been captured. Yano’am was made non-existent. Israel is laid waste (and) his seed is not.

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The Hymn of Victory presents the Israelites as a people without a fixed city-state, probably indicating a collective that remained pastoralist and non-urban, in contrast to the others named in the same lines, the populace of three Canaanite city-states, Ashkelon, Gezer, and Yanoam.21 It does present the Israelites as present in the region of Canaan, not as adversaries resident in Egypt or dwelling in the Sinai. Furthermore, the reliefs at Karnak, illustrating Merneptah’s victory in Canaan,22 portray a foe without a fortified city, living in open country, in contrast to the three other besieged opponents, but even the Israelite foe is portrayed as Canaanite, in Canaanite dress and with a Canaanite chariot, in contrast to Egyptian garb and chariotry. In (this set of) Egyptian eyes, the Israelites were Canaanites, whom the Egyptians fought in Canaan, not elsewhere.23 The Wilderness tradition is also elusive. Extensive exploration of the Sinai has not revealed any evidence for the presence of an immense number of people travelling or living there during the (Middle or) Late Bronze Age. The site of the putative thirty-eight-year encampment at KadeshBarnea, modern ‘Ain el-Qudeirat, consists of three successive Israelite forts from the tenth to seventh/sixth centuries BCE, without any evidence of earlier occupation, too late for the Exodus.24 While the evidence for a sojourn in Egypt and a period in the Wilderness is scarce, even non-existent, quite the opposite is true for the settlement of Canaan. In the twelfth century BCE, a new population appears in new settlements with a new culture, a population whose material remains and settlement pattern develop into clearly identifiable Israelite ones. However, this evidence does not point to escaped slaves from Egypt. In fact, the evidence points to an indigenous Canaanite origin for the Israelites, with no suggestion that a group of foreigners from Egypt comprised early Israel. The paucity of Egyptian artifacts at these sites suggests a lack of contact with Egypt and an absence of any Egyptian heritage.25 If the Bible did not assert an Egyptian link for the Israelites, no one looking at the excavated remains would propose that the ancestors of the Israelites had prolonged contact with Egyptian culture. A solution to this puzzle may be found in recent analysis of the ethnogenesis of the Israelites that postulates that the Israelites were the coalescence of a number of groups into one shared ethnicity. The material culture of the highland areas of Canaan attests to transformations in cultural and political social structures. Surveys conducted in recent decades have revealed new settlements of modest structures with other elements of a distinctive material culture in the central highland area in the Iron I Age (1200–1000 BCE) in locations barely inhabited in the Late Bronze period (1550–1200 BCE), reflecting an unusual large scale transformation in cultural and social identities.26 By contrast, the highlands of the Galilee

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witnessed a more gradual alteration that reflects greater continuity in material remains during the Iron I Age, displaying a less dramatic shift in cultural and social identity. Other regions of Canaan show similar diversity of discontinuity and continuity in the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age, demonstrating the variations among the population. The evidence of continuity from Late Bronze Age culture implies that these parts of the population originated within Canaan, not externally. These early Iron Age inhabitants were mostly descendants of Canaanites who had become pastoralists and later (or perhaps initially) adopted a ruralized lifestyle after the destruction of urban areas in the Late Bronze Age. At the same time, the non-continuous and new elements as well as the diversity in social and material culture suggest that the population did not have a single origin and that it was, in biblical terminology, “a mixed multitude.”27 The idea frequently expressed in the Bible that Israel consisted of multiple tribes implies that a unity was created out of diversity. Fragmentation was resolved in the creation of a new shared social identity. It must be stressed that the ethnic formation of the Israelites was not a linear trajectory. Rather it was “a complex process rooted in diverse antecedent groups that converge and diverge over time.”28 Most assuredly, the ethnogenesis of the Israelites was not based on genealogical affiliation: it was not a matter of shared blood but shared culture. In ancient Israel, what might have been the story of one segment becomes the foundational story of the whole. The memories of a single component of ancient Israel became the memories of the whole. The ancient Israelites used this foundational memory to lay claim of the present and the future. They did not see themselves as descendants of the Canaanites as they mostly were in actuality but as a new group, foreign to the land and foreign to the cultures and practices of the land. They obscured their Canaanite origins in favor of an alien status. The mostly (or wholly) autochthonous origins of the Israelites are obscured in the light of a searing experience possibly endured by a few.29 The theme of Egyptian oppression and bondage and the tales, reports, and rumors of runaway slaves returning to their homeland must have resonated throughout Canaan, a land under the specter of pharaonic control for centuries in the Late Bronze Age and for part of the Iron Age I.30 The memory of Egyptian tyranny and the possible escape of a limited number became a potent catalyst for the formation of a new identity. The ancient Israelites constructed their identity by telling their story through the lens of the Exodus. The Exodus linked events contemporary to the Israelites to the time of origins and to formative events and people. In a sense, the passage of time was denied: the events of the past were continually present.

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Pamela Barmash Memory . . . has no sense of the passage of time; it denies the “pastness” of its objects and insists on their continuing presence. Typically, a collective memory, at least a significant collective memory, is understood to express some eternal or essential truth about the group—usually tragic. A memory, once established, comes to define that eternal truth, and, along with it, an eternal identity, for the members of the group.31

The collective memory expresses an essential truth about a group, and a shared past shapes and masters public observances and space. The ancient Israelites created a usable past by re-experiencing rather than remembering from afar. Biblical history was shaped into the Exodus pattern, and in so doing, the configuration disclosed the deep structure of history: every event hearkened back to the contours of Exodus. Events were envisioned as an echo of the past. In a sense, there was no history that was completely new, but that inspired confidence that the significant parts of the old pattern will repeat and that current difficulties will be overcome. The Exodus was not simply a past event to the Israelites. It was a dynamic that enabled them to prevail. The Israelites remembered their past history in order to shape their current history into a pattern that would allow them to make future history. Memory rituals periodically refreshed the immediacy and reality of the Exodus. The agricultural festivals were historicized in terms of the Exodus. The Passover ritual was recounted in detail not for antiquarian interest but for dramatizing a memory. The Israelites who ingested the bitter herbs tasted a morsel of oppression that they personally did not experience, and the corporeal act vitalized its symbolic overlay. The danger of the Exodus being forgotten in a day-to-day reality far different from the circumstances of the Exodus was attenuated. The rituals kept alive a memory that could be sustained in changed circumstances and indeed even in a hostile environment.32 A multiplicity of memory procedures served to reaffirm the Exodus,33 and the redundancy reinforced it. It was made central in the Israelite collective memory. The special rituals for Passover distinguished it from the other pilgrimage festivals, and the other pilgrimage festivals were linked to the Exodus, whether by historical connection or public recitation of a text dominated by the Exodus. The Decalogue predicated divine authority on the Exodus, and the establishment of the covenant between God and the Israelites itself was placed in the midst of the narrative template of the Exodus.34 The content of the teaching passed from one generation to the next in an endless chain of transmission was none other than the Exodus. The stories of later generations were recast in an Exodus narrative template. The Exodus story shaped the consciousness of those who uttered it and those who heard it.

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The remembrances of the Exodus in multiple expressions and techniques, in an array of media of transgenerational transmission, created a complex and multifaceted memory. Ritual, narrative, history, law all converged to create a common identity uniting the individual into a community of generations. With multiplicity and redundancy, the Exodus dominated. New events were envisioned as a recycling of the past, and the model of the Exodus became even more dominant. The Exodus was inserted into a matrix of memory, and it became the matrix of memory for other events. The Exodus was recounted in a powerful form of memory because it was mediated not through recollection but through an investment of imagination.35 Events prior to the birth of those who recollected them came to shape how they saw themselves. The Exodus was transmitted to the Israelites so deeply that other events and concepts paled by comparison. The exaltation of the Exodus has pushed off the stage other formative events and ideologies of ancient Israel: they are still found on the wings of the stage but they are tertiary to the Exodus. However, a number of biblical authors use the Exodus as a means of promoting alternate events and ideologies.36 The advantage of the Exodus in combination enhances rather than overpowers: it reinforces and intensifies rather than overwhelms and suppresses. By integrating the Exodus, a biblical author, whether liturgist, prophet, legist or storyteller, amplifies what he or she composes. The Exodus then reinforces other events and ideologies, rather than quashing or stifling them. One historical psalm deploys the Exodus as a means to amplify the ideology of the Davidic monarchy in the southern kingdom and to heighten the excoriation of the northern kingdom. Psalm 78 devotes over fifty verses to recounting Israelite history, of which at least thirty verses tell of the Exodus (vv. 12–30, 40–50), signaling the momentous nature of the Exodus. The psalm presents its grand historical scheme in two cycles, verses 9–39, then verses 40–72. In each cycle, the earliest historical event is the Exodus: verse eleven names it as “God’s deeds and marvels,” and verse 42 calls it “the day when God redeemed Israel.” The sheer length of the historical cycles detracts from the hymnic nature characteristic of the Psalms in general—in some ways this psalm is more a catalog of historical events than a hymn of praise or an appeal for divine aid. But the didactic purpose of Psalm 78 accounts for its uncommon opening: unusually for a psalm, it addresses human listeners, rather than God, who otherwise would be the customary introductory proclamation of a psalm, but the psalmist aspires to convince his human listeners that the North deserves excoriation and the dynasty of the South merits exaltation. The psalmist uses the division into two cycles to further both poetic and ideological goals.37 It lessens the fatigue of the historical retelling and

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adds acceleration to the narrative of events. More importantly, it allows the psalmist to integrate his diverging moral evaluation of the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom into the historical sequence. The first cycle, vv. 9–39, begins with mentioning the cowardice of the Ephraimite archers, archers from the dominant tribe of the northern kingdom:38 the placement of this event in the initial position, most likely out of temporal sequence with the Exodus that inaugurates the next verse, highlights the unworthiness of the North. The first cycle concludes with the reflection that God had been merciful, offering transgressors the opportunity to repent; the second cycle ends with the rejection of the principal tribe of the North and the divine election of the Davidic monarchy.39 The Exodus has been recapitulated, but to no avail, according to the first historical cycle—the northerners had many opportunities to repent yet persisted in transgressing. The second cycle then derives a political conclusion from the history recounted—the northerners are rejected because they have continued to commit sins. The northerners deserve their misfortune. This psalm’s explicit statement about the cowardice of the Ephraimite archers and the divine rejection of the tribe of Ephraim, the dominant tribe of the northern kingdom, betrays its pro-South ideology. Is the polemic of the psalm against the North and for the South traceable to a particular time period? The date of the psalm has to be at least before the destruction of the North in 722–720 BCE:40 even though it would be the most potent evidence that the North has been rejected, its omission signals that the destruction had not yet happened. Verse 69 alludes to the building of the First Temple, ca. 960 BCE, providing the earliest possible date for the psalm. The ninth century BCE, after the division of the kingdom, witnessed many border wars and skirmishes between the North and the South. Verse 9 refers to the cowardice of the northern archers, and while it is possible that this event might have occurred before the Exodus based on its placement in the historical scheme, it might be best understood as a reflection of the specific historical background of the psalm, as an event clearly understood by the psalmist’s audience, who knew of the event that occurred in a period of hostility between North and South, an event otherwise unknown to us. There was a period of a half century of hostility in the late tenth century and early ninth century BCE after the united kingdom split (1 Kings 15:16, 31). There was also violence between the two kingdoms circa 800 BCE (2 Kings 14:8–14) and during the Syro-Ephraimite war in 734–732 BCE (2 Kings 15:37; 15:5–6; Isa 7).41 The psalm’s reference in its opening verses to “our fathers” and to the fathers of Ephraimites as “their fathers” may also be a sign that the split into two kingdoms had occurred. So it appears that the psalmist was a southerner who is exploiting the

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Exodus narrative template to excoriate the North, at some point between the time hostilities first broke out between the two kingdoms in the late ninth century BCE and the destruction of the northern kingdom in 722–720 BCE. It is extraordinary, then, that this psalm emphasized the events of the Exodus in such detail. The misdeeds of the northerners in times more contemporary to the psalmist receive scant attention compared to the elaborate detailing of the Exodus, testifying to the potential of the Exodus in northern thought. Although the psalm utilizes the Exodus, the details of Psalm 78 indicate that it is a crystallization of an Exodus tradition distinct from that found in the overall scheme of the Pentateuch. There are shared elements: divine marvels in Egypt, the splitting of a sea with the water standing rigidly upright as a wall, the people led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire at night (see Exod 13:21), the cleaving of rocks in order to give water to the Israelites (see Exodus 17), and so forth. But the divergences are many. Moses is entirely absent from the psalm, and even doubts attributed to Moses in Num 11:21–22 are transferred to the people (Ps 78:19–20). The manna descends from heaven in great quantities, unlike the modesty of the manna in Exodus (Exod 16:17–18),42 and it is described as ‫לחם אבירים‬, “food for the mighty,”43 rather than simply the bread for the wilderness period (Exod 16:32). The plagues number seven, rather than ten.44 Indeed, other events not recorded elsewhere are incorporated into the narrative: the destruction of Shiloh, the major religious site before the establishment of the monarchy, is mentioned here, providing a solution to why this preeminent site disappears from the biblical record. One detail in particular reveals its southern perspective: Psalm 78 sets the culmination of the Exodus to be the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, the capital of the southern kingdom. It is unlikely that northerners would celebrate a southern shrine and the seat of the southern dynasty. The psalmist sets the culmination of the Exodus story firmly on southern soil. The psalmist deploys the Exodus as a way to amplify the royal ideology of the South. The unworthiness of the northern kingdom is asserted time and again. Divine selection of Jerusalem and David as the first king is stressed.45 The close link between the election of the city and the royal line is part and parcel of the Zion theology, a theology of southern origin. But the psalmist does more than repeat pro-South ideology: he reinterprets what we shall see as the prevailing ideology of the North to its own detriment, an ideology based on the Exodus. The use of the Exodus as a means of condemning the northerners is especially effective because of the preeminent place of the Exodus in the thought of the northern kingdom.46 The North emphasized the Exodus, in contrast

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to the South, which for much of the First Temple period (ca. 960–587/6 BCE) ignored or attenuated it. The preeminent southern prophet, Isaiah of Jerusalem (late eight century BCE), did not even mention it, despite the huge number of oracles associated with his name. Only southern prophets late in the First Temple period, such as Jeremiah, make positive reference to the Exodus, possibly after northern theology flowed south when northerners fled the downfall of their kingdom. Other southern prophets as well as liturgists, like the writer of Psalm 78, reversed the Exodus, from a sign of divine favor to a means of demonstrating the unworthiness of the northerners. Northern prophets and liturgists, by contrast, emphasize the Exodus tradition. The northern prophet Hosea understands the Exodus to be the crucial moment of Israelite history, and it reflected favorably on the Israelites. Ever since the Exodus, God has had both a formal and an emotional connection with the Israelites: the Israelites must obey the stipulations of the covenant, but God does not relate to them solely as lawgiver and judge. Hosea depicts God as being delighted with the Israelites upon finding them in the Wilderness (Hos 9:10) and falling in love with them and adopting them as his children (Hos 11:1). But Hosea does not envision the Exodus as an event solely in the past. He sees current and future events through the lens of the Exodus. The sins of the Israelites of his day are comparable to the sins committed at the end of the Exodus period, when the Israelites settled in the land. If the Israelites of his time refuse to repent, they will be returned to Egypt in punishment (Hos 8:13; 9:3; 11:5). If they repent, they will reenact the Exodus by being led out of the land only to return immediately (Hos 2:16–17) and they will once again live in tents, as they lived in the Wilderness (Hos 12:10). A northern psalm, Psalm 81, has a close affinity to the theology of Hosea. It bases the celebration of festivals and the observance of ritual on the relationship the ancestors of the northern kingdom established with God when they escaped from Egypt, omitting any mention of the southern kingdom. For it is a law for Israel, A ruling of the God of Jacob, He imposed it as a decree upon Joseph When he went forth from Egypt, (A place where) I heard a language I did not understand. I relieved his shoulder of the burden, His hands were released from the basket. In distress you called and I released you . . . (Ps 81:5–8)

Verses 10–11 paraphrase the Decalogue, in a way similar to the northern prophet Hosea:

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Out of the Mists of History Ps 81:10–11

Hos 12:10 Hos 13:4 Exod 20:2

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:‫ֹלא־י ִ ְהי ֶה בְָך אֵל זָר וְֹלא תִ שְׁתַּ ֲחוֶה ְלאֵל נֵכָר‬ You shall have no foreign god, You shall not bow to an alien god. ‫ָאנֹכִי | י ְהוָה אֱֹלהֶיָך ַה ַמּ ַעלְָך ֵמא ֶֶרץ ִמצ ְָרי ִם‬ I am the LORD your God who brought you up out of the land of Egypt ‫וְָאנֹכִי י ְהוָה אֱֹלהֶיָך ֵמא ֶֶרץ ִמצ ְָרי ִם‬ I am the LORD (ever since you came forth) from the land of Egypt ‫וְָאנֹכִי י ְהוָה אֱֹלהֶיָך ֵמא ֶֶרץ ִמצ ְָרי ִם‬ I am the LORD (ever since you came forth) from the land of Egypt :‫ָאנֹכִי י ְהוָה אֱֹלהֶיָך ֲאשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִ יָך ֵמא ֶֶרץ ִמצ ְַרי ִם ִמבֵּית ֲעבָדִ ים‬ I am the LORD who took you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods besides me.

It may be that the formulation in Psalm 81 and Hosea represents an early stage in the crystallization of the formulary of Decalogue. Another northern psalm, Psalm 80, mentions the Exodus directly only in a single verse, verse 9, but an image linked to the Exodus, of a vine transplanted from Egypt, is unfolded through the rest of the psalm. The psalm’s northern origin reflected in its mention of the northern tribes of Ephraim, Menasseh, and Benjamin and in its description of God as the shepherd of Joseph, Joseph being another term for the northern kingdom.47 Most likely, the psalm dates to the last days of the northern kingdom but perhaps before the final surrender and complete destruction.48 You transplanted a vine from Egypt, You expelled nations and planted it. You cleared a place for it, And it took root and filled the land. The hill country was covered by its shade, Mighty cedars by its boughs, It sends its branches (as far as) the sea, Its shoots, the river. Why did you breach its fences, So that every passerby plucks its fruit, Wild boars gnaw at it, And creatures of the field use it as pasture? O God of hosts, turn again, Look down from heaven and see, Take note of that vine, The stock planted by your right hand,

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The stem you have adopted as your own. (For) it is burned by fire and cut down, From your angry rebuke it perishes. (Ps 80:9–17)

The centrality of the Exodus in this psalm is yet another witness to the significance of the Exodus for the northern kingdom: just as God has nurtured the vine he transplanted from Egypt, so too should God continue to protect it, the psalmist from the North pleads. But southern prophets and liturgists approach the Exodus with another attitude. The southern prophet Amos co-opts the ideology of the North to intensify his critique. As a southern prophet who journeys to the North to prophesy, he seeks to use the significance of the Exodus for the northerners to reverse the import of the Exodus for them. The northerners rely upon the Exodus as a guarantee of divine protection, but the prophet derives an alternate lesson from it. God, according to Amos 3:1–2, has indeed singled the northerners out, but not for safekeeping or reward. Amos attracts the attention and assent of his northern listeners by repeating common wisdom in the North: Hear this word that the LORD has spoken concerning you, o Israelites, Concerning the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt. You alone have I singled out of all the families of the earth—

Then Amos dashes their expectations: That is why I will call you to account for all your iniquities.

In another passage, Amos negates the belief of the northerners that the Exodus was accomplished only for the Israelites. God has in fact brought other peoples from one land to another—the Exodus was not a unique event carried out by God for the Israelites alone. Are you not just like the Cushites to me, o Israelites—declares the LORD. True, I brought up Israel from Egypt, But also the Philistines from Caphtor And the Arameans from Kir. (Amos 9:7)

As shocking as the thought that God has carried out an Exodus for others is for the northerners, even more shocking is the identity of those other nations. God has executed an Exodus for the more remote of peoples (the Cushites) and, even worse, for the principal enemies of the Israelites (the Philistines and the Arameans). Amos has taken advantage of the gravity of the Exodus for the northerners to intensify his message that they should not be so confident in God’s protection, no matter what they do, and in fact they will be punished for their sins.

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Like Amos, the psalmist of Psalm 106 uses the Exodus to enhance his claim: even if the Exodus is not crucial to his theology, it amplifies his claim. The psalm is a composition from the Babylonian Exile that appears to date from before the return in 538 BCE: it makes reference to the destruction and captivity and contains a plea that the Israelites be returned from exile. The Exodus is not the main focus of this psalm but it is used to advance the main concern, the righteousness of divine judgment and the request for mercy. The psalmist recalls the Exodus to emphasize that the Israelites were saved at the Sea of Reeds not because they were blameless: in fact at that moment, they were rebellious and deserved their punishment. When disaster was averted in the wilderness, it was not due to the repentance of the Israelites but to the intercession of an individual. What the Israelites suffered, whether in the period of the Exodus or in the psalmist’s own time, was deserved: their own deeds condemned them. In the psalmist’s own time, the people are crying out for relief, and so they are even more deserving than in the time of the Exodus because they are repentant. The psalmist uses the Exodus to advance his theological claims. Deutero-Isaiah, the anonymous prophet of the Babylonian Exile who lived during the Edict of Cyrus, uses Exodus imagery to launch a new ideology, an ideology that overturns their exile and rends the ideology of the Davidic dynasty of the south asunder.49 The Edict of Cyrus allowed the Israelites to return to their land and rebuild their temple, and the prophet uses the Exodus as a lens through which the Israelites should see their own times. Exodus motifs are pervasive and profuse in these prophecies, and rather than recounting an event in the past, Deutero-Isaiah uses Exodus imagery to recast the present and future events of his or her50 own time. Among the Exodus motifs found in Deutero-Isaiah are: •  the departure from Egypt—40:10; 48:20; 52:11–12 •   the parting of the Reed Sea—42:13, 15; 43:2, 16–18; 44:27; 50:2–3; 51:10–11 •  the drowning of the Egyptians in the Reed Sea—43:16–18 •  the journey in the Wilderness—40:3–5; 42:16; 43:19; 45:13; 49:11 •  supplying food and water in the Wilderness—41:17–18; 43:19–20; 48:21; 49:9–11 •  the descent into Egypt—52:4 •  the triumphant entry in the Land of Canaan—49:8 The Exodus has been absorbed into the life experience of the Israelites themselves. Their lives are not ordinary but occur in extraordinary times. By utilizing Exodus motifs, Deutero-Isaiah can promote his or her radical theology that reshapes the accepted royal ideology of the South. The anointed king, divinely selected, is not a scion of the Davidic dynasty.

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Shockingly, Cyrus, the Persian emperor, has taken over the status of the divinely appointed king: he is not a Davidide, not even an Israelite, not even a worshipper of God (Isa 45:1–4). The prophet posits that the Davidic dynasty is no more and transfers the promise given to the David dynasty to the Israelite people as a whole (Isa 55:3). This revolutionary theology gains authority by being expressed in Exodus imagery. The radical nature of this theology cannot be overemphasized, and perhaps this accounts for the array of Exodus motifs that Deutero-Isaiah selected. He or she has featured the miraculous aspects of the Exodus. It is not surprising that this is so: the prophet seeks to convince the people that redemption, counter to their expectations, is near. God’s power allows him to do as he wills, whether in the time of the original Exodus or in the time of the prophet. The prophet sets each motif in a cosmic context that amplifies God’s power, magnifying the authority of the divine word transmitted by the prophet and the radical theology he or she espouses. Reshaping of Exodus motifs to intensify the cosmic power of the divine is found in Psalm 114, a psalm that telescopes all the events of the Exodus into one day in an ahistoric paean to divine might and selection of the Israelites.51 The Sea of Reeds retreats at the same time the Jordan runs backwards: these events separated by decades in the Pentateuch and a great distance in geography but are drawn tightly together by the psalmist. Rather than observing how the Egyptians or the other enemies of the Israelites react to the Exodus, the psalmist depicts how nature reacts in a cosmic theophany. The Exodus altered the natural world, with the emphasis placed on the reaction of water: the splitting of the Sea of Reeds, the crossing of the Jordan, and the finding of a source of water in the Wilderness. The two episodes of finding water in the Wilderness, Exodus 17:6 and Numbers 20:11, have been recounted out of turn, heightening the claim of divine might over the cosmic order. Other elements of nature react to the Exodus: the mountains quake, and the hills tremble.52 As we have seen, the Exodus was utilized by ancient Israelites to reinforce and intensify other events or theologies. These were reimagined in Exodus dimensions. The Exodus served as the matrix of memory in which other events were fitted, and the present was fused with the past. However, it did not cramp the perception of other events: it amplified, intensified, and magnified them. The Exodus could be a reassuring pattern that inspires the confidence that current troubles will be overcome, just like past troubles, but it also could be used to foil expectations and overturn assumptions. The Exodus was a narrative template, a matrix of events and concepts, that when imposed on other events and concepts revealed new dimensions. The potential of the Exodus is extraordinary in light of the elusiveness of its historical reality. At most, it was experienced by a small segment of

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the ancestors of the Israelites. Yet it became the foundational story of all the Israelites. It gained great capacity and power by imaginative investment and innovation. Rather than being a cliche that served to distance, the Exodus bridged more than a temporal divide: its fluidity allowed it to become the story of later generations. The stories of later generations were not evacuated by the Exodus but the Exodus was a salutary vehicle. Later generations did not experience it but it was transmitted to them so deeply as to constitute their own memories. Multiple, even redundant, modes of transmission inspired them to define the present in relation to the past, of looking backward in order to comprehend the present and understand the future. The conjunction of ritual, narrative, public commemoration, private study, family pedagogy, and royal ideology institutionalized the memory of the Exodus: these modes of memory reactivated and reembodied the distant past by making it resonant with the individual, family, and community.53 NOTES 1. Joseph Blenkinsopp, Ezra-Nehemiah (Old Testament Library; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1988), 138–39. 2.  If the Israelites in Egypt were as numerous as mentioned elsewhere in the Pentateuch, it is surprising that the Bible mentions that they needed only two midwives. Perhaps this remark is a remnant of a tradition that there was a far smaller Israelite population in Egypt. See Carol A. Redmount, “Bitter Lives: Israel in and out of Egypt,” in The Oxford History of the Biblical World (ed. Michael D. Coogan; New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 95. 3. Pnina Galpaz-Feller, Yetzi’at mitzrayim: metzi’ut o dimyon (Jerusalem: Schocken, 2002), 24–25. 4.  Redmount, “Bitter Lives,” 8. 5.  Exodus 7:13, 14, 22; 8:11, 15, 28; 9:7, 12, 34, 35; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10. 6.  Galpaz-Feller, 80–85. 7.  A number of scholars have suggested that actual historical events have been reshaped through narrative inversion. Jan Assmann suggests that the memory of the expulsion of the Asiatic rulers of Egypt, the Hyksos, in the fifteenth century BCE is reflected in the motif of the expulsion of Israelite slaves (Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997], 39–42). Ronald Hendel suggests that the epidemic of a “Canaanite illness,” perhaps conflated with the despised memory of the heretic king Akhenaton, during whose reign the contagion began, is reflected in Israelite memory as the Egyptian diseases of the Exodus (“The Exodus in Biblical Memory,” Journal of Biblical Literature 120 [2001], 608–15). 8. Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 417–18. While the affix is only part of a name— the affix is used with a divine name to create a personal name—the use of the

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affix alone is frequent. (See Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian, 253 n. 20; Alan H. Gardiner, “The Egyptian Origin of Some English Personal Names,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 56 [1936], 192–94; J. Gwyn Griffiths, “The Egyptian derivation of the Name Moses,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 12 [1953], 225–31). It is possible that the divine element, presumably naming an Egyptian god, was omitted because it would be unseemly for such a consequential figure like Moses to have a name that included a theophoric element from an Egyptian god.  9. Galpaz-Feller, 36. 10.  Scholarly consensus dates a possible Exodus to the late thirteenth century BCE. A biblical text, 1 Kings 6:1, implies a date of 1440 BCE. (The text records that the building of the Temple was completed 480 years after the Exodus, and the conventional date for the completion of the First Temple is ca. 960 BCE, hence the date of 1440 BCE.) However, the fifteenth century was a period of Egyptian domination over Canaan, so if the Israelites were to have departed Egypt and arrived in Canaan, they would have faced Egyptian opposition once again. The Bible, by contrast, depicts the Egyptians as no longer a threat after the Israelites have crossed the Sea of Reeds. Furthermore, there is strong evidence of new settlements (and possibly new settlers) in previously unoccupied areas of Canaan in the twelfth century BCE. 11. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel, 221–27. There is also evidence of “Asiatic” travellers visiting Egypt. See the Beni-Hasan tomb painting, nineteenth century BCE (The Ancient Near East in Pictures [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954], number 3 [p. 2, with caption on p. 249]; Donald B. Spanel, “Beni Hasan,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition), ed. Donald B. Redford, (accessed April 27, 2009). 12.  James B. Pritchard, The Ancient Near East in Pictures (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954), fig. 115. This image is from the tomb of the vizier Rekh-miRe, who was in office during the latter part of the reign of Thutmose III and the opening of the reign of Amen-hotep II, ca. 1470–1445. 13. “Asiatics in Egyptian Household Service,” trans. John A. Wilson, in Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, 553–54. 14.  Thomas Schneider, “Foreigners in Egypt: Archaeological Evidence and Cultural Context,” in Egyptian Archaeology, ed. Willeke Wendrich (Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology; Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 154–55. 15.  John S. Holladay, Jr., Cities of the Delta, Part III: Tell el-Maskuṭa (Malibu: Undena Publications, 1982); Holladay, “Pithom,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition), (accessed April 27, 2009); E.P. Uphill, “Pithom and Raamses: Their Location and Significance,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 27 (1968), 291–99; John Van Seters, “The Geography of the Exodus,” in The Land that I will Show You: Essays on the History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honour of J. Maxwell Miller (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 343; 2001), 257–64. M.W. Flinders Petrie, followed recently by William Dever, suggested that Pithom might have been located at Tell el-Reṭabe, which was abandoned during the New Kingdom but reoccupied in the twentieth dynasty, ca. 1200 BCE (Petrie, Hyksos and Israelite Cities [London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1906], 28–34); Dever, “Israel, History of (Archaeology and the ‘Conquest’),” Anchor Bible Dictionary 3:546. However, Hans Goedicke demonstrates that it was

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in use as a garrison during the reign of Raamses II (“Ramesses II and the Wadi Tumilat,” Varia aegyptiaca 3 [1987], 13–27). 16.  O’Connor, 215. 17. Manfred Bietak, Avaris and Piramesse (revised edition, London: The British Academy, 1986), 271; James K. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 117–19; Edgar B. Pusch, “Piramesse,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition); Uphill, “Pithom and Raamses: Their Location and Significance,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 27 (1968), 299–316; Uphill, “Pithom and Raamses: Their Location and Significance,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 28 (1969), 15–39; Van Seters, “The Geography of the Exodus,” 264–67. 18. Bietak, Avaris and Piramesse, 278–79; Galpaz-Feller, 24; Redmount, “Bitter Lives,” 88. It has been claimed informally that half of the monuments still extent from ancient Egypt were built by Ramesses II. Ramesses II reigned from 1279– 1212 BCE, according to the low chronology for this period of Egyptian history. On chronology, see David O’Connor, “New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 1552–664 BC,” in Ancient Egypt: A Social History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 183–84. 19.  Isa 19:11, 13; 30:4; Ezek 30:14 (although in Ezekiel’s time, the capital was in another place, Sais). See Geoffrey Graham, “Tanis,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition). 20.  The mention of Israel remains significant, whether the victory claimed is routine pharaonic hyperbole or the bona fide outcome of a historical military campaign. Cf. Kenneth A. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions: Historical and Biographical (Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1982), and Donald B. Redford, “The Ashkelon Relief and the Israel Stele,” Israel Exploration Journal 36 (1986), 188–200, and Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 275. Merneptah reigned from 1212 to 1202 BCE. 21.  Frank J. Yurco, “Merenptah’s Canaanite Campaign,” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 23 (1986), 190. Michael G. Hasel suggests that “his seed is not” refers to grain and that while the Israelites did not have a fortified city, they were rural sedentary agriculturalists living on grain subsistence (“Israel in the Merneptah Stela,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 296 [1994], 53–54). See also G.W. Ahlstrom and D. Edelman, “Merneptah’s Israel,” Journal of Biblical Literature 44 (1985), 59–61. 22. Walter Wrezinski, Atlas zur Altaegyptsichen Kulturgeschichte: Zweiter Teil (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1988 [Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1923–1935]), plates 57–58a. See also Frannoise La Saout, “Reconstitution des Murs de la Cour de la Cachette,” Cahiers de Karnak 7 (1978–1981), 213–57. 23.  The reliefs at Karnak also portray another group, the Shasu, who are being bound as prisoners and marched off to Egypt, dressed in clothing distinct from the Canaanite foes in the four battle scenes. While some scholars have argued that the depiction of the Shasu is in fact a portrayal of the Israelites, the dissimilarities are decisive: the Shasu are not displayed as engaging in battle and are not garbed in Canaanite clothes. See Yurco, “Merenptah’s Canaanite Campaign,” 207, 209–11, and “Merenptah’s campaign and Israel’s Origins” 28–32, 41–42. Yurco also claims that he sees the Israelites portrayed in hilly country, but I fail to see the hills.

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24.  Rudolph Cohen, Kadesh-Barnea: A Fortress from the Time of the Judean Kingdom (Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1983). On the invisibility of nomads, see Israel Finkelstein, Living on the Fringe: The Archaeology of the Negev, Sinai and Neighboring Regions in the Bronze and Middle Ages (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995), 16–30. 25.  James Weinstein, “Exodus and Archaeological Reality,” 88–90. 26.  Raphael Frankel, “Upper Galilee in the Late Bronze-Iron I Transition,” in Israel Finkelstein and Nadav Na’aman, eds., From Nomadism to Monarchy: Archeological and Historical Aspects of Early Israel (Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1994), 18–34; Avi Ofer, “‘All the Hill Country of Judah’: From a Settlement Fringe to a Prosperous Monarchy,” in From Nomadism to Monarchy, 92–121; Shlomo Bunimovitz and Zvi Lederman, “A Border Case: Beth-Shemesh and the Rise of Ancient Israel,” in Israel in Transition: From Late Bronze II to Iron IIa (c. 1250–850 B.C.E.), Volume 1. The Archaeology, 21–31; Beth Alpert Nakhai, “Contextualizing Village Life in the Iron Age I,” in Israel in Transition, 121–37. 27.  Ann E. Killebrew, Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and Early Israel (Society of Biblical Literature Archaeology and Biblical Studies; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005), 149–96. 28.  Robert D. Miller, “Identifying Early Israel,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 333 (2004), 55. 29.  Even Dever in his long diatribe against the historicity of the Exodus concedes in his last few sentences that some constituents of the later Israelites might have originated in Egypt (“Is There Any Archaeological Evidence for the Exodus?” 82). 30. Hendel, “The Exodus in Biblical Memory,” 620–22; Killebrew, Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity, 151–52. 31. Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999), 4. Critiques of the Holocaust in memory are referenced in this essay because they provide useful models of thinking about memorialization and of vocabulary and analysis that provide conceptual clarity. 32.  Jan Assmann, Religion and Cultural Memory: Ten Studies, 10–11, 20. 33. Assmann analyzes the memory techniques of Deuteronomy, but his analysis applies all the more so to many other biblical texts (Religion and Cultural Memory, 17–19). 34.  Gerhard von Rad called attention to how the covenant at Sinai was at times omitted and set apart from the Exodus narrative, “The Form-Critical Problem of the Hexateuch” in The Form-Critical Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays (London: SCM Press, 1986 [1958]). It is striking that Judges 5, recounting an event parallel to the Exodus in the defeat of enemy chariots, does not recall the Exodus but the Sinai theophany. 35.  See an example of this phenomenon for the second generation of Holocaust survivors in Marianne Hirsch, “Past Lives: Postmemories in Exile,” Poetics Today 17 (1996): 659–86, and “The Generation of Postmemory,” Poetics Today 29 (2008): 103–28. 36.  The approach to the utilization of the Exodus is inspired by the thesis of Michael Rothberg, who argues that the prominence of the Holocaust in contem-

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porary culture does not stifle the recognition of other genocides or oppression: rather, he contends that the presence of widespread Holocaust consciousness is used as a platform to promote the cognizance of other horrors (Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization [Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009], 2–3). In my approach, rather than focusing on how one form of oppression can be cross-referenced to articulate another form of oppression, I aim to analyze how the cultural memory of one event or set of events can be used to enhance the status of other events and ideologies. 37. Yair Hoffman, Yetzi’at mitzrayim be-emunat ha-mikra (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1983), 99. 38.  The reference to the betrayal of the Ephraimite archers is highly obscure. The Mekhilta, followed by Rashi, suggests that the Ephraimites attempted to depart from Egypt before it was time, relying on their own military power, in an abortive undertaking. (Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Horowitz-Rabin edition, 76; Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, Epstein-Melamed edition, 45). Radaq suggests that it refers to a battle in the Wilderness, not mentioned in the Pentateuch, that the Ephraimites engaged in against the divine will. Ibn Ezra links it with the rebellion of the people that resulted in the destruction of Shiloh, mentioned later in the psalm, v. 60. However, it is more likely that it refers to a battle between the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom, as discussed later in this essay. 39.  If the reference to the northerners in verse 9 of the first cycle is to be carried through the first historical scheme, then the mercy God showed in verses 38–39 at the end of the first cycle was on those same northerners. 40.  Hayim Tadmor, “The Campaigns of Sargon II of Assur: A ChronologicalHistorical Study,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 12 (1958), 37; Ron Tappy, The Archaeology of Israelite Samaria, Vol. II: The 8th C BCE (Harvard Semitic Series 50; Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2001), 2.559; K. Lawson Younger, “The Deportations of the Israelites,” Journal of Biblical Literature 117 (1998), 217–18. 41.  It is also possible that venomous relations were aroused when the southern king reportedly submitted to the northern king in the mid-nineth century. See 1 Kings 22:45. 42.  The Pentateuch contains another tradition about manna, Numbers 11:6–9. 43. A number of interpreters have suggested that this phrase indicates that manna was the food of the angels/heavenly host. 44.  See Psalm 105:27–36 for yet another numbering and ordering of the plagues. 45.  The first king, Saul, according to 1 Samuel, is omitted here. 46.  See my essay, “Reimagining Exile Through the Lens of the Exodus: Turning Points in Israelite History and Texts” in By the Irrigation Canals of Babylon: Approaches to the Study of the Exile (London: T & T Clark, 2012), 93–106. 47.  See Amos 6:6; Ezekiel 37:16, 19. 48.  Hoffman, 103; A.A. Anderson, Psalms (New Century Bible Commentary; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), 581. 49. Bernhard W. Anderson, “Exodus and Covenant in Second Isaiah and Prophetic Tradition,” in Magnalia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God: Essays on the Bible and Archaeology in Memory of G. Ernest Wright (ed. Frank Moore Cross, Werner E. Lemke, and Patrick D. Miller; Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976); Anderson, “Exodus Typology in Second Isaiah,” in Israel’s Prophetic Heritage: Essays

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in Honor of James Muilenburg (ed. B. W. Anderson and W. Harrelson; New York: Harper, 1962), 177–95. 50.  The biography of this prophet is completely unknown and, therefore, it is unknown whether the prophet was male or female. The use of the name DeuteroIsaiah is a convenience accepted by scholarly consensus, and the inclusion of women, such as Deborah and Huldah, among the prophets leaves open the possibility of a female prophet in the absence of any knowledge about the person of the prophet. In addition, there is one characteristic of Deutero-Isaiah that might indicate that the prophet is female: the prophet is the only one to use feminine imagery for God, and it could be surmised that a female prophet might be more inclined than a male prophet to use such imagery. 51.  Hoffman, 109. 52.  While this could be an allusion to the theophany at Sinai, it is increased to the nth degree since more than one mountain is involved. 53.  My appreciation to the following for their comments and suggestions on this essay: those who participated in the Exodus Colloquium at Washington University in St. Louis (supported by the Program in Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies); the Old Testament Colloquium at Princeton Theological Seminary; and the Post-Holocaust Reading Group at Washington University in St. Louis.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ahlstrom, G.W., and D. Edelman. “Merneptah’s Israel.” Journal of Biblical Literature 44 (1985), 59–61. Anderson, A.A. Psalms. New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1972. Anderson, Bernhard W. “Exodus and Covenant in Second Isaiah and Prophetic Tradition,” in Magnalia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God: Essays on the Bible and Archaeology in Memory of G. Ernest Wright, ed. Frank Moore Cross, Werner E. Lemke, and Patrick D. Miller, 339–60. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1976. ———. “Exodus Typology in Second Isaiah,” in Israel’s Prophetic Heritage: Essays in Honor of James Muilenburg, ed. B.W. Anderson and W. Harrelson, 177–95. New York: Harper, 1962. “Asiatics in Egyptian Household Service,” translated by John A. Wilson, in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed. James B. Pritchard, 553–54. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969. Assmann, Jan. Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. Barmash, Pamela. “Reimagining Exile Through the Lens of the Exodus: Turning Points in Israelite History and Texts” in By the Irrigation Canals of Babylon: Approaches to the Study of the Exile, ed. John Ahn, 93–106. London: T & T Clark, 2012. Bietak, Manfred. Avaris and Piramesse. Revised Edition. London: The British Academy, 1986. Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Ezra-Nehemiah. Old Testament Library. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1988. Bunimovitz, Shlomo, and Zvi Lederman. “A Border Case: Beth-Shemesh and the Rise of Ancient Israel,” in Israel in Transition: From Late Bronze II to Iron IIa

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(c. 1250–850 B.C.E.), Volume 1. The Archaeology, ed. Lester Grabbe, 21–31. New York: T & T Clark, 2008. Cohen, Rudolph. Kadesh-Barnea: A Fortress from the Time of the Judean Kingdom. Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1983. Dever, William. “Israel, History of (Archaeology and the ‘Conquest’),” Anchor Bible Dictionary, 3, 545–58. Finkelstein, Israel. Living on the Fringe: The Archaeology of the Negev, Sinai and Neighboring Regions in the Bronze and Middle Ages. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995. Flinders Petrie, M.W. Hyksos and Israelite Cities. London: British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1906. Frankel, Raphael. “Upper Galilee in the Late Bronze-Iron I Transition,” in From Nomadism to Monarchy: Archeological and Historical Aspects of Early Israel, ed. Israel Finkelstein and Nadav Na’aman, 18–34. Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1994. Galpaz-Feller, Pnina. Yetzi’at mitzrayim: metzi’ut o dimyon. Jerusalem: Schocken, 2002. Gardiner, Alan H. “The Egyptian Origin of Some English Personal Names.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 56 (1936), 192–94. Goedicke, Hans. “Ramesses II and the Wadi Tumilat.” Varia aegyptiaca 3 (1987), 13–27. Graham, Geoffrey. “Tanis,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition). Accessed April 27, 2009. Griffiths, J. Gwyn. “The Egyptian derivation of the Name Moses.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 12 (1953), 225–31. Hasel, Michael G. “Israel in the Merneptah Stela,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 296 (1994), 45–61. Hendel, Ronald. “The Exodus in Biblical Memory.” Journal of Biblical Literature 120 (2001): 608–15. Hirsch, Marianne. “Past Lives: Postmemories in Exile.” Poetics Today 17 (1996), 659–86. ———. “The Generation of Postmemory.” Poetics Today 29 (2008), 103–28. Hoffman, Yair. Yetzi’at mitzrayim be-emunat ha-mikra. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 1983. Hoffmeier, James K. Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition. New York: Oxford, 1996. Holladay, John S., Jr. “Pithom,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition), Accessed April 27, 2009. ———. Cities of the Delta, Part III: Tell el-Maskuṭa. Malibu: Undena Publications, 1982. Killebrew, Ann E. Biblical Peoples and Ethnicity: An Archaeological Study of Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and Early Israel. Society of Biblical Literature Archaeology and Biblical Studies. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2005. Kitchen, Kenneth A. Ramesside Inscriptions: Historical and Biographical. Oxford: B.H. Blackwell, 1982. La Saout, Françoise. “Reconstitution des Murs de la Cour de la Cachette.” Cahiers de Karnak 7 (1978–1981), 213–57. Miller, Robert D. “Identifying Early Israel.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 333 (2004), 55–68. Nakhai, Beth Alpert. “Contextualizing Village Life in the Iron Age I,” in Israel in Transition: From Late Bronze II to Iron IIa (c. 1250–850 B.C.E.), Volume 1. The Archaeology, ed. Lester Grabbe, 121–37. New York: T & T Clark, 2008.

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Novick, Peter. The Holocaust in American Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. O’Connor, David. “New Kingdom and Third Intermediate Period, 1552–664 BC,” in Ancient Egypt: A Social History, ed. B.G. Trigger, B.J. Kemp, D. O’Connor and A.B. Lloyd, 183–278. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Ofer, Avi. “‘All the Hill Country of Judah’: From a Settlement Fringe to a Prosperous Monarchy,” in From Nomadism to Monarchy: Archeological and Historical Aspects of Early Israel, ed. Israel Finkelstein and Nadav Na’aman, 92–121. Jerusalem: Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, 1994. Pritchard, James B. The Ancient Near East in Pictures. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954. Pusch, Edgar B. “Piramesse,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition). Accessed April 27, 2009. Rad, Gerhard von. “The Form-Critical Problem of the Hexateuch,” in The FormCritical Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays, 1–78. London: SCM Press, 1986 [1958]. Redford, Donald B. “The Ashkelon Relief and the Israel Stele.” Israel Exploration Journal 36 (1986), 188–200. ———. Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992. Redmount, Carol A. “Bitter Lives: Israel in and out of Egypt,” in The Oxford History of the Biblical World, edited by Michael D. Coogan, 79–122. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. Rothberg, Michael. Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009. Schneider, Thomas. “Foreigners in Egypt: Archaeological Evidence and Cultural Context,” in Egyptian Archaeology, ed. Willeke Wendrich. 143–63. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Spanel, Donald B. “Beni Hasan,” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (e-reference edition). Accessed April 27, 2009. Tadmor, Hayim. “The Campaigns of Sargon II of Assur: A Chronological-Historical Study.” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 12 (1958), 22–40, 77–100. Tappy, Ron. The Archaeology of Israelite Samaria, Vol. II: The 8th C BCE. Harvard Semitic Series 50. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns, 2001. Uphill, E.P. “Pithom and Raamses: Their Location and Significance.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 27 (1968), 291–316. Van Seters, John. “The Geography of the Exodus,” in The Land that I will Show You: Essays on the History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honour of J. Maxwell Miller, 255–76. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 343; Sheffield, JSOT Press, 2001. Wrezinski, Walter. Atlas zur Altaegyptsichen Kulturgeschichte: Zweiter Teil. Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1988 (Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs, 1923–1935). Younger, K. Lawson. “The Deportations of the Israelites.” Journal of Biblical Literature 117 (1998), 201–27. Yurco, Frank J. “Merenptah’s Canaanite Campaign.” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 23 (1986), 189–215.

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Discontinuity and Dissonance Torah, Textuality, and Early Rabbinic Hermeneutics of Exodus W. David Nelson

The religion of any people is more than a structure of thought; it is experience, expression, motivations, intentions, behaviors, styles and rhythms. Its first and fundamental expression is not on the level of thought. —Charles Long1 Religion is an intense and sustained cultivation of a style of life that heightens awareness of morally binding connections between the self, the human community, and the most essential structures of reality. Religions posit various orders of reality and help individuals and groups to negotiate their relations with those orders. —Martin S. Jaffee2

I

n The Origins of the Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism,3 Baruch M. Bokser presents a comparative analysis of the earliest description of the rabbinic Passover evening commemorative ritual meal (the seder) preserved in the tenth, and final, chapter of Mishnah tractate Pesahim. Bokser’s goal is to examine the development of the early rabbinic seder, in order to gain insight into the theological response of Rabbinic Judaism to the challenges it faced as a result of the Roman destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. By comparing the mishnaic seder with descriptions of Passover evening rites observed by earlier, prerabbinic forms of Judaism, Bokser identifies characteristics and aspects that were unique to the rabbinic rite. These, in turn, form the basis of his multi-faceted analysis of the manner in which the early rabbinic seder 23

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reshaped the Passover experience for Jews in the immediate post-Temple period, and of the theological meaning they took from the reshaped ritual experience. It is the multi-faceted nature of Bokser’s comparative approach (which we will soon examine in greater detail) that distinguishes The Origins of the Seder as a pioneering and enduring scholarly achievement. His insights stem from both an awareness of and sensitivity towards the hermeneutical complexity of the seder as a transformative ritual—one comprised of prayer, history, biblical exegesis, theology, pedagogy, and ethics. Rooted in a conceptualization of the seder as a ritualized manifestation of Judaism’s complex, conflicted post-Temple religious consciousness, Bokser’s analysis reveals the central concern of the rabbinic rite to address issues of Jewish historical-theological discontinuity and dissonance that arose in the aftermath of the Temple’s destruction. The innovative rabbinic seder served as a ritual lens through which the earliest rabbis refracted the biblical narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt in accordance with their developing religious worldview.4 As such, the seder enabled its participants to actualize the biblical narrative’s hermeneutical potency, to experience its transformative potential, and to produce theological meaning sufficient to meet the religioushistorical exigencies of their time. Bokser’s analysis in The Origins of the Seder uncovers a range of dynamics and influences both extrinsic and intrinsic to the seder rite that influenced its development and shaped its production of meaning. Indeed, an indication of both the complexity and quality of his work are the many trajectories it establishes for additional research and consideration. This paper will build upon and advance Bokser’s insights, using them as a springboard for a broader exploration of the hermeneutics that informed the early rabbinic theological concept of Yetsiat Mitsrayim—the “Exodus from Egypt.” Among the goals of this effort is to examine how oralperformative and literary dynamics enabled early rabbinic “hermeneutics of the Exodus” to produce meaning in response to Jewish theological dissonance and concern for historical continuity/discontinuity.5 Insofar as The Origins of the Seder investigates how the hermeneutics of Exodus influenced and shaped the theological response of early Rabbinic Judaism to its historical reality, this effort will investigate how dynamics of early rabbinic textuality influenced and shaped Rabbinic Judaism’s hermeneutics of Exodus. (DIS)CONTINUITY IN THE EARLY RABBINIC SEDER In that The Origins of the Seder serves as a springboard for this examination, it will be useful at the outset to consider it in greater detail. As

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already noted, it situates a comparative analysis of the earliest account of a rabbinic seder within its historical context, in order to understand better the response of the nascent Rabbinic movement to the theological challenges associated with the loss of the Temple and its sacrificial cult. In that all forms of pre-Rabbinic Judaism were founded upon biblically based models of priestly, sacrificial leadership, what answer did the emerging rabbinic form of Judaism offer in the immediate aftermath of the loss of these essential elements, and how was the Passover seder reflective of its response? The significance of these questions is underscored by the centrality of the paschal eve sacrifice for all pre-Rabbinic manifestations of Passover eve observance.6 Whereas some aspects of the rabbinic seder were shared in common with some of the pre-rabbinic rites,7 the paschal sacrifice was the one ritual aspect common to them all. Bokser identifies elements that were appropriated from prior forms of the Passover rite, reinterpreted to some degree, and then incorporated into the rabbinic seder. In his estimation, these were designed to promote and foster the sense that the rabbinic seder contained nothing new and was essentially continuous with Passover rituals observed by Jews throughout the ages.8 This, in turn, leads to his conclusion that the rabbinic solution to a Passover without a paschal sacrifice was to formulate a seder ritual that represented itself in total continuity with prior forms of Passover eve observance, and to imply that the meaning of Passover existed separate and apart from the paschal sacrifice: The Mishnah draws upon earlier biblical accounts of Passover eve and recasts them so as to provide the celebration with a new basis . . . by outlining a viable evening protocol consisting of old and new elements. . . . [In so doing] the Mishnah creates the impression that the new order constitutes a tried and valid evening ritual that will continue to remind people of past redemption and assure them of future redemption.9

That is, the mishnaic seder reflected the rabbinic conviction that the celebration of Passover could continue without the paschal offering, and the incorporation of refashioned ritual elements from prior Passover rites helped de-emphasize the sense of religious/historical discontinuity that resulted from its dissolution. At the same time, however, Bokser acknowledges the counter-intuitive and paradoxical nature of this rabbinic claim of continuity, in that it promoted the premise that nothing had changed in the midst of a religious context and historical reality that attested undeniably to the fact that such was not the case: Owing to the nature of its argument, the Mishnah intentionally presents an anomaly. That is, despite the disparity with the previous observance, the Mishnah writes as if nothing were new, and as if the new order were that which had always been followed.10

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Although the mishnaic seder to a large degree was a product of ritual appropriation, it was also a product of ritual innovation. A number of significant, novel aspects denote it as uniquely rabbinic in both its provenance and theological outlook: •  The requirement that all participants involve themselves in an intellectual discussion of the biblical Exodus story, thus creating a context for thematic expansion beyond the limits established by the framework of the biblical narrative •  The requirement that all parents must actively engage their children in pedagogical conversation during the seder •  The incorporation of midrashically reinterpreted biblical narratives that recount a specifically rabbinic, mythic history of God’s redemption and protection of the Israelites •   The requirement to recite seven blessings at certain moments throughout the seder, emphasizing its status as an official ritual, and not only celebratory, meal •  The introduction of a theology of recurring redemption based on the Exodus narrative (as opposed to a commemoration of the singular Israelite redemption) Bokser highlights the following dispute in m. Pesahim 10:6 between Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Aqiva about the proper wording of the blessing recited after the first part of the Hallel,11 in order to illustrate what he calls the seder’s “theology of recurring redemption”: R. Tarfon says: “. . . Who has redeemed us and redeemed our ancestors from Egypt and brought us to this night”—and one does not seal [the blessing with a concluding formula]. R. Aqiva says: [One adds to the blessing:] “Thus O Lord, our God and God of our ancestors, bring us in peace to the approaching festivals which are coming to meet us, happy in the building of Your city, [so as] to eat from the passover and festive offerings whose blood will reach the wall of Your altar with favor, and let us thank You for our redemption. Praised art Thou, O Lord, who redeemed Israel.”

Whereas Tarfon refers to God’s redemption of the Israelites from Egypt as a past, completed event, Aqiva . . . refers to an ever-recurring redemption that applies not only to the ancient Israelites but also to the current generation . . . The exodus event inherently carries the promise of future redemption . . . but his [i.e., Aqiva’s] message is still based on the old religious structures. Not only does it speak

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of the future only in terms of a continual present (God redeemed and is redeeming) but it also refers only by implication to the changed situation in expressing hope for the reestablishment of “your city” so that Jews will be able to eat from the passover and festive offerings. This posture sharply contrasts with the amoraic extensive treatment of the theme of redemption. The postmishnaic masters, openly dealing with the disparity between the rite with its message of redemption and the current social and political situation under Roman and Iranian rule, either reinterpret redemption or else speak of experiencing it in the future. Overall, then, although the Mishnah is informed by current realities, it does not make redemption a central theme.12

Aqiva’s understated, reserved reference to an ever-recurring redemption reflects the ambivalence of the earliest, tannaitic rabbis towards this theological innovation, an ambivalence soon to be displaced by an overt, amoraic expression of concern about the disparity (=discontinuity) between the seder’s message of redemption and their historical and religious realities. Ultimately, Bokser’s richest insights stem from his interpretation of the meaning engendered by both the innovative and traditional aspects of the mishnaic seder for its participants, which at the grandest level “afforded Jews a sense of continuity with the past while it set them on a new path for the future.”13 One particularly effective innovation was to include a recitation of the greater, biblical Exodus narrative (especially Deuteronomy 26:5–9) along with an accompanying midrashic reinterpretation. For the participants in the seder, the experience of reciting their Jewish mythic history, reshaped through a rabbinic lens of interpretation, was such that: Although Jews could not deny the aspect of their history that included the temple and their dwelling in the land of Israel, they could overcome the dissonance of their present situation by seeing it as one stage in the traditional paradigm. . . . There had been several instances of the transition from darkness to light. The present reality made up one such cycle, and Jews could believe that they lived somewhere between the existing darkness and the future light. The mythic history is therefore enlarged to include their contemporary situation.14

Moreover, the overall atmosphere of communitas fostered by the ritual setting of the seder—that is, the manner in which the seder simplified and essentialized the social relationship of its Jewish participants—heightened the experience of this recitation to such an extent that: There is a new attitude toward history. The exodus, more than a unique event in the past, takes on a mythic quality to a far greater degree. The ritual emphasizes this quality and adjusts its account of the past redemption to show that the present is a stage between darkness and light. It helps people

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continue to believe that a new social and national order can and will come about . . . The Passover celebration provided Jews . . . with a channel in which to direct their hopes and anxieties concerning redemption. . . . People did not have to admit to any discontinuity with the past . . .15

Amidst the theological turmoil and disorientation of the immediate postdestruction period, the mishnaic seder assumed that, but for the loss of the Temple and its cult, Judaism remained virtually unchanged and entirely the same. Its goal was to present an idealistic revision of the Jewish past, while carefully avoiding absolute historical escapism. By acknowledging the existence of the Temple cult while simultaneously minimizing its contemporary significance, the mishnaic seder helped Jews living in the immediate aftermath of the Temple’s destruction maintain a façade of continuity with their religious past. Bokser concludes his examination by addressing the obvious question: Why did the Mishnah (and its earliest rabbinic tradents) promote such a blatantly implausible vision of reality? What precluded it from simply acknowledging the obvious, confronting its historical reality, and promoting a vision of Judaism without the Temple cult? The explanation is rooted in the modes of human psychological response in the immediate aftermath of traumatic experience: An individual or group that suffers a traumatic loss must eventually confront and adjust to the new circumstances. But as long as the pain of loss is acute, one cannot openly alter one’s relationship to the lost object or transcend it. To face the future, one needs to feel and demonstrate a continuity with the past. . . . Anachronism enables people to believe that they stand in a continuity with the past. . . . [The rabbinic seder in] Mishnah Pesahim 10 is an example of the anachronistic process which aims at continuity and cannot acknowledge the existence of change, but which at the same time is motivated by a desire to express a new meaning. The need to demonstrate conformity with the past indicates that the framers of the Mishnah are still affected by the traumatic loss of the cult. But in structuring the rite on a new basis and in adding new features, they are coming to grips with the crisis.16

Regardless of the reality of historical circumstances, an acute sense of trauma and vulnerability generated a corresponding, psychological need to perceive continuity with the Jewish past. Bokser concludes his study by arguing that both Rabbinic Judaism and its sages would have to wait for the post-mishnaic, amoraic period for both the diminished level of theological vulnerability and the heightened sense of religious self-assurance required to acknowledge the reality of Jewish discontinuity and dissonance, and in so doing, incorporate them meaningfully into the emerging religious worldview of Rabbinic Judaism.

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THE HERMENEUTICS OF EXODUS AND THE IDEOLOGY OF TORAH Bokser’s work underscores how early rabbinic biblical interpretation was a multi-dimensional process, and not merely a literary/textual undertaking. Whereas the mishnaic seder obviously involved an interpretive textual component, it served merely to mediate the transformative experience of the commemorative meal through ritualized dialogue. That is to say, the hermeneutics of the mishnaic seder—the manner in which it fostered a theologically transformative experience in accordance with the emerging rabbinic religious worldview—involved many dynamics (e.g., communitas, enacted ritual, liturgy, oral pedagogy, textual tradition, biblical interpretation, etc.) that were facilitated only by means of the shared, dialogical experience that took place around the recitation of the guiding text throughout the commemorative meal. As such, it was the ritual experience of the seder meal that was regarded by Rabbinic Judaism as holy and transformative, but not the literary forms of the rabbinic textual tradition utilized to manifest the experience. As an experience of ritualized declamation, the mishnaic seder was a microcosmic outgrowth of the greater realm of oral-performative pedagogical interpretation that influenced so strongly the shape and substance of the emerging religious worldview of the new rabbinic form of Judaism. In the aftermath of Roman revolt, the early rabbis reshaped and refashioned theological concepts and ritual aspects inherited from prior forms of Judaism, and utilized them to (re)create a Jewish religious reality in which to function existentially and through which to understand both the world and what was required of Jews within it.17 Crucial to the endeavor of fashioning a meaningful, rabbinic religious worldview and reality were both the hermeneutics of Exodus (of which the mishnaic seder was but one manifestation) and the oral-performative dynamics of the rabbinic tradition of interpretation.18 In as much as the amoraim appealed to their textual tradition of Exodus interpretation to acknowledge theological/ historical discontinuity and dissonance, their ability to do so depended to a large extent on the ideology they constructed of the orality of their textual tradition. Early rabbinic textuality was comprised of both oral and literary processes.19 Although preserved in a written medium, rabbinic tradition was encountered and internalized in aural fashion primarily through declamation in pedagogical, religious settings.20 As such, the value of written rabbinic textual tradition was in its ability to mediate oral-performative experiences of interpretation—in much the same way that the recitation of the textual tradition of the biblical Exodus narrative actualized and enabled the hermeneutical potency and transformative experience of

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the mishnaic seder. For the amoraic rabbinic authorities, therefore, the potential of the hermeneutics of Exodus to acknowledge, transform, and transcend Jewish dissonance and discontinuity could be realized only through the recitation and declamation of the biblical narrative’s traditions of rabbinic interpretation. A theological aspect of central importance to early rabbinic textuality was the amoraic ideological conceptualization of “Torah” as dual modes of oral and written revelation bestowed simultaneously on Mount Sinai by God to Israel through Moses. In his recent study of the oral-performative textual processes of various forms of early Judaism,21 Martin Jaffee contextualizes the amoraic construction of this conceptualization of Torah within the growth and development of its oral-literary textual tradition, and analyzes the nature and significance of the relationship between the two. Unlike the various forms of Second Temple Judaism, which all were devoid of “any articulate ideological formation of oral-literary tradition as a distinctive Judaic cultural possession,”22 Rabbinic Judaism displayed an overt awareness of the orality of its textual tradition from the very outset of its origins—an awareness, Jaffee emphasizes, that changed significantly with the passage of time and the ongoing development of both the religion and its rabbinic leadership. Whereas the tannaim were aware of the orality of their texts, the amoraim redirected rabbinic orality-awareness away from the text and focused it, instead, on the orality of their declamatory methods of pedagogical, textual performance.23 In Jaffee’s estimation, the implications of this redirected orality-awareness were primarily ideological. The tannaim inherited textual traditions of interpretation from Second Temple Judaism(s), and adapted them to suit their specific religious needs. In order to justify their adaptations, they bestowed upon them an oral provenance “. . . that as a matter of ideological principle came to deny that the written sources of its oral-performative tradition exist.”24 However, the amoraim not only showed an awareness of the orality of their textual tradition, but also privileged it by constructing an elaborate, ideological myth of its pristine, oral transmission from Sinai to the present— the ideology of “Torah in the Mouth.”25 Both this oral-literary textuality and ideological construct of Torah in the Mouth influenced extensively the overall shape and substance of the hermeneutics of Exodus that the amoraim employed in their efforts to incorporate the reality of Jewish discontinuity and dissonance into the early rabbinic religious worldview. That is, the mutual overlap and interaction between oral and literary textual dynamics shaped the amoraic tradition of Exodus interpretation, and, as a result, informed how the amoraim thought theologically and affected the formation of their religious consciousness. First and foremost, the amoraim elevated the role, status, and significance of the revelation of Torah as a thematic element of the biblical Exodus narrative, and, more importantly, as a crucial aspect of their oral-

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literary textual tradition of Exodus interpretation. The following traditions of midrashic interpretation on Exodus 13:17–18 and Exodus 14:13, taken from the Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon b. Yohai and the Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael, are representative illustrations of the elevated importance of the Sinaitic revelation of Rabbinic Torah that appears with great frequency throughout the early midrashic corpus: Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon b. Yohai:26 1.  A. “(Now when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them) by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was nearer” (Exod 13:17):27 B. Near was the day of the giving of the Torah, on which Israel would stand before Mount Sinai.

Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael:28 2.  A. “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although it was nearer. For God said, ‘The people may have a change of heart when they see war, and return to Egypt.’” (Exod 13:17): B. Should God not all the more have brought them in by the straight road? C. But God said: “If I bring Israel into the land now, every one of them will immediately take hold of his field or his vineyard and neglect the Torah. So I will make them go round about through the desert forty years, so that, having the manna to eat and the water of the well to drink, they will absorb the Torah.” 3. A. “So God led the people roundabout, by the way of the wilderness as the Sea of Reeds” (Exod 13:18):29 B.  What for? C. “By the way,” indicates that it was for the purpose of giving them the Torah, as it is said: “You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you” (Deut 5:30). And it also says: “For the commandment is a lamp and the Torah is a light and a way of life” (Prov 6:23).30 4.  A. “But Moses said to the people, ‘Have no fear! Stand by, and witness the deliverance of the Lord . . .’” (Exod 14:13):31 B. To what were the Israelites alike at that moment? C. To a dove fleeing from a hawk, and about to enter a cleft in the rock where there is a hissing serpent. If she enters, there is the serpent! If she stays out, there is the hawk! D. In such a plight were the Israelites at that moment, the sea forming a bar and the enemy pursuing. Immediately they set their mind upon prayer.32 E. Of them it is stated in the traditional sacred writings: “O my dove that is in the clefts of the rock,” etc. (Song 2:14). F. And when it further says: “For sweet is your voice and your countenance is comely” (Song 2:14), it means, for your voice is sweet in prayer and your countenance is comely in the study of the Torah.33

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All of these midrashic traditions emphasize alike that various narrative aspects of the Exodus from Egypt (e.g., the physical liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, the crossing of the Reed Sea, the forty years of wandering in the wilderness of Sinai) point not only to the revelation of Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, but also, and more significantly, to the subsequent “absorption” and observance of its precepts as an ongoing “way of life.” Particularly noteworthy, in the fourth example cited above, is the fact that the Israelites offer specifically rabbinic forms of supplication (i.e., prayer and study of Torah) when they find themselves trapped between the shores of the Reed Sea and the advancing Egyptian army. The midrashic interpretation of Song of Songs 2:14 leads to the conclusion that the Israelites “set their mind upon prayer” at that moment by the Sea, and merited the divine, miraculous rescue because of their “study of the Torah.” In the aftermath of the dissolution of the Temple cult and its system of ritual sacrificial worship, the earliest rabbis elevated both prayer and the ideological study of Rabbinic Torah as the two primary forms of mandated ritualized behavior necessary for proper observance and ongoing fulfillment of God’s covenant with the Jewish people. As a result, these traditions together illustrate: 1) the rabbinic elevation of the stature and prominence of the Sinaitic revelation as an element of the Exodus narrative; 2) the rabbinic conviction that the revelation at Sinai consisted of their ideological conceptualization of Torah; and, 3) the centrality of #1 and #2 to the overall rabbinic hermeneutics of the Exodus experience. A similar trajectory of association between the Exodus experience and the revelation of Torah at Sinai is apparent in the following midrashic tradition of interpretation from the Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael on the biblical verse Judaism regards as the first of the Ten Commandments—“I am the Lord thy God” (Exod 20:2): Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael:34 5.  A. “I am the Lord thy God” (Exod 20:2). B. It was for this reason that the nations of the world were asked [to receive the Torah], so that they would not have an opportunity to say, “Had we been asked we would surely have accepted it.” Behold, they were asked and they did not accept it, as it is said, “He said: The Lord came from Sinai, etc.” C. He revealed Himself to the descendants of the wicked Esau, saying to them, “Will you accept the Torah?” They said to Him, “What is written in it?” He said to them, “You shall not murder” (Exod 20:13). They said to Him, “This is the inheritance that our forefather passed on to us: ‘By the sword you shall live’” (Gen 27:40). D. He revealed Himself to the descendants of Ammon and Moab, saying to them, “Will you accept the Torah?” They said to Him, “What is written in it?” He said to them, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exod

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20:13). They said to Him that they were all the children of adulterers, as it is said, “Both of the daughters of Lot were with child by their father” (Gen 19:36). E. He revealed Himself to the descendants of Ishmael, saying to them, “Do you accept the Torah?” They said to Him, “What is written in it?” He said to them, “You shall not steal” (Exod 20:13). They said to Him, “This was the very blessing which was pronounced on our forefather, ‘And he shall be a wild ass of a man, with his hand upon everything’” (Gen 16:12). And it is written, “For surely I [Joseph] was stolen away [by the Ishmaelites] out of the land of the Hebrews” (Gen 40:15). F. And when He came to Israel, “From his right hand was a fiery law to them” (Deut 33:2), they all opened their mouths and said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do and obey” (Exod 24:7). And thus it says, “He stood and measured the earth. He beheld and released the nations” (Hab 3:6). G. R. Simeon b. Eleazar (ca. 200) says: If the descendants of Noah were unable to withstand (=obey) the seven commandments which were enjoined upon them, how much less would they have been able to endure all the commandments in the Torah. H. A mashal: [This can be compared] to a king who appointed two administrators. One was appointed over a store of straw and one was appointed over a store of silver and gold. The one who was appointed over the store of straw was suspected [of mishandling it], but [nevertheless] complained that he had not been appointed over the store of silver and gold. They said to him, “You good for nothing! If you were suspected in connection with the store of straw, how could anyone trust you with the store of silver and gold?” I. Behold, one can reason a fortiori: If the descendants of Noah were unable to withstand the seven commandments enjoined upon them, how much more so [would they have been unable to withstand all the commandments in the Torah!].

The overarching, generative question for this midrashic tradition in the Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael is how one can understand “I am the Lord Thy God” (Exod 20:2) to be the first commandment, in that it appears to be a divine declarative, as opposed to either a proscriptive or prescriptive imperative. The answer is based upon the midrashic understanding that God did not offer the (Rabbinic) Torah to Israel alone, but rather, first offered it to the individual nations of the world, all of whom declined to accept it. Thus, God speaks in the imperative mood in Exodus 20:2 (“I am the Lord Thy God” = “Accept me, the Lord, as your God!”) while offering the Torah to the Jewish people—an imperative received with such unbridled enthusiasm by Israel that they accept the Torah even before learning about its commandments and the substance of the covenantal agreement they were making collectively with God (“All that the Lord hath spoken we will do and obey”).35

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Rich in both its interpretive content and depth of meaning, what is particularly pertinent for this effort is the assertion in this tradition that the nations of the world rejected the offer of Torah on account of the actions of their biblical progenitors (i.e., Esau, Ammon/Moab, and Ishmael)—ancestors who lived well before either the descent of the Israelites into Egypt or the subsequent four hundred year long period of their enslavement. Thus, the tradition essentially broadens and extends the boundaries of the biblical narrative within the rabbinic realm of Exodus hermeneutics, by exegetically binding the Sinaitic revelation of Torah to events in the mythic, formative period of the Judaism’s founding ancestral foremothers and forefathers. This desire to extend exegetically the hermeneutical boundaries of the Exodus experience backwards in time is evidenced to an even more overt extent in the following midrashic traditions taken from Sifre to Deuteronomy: Sifre to Deuteronomy:36 6.  A. When the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to give the Torah to Israel, He shook the entire world, together with its inhabitants. B. As it says in Scripture, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders” (Ps 29:3). C. When they heard the thunderous voices [of revelation], all the nations gathered together and came to Balaam, saying to him, “It seems to us that the Holy One, blessed be He, is about to destroy the world with water.” D. He said to them, “It has already been said, ‘The waters shall never again become a flood’” (Gen 9:15). E. They said to him, “What then is this thunderous voice?” F. He replied, “The Lord will grant strength to His people” (Ps 29:11)— and “strength” must refer to Torah, as it is said, “With Him are strength and sound wisdom” (Job 12:16). They said to him, “If that is so, ‘May the Lord bless His people with peace’” (Ps 29:11). 7.  A. Another explanation: “He said: The Lord came from Sinai [and shone upon them from Seir]”: B. In the future, when the Holy One, blessed be He, is about to punish Seir, He will shake the entire world, together with its inhabitants, as He did at the giving of the Torah. C. As it says in Scripture, “O Lord, when You came forth from Seir, [advanced from the country of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens also dropped water, yea, the clouds dropped water]” (Judg 5:4). D. And it says, “Then his brother emerged, holding on to the heel of Esau; so they named him Jacob” (Gen 25:26). E. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, “No nation will be able to come between you [and Esau].”

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In his commentary on these two units of tradition, Steven Fraade highlights well the interest they both display in connecting the revelation at Sinai—and hence the Rabbinic Exodus experience—with the primordial, pre-history of the Jewish people: Note also that the revelation at Sinai is exegetically made to point explicitly back to the primordial deluge and implicitly, through the blessing of peace, forward to Israel’s eventual redemption from the rule of the nations. This positioning of Sinai between “urzeit” and “endzeit” recurs, but now even more forcefully . . . [in 7.A–E] where the interpretation is clearly political, and one might say “apocalyptic” (although not in the specifically visionary sense). At a time when Israel was ruled by Rome . . . it could be hoped . . . that Rome would be the last of the empires and that its fall would be succeeded immediately by Israel’s messianic redemption and ascension to power. As is so often the case, speculation about the end of history is modeled after its beginnings, which for Israel could be associated both with the birth of Jacob, the progenitor of the twelve tribes, as well as with the sealing of the covenant at Sinai, when Israel’s life as a covenantal people could be said to have truly begun. . . . Stated differently, Israel’s relation to the nations . . . at Sinai is made to point back to its origins, with the birth of Jacob and forward to its conclusion at the end of time.37

For the remainder of this effort, we will focus attention on a well known, theologically sophisticated midrashic tradition from Genesis Rabbah that sets its interpretive sight on the very first verse of the Hebrew Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1): Genesis Rabbah:38 A.  1) “In the beginning,39 etc.” (Gen 1:1). B. 1) R. Oshaya opened [this sermon on Genesis 1:1 with the following verse]: 2) “I was with Him as a confidant,40 a source of delight every day” (Prov 8:30). C. 1) “Amon” [is used in Scripture to mean] pedagogue. “Amon” [is used in Scripture to mean] covered. “Amon” [is used in Scripture to mean] hidden away. And there are some who say [that] “Amon” [is used in Scripture to mean] great. 2) “Amon” [is used to mean] pedagogue. 3) As you read in Scripture: “(Did I conceive all this people, did I bear them, that You should say to me: ‘Carry them in your bosom) as a nurse41 carries an infant’” (Num 11:12). 4) “Amon” [is used to mean] covered. 5) As you read in Scripture: “(Those who feasted on dainties lie famished in the streets.) Those who were dressed [i.e., covered]42 in purple (have embraced refuse heaps)” (Lam 4:5).

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6) “Amon” [is used to mean] hidden away. 7) As you read in Scripture: “He was foster father43 to Hadassah” (Esth 2:7).44 8) “Amon” [is used to mean] great. 9) As you read in Scripture: “Were you any better than No-Amon, (which sat by the Nile)?” (Nah 3:8). 10) Which we translate into Aramaic as: “Are you any better than Alexandria [i.e., “No”] the Great [i.e., “Amon”], that sat between the rivers.” D.  1) [Another Interpretation]: 2) “Amon” [is used in Scripture to mean] artisan. 3) The Torah is saying [in Prov 8:30]: “I was the artisan’s tool of the Holy One, blessed be He.” E. 1) Customarily,45 [when] a human king builds a palace, he doesn’t build it with his own expertise, but rather, with the expertise of an architect. And the architect doesn’t build it [using only] his expertise, but rather, has plans and diagrams to inform him how to build [the] rooms and gates. 2) Likewise, the Holy One, blessed be He, looked in the Torah as He created the world. F. 1) And the Torah says [as much]: “In the beginning46 God created . . .” (Gen 1:1). 2) And [the word] “beginning” [refers] only to Torah. 3) As you read in Scripture, “The Lord created me at the beginning47 of His course, etc.”

This midrashic tradition is presented as a homily or sermon delivered by Rav Oshaya, in which he interprets Genesis 1:1 in roundabout, seemingly extemporaneous fashion. In B.1–2, Oshaya “opens” his sermon by focusing attention on Proverbs 8:30. In the eighth chapter of Proverbs, personified Wisdom speaks aloud, exalting her value and extolling the valor of her antiquity, as demonstrated in this expanded excerpt from the chapter (Prov 8:22–30): “The Lord created me at the beginning of His course [of creation], as the first of His work of old. (v. 22) “In the distant past I was fashioned, at the beginning, at the origin of earth. (v. 23) “There was still no deep when I was brought forth, no springs rich in water. (v. 24) “Before [the foundation of] the mountains were sunk, before the hills I was born. (v. 25) “He had not yet made earth and fields, or the world’s first clumps of clay. (v. 26) “I was there when He set the heaven into place, when He fixed the horizon upon the deep. (v. 27) “When He made the heavens above firm, and the fountain of the deep gushed forth. (v. 28)

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“When He assigned the sea its limits, so that its waters never transgress His command. When He fixed the foundations of the earth, (v. 29) “I was with Him as a confidant,48 a source of delight every day.” (v. 30)

Oshaya’s opening verse is Proverbs 8:30, in which Wisdom refers to herself as God’s “amon,” that is, as God’s “confidant.” This is followed immediately by C.1–10—a seemingly purposeless and diversionary unit of interpretation that appears only to distance the Oshaya’s sermon and this midrashic tradition from any apparent interpretive consideration of Genesis 1:1. In this section of interpretation, which we will set aside for the time being, R. Oshaya explores four appearances in Scripture of a word that is morphologically similar or related to the word “Amon” in Proverbs 8:30. Returning our attention to B.1–2 and chapter eight of Proverbs: The only possible source of wisdom for early Rabbinic Judaism was, naturally, Torah. Accordingly, in Proverbs 8:22–30, it is Torah that speaks of its primordial formation by God during the period of the very origins of the earth, and it is Torah that calls itself “Amon” in Proverbs 8:30. Given this understanding, D.1–3 notes that one meaning in Scripture of the word “Amon” is “artisan” [or, perhaps, “craftsman” or “architect”]. As such, in addition to its literal meaning, Proverbs 8:30 midrashically means: “I [Torah] was with Him [during the very origins of the earth] as an artisan’s tool,” a rendering made even more explicit in the illustrative parable at E.2: “Likewise, the Holy One, blessed be He, looked into the Torah as He created the world.” Oshaya’s sermon culminates in F.1–3, where the midrashic meaning between Genesis 1:1 and Proverbs 8:30 is revealed through the midrashic interpretive method of contextual word association.49 The first word in Genesis 1:1 (“bereshit”—“In the beginning”) is the same word Torah uses in Proverbs 8:22 to refer to itself as formed by God “at the beginning” (“reshit”) of God’s divine act of primordial creation. By transferring this association of “reyshit” with “Torah” in Proverbs 8:22 to the context of Genesis 1:1, this tradition reveals that, in addition to its literal meaning, the first verse of the Torah should also be read as: “By means of Torah,50 God created the heavens and the earth.” In both its structure and interpretive method, this amoraic tradition is highly reflective of the oral and literary dynamics that comprised early rabbinic textuality. On the one hand, it is presented as an oral sermon delivered in seemingly extemporaneous fashion. R. Oshaya opens his homily on Genesis 1:1 with reference to Proverbs 8:30, which engages the anticipation of the audience and causes it to wonder throughout Oshaya’s meandering discourse how he will eventually draw an exegetical connection between the two. One could very reasonably conclude, therefore, that

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Genesis Rabbah has preserved within its textual medium a verbatim record of an oral tradition of interpretation, one that would have served as the substance of the pedagogical dialogue that took place in both the early synagogue and rabbinic bet midrash (“house of learning”). On the other hand, the tradition displays overt characteristics that could stem from either the text’s overall redaction, or, at the very least, some form of editorial conjunction of disparate units of textual tradition. The following analysis of both section C.1–10 and its placement within the tradition’s overall literary framework will make evident this possibility. As stated above, in section C.1–10 Oshaya identifies four Scriptural verses that contain a word morphologically similar to “Amon” in Proverbs 8:30, but with an entirely different meaning: 1) Numbers 11:12 (“ha-omen” = pedagogue)—C.2–3: In a moment of frustration brought on by the incessant doubt directed at him by the Israelites throughout their period of wandering in the wilderness of Sinai, and by the rebuke and anger God directs at him every time he appeals on their behalf, Moses exclaims to God: “Did I conceive all this people, did I bear them, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nursemaid (“ha-omen”) carries an infant,’ to the land that You have promised on oath to their fathers?” The tradition, however, situates Moses’s words within the Hellenistic cultural context of early Rabbinism, and replaces “nursemaid” with its contemporary equivalent—”pedagogue”—the caretaker/tutor employed by the wealthy to raise and educate their children from infancy to young adulthood. 2) Lamentations 4:5 (“ha-emunim” = covered)—C.4–5: In its lament of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem, the biblical verse describes the misfortune of its exiled, Jewish population, describing them as: “Those who feasted on dainties lie famished in the streets. Those who were dressed (“ha-emunim,” i.e., “covered”) in purple have embraced refuse heaps.” A once regal population now finds its land vanquished and itself in exile. 3) Esther 2:7 (“omen” = hidden away)—C. 6–7: Set during the post-Babylonian, Persian period, a Jew named Mordecai lives in exile in the city of Shushan. In verse 2:7 the reader learns that he: “Was foster-father (“omen”) to Hadassah—that is, Esther—his uncle’s daughter, for she had neither father nor mother. The maiden was shapely and beautiful, and when her father and mother died, Mordecai adopted her as his own daughter.” At C.7 the tradition alludes to, and assumes familiarity on the part of its audience with, an entirely separate midrashic tradition,51 in which one learns that Esther’s beauty was such that Mordecai needed to shield or hide (“omen”) her from the onslaught of potential suitors.

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4) Nahum 3:8 (“No-Amon” = great)—C.8–10: Nahum the prophet extols fervently the forthcoming destruction of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh, deeming it to be a divine judgment on the sinful empire that had recently conquered and vanquished the northern kingdom of Israel. In 3:8 the prophet contrasts Nineveh’s forthcoming destruction with the havoc it had wrecked on the Egyptian city of Thebes: “Were you any better that No-Amon (= Thebes), which sat by the Nile . . .?” Once again, the tradition situates its subject matter within the contemporary, historical context of early Rabbinism, by translating “No-Amon” as “Alexandria the Great,” the urban center of Hellenistic culture in their day.

When situated within an outline of this tradition, both C.1–10 and the parable in E.1–2 appear likely to be editorial interpolations of “extrinsic” units of tradition into an otherwise separate base tradition: Base Tradition A) Scriptural base verse— Genesis 1:1 B) Opening verse—Proverbs 8:30 D) “Amon” = Torah as God’s “artisan” F) Conclusion: Genesis 1:1

Interpolated Units C) Exploration of four meanings of “Amon” E) Parable

This possibility becomes even more apparent when one considers how remarkably smoothly this theoretical base tradition would flow, if these interpolated units were removed: “In the beginning, etc.” (Gen 1:1): R. Oshaya began [his sermon with], “‘I was with Him as an Amon, a source of delight every day’ (Prov 8:30). Amon [means] artisan—the Torah is saying [here]: ‘I was the artisan’s tool of the Holy One, blessed by He.’ And the Torah says [as much in Genesis 1:1, when it says]: ‘In the beginning God created.’ [This is] because ‘beginning’ only [refers] to Torah, as you read in Scripture, ‘The Lord created me at the beginning of His course.’”

However, recent scholarship on early rabbinic textuality has resulted in the formation of oral-circulatory conceptual models capable of accommodating both these oral-performative and written-literary characteristics of the textual evidence. As Elizabeth Alexander explains, these models propose: . . . that a series of performative events lie behind the text, and that the text before us represents a literary crystallization of those events. The key point, however, is that the written text remains engaged with oral performance

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even after it is transcribed. The text is more than a record of past performative events; it is also a provisional script for future performative events. . . . Rather than thinking of them as aids to rote memorization, we might think of them as the provisional script for an oral performative event.52

The primary benefit of the oral-circulatory conceptualization of rabbinic textual evidence is that it is not built upon the presumption of an authoritatively established or fixed text, but rather, on the presumption of authoritative mental mastery of midrashic subject matter. Of even greater value for this effort, however, is the fact that this model takes into consideration how the mutual interaction between oral and literary dynamics affected the way early Rabbinic Jews thought, and, ultimately, influenced the formation of their religious worldview and consciousness. Thus, there is little value or consequence for this effort in compelling an artificial determination about the presumed literary or oral basis for this textual tradition of interpretation in Genesis Rabbah. However, there is much value in examining how the mutuality of its oral and literary dynamics assisted the amoraim in their desire to reshape the worldview of early Rabbinic Judaism and the religious consciousness of early Rabbinic Jews. CREATION, EXODUS, AND THE TEXTUALITY OF DISCONTINUITY AND DISSONANCE In his masterful exploration of the production of meaning in AfricanAmerican and Indigenous religious traditions, Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion,53 Charles Long examines the manner in which people experience and respond to what he calls the religious experience of mysterium tremendum et fascinosum—an experience, in his words, that: . . . evokes our feelings of creatureliness, of the diminution of our plans and hopes; it is this feeling that leads to a sense of unworthiness—a sense of the overpowering reality of that which stands over against us, and the fundamental distinction between the human and the divine. This is a moment in the religious experience . . . [that] lead[s] . . . to a sense of absolute dependence and humility in the sight of the divine and one’s fellow human beings. In other words, it may lead to a specifically religious community. It is from these notions that the internal meaning of oppression in religion arises. It is the oppressive sense evoked by the power and majesty of the divine, the belittling of the creature and the human project itself.54

Long focuses attention on a personal recollection of the experience of this religious dread by the esteemed philosopher of religion, William

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James,55 in his classic The Varieties of Religious Experience,56 as well as on a similar recollection written by his father, Henry James, Sr.57 To this consideration, Long adds Ernst Troeltsch’s review and reflection on William James’s work and ideas.58 Long is particularly interested in the attempts by the Jameses and Troeltsch to understand, process, and rationalize what was essentially a non-rational, yet quintessentially human, emotional experience. Long’s analysis along these lines leads him to the conclude that: Neither James nor Troeltsch is able to come to terms in a fundamental manner with that oppressive dread in the religious experience, albeit on the surface for quite different reasons. For James this experience can be explained in terms of individual psychology, and for Troeltsch the experience is expressive of the relative historical situation in which Christians find themselves. But common to both positions is a kind of Protestant individualism that cannot at heart face up to this mode of the divine.59

Long then focuses his attention on the recollection and description of a similar experience of mysterium tremendum authored by one of W. James’s most prolific students—renowned scholar W.E.B. DuBois. In his classic, The Souls of Black Folk,60 DuBois describes the experience he had of this existential dread in Nashville, Tennessee, upon encountering religion of the oppressed for the first time in the form of African American Christianity.61 In DuBois’s recollection, and in distinct opposition to the descriptions and explanations offered by the two Jameses and Troeltsch, Long notes that: The setting for the Jameses’ experiences is solitude; the setting for DuBois’s experience is community, indeed the discovery of community. William James . . . described religion . . . [as] the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine. . . . But there is a reflective moment of a historical kind in DuBois. He is given to reflect not in the abstract manner of the philosopher but in the concrete manner of memory and historical imagination. He ponders the beauty and sorrow of his community, and these ruminations rush his consciousness back to the African forest, to the sense of a primordium of history and imagination.62

This observation, in turn, initiates Long’s efforts to identify the specific meaning of community as an aspect of experience particular to religious traditions that stem in part from external, historical oppression: It is this conundrum which lies at the heart of the religions of the oppressed. Their religious experience and the forms of its expressions reveal a critique of community and a fascination with the possibility and hope of intimacy. . . . They speak of primordial experiences and histories as the locus of new

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resources not yet categorized and rationalized by the communities under criticism. . .63 The religions of the oppressed manifest tendencies that are attempts to create new forms of human consciousness . . . but it is not simply an attempt to create a new consciousness among the oppressed but a new form of human consciousness and thus a new historical community.64

Long’s identification of an intrinsic connection between the experience of mysterium tremendum in religions of the oppressed and their production of meaning through both renewal of communal consciousness and reshaping of primordial experiences holds the potential to shed valuable light on how this tradition from Genesis Rabbah facilitated the efforts of the amoraim to incorporate the reality of Jewish discontinuity and dissonance into the emerging worldview of Rabbinic Judaism. The theological implications of this midrashic tradition are substantial and challenging. As established above, the amoraim elevated the significance of the Sinaitic revelation of Torah as a hermeneutical motif within the rabbinic textual tradition of Exodus interpretation, while simultaneously connecting the revelation of Torah to events during the mythic period of Judaism’s origins. The result is a rabbinic hermeneutic of Exodus comprised of an Exodus story that signifies the divine gift of Torah, and a conceptualization of Torah that signifies the story of Exodus. As rabbinic theological concepts, Torah and Exodus are hermeneutically intertwined to such an extent that each cannot help but signify the other, and each is devoid of meaning separate and apart from the other. This tradition in Genesis Rabbah is particularly noteworthy, however, in that it situates the revelation of Torah not within the earliest period Judaism, but within a point in time even prior to God’s primordial creation of the world. Recalling that amoraic “Torah” encompassed the entirety of their ideological understanding of Torah in the Mouth, the theological ramifications of this claim are manifold. At one level, this turns the very notion of history on its head: however much God claims through Torah in Genesis that history begins with the creation of the world from nothingness, Torah, itself, points to the existence of time prior to the creation of the world. In spite of the discontinuity of these theological claims, the amoraim nonetheless considered both to be equally valid and true. Therefore, the amoraim phenomenologically legitimized Jewish historical discontinuity by asserting it as an aspect fundamental to the creation of the world. Stated differently, the amoraim established that Jewish historical discontinuity made theological sense, by contextualizing it as intrinsic to the primordial nature of the world, and, therefore, intrinsic to the nature of Jewish existence itself. At another level, this tradition compels consideration of the amoraic theological truth claim that Torah was not only something God made, but

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also something that God relied upon and utilized throughout the act of creation. Incongruous as it was, the theological implication was that Torah was not merely the source of all wisdom, but the source of all wisdom that God both created and then needed.65 However much this implied a seemingly untenable delimitation of God’s omnipotence and omniscience, any theological dissonance it might have caused was harmonized by the fact that it was also grounded in the divine truth of Torah and the very basis of creation. As a manifestation of the amoraic response to the theological challenges confronting Judaism in the aftermath of the Roman destruction, this amoraic theology of Torah and its origins stemmed from a conceptualized worldview within which existential and religious dissonance was mutually indigenous to both Jews and God. In that this tradition bridges creation with revelation at Sinai, it formed an influential hermeneutical motif within the early rabbinic midrashic tradition of interpretation of Exodus as a religious-historical event. In the aftermath of the Roman conquest and destruction, and as Judaism began to follow what would be its prolonged religious and historical trajectory of social marginalization, persecution, Diaspora and Exile, this theological motif of Torah and its origins enabled rabbinic interpretation of the Exodus event to accommodate the theological exigencies that were destined to arise along the way. In this respect, the response of the amoraim to early Jewish experiences of mysterium tremendum brought on by the experience of the Roman vanquish and subsequent onset of exile and diaspora was similar to those of other religious traditions that grow out of historical experiences of oppression. In their midrashic reshaping and reimaging of the central Jewish theological concepts of God, Torah, Creation, Sinai, and Israel—concepts that together comprised the substance of the greater rabbinic hermeneutics of Exodus—the amoraim revisited Judaism’s primordial experiences, origins and history as a means of refashioning both its religious worldview and their perception within it of themselves and their origins as a religious community. Illustrative, in this respect, are the thoughts of Long: The oppressed must deal with both the fictive truth of their status as expressed by the oppressors, that is, their second creation, and this discovery of their own autonomy and truth—their first creation. The locus for this structure is the mythic consciousness which dehistoricizes the relationship for the sake of creating a new form of humanity. . . . The oppressive element in the religions of the oppressed is the negation of the image of the oppressor and the discovery of the first creation. It is thus the negation that is found in community and seeks its expression in more authentic forms of community, those forms of community which are based upon the first creation. . . . There is thus a primordial structure to this consciousness, for in seeking a new beginning in the future, it must perforce imagine an original beginning.66

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Ultimately, the efforts of the amoraim were successful because they succeeded in forming a renewed Jewish communal consciousness, one that enabled Judaism to produce from historical experience expressions of religious meaning that were congruent with the emerging rabbinic worldview. Given their ability to influence early rabbinic structures of thought and to shape a renewed formation of Jewish consciousness, the dynamics of rabbinic textuality not only affected significantly the shape and substance of not only this amoraic tradition, but also set Jewish theological thought on its future trajectory that would soon lead to what Daniel Boyarin calls Judaism’s appreciation for the “chaos of speculation” and “plurality of possibilities”:67 The Babylonian talmudic text elaborates . . . neither dialectic toward agreement nor the rejection of dialectic, as the Christians had, but rather the dialectic without telos: Without ever reaching agreement or even seeking to do so, dispute that cannot ever be resolved as both holy rabbis are always already right even when they directly contradict each other. The practice of dialectic is, then, a pseudodialectical practice, a devotional—or even liturgical—act (known as “enlarging the Torah and making it wonderful”) and not truly an intellectual one. In the earlier Palestinian rabbinic imagination, presumably sufficient investigation could discover the original truth. . . . by the latter stratum, the contradictory views of the disciples . . . are being declared equally the words of the Living God . . . [moving] beyond a notion of rational discovery of truth (or at least the securing of agreement) through dialectic into a realm in which the words of the Living God are paradoxical, self-contradictory, undecidable, and undiscoverable and talk goes on forever.68

As such, it is only fitting to bring this effort to its conclusion with an appeal to the following thoughts of Martin Jaffee about the theological consequences of the developing oral-literate textuality that served as the basis of the emerging early rabbinic pedagogical culture centered around dialogical, master/disciple relationships: I am wondering if something like this willingness to embrace the ambiguity of the merely visible can help us get a final hold on the oxymoron so central to the classical Rabbinic discipline of Torah in the Mouth: that its texts were no less readable in material representations than those of the Torah in Script, but they enjoyed their fullest being as torah only when memorized, internalized and performed. The very writtenness of the texts of Torah in the Mouth was the ambiguous sign that enabled them to conceal . . . a “mystery” that might be shared only within the closed circles of discipleship to the Sage. . . . Only the master can give them life as he repeats and explains them, drawing out invisible connections and unintuited contextualizations, linking them back toward tradition already known and forward to horizons of interpretation scarcely discerned. . . . Only the master can guide the disciple along the

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path that promises, at its end, to reproduce in the disciple what the master has experienced: the blending of memorized, fully mastered torah, into one’s personal subjectivity; the self-overcoming that transforms a person of flesh and blood into a servant of the Creator and an echo of His revelation.69

NOTES 1.  Charles Long, Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion (Aurora, Colorado: The Davies Group Publishers, 1999), 7. 2. Martin Jaffee, Early Judaism: Religious Worlds of the First Judaic Millennium (Bethesda, MD: Univ. Press of Maryland, 2006), 5. 3.  Baruch M. Bokser, The Origins Of The Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). 4.  For insight into the concepts of religious worlds and worldviews in the comparative study of Religion, see William E. Paden, Religious Worlds: The Comparative Study of Religion (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994), 35–65; and, Peter L. Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (New York: Doubleday, 1967). 5.  That is to say, my interest is not merely to survey the early rabbinic textual tradition of interpretation of the biblical book of Exodus, but rather, to examine its role and influence within the greater rabbinic hermeneutical endeavor of deriving meaning from its tradition of Exodus interpretation. Thus, this paper aims to explore how the mutually oral and literary modes of the early rabbinic textual tradition aided in the derivation of meaning from the uniquely rabbinic theological concept of “Yetsiat Mitsrayim” (The Exodus From Egypt, so to speak) that Rabbinic Judaism constructed on the basis of the biblical narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt. 6.  See Bokser, The Origins of the Seder, 14–28 for a survey of pre-rabbinic forms of observance of the Passover eve ritual. Included within its purview are accounts of the Passover eve rite in the Hebrew Bible, Jubilees, the poet Ezekiel, Temple Scroll, Wisdom of Solomon, Philo, Josephus, New Testament, Sermons of Melito of Sardis, and Justin Martyr’s Dialogue With Trypho. 7.  For example, a celebratory meal, unleavened bread, and themes of redemption. 8. See Bokser, The Origins of the Seder, 37–49. Included among the ritual appropriations of the seder are: equating the seder meal with the meal of the paschal sacrifice; equating the unleavened bread and bitter herbs with the paschal sacrifice; incorporating the biblically-based imperative for a parent to respond pedagogically to a child’s questions about the meaning of Passover; incorporating the ritual use of wine, in spite of the absence of the accompanying paschal sacrifice; incorporating the psalms that accompanied the sacrifice of the paschal lamb in the Temple; incorporating the biblically-based commandment to rejoice during the Passover evening ritual; and, mandating a specific overall structure and set of directives for the proper performance of the seder ritual, thus drawing it into association with the prescribed directives governing the proper offering of the paschal sacrifice.

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 9. Ibid., 37. 10.  Ibid., 37. 11. The Hallel (“Praise”) is the series of Psalms (Ps 113–118) that the Levitical priests chanted and recited while offering the Paschal sacrifice in the Jerusalem Temple. The entire Hallel is recited in piecemeal fashion throughout the traditional seder meal. 12. Bokser, The Origins of the Seder, 73–74. 13.  Ibid., 76. 14.  Ibid., 78. 15. Ibid., 83. 16.  Ibid., 91–92. 17.  Particularly relevant, in this respect, are the ideas and insights expressed by W. Paden in Religious Worlds, 51–53: “Religions do not all inhabit the same world, but actually posit, structure, and dwell within a universe that is their own. They can be understood not just as so many attempts to explain some common, objectively available order of things that is ‘out there,’ but as traditions that create and occupy their own universe. . . . Human cultures construct an enormous variety of environments through language, technology, and institutions. We are born and die in these systems of symbols and imagination. Among these forms, religion in particular is a great definer and generator of worlds and alternative worlds.” 18.  Again, particularly useful are Paden’s thoughts in Religious Worlds, 56 (emphases added): “The concept of world underscores how language organizes reality. A religion’s great powers of linguistic classification and ordering can therefore be more clearly exposed. Language—and in this case religious language—both screens and ‘mints’ the world, determining what entities will and will not come into being. . . . The notion of world helps makes sense of the way a religious system deals with change and challenge. A world must either integrate or interpret new events. Religions are not just static systems fixed once and for all, but continually interact with changes and reshape themselves accordingly. They are like living organisms that have the autonomous capacity to learn, respond to, and control their destiny. There is a constant interplay between world and experience, between religious ‘program’ and historical events.” 19.  Under the influence of the extensive, interdisciplinary history of research on the influence exerted by speech and writing on the transmission of cultural tradition, a critical mass of research has recently emerged and greatly increased scholarly understanding of the orality of the early Jewish textual tradition. Although flawed in many respects, B. Gerhardsson’s Memory and Manuscript: Oral Tradition and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity, tr. E.J. Sharpe (Lund: Gleerup and Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1961) is commonly regarded as one of the earliest applications of orality theory to rabbinic literature. Over the past two decades, the most programmatic, sophisticated, and influential body of research is the work of Martin S. Jaffee, who pioneered the application of the theoretical advances realized by the field of Orality Studies to the study of the early rabbinic oral-literary tradition. His works include: “Oral Torah in Theory and Practice: Aspects of Mishnah-Exegesis in the Palestinian Talmud,” Religion 15 (1985), 387–410; “Writing and Rabbinic Oral Tradition: On Mishnaic Narrative, Lists and Mnemonics,” Journal of Jewish Philosophy and Thought 4 (1994), 123–46;

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“A Rabbinic Ontology of the Written and Spoken Word: On Discipleship, Transformative Knowledge and the Living Texts of Oral Torah,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65, no.3 (Fall 1997), 27–61; “The Oral-Cultural Context of the Talmud Yerushalmi: Greco-Roman Rhetorical Paideia, Discipleship, and the Concept of Oral Torah,” in P. Schäfer, ed., The Talmud Yerushalmi in Graeco-Roman Culture I, (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1998), 27–61; Torah in the Mouth: Writing and Oral Tradition in Palestinian Judaism, 200 BCE-400 CE (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); “Rabbinic Authorship as a Collective Enterprise,” in C. Fonrobert and M. Jaffee, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007), 17–37. Other important, research efforts include: E. Alexander, Transmitting Mishnah: The Shaping Influence of Oral Tradition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006); E. Alexander, “The Orality of Rabbinic Writings,” in Fonrobert and Jaffee, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature, 38–57; Y. Elman, Authority and Tradition: Toseftan Baraitot in Talmudic Babylonia (Hoboken: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1994); Y. Elman, “Orality and the Transmission of Tosfta Pisha in Talmudic Literature,” in H. Fox and T. Meacham, eds., Introducing Tosefta: Textual, Intratextual and Intertextual Studies (Hoboken, NJ: KTAV, 1999), 123–180; S. Fraade, From Tradition to Commentary: Torah and its Interpretation in the Midrash Sifre to Deuteronomy (Albany: SUNY Press, 1991); S. Fraade, “Literary Composition and Oral Performance in Early Midrashim,” Oral Tradition 14, no. 1 (March 1999), 33–51; W.D. Nelson, “Oral Orthography: Early Rabbinic Oral and Written Transmission of Parallel Midrashic Tradition,” AJS Review 29:1 (2005), 1–32; W.D. Nelson, “Criticizing a Critical Edition: Challenges Utilizing the Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon b.Yohai,” in Ulmer, R. and Teugels, L., eds., Recent Developments in Midrash Research: Proceedings of the 2002 and 2003 SBL Consultation on Midrash (Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2004), 97–115; and, W.D. Nelson, “Orality and Mnemonics in Aggadic Midrash,” in Ulmer, R. and Teugels, L., eds., Midrash and Context: Proceedings of the 2004 and 2005 SBL Consultation on Midrash (Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2007), 123–37. 20.  See Jaffee, Torah in the Mouth, 126–52 for an excellent investigation of the master/disciple pedagogical relationship that formed the basis of the amoraic communal, religious social structure. 21.  Martin S. Jaffee, Torah in the Mouth: Writing and Oral Tradition in Palestinian Judaism 200 BCE—400 CE (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). 22.  Ibid., 11. For an equally illustrative articulation of this point, see 7: “Second Temple Judaism . . . was virtually innocent of self-consciousness regarding the orality of tradition. Oral tradition existed, but it wasn’t much thought about.” 23. As Jaffee states: “The emergence of oral tradition in Judaism to explicit ideological self-consciousness as Torah in the Mouth is, I argue, embedded in the social matrix of Rabbinic discipleship training.” See ibid., 7. 24.  Ibid., 12. 25.  Thus, Jaffee claims that “in the literary culture of classical Rabbinic Judaism, the concept of Torah in the Mouth . . . emerged as the dominant ideological trope through which Rabbinic Sages grasped the social meaning of the performative and interpretive dimensions of their oral-literary tradition. . . . Its textcreating and text-performative process was constructed as the embodiment of a

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generations-long series of transmissions that linked contemporary tradents and performers to ancient founders. By establishing a link to past generations . . . the ideological construction of Torah in the Mouth also enforced a separation in the present—from other Jews and Christians who shared Scripture but who were ignorant of, or denied, the legitimacy of the Rabbinic text-interpretive tradition that claimed to provide Scripture’s exhaustive explanation.” See ibid., 10. 26.  See W. David Nelson, Mekhilta De-Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai: Translated into English, with Critical Introduction and Annotation (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society, 2006), 80. 27. All translations of verses from the Hebrew Bible are reprinted from the Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia. 28.  See Jacob Z. Lauterbach, Mekilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Wahrmann Books, 1970), 171. 29.  Ibid., 174. 30.  Note: Emphases added. 31.  Ibid., 211. 32.  Note: Emphasis added. 33.  Note: Emphasis added. 34.  See Steven D. Fraade, From Tradition to Commentary: Torah and Its Interpretation in the Midrash Sifre to Deuteronomy (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1991), 33–34. 35. The Hebrew verb for “we will obey” (nishmah) can also mean “we will hear”—thus midrashically rendering the meaning of Exodus 24:7 as: “All the Lord hath spoken [in the Torah] we will [first agree] to do [it, and thereafter] we will hear [and learn its commandments].” 36.  See Fraade, From Tradition to Commentary, 37–39. 37. Fraade, From Tradition to Commentary, 38–39. 38.  This translation is the product of this author’s effort, and is based upon the version of this tradition as it appears in J. Theodor and Ch. Albeck, eds., Midrash Bereshit Rabba: Critical Edition with Notes and Commentary (Jerusalem: Wahrmann Books, 1965), 1–2. For an alternative, insightful analysis of this midrashic tradition of interpretation from Genesis Rabbah see Rivka Ulmer, “The Boundaries of the Rabbinic Genre Midrash,” in Colloquium 38/1 (2006), 69–71. 39. Hebrew: bereshit 40. Hebrew: amon 41. Hebrew: ha-omen 42. Hebrew: ha-emunim 43. Hebrew: omen 44.  C.f. b. Megillah 13a and Esther Rabbah 6:9. 45. Hebrew: benoheg shebaolam—a midrashic technical term that introduces an illustrative parable. 46. Hebrew: bereshit 47. Hebrew: reshit 48. Hebrew: ammon 49. This particular midrashic method of interpretation, in which a biblical analogy is established on the basis of verbal similarities and congruities, is called “gezerah shaveh” (“equal category”).

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50.  That is, “By means of reshit.” The Hebrew prepositional prefix “b” has a range of conventional meaning, such as “in,” “with,” or “by means of.” 51.  See note 44. 52. Alexander, Transmitting Mishnah, 22–23. 53.  See, in particular, “The Oppressive Elements in Religion and the Religions of the Oppressed,” 171–86 in his Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion (Aurora, Colorado: The Davies Group Publishers, 1999). 54.  Ibid., 176. Emphasis added. 55.  Long focuses, in particular, on the following portion of James’s recollection: “Whilst in this state of philosophic pessimism and general depression of spirits about my prospects, I went one evening into a dressing-room in the twilight to procure some article that was there; when suddenly there fell upon me without any warning, just as if it came out of the darkness, a horrible fear of my own existence. Simultaneously there arose in my mind the image of an epileptic patient whom I had seen in the asylum, a black-haired youth with greenish skin, entirely idiotic, who used to sit all day on one of the benches. Or rather shelves against the wall, with his knees drawn up against his chin. . . . He sat there . . . moving nothing but his black eyes and looking absolutely non-human. That shape am I, I felt, potentially. Nothing that I possess can defend me against that fate, if the hour for it should strike me as it struck for him.” See ibid., 174. 56.  William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York: Modern Library edition; facsimile of the 1902 edition). 57.  Henry James, Sr., Society: The Redeemed Form of Man (Cambridge: Houghton, Osgood & Co., 1879), 44–49. 58. Ernst Troeltsch, “Empiricism and Platonism in the Philosophy of Religions,” in Harvard Theological Review 5 (1912), 401–22. 59. Long, Significations, 175. 60. W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (Chicago: A.C. McCLurg, 1903), 189–90. 61.  Long highlights, in particular, this part of DuBois’s recollection: “It was out in the country, far from my foster home, on a dark Sunday night. The road wandered from our rambling log-house up the stormy bed of a creek, past wheat and corn until we could hear dimly across the fields a rhythmic cadence of song—soft, thrilling, powerful, that swelled and died sorrowfully in our ears. I was a country school-teacher then, fresh from the East, and had never seen a Southern Negro revival. . . . And so most striking to me as I approached the village and the little plain church perched aloft, was the air of intense excitement that possessed that mass of black folk. A sort of suppressed terror hung in the air and seemed to seize us,—a pythian madness, a demonic possession, that lent terrible reality to song and word. The black and massive form of the preacher swayed and quivered as the words crowded to his lips and flew at us in singular eloquence.” See ibid., 177. 62.  Ibid., 177. 63.  Ibid., 179. 64.  Ibid., 181. 65.  Evident in this midrashic tradition is an amoraic awareness of what social theorists of knowledge routinely refer to as the social construction of reality— the basic premise of which is that “reality” in human existence is comprised of ever-evolving, overlapping socially-constructed frameworks of meaning through

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which human beings and societies understand, interpret and comprehend the natural phenomena of existence. It is human beings, themselves, who create “reality,” which thereafter constitutes an independent and operative phenomenon with which human beings are compelled to interact and contend—”reality” becomes essentially an entity in and of itself capable of creating its own creator. Accordingly, God not only creates Torah in this midrashic tradition, but also appeals to it for assistance in creating the world within which God will then bestow it to Israel at Sinai. For definitive scholarly articulations of this social theory see Peter Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Random House, 1966) and Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion (New York: Random House, 1969). 66. Long, Significations, 184. 67.  Daniel Boyarin, “Hellenism in Jewish Babylonia,” in C. Fonrobert and M. Jaffee, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 343. 68.  Ibid., 347. 69. Jaffee, Torah in the Mouth, 154–55.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alexander, Elizabeth. Transmitting Mishnah: The Shaping Influence of Oral Tradition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. ———. “The Orality of Rabbinic Writings,” in Fonrobert and Jaffee, eds. The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007, 38–57. Berger, Peter L. The Sacred Canopy: Elements of a Sociological Theory of Religion. New York: Doubleday, 1967. Berger, Peter L and Luckmann, Thomas. The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York: Random House, 1966. Bokser, Baruch M. The Origins of the Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Boyarin, Daniel. “Hellenism in Jewish Babylonia,” in C. Fonrobert and M. Jaffee, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 343. DuBois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. Chicago: A.C. McCLurg, 1903. Elman, Yaakov. Authority and Tradition: Toseftan Baraitot in Talmudic Babylonia. Hoboken: Ktav Publishing House, Inc., 1994. Fraade, Steven. From Tradition To Commentary: Torah and its Interpretation in the Midrash Sifre to Deuteronomy. Albany: SUNY Press, 1991. ———. “Literary Composition and Oral Performance in Early Midrashim,” Oral Tradition 14, no. 1 (March 1999), 33–51. ———. “Orality and the Transmission of Tosfta Pisha in Talmudic Literature,” in H. Fox and T. Meacham, eds., Introducing Tosefta: Textual, Intratextual and Intertextual Studies. Hoboken, NJ: KTAV, 1999, 123–80.

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Gerhardsson, Birger. Memory and Manuscript: Oral Tradition and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity. Lund: Gleerup and Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1961. Jaffee, Martin. “Oral Torah in Theory and Practice: Aspects of Mishnah-Exegesis in the Palestinian Talmud,” Religion 15 (1985), 387–410. ———. “Writing and Rabbinic Oral Tradition: On Mishnaic Narrative, Lists and Mnemonics,” Journal of Jewish Philosophy and Thought 4 (1994), 123–46. ———. “A Rabbinic Ontology of the Written and Spoken Word: On Discipleship, Transformative Knowledge and the Living Texts of Oral Torah,” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65, no. 3 (Fall 1997), 27–61. ———. “The Oral-Cultural Context of the Talmud Yerushalmi: Greco-Roman Rhetorical Paideia, Discipleship, and the Concept of Oral Torah,” in P. Schäfer, ed., The Talmud Yerushalmi in Graeco-Roman Culture. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1998, 27–61. ———. Torah in the Mouth: Writing and Oral Tradition in Palestinian Judaism, 200 BCE-400 CE. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. ———. Early Judaism: Religious Worlds of the First Judaic Millennium. Bethesda, MD: University Press of Maryland, 2006. ———. “Rabbinic Authorship as a Collective Enterprise,” in C. Fonrobert and M. Jaffee, eds. The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007, 17–37. James, Henry, Sr. Society: The Redeemed Form of Man. Cambridge: Houghton, Osgood & Co., 1879. Lauterbach, Jacob Z. Mekilta de-Rabbi Ishmael. 3 vols. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1933. Long, Charles. Significations: Signs, Symbols, and Images in the Interpretation of Religion. Aurora, Colorado: The Davies Group Publishers, 1999. Nelson, W. David, trans. and ed. Mekhilta De-Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai: Translated into English, with Critical Introduction and Annotation. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2006. ———. “Criticizing a Critical Edition: Challenges Utilizing the Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon b.Yohai,” in Ulmer, R. and Teugels, L., eds. Recent Developments in Midrash Research: Proceedings of the 2002 and 2003 SBL Consultation on Midrash. Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2004, 97–115. ———. “Oral Orthography: Early Rabbinic Oral and Written Transmission of Parallel Midrashic Tradition,” AJS Review 29:1 (2005), 1–32. ———. “Orality and Mnemonics in Aggadic Midrash,” in Ulmer, R. and Teugels, L., eds. Midrash and Context: Proceedings of the 2004 and 2005 SBL Consultation on Midrash. Piscataway: Gorgias Press, 2007, 123–37. Paden, William E. Religious Worlds: The Comparative Study of Religion. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994. Theodor, J. and Albeck, Ch. eds. Midrash Bereshit Rabba: Critical Edition with Notes and Commentary. Jerusalem: Wahrmann Books, 1965. Troeltsch, Ernst. “Empiricism and Platonism in the Philosophy of Religions,” Harvard Theological Review 5 (1912), 401–22. Ulmer, Rivka. “The Boundaries of the Rabbinic Genre Midrash,” Colloquium 38/1 (2006), 69–71.

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The Past as Paradigm Enactments of the Exodus Motif in Jewish Liturgy Richard S. Sarason

The LORD said to Moses as follows: Speak to the Israelite people and instruct them to make for themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout the ages; let them attach a cord of blue to the fringe at each corner. That shall be your fringe; look at it and recall all the commandments of the LORD and observe them, so that you do not follow your heart and eyes in your lustful urge. Thus shall you be reminded to observe all My commandments and to be holy to your God. I the LORD am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I, the LORD your God.1

N

um 15:37–41 is one of numerous passages in the Torah where the exodus from Egypt is invoked as a reminder to the Israelites that, on account of this saving act, they owe a debt of allegiance to the God who redeemed them from Egyptian slavery. That allegiance is to be demonstrated very concretely, through obedience to the commandments that their redeeming God has legislated for them.2 This particular passage sets forth the requirement to wear fringes on the four corners of one’s garment, serving as a visual and kinesthetic reminder of the commandments and of the obligation to perform them throughout one’s waking hours. The exodus from Egypt, God’s primal act of salvation, is invoked to further motivate that performance and to articulate its axiological rationale. This biblical passage, Num 15:37–41, has been recited twice daily— morning and evening, when you lie down and when you get up (Deut 6:7, 11:19)—since at least the second century CE in the public worship of the rabbinic synagogue,3 as part of qeri’at shema uvirkhoteha, “the recitation of shema and its surrounding benedictions,” one of the two earliest rubrics 53

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of rabbinic worship.4 As such, the text, with its invocation of the exodus experience, becomes performative; it is, literally, enacted twice a day while (in the morning) handling the fringes on one’s garment or prayer shawl (tallit).5 To this point, the liturgical significance of invoking the exodus from Egypt by reciting this passage corresponds to the intent of the passage itself: the exodus experience of divine salvation provides the ultimate justification for faithfully observing God’s commandments. The recitation of this passage is immediately followed in the liturgy by a rabbinic framing benediction that responds to its themes and indicates more broadly their significance for rabbinic religious culture. That benediction, called by the Rabbis ge’ulah, “redemption” (b. Ber. 4b, 9b, et passim) reads, in its morning formulation, in part as follows: True and firm . . . is this faith for us forever . . . True You are the LORD: our God and God of our ancestors, our King and King of our ancestors, our Redeemer and Redeemer of our ancestors, our Maker, Rock of our salvation, our Deliverer and Rescuer: This has ever been your name. There is no God but You . . . You have always been the help of our ancestors, Shield and Savior of their children after them in every generation . . . True You are the first and You are the last. Beside You, we have no king, redeemer or savior. From Egypt You redeemed us, LORD our God, and from the slave-house you delivered us. All their firstborn You killed, but Your firstborn You redeemed. You split the Sea of Reeds and drowned the arrogant. You brought Your beloved ones across. The water covered their foes; not one of them was left. For this, the beloved ones praised and exalted God, the cherished ones sang psalms, songs and praises, blessings and thanksgivings to the King, the living and enduring God. High and exalted, great and awesome, He humbles the haughty and raises the lowly, freeing the captives and redeeming those in need,

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helping the poor and answering His people when they cry out to Him. Praises to God Most High, the Blessed One who is blessed. Moses and the children of Israel recited to You a song with great joy, and they all exclaimed: “Who is like You, LORD, among the mighty? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, doing wonders?” (Exod 15:11) With a new song, the redeemed people praised Your name at the seashore. Together they all gave thanks, proclaimed Your Kingship and declared, “The LORD shall reign forever and ever.” (Exod 15:18) Rock of Israel! Arise to the help of Israel, deliver, as You promised, Judah and Israel. Our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel. (Isa 47:4) Blessed are You, LORD, who redeemed Israel.6

Two points are noteworthy about the liturgical and theological significance of this passage. First, the passage dramatizes the events of the exodus, so that those who recite it literally bring those mythic events to mind and effectively re-enact them; this is an example of the performative dimension of all liturgical activity. The dramatic element is heightened in particular here by the recitation of two biblical verses from the Song at the Sea (Exod 15:11, 18) that express the people’s exaltation at being redeemed and their acknowledgment of the Redeeming God. Thus the worshipper effectively participates in the primal act of redemption.7 Second, the benediction climaxes in an explicit petition that the God who redeemed Israel in the past by delivering them from Egyptian bondage may redeem them again, for the final time, in the near future by gathering them up from their places of exile and restoring them to the land of Israel. This petition, too, is reinforced by a scriptural citation in which the prophet Isaiah (actually the anonymous exilic prophet whose words form the second part of the book) invokes God as the Redeemer of Israel.8 The primary biblical significance of the exodus as the formative event in Israel’s relationship to their God and the ultimate rationale for their obedience to God’s commandments is not lost in rabbinic Jewish liturgy. But it is superseded by what comes to be the overriding significance of the exodus for post-70 CE rabbinic Judaism: that mythic event is both the guarantor and the paradigm par excellence of God’s future redemption of the Jewish people. Israel’s future redemption, in fact, becomes the major theme of collective rabbinic petitionary prayer.

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The biblical significance of the exodus is articulated in quite specific liturgical contexts: the central benedictions for the Sabbath and Festivals, and the blessings after meals. As remarked in note 2, above, the exodus from Egypt is presented in the Torah literature as one of the rationales for observing the Sabbath and Festivals. The Sabbath commandment in the Decalogue of Deuteronomy concludes (5:15): Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

This is echoed liturgically in the Sanctification of the Day (qedushat hayom or qiddush) benediction that is recited over a cup of wine toward the end of the Sabbath evening service in the synagogue and again at the outset of the Sabbath meal: . . . and in love and favor [God] gave us His holy Sabbath as a heritage, a remembrance of the work of creation (zekher lema’aseh vereshit). It is the first among the holy days of assembly, a remembrance of the exodus from Egypt (zekher litsi’at mitsrayim).9

Note the presence here of a double “remembrance” (zekher): observance of the Sabbath recalls and celebrates both the completion of creation (Gen 1–2:4) and the exodus from Egypt (Deut 5:15). The primary recollection and reenactment is of God’s cessation from labor at the end of the work of creation; this theme is ubiquitous in the Sabbath liturgy. But the liberation of the Israelite slaves from Egyptian bondage, and the ensuing injunction that all Israelites—including their servants— must abstain from labor and rest on the seventh day, also is deemed to ground the weekly Sabbath observance. Interestingly enough, this latter “remembrance” appears nowhere else in the regular Sabbath liturgy. It appears, however, in the same liturgical location on the Festivals (Pesach, Shavuot, Sukkot), and on the New Year (Rosh Hashanah), each of which is characterized as “a holy assembly in memory of the exodus from Egypt” (miqra’ qodesh zekher litsi’at mitsrayim). This is a rabbinic generalization to all three of the Festivals and the New Year of the exodus’s scriptural associations with both Pesach (Exod 12:17, Deut 16:3) and Sukkot (Lev 23:43). There is yet a third mention of the exodus in a liturgical context that recapitulates its biblical significance: in the blessings after meals. The second of these blessings deals with the theme of gratitude for the gift of the land of Israel, and includes the redemption from Egypt as part of an associative cluster. The blessing begins:

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We thank You, LORD our God, for having granted as a heritage to our ancestors a desirable, good and spacious land; for bringing us out, LORD our God, from the land of Egypt, freeing us from the house of slavery; for Your covenant which You sealed in our flesh; for Your Torah which You taught us; for Your laws which You made known to us . . .10

Displayed here is a cluster of themes that define the people Israel and their dealings with God, according to the biblical tradition: the covenant of circumcision, the redemption from Egypt, the gift of God’s instruction and laws, and the gift of the land of Israel.11 By far the most extensive and intensive liturgical treatment of the exodus theme in Jewish liturgy is on Pesach, as would be expected. This is when the story of God’s past act of redemption of the people Israel will be experienced as paradigmatic for their future redemption. Indeed, this experience is the meaning of the rabbinic Seder meal on the eve of Pesach. This meaning is extensively underscored as well in the liturgical poems (piyyutim) that are recited in the synagogue on the first and last days of Pesach, and which allude to many early rabbinic traditions interpreting the exodus narrative. We will deal with each of these liturgical constellations in turn. The rabbinic Seder, or “order” of the meal, on the eve of Pesach develops from the late first century CE onward; it is not identical to what may have been observed before the destruction of the Second Temple.12 Only the biblically commanded eating, in groups, of the paschal lamb (pesah) with unleavened bread (matsah) and bitter herb (maror) certainly antedates the destruction. But the prayers that are recited and the texts that are studied are all rabbinic in form and content. The structure of the ritualized meal and some of its verbal accompaniment are first attested in the Mishnah, the earliest rabbinic text, which dates in its edited form from approximately the turn of the third century CE The biblical antecedents for this ritual meal are twofold: (1) the aforementioned instruction to eat, in groups, the paschal sacrifice together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Exod 12:8–9), and (2) the four-fold imperative to explain these unusual eating customs to one’s children as remembrances of God’s miraculous deliverance of the Israelite people from Egyptian slavery (Exod 12:26; Exod 13:8, 14; Deut 6:20). The biblical imperative, “You shall tell your son on that day” (vehiggadeta levinkha bayom hahu; Exod 13:8), is enacted by the Rabbis as the extended haggadah, or telling of the story of the deliverance from Egypt—according to the rabbinic understanding of what that story means for their own time and for posterity. This takes the

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form of a sort of rabbinic symposium meal with four cups of wine.13 Eating of the ritual foods—matsah and maror only, since the Rabbis forbade the eating of barbecued lamb on this occasion following the destruction of the Temple and the cessation of sacrifices—and drinking of wine are accompanied by rabbinic benedictions and interpretations of the meaning of these activities.14 Additional blessings and psalms are recited as well as a series of rabbinic study-texts: interpretations of the exodus from Egypt (specifically, a series of midrashim on Deut 26:5–8), and traditions about the observance of Pesach and its significance. Because these texts are enacted as part of a ritual meal, their meaning is experienced viscerally and contemporaneously by the participants. The exodus events are happening now, to us: we are experiencing the bitterness of Egyptian slavery as we eat the bitter herbs; we are experiencing the divine redemption from slavery in Egypt as we eat the matsah.15 The text of the Haggadah makes this idea explicit throughout: We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord our God brought us forth from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. And if the Holy One, Blessed be He, had not brought our forefathers forth from Egypt, then we, our children, and our children’s children would still be Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. So, even though all of us were wise, all of us full of understanding, all of us elders, all of us knowing in the Torah, we should still be under the commandment to tell the story of the departure from Egypt. And the more one tells the story of the departure from Egypt, the more praiseworthy he is . . .16 In every generation let each man look on himself as if he came forth out of Egypt, as it is said, And you shall explain to your son on that day, “It is because of what the LORD did for me when I went forth out of Egypt.” (Exod 13:8) It was not only our fathers that the Holy One, blessed be he, redeemed, but us as well did he redeem along with them, as it is said, And us He freed from there, that He might take us and give us the land that He had promised on oath to our fathers. (Deut 6:23)17

But the experiential aspect of this ritual meal is not limited to identifying with and reenacting the past redemption from Egypt; it encompasses the entirety of Jewish historical experience and also anticipates and participates in the future, final redemption of Israel.18 The first of these aspects is made explicit in the following passage: Blessed be He who keeps his promise to Israel; blessed be he. For the Holy One, blessed by he, premeditated the end of the bondage, thus doing that which he said to Abraham in the Covenant between the Pieces, as it is said,

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And He said to Abram, “Know well that your offspring shall be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years; but I will execute judgment on the nation they shall serve, and in the end they shall go free with great wealth.” (Gen 15:13–14) And it is this promise which has stood by our fathers and by us. For it was not one man only who stood up against us to destroy us; in every generation they stand up against us to destroy us, and the Holy One, blessed be he, saves us from their hand.19

Herein is a patterning of the Jewish historical experience in which the Egyptian bondage is but the first of many such acts of oppression, and the exodus from Egypt the paradigm for all further redemptions.20 Following are examples of the way in which the exodus from Egypt is treated as a paradigm for the future and ultimate redemption of Israel.21 The blessing for redemption (birkat ge’ulah) that is recited over the second cup of wine directly after the Hallel Psalm 114 reads as follows: Blessed art thou, O Lord, our God, king of the universe who redeemed us and who redeemed our fathers from Egypt, and has brought us to this night, to eat thereon unleavened bread and bitter herbs. So, O Lord our God and God of our fathers, bring us to other festivals and holy days that come toward us in peace, happy in the building of thy city and joyous in thy service. And there may we eat of the sacrifices and the paschal offerings, whose blood will come unto the walls of thy altar for acceptance. Then shall we give thanks to thee with a new song, for our redemption and the liberation of our soul. Blessed art thou, O Lord, Redeemer of Israel.22

Historically, this benediction is a conflation of two separate formulae recorded in the Mishnah (Pesah. 10:6). The first portion, up to “bitter herbs,” is attributed there to Rabbi Tarfon, while the remainder is attributed to Rabbi Akiva. The first portion voices gratitude for the past redemption, in which the participants include themselves, and comports with those portions of the Haggadah-text that we have cited above. The second portion, however, is a petition that God speedily bring about the future, ultimate redemption for which the redemption from Egypt is deemed to be the paradigm. This theme, too, is articulated at other moments in the Seder ritual. At the very outset, a broken piece of matsah is held up and displayed to all the participants, accompanied by the following recitation in Aramaic: This is the bread of poverty which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry enter and eat; let all who are needy come to the Passover feast. This year we are here; next year may we be in the Land of Israel. This year we are slaves; next year may we be free men.23

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The Passover feast itself is constructed on the model of a Greco-Roman aristocratic banquet (with two main dishes and abundant wine, and participants reclining on coaches while the food is served to them); it is the meal of free men, here shared freely with those in material need. At this meal, all participants enact the role of free men of abundance. But at the same time, notice is taken of the other reality frame in which Jews saw (or see) themselves—in exile and as politically and socially oppressed by the non-Jewish majority cultures in which they lived; hence, the experiential relevance during the “season of our freedom”24 to pray for ultimate freedom and redemption.25 This is seen as well in the concluding text of the Seder meal, a poem that reads as follows: Concluded is the Passover Seder, According to its law and custom. As we have lived to celebrate it So may we live to celebrate it again. Pure One, who dwells in his habitation Redress the countless congregation. Speedily lead the offshoots of thy stock Redeemed, to Zion in joyous song.26

The Seder then ends with the communal refrain, “Next year in Jerusalem!” (leshanah haba’ah birushalayim).27 A final instance from the Passover Haggadah of the way in which past, present, and future are correlated in rabbinic interpretation through a series of patterned associations and correspondences is the poem, “It Came to Pass at Midnight” (Vayehi bahatsi halailah), which is recited close to the conclusion of the Seder ritual in the Ashkenazic, Italian, and Balkan (Romaniote) rites.28 The eve of the Seder is the night of God’s vigil: at precisely midnight, the firstborn Egyptians were killed and the firstborn Israelites redeemed. That midnight moment is deemed to be fraught with miraculous portents: And so it came to pass at the middle of the night . . . (Exod 12:29) It was then that You worked many miracles at night At all of the times of the watches on this night. You gave victory to the convert29 when divided was the night.30 You sentenced the king of Gerar in a dream at night.31 You terrorized the Aramean in the yester night.32 And Israel fought with an angel and he overcame him at night.33 You crushed the first-born seed of Patros in the middle of the night.34 Midian and its allies trembled at the commotion of the loaf of bread in a dream at night.35

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The lord of Haroshet’s hosts, in flight, were leveled by the stars of night.36 The blasphemer thought to wave his hand against your Chosen; You rotted his corpses at night.37 Bel and his pedestal fell in the middle of night.38 To the greatly beloved man was revealed the secret vision of night.39 He who grew drunk on the sacred vessels was slain on that very night.40 He who was saved from the lion’s den interpreted dread dreams of night.41 The Agagite nurtured hate, and wrote scrolls at night.42 You began to overpower him when the king’s sleep fled at night.43 You will trample down the winepress for him who asks, “Watchmen, what of the night?”44 He will sing out like a watchman, saying, “The morning comes and also the night.”45 O bring near the day that is neither day nor night!46 O Most High, announce that yours is the day, yours the night! Set watchmen to guard Your city all the day and all the night!47 Brighten, like the light of day, the dark night!

This poem is a parade example of the paradigmatic, repetitive, and teleologically patterned understanding of past events in Israel’s history for rabbinic biblical interpretation and for the rabbinic worldview generally (in which there is no such thing as random coincidence).48 Midnight, according to the poem, is not merely the time when the redemption from Egypt began; it has borne salvific significance from the time of Abraham onward, and is the time when the ultimate messianic redemption will be proclaimed. Both the highly allusive literary style and patterned historical and theological understandings of this poem are characteristic of piyyutim, medieval Jewish liturgical poems/hymns, generally. The piyyutim (from the Greek, poetes) give specific color and resonance to the liturgies of each of the Festival days in the pre-modern and contemporary traditional synagogue. The treatment of the exodus in the synagogue liturgies for Pesach, to which we now turn, will focus in particular on some of these piyyutim, since they are where the motifs are most fully expressed.49 The dramatic enactment and contemporization of the exodus themes is well exemplified in two liturgical poems that are recited in the Ashkenazic rite during the evening services of the first and seventh days of Pesach.50 These are poetic expansions of, and additions to, each of the daily benedictions that surround the recitation of shema in the evening.51 The first of these benedictions praises God as Creator of the natural order, bringing on the evening twilight and renewing light again in the morning. The second benediction extols God as the Giver of Torah, as a sign of divine love, to Israel. This introduces the recitation of the

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three paragraphs from the Torah. The third benediction, following immediately upon this recitation, praises God as the true and trustworthy Redeemer of Israel, exemplified in the exodus from Egypt. The fourth and final benediction asks for God’s protection throughout the night. What is noteworthy about the poetic additions to these benedictions on the first and seventh days of Pesach is the way in which they weave the themes of the holiday (and of the specific moments of the holiday that take place, according to the biblical narrative and its rabbinic interpretation, on the first and seventh days) into the fixed themes of the daily shema benedictions. Thus, on the first evening, “God’s night of vigil” to smite the Egyptian firstborn and deliver the Israelites is the occasional theme being hymned, while the deliverance at the Sea of Reeds is the theme for the seventh day. Here is the poem that interweaves the shema benedictions on the eve of the first day of Pesach:52 1.  This is a night of vigil,53 which God divided in two54 As He marched forth at midnight into Egypt.55 He who prevails over Edom,56 may He divide it [the coming night of   redemption] too; 57 Beloved One,58 who brings on the evening twilight,59 We shall sing to You with souls full of love. [Praised be You, O Lord, Who brings on the evening twilight.]60 2.  A night of vigil is this very night,61 Preordained by God when He announced [His coming], “At midnight.”62 The One to whom both day and night belong—63 May He recall His constant love64 For the offspring of [Abraham] who divided his camp at night.65 [Praised be You, O Lord, Who loves His people Israel.]66 3.  67This is a night of vigil, ordained by the Friend of my Youth,68 For saving the descendents of the blessed [ancestors] from the accursed  [foes].69 As He frightened those who had embittered our lives, Causing the Egyptians to bury [their dead], The children of those chosen ones70 [our ancestors] sang sweet songs, Praising Him for smiting the [Egyptian] firstborn sons. [With great rejoicing they all exclaimed: Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders!]71 4.  This night of vigil is a sign for the time to come72 When the Exalted One shall surely come73 To redeem74 the people close to Him;75 He is our Rock; let us rejoice and exult in Him!76 [“This is the Rock of our salvation,” they called out saying:77 The Lord shall reign forever and ever!]

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5.  78A night of vigil: so it was named by the One awesome in deed,79 For on that night He broke the bars of the yoke which the calf [Egypt]80   placed upon us. One day He will destroy that nation that has trampled and consumed  us,81 Redeeming us yet again. [Praised be You, O Lord, Who redeemed Israel.]82 6.  83This night of vigil He proclaimed to His beloved people Whom He saved from the hand of Lehavim [Egypt];84 It will bring salvation to Bat-Rabbim [Israel]85 They shall lie down in respite and peace, without fear. [Praised be You, O Lord, Who spreads a canopy of peace over us, over   all Israel, and over Jerusalem.]86

Evident throughout this poem—indeed, its conceptual basis—is the identification of Egyptian slavery with all of Israel’s subsequent experiences of domination by foreign powers, and the identification of the exodus from Egypt with all further instances of divine salvation, including the ultimate and final messianic one. The “night of vigil” in Egypt foreshadows and guarantees the coming of the final “night of vigil” when salvation again will begin at midnight. Through the liturgical recitation of this poem, the worshippers proleptically experience that final redemption even as they re-enact the paradigmatic redemption from Egypt. This analysis applies equally to the poem recited at these same points of the service on the eve of the seventh day of Pesach, when the occasional theme is the salvation at the Sea of Reeds:87 1.  My Light and my Salvation88 was revealed at the Sea When He sent darkness to my oppressors and lightened the darkness   for me,89 That I might praise the greatness of His wondrous, awe-inspiring works:90 Cloud and darkness were on one side; on the other He lightened the night.91 [Praised be You, O Lord, Who brings on the evening twilight.] 2.  Remembering the covenant with those who sleep [in the dust],92 He recompensed their descendents; He brought forth His people with rejoicing,93 and bore them upon His  wings;94 He remembered His kindness and His faithfulness,95 and guided them   with affection; In His love and compassion He Himself redeemed them.96 [Praised be You, O, Lord, Who loves His people Israel.] 3.  He guided His lambs97 like a helping and redeeming shepherd.98 They beheld His radiant splendor and recognized the glory of God. He fed them with honey from the rock,99 sheltered and protected them   with His shadow.100 In assemblies did they bless God, the Lord from the midst of Israel.101

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Richard S. Sarason [With gladness and joy, with great rejoicing, they all exclaimed: “Who is like You among the gods . . .”] 4.  Can His mysterious, wondrous work102 be extolled, Or His mighty deeds103 which He performed for his [Israel’s] sake?104 I am the offspring of His holy ones,105 and my inherited portion is to   praise Him:106 This is my God and I will enshrine Him; my father’s God and I will exalt Him!107 [“This is the Rock of our salvation,” they called out saying: The Lord will reign forever and ever!] 5.  Riding upon a cherub,108 my King flashed lightning;109 He stretched forth [His hand] from on high and drew me from the  waters110 to rescue me. “My flawless one, my beloved,”111 He said, “Arise and go forth,112 For indeed I am your Redeemer.”113 [Praised be You, O Lord, Who redeemed Israel.]

Noteworthy in this poem is the extensive use of first-person-singular speech. The worshipper himself or herself is speaking, and thereby totally identifies with the ideas, aspirations, feelings, and experiences of the poem: God saved me at the Sea of Reeds; I am the offspring of the holy Patriarchs; my inherited portion is to exalt God for my salvation.114 This enactment is comparable to the Haggadah’s statement that every Jew is obliged to see him or herself as if he or she personally had been redeemed from Egypt at this season. Unlike the poem recited on the eve of the first day of Pesach cited above, this poem does not explicitly link the redemption from Egypt with the future redemption. At the explicit level, the worshipper is simply reliving the deliverance at the Sea of Reeds; the hope for a similar deliverance in the future, on the pattern of the earlier one, remains implicit (but at the implicit level is always there). By contrast, the final stanza of the poem that appears in this place in the eastern Ashkenazic (Polish) rite makes the connection explicit. It reads as follows:115 Then were dismayed116 those quickly punished; Let cries and judgments descend upon them!117 Bring them118—your holy ones—in elation to Your peaceful dwelling:119 The Lord reigns120—He is steadfast to save those who believe in Him. [Praised be You, O Lord, Who spreads a canopy of peace over us, over all Israel, and over Jerusalem.]

The use of the narrative imperfect in the biblical text, when transposed to the poem, permits both a past and a future understanding of these verbs—precisely embodying the simultaneity of past and future that is enacted liturgically in the present.

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Having explored the ways in which the exodus motif is understood and deployed in traditional Jewish liturgy, we may now ask how that deployment has been affected by the modernization of Jewish religious understandings and behaviors that began in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Inherited myth and ritual are always construed through the lens of lived experience (and vice versa). Since the tradition itself mandates that each generation identify with the exodus experience, the real question is how that identification has changed over time, either subtly or radically. The tradition, as we noted, views the exodus as an act of divine redemption and a paradigm for future acts of divine deliverance—especially the final one, when Israel will be returned to its land under the leadership of a Davidic anointed king-messiah, when the Temple will be rebuilt and its sacrificial worship restored, when Israel’s enemies will be punished and all nations acknowledge the truth of Israel’s God. So the most relevant question turns out to be how this traditional vision of redemption, symbolized and prefigured by the exodus from Egypt, came to change as Jews entered into modern western culture and became citizens of their respective nation-states. Briefly, in the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Jews in France and the German states over time were given citizenship with the proviso—explicit or implicit—that they redefine their corporate identity in religious, rather than national, terms. This meant that they were to see themselves as members of the nation-state in which they lived and forgo their separate, corporate existence with its distinctive jurisprudence and its traditional aim of returning to a renewed Jewish commonwealth in the land of Israel in the messianic era (even if this return was to be brought about in God’s own time and without human political initiative).121 Many Jews enthusiastically accepted the liberal political and social promise of integration into western culture, and were eager to modify the expressions of their Jewish identity accordingly. Many of the earliest reforms in Jewish communal life were in the areas of education and worship. In the sphere of worship, the services were shortened and made more decorous. Edifying sermons and some prayers in the vernacular, as well as organ and choral music, were introduced. Most of the medieval liturgical poetry of the kind that we have just been examining was expunged.122 Prayers for the rebuilding of the Temple and the restoration of the sacrificial cult were eliminated, as were prayers for the return to Zion (although, in the latter case, at first not consistently). The vision of the messianic future was impacted by hopes for a full amelioration of Jewish social, economic, and political disabilities as citizens of the countries in which western Jews were living; among them there was neither the need

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nor the desire to return to an idealized independent Jewish polity in the land of Israel. Rather, a messianic age was envisioned in which the brotherhood of all men (sic!) would be universally acknowledged, all would enjoy personal liberty and freedom from oppression, and Judaism—as pure ethical monotheism—would be recognized as the source for, and highest form of, universal enlightened religion. In the second half of the nineteenth century, in the wake of large waves of Jewish immigration to the United States that followed upon the bloody suppression of liberal uprisings in central Europe in 1848–1849, and Czarist-inspired pogroms against eastern European Jews beginning in 1882, a modern Reform Judaism took root in the United States as well. Here, the freedom of religion and relative lack of anti-Jewish discrimination led grateful Jews to view America as itself a Promised Land. The significant changes in cultural perception briefly summarized here were enacted dramatically in the sphere of Jewish worship, where traditional prayers were revised and new ones composed that reflected these changed sensibilities and aspirations.123 A thematically relevant example of the kind of changes wrought, inspired by a changed vision of redemption, may be found in the various alterations made to, and paraphrases substituted for, the morning version of the ge’ulah (“Redemption”) benediction that follows the recitation of shema, the traditional version of which we examined at the outset of this chapter. From the earliest Reform prayer books in Germany onwards, this benediction has been abbreviated. In most of these prayer books, the references to the smiting of the Egyptian firstborn and the drowning of the Egyptians in the sea were omitted,124 as was the poetic petition for God to “arise to the aid of Israel and redeem, as You have promised, Judah and Israel.”125 Most revealing are those prayer books that radically paraphrase the Hebrew in the vernacular.126 The American Union Prayer Book (1894–1895 and subsequent revisions) is characteristic and noteworthy in this regard. Here is its free paraphrase of the evening version of the ge’ulah benediction: Eternal truth it is that Thou alone art God, and there is none besides; And through Thy power alone, has Israel been redeemed from the hands of oppressors. Wonders without number hast Thou wrought for us, and hast protected us to this day. Thou hast preserved our soul for life, and has not suffered our feet to stumble. Thy love has watched over us in the night of oppression; and Thy mercy has sustained us in the hour of trial.

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And now that we live in a land of freedom, may we continue to be faithful to Thee and Thy word. May Thy law rule in the hearts of all Thy children, and Thy truth unite them in the bonds of fellowship. Let the righteous of all nations rejoice in Thy grace, and exult in Thy justice. O God, Thou art our refuge and our hope; we glorify Thy name now as did our fathers in ancient days.127

Significant aspects of this text (arranged as a responsive reading) are the following: The exodus from Egypt is not mentioned at all; in its place is a generalized reference to past oppression, from which Israel has been redeemed.128 Emphasis is put on the present situation and stance of the worshippers: “And now that we live in a land of freedom [=the United States of America], may we continue to be faithful to Thee and Thy word.” The worshippers pray that they (and their children) may remain committed Jews now that they live in a free society. Finally, their aspirations for the future are that all humanity may unite in fellowship and in acknowledgment of the true God and His call for justice.129 Here the larger themes of the exodus motif have been generalized and universalized. A further characteristic example of this kind of reinterpretation is found in the paraphrase of the Sanctification of the Day (qedushat hayom) benediction in the Amidah for the first day of Pesach in David Einhorn’s 1858 German-language prayer book Olat Tamid (here given in the 1896 English version of his son-in-law Emil G. Hirsch): . . . Thy grace hath spared us to see the light of this Festal Day that we might remember in joy that Thine outstretched hand and strong arm broke the heavy chains of Egyptian bondage, and led forth the delivered host of Israel to be unto Thee a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Let the memories of this hour instil into us the courage to be loyal to this duty, that like the fathers in their day, we may in our generation, proclaim the light and the liberty of Thy salvation unto all that dwell on earth!130

Obviously, the most explicit and powerful liturgical reinterpretations of the exodus motif in modern and contemporary guises will be found in the multiple reworkings of the Pesach Haggadah that began in the early nineteenth century and continue unabated in the present. Since this is potentially an enormous topic, we will suffice with a general overview and some salient examples.131 The very earliest published modern reworking of the Haggadah appears to be that of Leopold Stein, at the time district rabbi in Burgkundstadt, from 1841.132 An English-language adaptation of this text was published in 1892 by Isaac S. Moses133 in the very first version of the Union Prayer Book,134 and subsequently as a freestanding volume. Noteworthy with respect to out topic here is the distanced stance from

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the experience of oppression to be found in both of these versions: it is simply being recalled with sympathy and alluded to as the experience of other contemporary Jewish communities, such as those in the Czarist Russian Empire, but it is not the current experience of the participants. Their experience, rather, is identified with liberation from oppression, freedom, and (in the American adaptation) liberal democracy. The very positive this-worldly social and political realities experienced by the participants and aspired to for their less fortunate co-religionists—as well as for all mankind—heavily influence the contours of the concept of “redemption” in this liturgy: the ultimate, as yet unrealized goal is for a world of just and virtuous societies that recognize God’s truth and Israel’s prophetic mission to mankind. I cite a few salient examples from the English adaptation: 1.  The Aramaic passage recited over a broken piece of matsah that is displayed to the participants at the beginning of the meal (above, at note 23) is rendered here as a poem to be sung. Where the traditional version concludes: “Now [we are] here; next year [may we be] in the land of Israel. Now [we are] slaves; next year, free men,” Stein/ Moses’s version reads: LEADER: And where our people suffer still Injustice wrong or any ill; Where e’er they suffer in each clime, The Lord will free them in His own time. COMPANY: Yea, all the sufferers in each clime, The Lord will free them in His own time.135

Similarly, the introduction to the Pesach narrative articulates the vision for “that remote future, when all the gracious promises of Israel’s redemption shall be fulfilled, all oppression shall cease, and every reproach be removed from our brethren”136 (pointedly not from us). 2.  The most dramatic identification of the current political and social situation of the participants with a state of redemption, and their concomitant distancing from an experience of oppression, occurs (appropriately) at the climax of the narrative. The traditional narration proceeds through a rabbinic midrashic exposition of Deut 26:5–8, My father was a fugitive Aramean. In the biblical context, this is the beginning of a declaration that each Israelite must make when he brings the first fruits of his crops as an offering to the priest in the Jerusalem Temple (Deut 26:2’s place where the LORD your God will choose to establish His name), in acknowledgment that God has, in fact, fulfilled His promise to bring Israel into the land. Thus, af-

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ter recounting Israel’s enslavement in Egypt and their miraculous divine delivery, the declaration concludes: He [=God] brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Wherefore I now bring the first fruits of the soil which You, O LORD, have given me (Deut 26:9–10). The traditional midrashic exposition in the Haggadah pointedly stops before these last verses, since the Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed and the Jews dispersed from, and banned from settlement in, Judea (though not from the land of Israel in its entirety) when the rabbinic Seder rituals were first formulated. The Stein/Moses narration, however, pointedly concludes with the exposition of v. 9, as follows: THE YOUNGEST: And He brought us into this place. LEADER: Thus spake our forefathers, and thus we also say with a joyful heart before God. Praised be He who brought us into this place. He led us to a safe position, from which we are to look back upon our past, upon the sufferings and wanderings of our fathers as a time of probation, fitting us for our universal mission. And we also look up to Him with grateful hearts that He has given us and our children a lot infinitely better than ever fell to the share of our fathers in Palestine. THE YOUNGEST: And He gave us this land. LEADER: With deep-felt recognition of the divine kindness do we today give expression to our thanks that God has given us this land; that He has made us co-workers in and partakers of the liberty and the free government of this glorious Republic. Here is the haven of our peace, the opportunity of our mission, to teach by our own example the faith in one God, and the love of virtue as the common bonds of humanity. 137

These excerpts demonstrate clearly how the improving contemporary situation of the Jews in the mid-nineteenth-century German states (albeit somewhat fitful) and in late nineteenth-century America powerfully colored their vision of an ultimate redemption and its liturgical expression.138 The same basic contours characterize subsequent revisions of the Haggadah, certainly in the United States, through roughly the first three decades of the twentieth century.139 The rise of Fascist dictatorships, the Nazis’ deadly persecution of Jews, and the realities of the Second World War gave even greater resonance to the exodus motif.140 Perhaps the iconic American revision of the Haggadah during this period is that of Mordecai Kaplan in 1941.141 In the foreword to this volume, the editors write: The age-old struggle between those who cherish freedom and those who would deny it to their fellow-men has become more embittered than ever. In that struggle Jews are deeply involved. They have a great stake in the

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ultimate victory of the cause of freedom . . . Times have changed. We live in a new world; we are confronted with new conditions. But the problem is still the same. That problem is: how, in the face of setbacks and despite the demagogic appeals of false prophets, to keep alive in men the love of freedom, and their faith in it.142

The English text of this Haggadah, too, is a very free paraphrase; this allows the exodus story, through reinterpretation, forcefully to address the new context, in which the overt political message of the struggle between freedom and tyranny is uppermost. I give several salient examples: 1.  The introduction to the Seder, before the first cup of wine, reads as follows: On this night, long years ago, our forefathers hearkened to the call of freedom. Tonight, that call rings out again, sounding its glorious challenge, commanding us to champion the cause of all the oppressed and the downtrodden, summoning all the peoples throughout the world to arise and be free. Let us raise our cups in gratitude to God that this call can still be heard in the land. Let us give thanks that the love of freedom still burns in the hearts of our fellowmen. Let us pray that the time be not distant when all the world will be liberated from cruelty, tyranny, oppression, and war.143

2.  The conclusion of the narration of the plagues144 leads into a section titled, “Pharaoh: Arch Tyrant,” which reads in part as follows: For our forefathers, Pharaoh was the symbol of all those tyrants who ever acted as though they were gods, and whose will had to be obeyed without question, on penalty of torture or death. And that is why Pesah means more than that first emancipation the Israelites won from Pharaoh when they left Egypt. It means the emancipation the serfs in the Middle Ages won from their overlords; the freedom the slaves won from their masters; the freedom of common people of countries won, when their kings were overthrown; it means the guarantee of the sacred rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The first emancipation was thus only a foreshadowing of all the emancipations that were to follow, and which will yet follow in the days to come. The victory over the first Pharaoh reminds us that the time will come when all the Pharaohs of the world will be vanquished, when right will conquer might, when God alone will rule over men, and all men will be brothers.145

Note the quotation here from the American Declaration of Independence, in the wake of allusions to the liberal revolutions of the eigh-

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teenth and nineteenth centuries, and perhaps to the freeing of the slaves in the United States. The vision of redemption here is overtly political as well as social. 3.  Finally, a lengthier passage in which the political content shades also into economic and psychological content: We have dedicated this festival tonight to the dream and the hope of freedom, the dream and the hope that have filled the hearts of men from the time our Israelite ancestors went forth out of Egypt. Peoples have suffered, nations have struggled to make this dream come true. Now we dedicate ourselves to the struggle for freedom. Though the sacrifice be great and the hardships many, we shall not rest until the chains that enslave all men are broken. But the freedom we strive for means more than broken chains. It means liberation from all those enslavements that warp the spirit and blight the mind, that destroy the soul even though they leave the flesh alive. For men can be enslaved in more ways than one: Men can be enslaved to themselves. When they let emotion sway them to their hurt, when they permit harmful habits to tyrannize over them— they are slaves. When laziness or cowardice keeps them from doing what they know to be the right, when ignorance blinds them . . .—they are slaves. When envy, bitterness, and jealousy sour their joys and darken the brightness of their contentment—they are slaves to themselves and shackled by the chains of their own forging. Men can be enslaved by poverty and inequality. When the fear of need drives them to dishonesty and violence, to defending the guilty and accusing the innocent—they are slaves. When the work men do enriches others, but leaves them in want of strong houses for shelter, nourishing food for themselves and their children, and warm clothes to keep out the cold—they are slaves. Men can be enslaved by intolerance. When Jews are forced to give up their Jewish way of life, to abandon their Torah, to neglect their sacred festivals, to leave off rebuilding their ancient homeland—they are slaves. When they must deny that they are Jews in order to get work—they are slaves. When they must live in constant fear of unwarranted hate and prejudice—they are slaves. How deeply these enslavements have scarred the world! The wars, the destruction, the suffering, the waste! Pesah calls us to be free, free from the tyranny of our own selves, free from the enslavement of poverty and inequality, free from the corroding hate that eats away the ties which unite mankind. Pesah calls upon us to put an end to all slavery! Pesah cries out in the name of God, “Let my people go.” Pesah summons us to freedom.146

This original composition extends the ideas of slavery and freedom in the political, economic, social, and psychological realms, and addresses the realities of the 1930’s and 1940’s: the rise in Europe of Fascist and

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Communist dictatorships, and the persecution of Jews by both the left and the right; the struggles in the United States between labor and capital; and the increasingly sophisticated understandings of the etiology of the human personality and character traits. A profusion of creative Haggadot in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first would elaborate on each of these areas, particularly in the wake of the “culture wars” of the 1960s and the strivings of various disadvantaged subgroups in the population (including, to some extent, the Jews themselves) to find their own liberated voices: youth, women, people of color, GLBT’s, and others. The published examples here are so numerous that I will refer only to a few items that, each in its own way, have become iconic. 1.  In 1969, at the height of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war protests in the United States, Arthur Waskow (then age thirtysix) wrote and compiled The Freedom Seder, in part to commemorate the first anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which fell that year on the third night of Pesach.147 In his preface, Waskow writes: Facing those dates, we found our deepest feelings best expressed in a fusion of the traditional Seder with a new song of freedom—both the freedom of men in relation to each other and the freedom of men in relation to God. So this Haggadah, this “telling” . . . [A] Freedom Seder should be not only a ritual remembrance, not only a shared promise for the future, but itself a political act . . . as the first Passover was, when the people of Israel liberated themselves and their God. Does a Freedom Seder belong on the steps of the Capitol? In the corridors of the Pentagon? Beside the pyramids of Wall Street? . . . In our world we all live under Pharaohs who could exterminate us at any moment, and so enslave us all the time. Passover therefore fuses, for an instant, with the history and the future of all mankind . . . The particularly Jewish lives within the universally human, at the same time that the universally human lives within the particularly Jewish. . . . Just as the whole bitterness of history lives within the Bitter Herb on the table. So for life, and peace, and freedom! . . .148

This volume well represents the sensibilities and activism of many young Jews in the American left and radical left of that period. In a final section, punningly entitled, “Free Associations,” are thematically relevant excerpts from the Statement of the National Jewish Organizing Project (of which Waskow was a board member at the time), the Working Paper of the Jewish Liberation Project, Bob Moses, Herbert Marcuse, Yevgeny Yevtushenko (“Babi Yar”), the Roll-

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ing Stones (“Let’s drink to the hard-working people”), Gandhi, Pope John XXIII (excerpts from Pacem in terris), the Bay Area Institute and People’s Park in Berkeley, CA, as well as a number of Jewish Hasidic and midrashic sources. Included among the songs to be sung at this Seder are “Solidarity Forever;” “The Times They are A-Changing” (Bob Dylan); the African-American spiritual, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (with the words, “to let my people go,” not “that Jesus Christ is born”!); and “We Shall Overcome.” In the text of the Seder proper are citations from Martin Buber, beat poet Allen Ginsberg, socialist and pacifist activist Abraham Johannes Muste (his depiction of Moses as a labor organizer in Egypt), Nobel Prize-winning scientist and anti-war activist George Wald, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eldridge Cleaver, Henry David Thoreau, William Lloyd Garrison, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Orwell, Hannah Arendt, Emmanuel Ringelblum, and the D.C. Nine (their published indictment in 1969 of the Dow Chemical Company, manufacturers of napalm, which they put forth to justify their vandalism of the Dow offices). Such an eclectic mix of readings and sources drawn from all spheres, novel in its day, would become more common in the following decades. The flavor and purpose of this Haggadah may be seen in its paraphrase of the Aramaic declaration over the broken piece of matsah: As the tradition says, “Ha-sha-tah ha-kha; l’sha-nah ha-ba-ah b’ar-ah d’yis-ra-el”—this year we celebrate here, but the next year we hope to celebrate in the land of Israel. And as another tradition says, “Ubi libertas, ibi patria”—where there is liberty, that is my country. That is my Israel. For were we sitting tonight in Jerusalem, we should still say, “Next year in Jerusalem; next year in the city of peace.” For this year, not only we here, but all men are slaves; next year we hope that all men shall be free. This year, not only we here but all women live in a city at war and in agony; next year we hope that all women may live in cities at peace. This year, all mankind eat as aliens in a land not wholly theirs; next year we hope all mankind will celebrate in “the land of Israel”—that is, a world made one and a world made free.149

We note here both the secularization and the generalization of the hope for redemption—the people of Israel at the time of the exodus “liberated themselves and their God,” while in the traditional conception, of course, it is God who liberates the people of Israel. In common with the Reformers of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, redemption here has a very this-worldly and universalist tinge. Unlike those Reformers, however, the post-Holocaust, politically aware sensibility in the Waskow text perceives the current

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situation as deeply flawed and unredeemed: we are still “slaves” to a military-industrial-financial complex that is waging a war in Vietnam and at home, against its own poor and people of color. But, in both instances, the exodus story and its ritual enactment at the Seder resonate deeply with the lived experiences of the participants, and are reinterpreted to articulate and ritualize their perception of themselves and the world in which they live. 2.  The late 1960s and early 1970s in America also saw the beginning of the women’s movement. The exodus story of liberation from slavery resonated deeply with Jewish women who saw themselves additionally as excluded from public positions of authority in the Jewish community and as second-class citizens in the Jewish religious tradition, which was perceived as intrinsically patriarchal.150 The celebration of the Women’s Seder began on the west coast of the United States in the early 1970s—first in Portland, Oregon, then in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego, California.151 The most prominent and well-publicized of these Seder rituals began in Haifa, Israel, in 1975, was taken up in New York in 1976, and was first published in Ms. Magazine in 1977.152 This Haggadah text, in its 1993 revised form, will serve as the basis for our discussion here. Throughout, it seeks to recover the voices of women in Jewish tradition: Eve, Lot’s wife, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Yocheved, Miriam, Ziporah, Deborah, Yael, Judith, Ima Shalom (wife of Rabban Gamliel), Beruriah (wife of Rabbi Meir); to name God as Feminine (Shekhinah, the immanent Presence); and to frame the moments of the Seder and the Passover story in terms of women’s experiences. Egyptian slavery here is construed not only in terms of male domination but also as the silencing of women. Redemption and liberation therefore involve the recovery of women’s voices and their taking control of their lives and an equal place at the “table.” I cite a few characteristic examples in this document of the reinterpretation of ritual symbols and traditional texts in terms of women’s experiences: a.  As the Seder plate is lifted up and displayed to the participants, the symbolism of its contents is explained as follows: Soon after we begin the seder, we lift the plate and say: “This is the seder plate. “The plate is flat. Woman is flat, like a plate, flat in the relief of history. Here we give her dimension in our mythic memory. We do not merely act as servers but service one another and make ancient symbols our own.” We name the plate and its objects in the light of our own gender.

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“The Maror, often horseradish, representing bitter herb of our experience, our exclusion. “The Haroset, a mixture of apples-nuts-wine representing the mortar of our lives in these new structures we are attempting to build. “The Lamb Shank, which sets us apart with special markings, which continues the blood imagery of the Haggadah and our own bleeding. “The Egg, that which is our rebirth. “The Potato and Parsley, for we are earthy, rooted beings. “Salt water of our tears. “Matzot of our unleavened hearts.” . . . In our new tradition we speak of the breaking of the matza as a break, a change, from the old order. We hide the past from ourselves and need to redeem it to create a whole from the broken halves.153

b.  One of two versions of The Four Questions is framed as follows: Why is this night both bitter and sweet? The story of women is bitter. The searching together is sweet. Why do we dip into the wine of history? We were led out of Egypt by the jingle of timbrel, the echo of song. What still plagues us in our chronology? The pestilence of tradition, the affiction of custom, the calamity of rabbinic decree. When shall we lean back comfortably? We shall not recline until we find our dignity.154

c.  The poem Dayenu (“It would have been enough for us”) is rephrased as follows: If Eve had been created in the image of God and not as helper to Adam, it would have sufficed. Dayenu. If she had been created as Adam’s equal and not as temptress, Dayenu. If she were the first woman to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, who brought learning to us, Dayenu.

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Richard S. Sarason If Sarah were recognized as a priestess, royal in her own lineage, Dayenu . . . If our foremothers had not been considered as hardened roots or fruit-bearing wombs, but as women in themselves, Dayenu . . . If women bonding, like Naomi and Ruth, were the tradition and not the exception, Dayenu. If women had been in the Tribal Council and decided on the laws that dealt with women, Dayenu. If women had been the writers of Tanach, interpreters of our past, Dayenu . . . If every generation of women Together with every generation of men would continue to go out of Egypt, Dayenu, Dayenu.155

This version of the poem, of course, goes far beyond the events of the exodus, and deals rather with the inequality of women in Jewish tradition, with events that did not happen rather than with those that did. Similarly, the following paragraph added after the traditional V’hi she’amdah, God’s promise of protection to the forefathers which has stood by their descendants, is also negative: V’hi shelo ‘amdah, that promise which was not kept: And what is the promise to women? That we have effect on our own lives and the generations that follow us. In every generation we lost our names and our legacy. Our role became fertilization of the generations of men. Our foremothers died and were buried after fulfilling this purpose. In every generation there have arisen against us those who would destroy us and we have not yet been delivered from their hand.156

In all of these instances, the exodus story becomes a model for resistance and striving for liberation, rather than for a redemption ful-

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filled. But it remains the paradigmatic narrative for such purposes. As Broner observes at the end of her introduction to the text: “What makes the Story different from the traditional readings is the incorporation of self, the insertion of our lives into the tale, to create living history [italics mine]. We speak of our mothers, our fears, hurts, and hopes. And, thereby, we create a new legend.” 3.  The 1970s also witnessed the creation of the first gay and lesbian (now GLBT) Jewish congregations in the United States (the first, Beth Chayim Chadashim, was started in Los Angeles in 1972; the founding of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York was inspired by the celebration in 1973 of a gay Passover Seder).157 Most of the GLBT Haggadot remain unpublished; but in 2008, JQ International and the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles published online JQ International GLBT Passover haggadah,158 which will serve as the basis for our discussion here. In their introductory remarks, the editors make the following observations, which precisely align with our remarks in the previous paragraph about the orientation of the Women’s Seder: Pesach or Passover traditionally is the celebration of God’s decree to spare the first-born male Israelites as recounted in Exodus, which ultimately concludes with the liberation of the Jewish people from a life of oppression, tyranny, and slavery. However, with great irony today’s Seder or Passover service seeks to consciously recognize and remember those who have been overlooked in our current day by reliving the struggles of our community collectively as a group . . . What sets this Haggadah apart is the creation and integration of the GLBT struggle, history, pain, and joy throughout the text as a conscious amalgamation to a holiday that has already grown synonymous with the Jewish GLBT civil rights movement . . . While discussing the ancient oppression in Egypt, we should recognize today’s oppression and the struggles for women’s rights, GLBT rights, racial equality and the elimination of unfair discrimination and the assurance of equal rights for all.159

As in the Women’s Seder, many of the ritual actions and objects/ foods are given a contemporary meaning. Thus, tsafun, the recovery of the “hidden” or missing half of the broken matsah, is interpreted as recovering the hidden or missing part of the Jewish people and of humanity: “We will not conclude our Seder until the missing piece (the Afikomen) is found and spiritually reunited. This is a reminder of the indestructible link which fuses us as a world family. We cannot forget those who remain behind . . . To those still seeking liberty of life . . . we pledge our continued vigilance, support and

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solidarity” (10).160 Since inclusivity across the spectrum—including the Jewish religious spectrum—is the primary value enacted here, the text includes both traditional explanations, recitations, and rituals and, alongside them, new ones that deal specifically with the GLBT experience: a second Seder plate with additional symbolic foods (an orange, a coconut, sour vegetables, fruit salad, sticks and stones, and flowers, each of which is explained in due course);161 a fifth question; a maggid, or retelling, of GLBT history; ten plagues that address the GLBT experience; and Miriam’s cup in addition to the cup for Elijah.162 Inclusion (particularly of women, but also in some instances of GLBT’s, or of non-Jewish family members and friends at the Seder table) characterizes as well the most recent Haggadot published by the major nonOrthodox religious movements in the United States, as well as some in Europe and Israel.163 Also increasingly to be found in this connection is the use of a Hasidic psychologizing interpretation of the Hebrew name for Egypt, mitsrayim, as “narrow places” or “straits” (revocalized as metsarim)—thus understanding “Egypt” as anything constraining in one’s personal experience or inner life. This accords with the contemporary American tendency to personalize and privatize religion and religious concerns; thus the exodus from Egypt has additionally come to symbolize personal transformation. It is also worth noting the creation of a number of secular, humanist Haggadot in the United States. In this category are included, first, a variety of Yiddish-socialist texts, devoted to freedom from economic oppression and workers’ rights. The outlook is universalist and decidedly secular.164 In their labor-socialist orientation, these Haggadot share much with the Jewish Yishuv and Israeli kibbutz Haggadot that will be discussed below. The 1960s saw the founding of the first congregation in the United States on secular humanist principles, the Birmingham Temple, in Birmingham, Michigan, led by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, an ordained Reform rabbi. This congregation became the center for the Society for Humanistic Judaism, which published The Humanist Haggadah in 1979.165 Here, freedom is defined in national, universalist, and personalist terms, with both America and the State of Israel figuring proudly in the narrative: . . . Our forebears also traveled to America. The rulers of Europe were often cruel and hateful to the Jews. They drove them from land to land and filled their lives with terror. Our fathers and mothers did not despair. Having heard of a free land across the sea, they pursued their dream. They endured

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the danger of long voyages and unknown places before they reached their destination. Their exodus from persecution was an epic drama. Never before in the history of our people had so many traveled so far to find their liberty. Because of their foresight, we are here tonight to celebrate our freedom in a free land. We cannot forget the bold rebirth of the State of Israel. What began as a vision of dreamers became the reality of practical men and women. Some came to avoid hatred. Others came to build love and unity. They traveled from the four corners of the earth seeking what no other land could give them: the power of roots and the dignity of belonging. The search for freedom is also the will to live. The exodus from Egypt is one of many victories. In every century we have chosen to survive. Passover celebrates this undying resolution which unites our past with our present, and our present with our future . . . The fate of every Jew is bound up with the fate of the Jewish people. And the destiny of the Jewish people cannot be separated from the destiny of all humanity. We are a world people, living in many lands and among many nations. The power of science has shrunk our planet and has made all of us the children of one human family. Since no one can survive alone, we must all learn to live together. Brotherhood is born of shared need and shared danger. Passover celebrates this human will to live. We can no longer be fully Jewish unless we recognize that we are also fully human. We seek freedom for Israel. We seek freedom for all nations. We seek freedom for all the world . . . Without personal freedom human life grows weak. Life is stronger when there is self-reliance, when there is the possibility of choosing new ideas and new behavior. Useful freedom does not dwell on freedom. It uses its liberty to strengthen life and to make it more exciting . . . Freedom is not an end in itself. It is an instrument of happiness.166

So far, we have been dealing with modernizing liturgical treatments of the exodus in the western diaspora. But such treatments also exist prominently in Haggadot created in the Jewish Yishuv in Palestine before 1948 and in the State of Israel since then—most notably in the secular kibbutz movements.167 Here, Egyptian slavery is identified with the Diaspora Jewish experience, and liberation with the Zionist return to the land of Israel—a purely secular political and social initiative.168 (Much attention is devoted in these Haggadot also to the purely agricultural and seasonal aspects of the festival: the arrival of spring.) We give several examples

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of reinterpreted texts from a number of secular kibbutz Haggadot, both before and after statehood: 1.  Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Haggadah and History, plates 166 and 182, gives examples of the “four new questions” in Haggadot from Kibbutz Na’an in 1942 and 1949, the first during the Second World War, the second from the first year of statehood: [1942:] Why does this night differ from all other nights? For on all other nights the children eat in their own dining hall; but on this night we are all seated together, parents, children, and comrades. Why is the position of Jews different from that of all nations? For every nation dwells in its own house and homeland, but the Jews are scattered throughout the world, hated, persecuted, and even to the Land of Israel, their homeland, they are not permitted to come without hindrance. Why are there in the world poor and rich, well-fed and hungry, workers and idlers? And why do men fight instead of giving a helping hand to one another so as to be happy and joyful together? When shall the day come when Na’an will be large, beautiful, expanded with much land about, and many brothers from exile will come to build it together with all its comrades? [1949]: Why does this night differ from all other nights? For on this, the night of Passover, we are all seated together at the meal, parents and children, seated as brothers, and like us, so also all the Jews in the Land and in all parts of the Diaspora, wherever they are, since ancient times and to this day. Why does this night differ from all other nights? For in all previous years we performed the Seder of our freedom festival while we were in the hands of an alien and oppressive rule, struggling for development and immigration. Now—we are as free men in the State of Israel, the gates are open to those who return from exile, and the expanses of our land are ours to settle. Why does this night differ from all other nights? For we are rejoicing in our freedom, and sitting securely in our home, but most of our people are still scattered and separated among the nations, prey to the destiny of exile, and all our dispersed have not yet been gathered into the Land. Why does this night differ from all other nights? For we here rejoice in the spring, in the freedom of work, of human society, of the Hebrew kibbutz, while the end has not yet come to the enslavement of the laborer, the oppression of man, and the exploitation of child; while nation still lifts the sword over nation; and the redemption of man in the kingdom of labor and equality in our land and in the entire world has not yet risen, nor has it been completed.169

2.  In the Haggadah of the Kibbutz Artzi-Hashomer Hatsa’ir movement (5th edition, 1971), which was associated with the far-left Mapam

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political party of that period, the last sentence of the Aramaic recitation over the broken piece of matsah is rephrased: “Now, we are the redeemed of Israel; next year, may it be the whole house of Israel. Now, slaves; next year, free men.” The introduction to the narrative reads as follows: We are ready to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt: from slavery to freedom, from servitude to redemption. For we, too, have gone out from the house of bondage and from the valley of slaughter, and we have built a home that shall not be moved for the dispersed of Israel, in their land. And we will continue to sanctify the season of freedom in this home— we, our children, and our children’s children for all time. Therefore let us set apart this night from all other nights to tell at length about the exodus from Egypt, about the redemption of Israel in those days and in our own, in that time and in ours. The narrative itself is phrased so as to remove any reference to divine agency: . . . And we were redeemed from there, and we crossed the dry sea-bed, and wandered in the desert for forty years, and came into our land. And if our forefathers had not gone forth from Egypt, then we and our children and our children’s children would still be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt.

Similarly, the end of Vehi she’amdah is phrased: “and we have been saved from their hand” (instead of, “and the Holy One, blessed be He, saved us from their hand”). So, too, the antecedent of vehi here is no longer the divine promise of redemption, but rather “the hope of new life, liberation and national renewal.”170 The rest of this Haggadah text is comprised mostly of thematically relevant selections from the Tanakh and from medieval and modern Hebrew poetry. All of these modern examples reveal much about both the durability and malleability of the exodus story and the Seder rituals in a variety of social, political, and cultural situations. Most broadly, the power and salience in every generation of the myth of deliverance—from slavery to freedom— and its ritual enactment testifies to a basic human condition and the need to hope and to strive for a better future. The specific Jewish version of this myth, which, as we have seen, occupies a fundamental position in Jewish religion and culture, and its ritual enactment around the family table retain today a potency among both religious and secular Jews.171 Jewish tradition itself is an ongoing act of religious/cultural re-appropriation and interpretation: in the constant juxtaposition between inherited past and experienced present, the two are mutually interpreting and interpenetrating.

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That is the hallmark of a living religious/cultural tradition. Our survey of the multiple ways in which the exodus motif has been reinterpreted, reapplied, and reenacted as the lived experience of Jews has changed over time and place demonstrates additionally how very vibrant this tradition has remained and remains today.172 NOTES 1.  All biblical quotations are taken from the English translation of the Jewish Publication Society, TANAKH: A New Translation of The Holy Scriptures According to the Traditional Hebrew Text (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1985) [=NJPS], unless otherwise noted. 2.  This axiomatic theological and rhetorical point is made at the very outset of the Decalogue (Exod 20:2 and Deut 5:6), where the divine promulgator of the laws that follow introduces himself as the God who redeemed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery—in order now to become their divine master. The appeal to the exodus experience of divine redemption is articulated either at the beginning or at the end of many sets of laws that deal with: 1) observing hag hamatsot by refraining from leaven and eating matsot for seven days (Exod 12:17, Deut 16:3); 2) dwelling in booths during the festival of Sukkot as a remembrance of the booths in which I caused your ancestors to dwell when they came forth out of Egypt (Lev 23:43); 3) bringing the ‘omer-sheaf offering in the Temple as a remembrance of the manna, the bread that I fed you when you left Egypt (Exod 16:6, 32); 4) bringing daily offerings to God in the Tabernacle/Temple (Exod 29:46; Lev 22:33); 5) observing the Sabbath, particularly by allowing slaves and servants to rest on it (in the second Decalogue, Deut 5:15); 6) observing ritual and sexual purity in the presence of the Holy God (Lev 11:45, 18:3, 19:36, 7) humane treatment of slaves and resident aliens, because you were slaves and aliens in Egypt (Exod 22:20, 23:9; Lev 19:34, 25:36, 42, 55; 26:13; Deut 10:19, 15:15, 24:22); 8) leaving gleanings for the poor and needy upon entry into the land of Canaan (Deut 24:22) and, more broadly, regarding living in the land as a divine gift that obligates proper social concern (Lev 25:38; Deut 6:12); and 9) remembering and observing all God’s commandments, as a general exhortation (Num 3:13, 8:17; our passage here, Num 15:41; Deut 11:3, 4). Note that these several categories cluster around two more generic concerns: cultic and Temple observance (including the observance of ritual purity), and social welfare and solidarity with the disadvantaged members of Israelite society, as that society is constituted in the land given to the Israelites by God. 3.  The predominant form of Judaism that developed after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE is called “rabbinic” after its formulators and promulgators, the Rabbis (=“teachers,” “masters”), whose claim to authority was their authoritative interpretations of the Written Torah and their mastery and development of traditions that came to be known as the Oral Torah. The liturgy of the synagogue, as it developed from certainly the late fourth–fifth centuries CE onward in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, was rabbinic.

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4.  The liturgical recitation of shema is comprised of three biblical passages, Deut 6:4–9, Deut 11:13–21, and our passage, Num 15:47–41. At m. Ber. 2:2, the liturgical force of the first paragraph is deemed to be “the acceptance of the yoke of Heaven” (i.e., acknowledgment of the rule of God), and that of the second as “the acceptance of the commandments.” The third is variously referred to as parashat tsitsit, “the section enjoining fringes” (b. Ber. 12a; Sifre Num 115), on the basis of its first part, or as yetsi’at mitsrayim, “the exodus from Egypt” (m. Ber. 1:5), on the basis of its conclusion. The first two passages enjoin the daily contemplation of God’s words and commandments when you lie down and when you get up (hence their performative recitation at these times), as well as numerous visual and kinesthetic reminders: mezuzot on the doorposts of one’s house and ‘ot/totafot (tefillin) on one’s forehead and arm. (It is not clear whether these physical actions are actually intended in the text or are used figuratively; they are certainly attested in biblical interpretation and ritual from the late Second Commonwealth period.) The Numbers passage is associated with these because it, too, enjoins a visual/ kinesthetic reminder of God’s commandments, the fringes to be placed on one’s garments. It is possible that the custom of reciting the first of the three biblical passages in this rubric, Deut 6:4–9, precedes the destruction of the Temple. The Rabbis of the Mishnah (edited ca 200 CE) clearly imagine this to have been the case (see m. Tamid 5:1; there they hold that all three paragraphs were recited by the priests serving in the Temple). Josephus’s paraphrase of this paragraph in Ant. 4:212–13 suggests that he may have known, and be alluding to, such a custom: “Twice each day, both at its beginning and when the time comes for turning to sleep, bear witness to God of the gifts that He granted them when they were delivered from the land of the Egyptians, since gratitude is proper by nature: it is given in return for those things that have already occurred and as a stimulus for what will be” (trans. Louis H. Feldman; ed. Steve Mason; [Leiden: Brill, 2000], 3:406–7). Because the reference to the exodus from Egypt does not paraphrase anything in Deut. 6:4–9, it is also possible that that paragraph’s association in liturgical performance with Num. 14:37–41 is already reflected here. Additionally, some scholars have seen in the Community Rule at Qumran (1QS 10:1–5, 10) an allusion to this liturgical performance, but the reference is too non-specific to permit any conclusive determination. See Richard S. Sarason, “Communal Prayer at Qumran and among the Rabbis: Certainties and Uncertainties,” in Esther G. Chazon, ed., Liturgical Perspectives: Prayer and Poetry in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Leiden, 2003), 158–59, and the literature cited in note twenty-seven there. The other early rubric of rabbinic worship is the daily petitionary prayer sequence known as the tefillah (“the Prayer”) or, later, as the amidah (“the Standing [Prayer],” after the worshipper’s standing posture while reciting it. 5.  m. Ber. 1:5 and 2:2 record an early rabbinic opinion that Num 15:37–41 should not be recited in the evening, since one does not wear fringes at that time; hence there would be nothing to physically enact. Normative custom, however, is to recite the passage both morning and evening, even though the fringes are not worn at the latter time. 6.  All citations from the liturgy in this article are from the eastern Ashkenazic (Polish) rite unless otherwise noted; the translation is that of Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, The Koren Siddur (Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2009), 102–6.

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  7.  Scriptural citations appear with great frequency in rabbinic liturgy. They function to enact the worshipper’s identification with the content of Scripture, on the one hand, and, on the other, rhetorically (and perhaps magically as well) to invoke on the worshipper’s behalf the power of divinely revealed text (God’s powerful words and promises) to move God to fulfill those promises. See most recently Ruth Langer, “Biblical Texts in Rabbinic Prayers: Their History and Function,” in Albert Gerhards and Clemens Leonhard, eds., Jewish and Christian Liturgy and Worship: New Insights into its History and Interaction, Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series 15 (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007), 63–90; James Kugel, ed., Prayers that Cite Scripture (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2006). See also my remarks in “Liturgy, Midrash in,” in Jacob Neusner and Alan J. Avery-Peck, eds., Encyclopedia of Midrash: Biblical Interpretation in Formative Judaism, 2 vols. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005), 1:463–92, particularly 463–65.   8.  The petition is phrased rhetorically as a poem in which the last word of each line is the same, “Israel.” The citation of the Isaiah verse then anchors the form in Scripture. This poetic petition appears only in the Ashkenazic (German and Polish) rites. An equivalent petition, “For the sake of the fathers, save now the sons and bring redemption to their descendents” appears in most of the other rites. Only the Spanish-Portuguese rite lacks any petition at this point, in deference to the determination by the Babylonian rabbinic authorities of the early Islamic period (ge’onim) that the rationale for this benediction is solely to give thanks for the past redemption from Egypt and not to petition for the future redemption (since such a petition will occur—with no reference to the exodus from Egypt—in the tefillah, or amidah, the petitionary sequence of eighteen benedictions that immediately follows the recitation of shema in the daily liturgy). See the anonymous geonic responsum published by Louis Ginzberg, Geonica (2 vols.; New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1909), 2:89, 91, and Daniel Goldschmidt, ed., Seder Rav Amram Ga’on (Jerusalem: Mossad HaRav Kook, 1971), 20. Similarly, a tradition in the Babylonian Talmud ascribed to Rava (b. Pesah. 117b) maintains that the hatimah, or closing benedictory formula, of this blessing should be “who redeemed Israel” (in the perfect tense) as opposed to “who redeems Israel” (the participle), because the latter form implies a petition for the future redemption, which is appropriate only for the tefillah. For an account of the versions of the concluding portion of this benediction in the medieval rites, see Ismar Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History, translated by Raymond P. Scheindlin (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993), 22.  9. Sacks, ed., Koren Siddur, 382. 10.  Sacks, ed., Koren Siddur, 978. 11.  The exodus from Egypt is also mentioned in the psalm-texts that are part of the daily liturgy. The Song at the Sea (Exod 14:30–31, 15:1–18) is recited daily as part of the introductory psalms and psalm-like texts (pesuqe dezimra’) at the beginning of the morning service, and the exodus is mentioned in several of the other psalm-texts recited at this time (Ps 81:11, Neh 9:6–11) . The liturgical meaning of these texts, while explicitly not extending beyond their biblical significance, is nonetheless colored by their rabbinic interpretation. The Song at the Sea, thus, is understood to refer not only to what the Israelites sang on the occasion of their past redemption, but also to what they will sing again at the time

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of their future and ultimate redemption; see Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Shirata, 1 (ed. Jacob Z. Lauterbach [3 vols.; Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1933] 2:1), where ‘az yashir Mosheh is read as “Then [=in the messianic future] Moses will sing.” The congregation always rises for the recitation or chanting of this text—both here and when the Song is chanted from the Torah as part of the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings or on the seventh day of Pesach (more on this latter instance below). 12.  On this issue, and on the early rabbinic development of the Seder as depicted in the Mishnah and the Tosefta, the earliest texts of rabbinic Judaism, see Baruch M. Bokser, The Origins of the Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984). See also Joseph Tabory, Mo’adei yisra’el bitequfat hamishnah vehatalmud (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997), 84–132. On the extended development of the Seder and the text of the Haggadah into the medieval period, see Joseph Tabory, Pesah dorot: Peraqim betoledot leil haseder (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1996); Daniel Goldschmidt, Haggadah shel pesah vetoledotehah (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1969); Shmuel Safrai and Ze’ev Safrai, Haggadat haza”l: Haggadah shel pesah (Jerusalem, Carta, 1998); Menahem Kasher, Haggadah shelemah: Seder haggadah shel pesah (3rd ed.; Jerusalem: Torah Shelema Institute, 1967). See also Lawrence A. Hoffman and David Arnow, eds., My People’s Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries (2 vols.; Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2008). 13. On the rabbinic Seder and the Greco-Roman symposium, see Bokser, Origins of the Seder, 50–66, and the literature cited there. For an exhaustive bibliography of printed editions of the Haggadah, from the late fifteenth century to 1960 (including modern adaptations of the text), see Avraham Yaari, Bibliografia shel haggadot pesah mereshit hadefus v’ad yamenu (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1961), supplemented by Abraham M. Haberman, in Kiryat Sefer 36 (1961): 419– 22; Naftali Ben-Menahem, in Areshet 3 (1961): 442–65; Ben-Menahem, in Sinai 57 (1965): 56–67; Ben-Menahem, in Areshet 4 (1966): 518–44; Harry J. Hirschhorn, “Keren ha-haggadot,” in Mah nishtanah (Highland Park, IL: Kol Ami Museum, 1964); Theodore Wiener, “Addenda to Yaari’s Bibliography of the Passover Haggadah,” Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 7 (1965): 90–129; Wiener, “Addenda to Yaari’s Bibliography of the Passover Haggadah from the Library of Congress, Hebraica Section,” in Charles A. Berlin, ed., Studies in Jewish Bibliography, History and Literature in Honor of I. Edward Kiev (New York: HUC Press, 1971), 511–16; Ruth P. Lehmann, “Anglo-Jewish Hagadot: A Bibliography,” in John M. Shaftesley, ed., Remember the Days: Essays in Anglo-Jewish history presented to Cecil Roth by members of the Council of the Jewish Historical Society of England (London: Jewish Historical Society of England, 1966), 335–50; and Tzvia Atik, “Addenda to Bibliographies of the Passover Haggadah,” SBB 12 (1979): 29–36. See also Yitshak Yudlov, Otsar hahaggadot: Bibliografiah shel haggadot pesah mereshit hadefus ha’ivri ‘ad shenat 5720 (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1997). My thanks go to the late Daniel J. Rettberg, Senior Associate Librarian at the Klau Library, Cincinnati, for the latter reference. 14.  In this regard, the mishnaic ruling attributed to Rabban Gamliel and incorporated into the text of the Haggadah is highly significant: “Whoever does not make mention of/discuss/expound (kol shelo ‘amar) the following three things

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on Passover has not fulfilled his obligation: namely, the Passover sacrifice, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs” (m. Pesah. 10:5; cf. Bokser, Origin of the Seder, 42–43; and Nahum N. Glatzer, ed., The Passover Haggadah [New York: Schocken Books, 1953], 47). These foods must be eaten with full attention to their salvific significance. (The verbal rite that accompanies and defines the act of partaking of the Christian Eucharist in the Catholic Church should immediately come to mind as an analogue.) 15. Rabbi Marc D. Angel, ed., A Sephardic Passover Haggadah (Hoboken, NJ: KTAV, 1988), 21, notes: “It is customary in many Sephardic households to wrap the afikoman [=a piece of matsah set aside and eaten at the end of the meal] in a sack, and for each participant to have the opportunity to sling it over his shoulder. This is symbolic of the Israelites carrying their burdens as they left Egypt. Some have the custom of actually standing up and walking around the table with the sack on their shoulder. Those present ask: From where are you coming? The answer is: From Egypt. Then they ask: Where are you going? The answer is: To Jerusalem. Others have the custom of carrying this sack around the room while reciting the statement that thus did their ancestors when they left Egypt.” In the same vein is an early rabbinic dispute (m. Pesah. 10:6; t. Pesah. 10:9) attributed to the Houses of Hillel and Shammai over how much of the Hallel Psalms (Pss 113– 18, the psalms formerly chanted by the Levites in the Jerusalem Temple on Festivals) should be recited before the second cup of wine and a benediction praising God for having redeemed Israel (birkat ge’ulah). The Hillelites rule to recite Psalms 113–14, concluding with the psalm relevant to the occasion: When Israel went forth from Egypt, while the Shammaites insist on stopping before Ps 114. The dispute is explained in the Tosefta in terms of the reenacted experience of redemption that this recitation of the Hallel Psalms represents: The Shammaites object that the time for reciting Ps 114 has not yet arrived, since the Israelites in fact departed from Egypt in the morning after the night during which the firstborn Egyptians were killed while the Israelite firstborn were saved. The Seder eve ritual corresponds to the latter event, not the former. The Hillelites (who win the argument) respond that, following this logic, there is no cause to recite the birkat ge’ulah over the second cup of wine, since the full redemption did not occur until the morning! So at issue here is whether the ritual reenactment must correspond to the original event in all details, including its precise timing. The function of ritual to enact the values, sensibilities, emotions, and mythic “order of things” that it encapsulates has been well articulated by anthropologists of religion. See, for example, Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (New York: Basic Books, 1973) 3–30, 87–141; Ronald L. Grimes, Beginnings in Ritual Studies (revised ed.; Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1995). For an excellent and evocative account of the Seder from this perspective, see Jacob Neusner, The Enchantments of Judaism: Rites of Transformation From Birth through Death (New York: Basic Books, 1987), 69–84. 16.  Glatzer, ed., Passover Haggadah, 23. Eugene Mihaly, “The Passover Haggadah as PaRaDiSe,” CCAR Journal, April, 1966, 25, remarks on this passage: “Now, if the only obligation of the Passover eve service is to teach children or to inform the ignorant, why the emphasis on the obligation of a haburah shel hakhamim, a group of scholars? They are not in need of instruction. But they are nevertheless

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obligated, the haggadist insists, perhaps more so than the less informed, to engage in the laws of Passover—to bear witness to the God who delivers and saves, to experience, to be redeemed and, on the deepest level, to participate in, and possibly even help direct, a redemptive process, which embraces mankind and kivyakhol [=as if one could say such a thing] God Himself.” See further, notes 18 and 20, and 21 below. 17.  Glatzer, ed., Passover Haggadah, 49. 18.  For an elaboration of this point see Neusner, Enchantments of Judaism, 69–84, and Mihaly, “The Passover Haggadah as PaRaDiSe,” 3–27. With reference to the passage just cited, Mihaly writes, “The oppression in Egypt and, by implication, the exiles and persecutions throughout the millennia, are summarized in the liturgy of the Haggadah in a few terse comments . . .” (17). 19.  Glatzer, ed., Passover Hagaddah, 31. 20.  See the insightful treatment of this issue in Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982), and, again, Neusner, Enchantments of Judaism. 21.  A relevant early midrashic dispute about the meaning of Exod 13:42, not found in the Passover Haggadah, has to do with the question of when the future redemption will come: in the biblical first month, Nisan, the month of Pesach, or in the biblical seventh month, Tishrei, which marks the beginning of the rabbinic year (Rosh Hashanah): “That was for the LORD a night of vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt; that same night is the LORD’s, one of vigil for all the children of Israel throughout the ages. In that night they were redeemed and in that night will they be redeemed in the future—the opinion of Rabbi Joshua, as it is said, that same night is the LORD’s, one of vigil. R. Eliezer holds: In that night were they redeemed; in the future, however, they will not be redeemed in that night but in the month of Tishrei, as it is said, Blow the shofar at the new moon (Ps 81:4). Why? For it is a statute for Israel (Ps 81:5)” (Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Pisha, 14 (end) [ed. Lauterbach, 2:115–16]). Eliezer understands the shofar of Ps 81:4 to be the messianic shofar signaling the beginning of the redemption (cf. Isa 27:13), the time for which has been fixed by god (for it is a fixed time for Israel). The larger issue here is to ascertain which scriptural paradigm of redemption is determinative. 22.  Glatzer, ed., Passover Haggadah, 53–55. 23.  Glatzer, ed., Passover Haggadah, 21. 24.  Zeman herutenu, “the season of our freedom,” is how Pesach is characterized in the Sanctification of the Day (qedushat hayom) benediction in the Festival amidah. 25.  Mihaly, “Passover Haggadah as PaRaDiSe,” 18, writes: “The slavery and freedom, the tyrant and liberator of the Haggadah are remazim, archetypes, paradigms . . . The patterns and models allude to all the experiences—the commentaries—of the past, and intimate the gamut of possibilities of the future.” 26.  Glatzer, ed., Passover Haggadah, 85. The poem was written by Joseph b. Samuel Bonfils (France, eleventh century); it is part of a longer poem composed for recitation on Shabbat Hagadol, the Sabbath before Pesach, and was taken into the Haggadah in the fourteenth century in Germany. See Goldschmidt, Haggadah shel pesah, 97. 27.  This, too, is a medieval addition, first attested in central Europe in the late fifteenth century; see Safrai and Safrai, Haggadat haza”l, 189.

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28.  The poem itself is Byzantine (fifth or sixth century CE), and was written in the Land of Israel by the liturgical poet Yannai as part of a larger cycle of poems for recitation on the Sabbath when Exod 12:29 was the first verse of the weekly Torah reading. It, too, was incorporated into the Haggadah in Germany in the twelfth or thirteenth century, and from there spread to Italy and the Balkans. See Goldschmidt, Haggadah shel pesah, 96; Safrai and Safrai, Haggadat haza”l, 189–90. The translation is mostly that of Glatzer, ed., Passover Haggadah, 87–89. 29.  Abraham, deemed to be the first convert to Judaism. For fuller annotation of the poem, see my article, “Liturgy, Midrash in,” in Neusner and Avery-Peck, eds., Encyclopedia of Midrash, 1:463–92, specifically at 489–90. 30.  Gen. 14:15, Abraham’s defeat of the four kings: At night, he and his servants deployed [=“divided”] against them. Rabbinic interpretation suggests that God divided the night for him and that the victory occurred at midnight (Gen. Rab. 42 [43]:13, and other sources). 31.  Abimelech, king of Gerar: Gen 20:6. 32.  Laban the Aramean: Gen 31:24. 33.  Gen 32:26–30; Hos 12:5. 34.  Patros is a region in Upper Egypt; see Isa 11:11; Jer 44:1,15; Ezek 29:14, 30:14. Here it refers metonymically to Egypt as a whole. The entire line refers to Exod 12:29. 35.  Gideon defeated the Midianites: Judg 7:9,13ff. 36.  Sisera, the general of Haroshet: Judg 4:2; the stars in their courses did battle with Sisera: Judg 5:20. 37. Sennacherib the blasphemer: 2 Kgs 19:4; waved his hand, beckoning his army forward against Jerusalem: Is. 10:32; God rotted his corpses: 2 Kgs 19:35. 38.  Cf. Bel and the Dragon (Greek additions to Daniel), v. 15. 39.  Daniel, the greatly beloved man: Dan 10:11; the mystery of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is revealed to Daniel in a night-vision: Dan 2:29. 40.  Belshazzar: Dan 5:1–2, 30. 41. Daniel in the lion’s den: Dan 6:17ff.; Daniel interprets dread dreams of night: Dan 2:24ff., 4:2ff., 7:1ff. 42.  Haman the Agagite: Esth 3:1; nurtured hatred and wrote scrolls: Esth 3:12ff, 5:9ff. 43.  Esth 6:1ff. 44. Isa 63:3–4, directed against Edom (for the Rabbis, a cipher for Imperial Rome); Isa 21:11. 45.  Isa 21:12. 46.  Zech 14:7. 47.  Isa 62:6. 48.  This point is thoughtfully expounded by Jacob Neusner, Handbook of Rabbinic Theology (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 61–81, 88–103. 49.  The standard, fixed liturgy for Pesach, on the other hand, is fairly meager in its treatment of the exodus, because it is primarily a generic liturgy for the three Festivals as a unit (Pesach is designated in the Festival prayer as zeman herutenu, “the season of our liberation;” otherwise the prayer is non-specific). This degree of generic liturgical standardization originated in the desire of the Babylonian Rabbis to fix the liturgy verbally so that it would be easier to perform by non-

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specialists who could not fluidly improvise occasional prayers. (There is somewhat more fluidity and individuation of the prayers for each of the three Festivals in the old rite of the Land of Israel, as that rite is represented in Egyptian texts from the Cairo Genizah; see Ezra Fleischer, Tefillah uminhagei tefillah erets-yisra’eliyim bitequfat hagenizah [Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988], 95–97, 105–106.) Outside of the piyyutim, the liturgy for Pesach is distinguished from that for the other Festivals only in its scriptural readings—from the Torah, the prophetic literature, and a seasonally relevant scroll from the Writings. On the first day, the account of the paschal sacrifice and the smiting of the Egyptian firstborn (Exod 12:21–51) is read, as well as the prescriptions for the cultic offerings on Pesach (Num 28:16–25). The prescribed Torah reading thus narrates the events that “took place” on the preceding evening. The reading from the prophetic literature (haftarah) is from Joshua, 5:2–6:1, recounting the circumcision of the Israelites and their observance of the Pesach before crossing over the Jordan into the land of Israel. The seventh day of Pesach is identified in rabbinic tradition as the day on which the Israelites crossed the Sea of Reeds, so the Torah reading for that day is Exod 13:17–15:26, including the Song at the Sea, for which the congregation stands, as we have noted previously. (The reading is deemed ritually to reenact the event; by standing, the congregation participates in it.) Num 28:19–25 is read from the second scroll. The reading from the prophetic literature on the seventh day of Pesach is 2 Sam 22, the song of David; this does not relate to the exodus, but is another extensive song of praise that corresponds formally to the Song at the Sea. The other unique elements of the Pesach liturgy refer to its agricultural significance as the beginning of the spring season: the seasonal prayer for rain that has been recited daily since autumn is now replaced, on the first day of Pesach, by a prayer for dew, and the scroll of Song of Songs is chanted before the Torah reading (either on the first day of Pesach or on the Sabbath that falls during Pesach). Song of Songs is full of agricultural imagery depicting the land of Israel in the spring, as a counterpart to its heightened erotic imagery. But Song of Songs was interpreted figuratively by the Rabbis as a dialogue between God (the male persona) and the people Israel (the female persona). The seasonal and erotic images in the book are construed as figures for events in, and aspects of, the historical relationship between God and Israel as recounted in the biblical narrative. Thus the redemption from Egypt is figured as the occasion of the betrothal of God and Israel, while the revelation at Sinai is the moment of their nuptials. Images and citations from the Song of Songs appear frequently in the liturgical poetry for the first day of Pesach. 50. These two relatively brief poems also will be more easily accessible to readers who are less familiar with the dense stylistic and allusive intricacies of medieval Jewish liturgical poetry. 51.  See note 4 above, and the text surrounding it. 52. The translation that follows is that of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in The Koren Pesaḥ Maḥzor (Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2013), 111–13, 123–27, lightly emended. The text has been compared with that of the critical edition of Yonah Frenkel, Mahzor Pesah (Jerusalem: Koren, 1993), 9–10, 14–15. The entire poem is composed as an alphabetical acrostic (that is, each line begins with one letter of the Hebrew alphabet; there are 22 lines and the whole is distributed over six stanzas, one for each of the benedictions; the third benediction, which includes

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two excerpts from the Song at the Sea–Exod 15:11, 18—has three stanzas attached to it, the first two of which introduce the respective Song verses). Israel Davidson, Thesaurus of Medieval Hebrew Poetry (4 vols; New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1930; reprint; New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1970), 3:33, describes the poem at entry ‫ל‬-726. 53.  Leil shimmurim; Exod 12:42. These two words, which articulate the theme of the poem as a whole, recur at the beginning of each stanza and are followed by the alphabetical line-acrostic. 54. Cf. Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Pisha, 13 (ed. Lauterbach, p. 96): “The Creator of the night divided it exactly [in half] . . . For is it possible for a human being to fix the exact time of midnight? None but the Creator could have divided the night exactly.” The annotations in this and the following notes are based on Frenkel, Mahzor Pesah. 55.  Exod. 12:29. 56.  Edom is the rabbinic epithet for the Roman Empire, later the Byzantine Empire, and later still, the Christian kingdoms in Europe. (Biblical Edom is the land of Esau, Jacob’s threatening twin brother who comes to symbolize, for the Rabbis, Israel’s adversaries.) Frenkel, Mahzor Pesah, 9, notes that “Edom” has been erased in several manuscripts; in the printed editions, “his adversaries” (kamav) replaces this term. This is a sign of medieval censorship. 57.  See the midrashic tradition cited above in n. 21. 58.  An epithet for God, popularized through rabbinic interpretation of Song of Songs, where God (understood as the Song’s male persona) is Israel’s beloved. 59.  This language is drawn from the regular text of the first shema benediction: “Who by His word brings on the evening twilight,” and provides a verbal link to the concluding benedictory formula that follows the poem’s first stanza. 60.  This is the fixed benedictory formula that concludes the first shema blessing in the evening. The poem thus returns us at the end of each stanza to the regular liturgical structure on which it elaborates. 61.  See Exod 12:42. 62.  Exod 11:4. 63.  Ps 74:6, and cf. Isa 21:12. See also above, nn. 45 and 46. 64.  God’s love for Israel (as manifest in the giving of the Torah) is the theme of the second shema benediction. Here, the poet articulates the key-word that will recur in the concluding benedictory formula. 65.  See Gen 14:15, where Abraham deploys (“divides”) his retainers against the four kings who had kidnapped his nephew Lot. See also above, n. 30. 66.  This is the concluding benedictory formula of the second shema blessing. 67.  This stanza, comprising the letters tav through nun in the alphabetical acrostic, is not found in printed editions of the Ashkenazic Mahzor. Frenkel, Mahzor Pesah, 13, reproduces it from three Genizah fragments and two manuscripts, one of the Roman rite and one of the Romaniote (Balkan) rite. Sacks’s edition follows Frenkel here. 68.  See Jer 3:4. 69.  The Israelites are descended from Noah’s son Shem, whom Noah blessed, while the Egyptians are descended from Noah’s son Ham, who was cursed (Gen 9:20–25).

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70.  “The chosen ones” are the Patriarchs. 71.  Again, the bracketed text is the fixed wording of the benediction, toward which the stanza moves; here, it is the introduction to, and liturgical recitation of, Exod 15:11. 72.  Exod. Rab. 18:12: “God said, ‘Let this be a sign in your hands: on the day when I wrought salvation for you, and on that very night know that I will redeem you . . . Just as I have overthrown the Egyptians, so will I overthrow all idolworshippers.’” 73.  Hab 2:3. 74.  Gen 50:25; and cf. Exod 3:16. 75.  Ps 148:14. 76.  Ps 118:24. 77.  This fixed line, which introduces the recitation of Exod 15:18, derives from the old rite of the land of Israel. It entered the Ashkenazic rite on the Festivals and High Holy Days together with the liturgical poetry that, early on, was taken over from the land of Israel. 78.  The following thematically relevant variant of this stanza occurs in the Italian rite: On this night of vigil the appointed time for the redemption has drawn near, When the Chosen People will be sought out [by God]. May He indeed crush the people that oppresses and devours, For this is the appointed end of all bereavement. [Praised be You, O Lord, King, Rock of Israel and its Redeemer.]

79.  Ps 76:5. 80.  See Jer 46:20, where Egypt is referred to as a calf. “Breaking the yoke” refers to Lev 26:13 and Ezek 30:18. The line, then, refers to the yoke of bondage placed on Israel by Egypt. 81.  Cf. Dan 7:19, which the Rabbis construed as a reference to the Roman Empire and its Christian successors. 82. This is the concluding benedictory formula of the third shema blessing, which acclaims God as the true and faithful redeemer. 83.  The following thematically interesting variant of this stanza occurs in the Italian rite: A night of vigil is reserved for the latter generations, On which they shall be redeemed like the former generations. May both ancestors and descendents rejoice on it: Spread Your peace over mothers and children alike. [Praised be You, O Lord, Who spreads a canopy of peace over us, over all Israel, and over Jerusalem.]

84. See Gen 10:13, where Lehavim is the name of a people descended from Mitsrayim, the eponymous ancestors of the Egyptians. 85.  See Song 7:5; Bat-Rabbim is a place-name associated with the female beloved of the Song (interpreted by the Rabbis as referring to Israel). “Bat-Rabbim” means “the daughter of multitudes” or “the daughter of great ones.”

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  86.  This is the concluding benedictory formula of the fourth shema blessing, which praises God as the protector and guardian of Israel through the night.   87.  The poem cited here is found in the western Ashkenazic (German) rite; a different poem is used in the eastern Ashkenzic (Polish) rite. The poem’s structure is as follows: the first three lines of each stanza begin with a sequential letter of the alphabet; the fourth line is a biblical verse. There are five stanzas in all: one apiece for the first two shema benedictions, and three for the third. No stanza is inserted into the fourth benediction. (Davidson, Thesaurus, 1:94, describes the poem at entry ‫א‬-2026.) The translation is based on that of Jenny Marmorstein, in Wolf Heidenheim, ed., Mahzor lePesah (2 vols.; Basle: Victor Goldschmidt Publishers, 1967), 2:12–13, 17–18. The text has been compared with the critical edition of Frenkel, Mahzor Pesah, 347–48, 352. The annotations are based on Frenkel.   88.  Ps. 27:1. Frenkel, 347, notes that the beginning of this psalm (actually only v. 3, not v. 1) is expounded with reference to the Egyptian pursuit at the Sea of Reeds in Lev. Rab. 27:1.  89. Cf. Ex. 14:20 and Mechilta deRabbi Ishmael, Beshalah, 5 (ed. Lauterbach, 1:226): “And there was the cloud and darkness—The cloud upon Israel and darkness upon the Egyptians. Scripture tells that the Israelites were in the light and the Egyptians were in the dark; just as it is said: They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days; but all the children of Israel had light (Ex 10:23).” Note the continuation of the midrash there: “And you also find it says so of the future. What does it say? Arise, shine, for your light is come (Isa 60:1). Why? For behold, darkness shall cover the earth . . . (Isa 60:2).”   90.  Cf. Ps 139:14.   91.  Exod 14:20. NJPS renders: Thus there was a cloud with the darkness and it cast a spell upon the night. Others: “and it lit up the night.”   92.  The Patriarchs; cf. Exod 2:24.  93. Ps 105:43.   94.  Cf. Deut 32:11 and Isa 63:9.   95.  Ps 98:3; cf. Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Beshalah, 3.  96. Isa 63:9.   97.  “Lambs” is an epithet for Israel; the imagery in this line derives from Isa 40:11.   98.  Cf. Isa 49:26  99. Deut 32:13. 100.  Cf. Ps 36:8. Frenkel, 352, referring to the commentary of Wolf Heidenheim, suggests that these two lines might refer to the midrashic tradition at b. Sotah 11b (in the name of R. Avira) that, in order to avoid detection by the Egyptians, the Israelite women gave birth in the fields; God then miraculously provided food for their children in the form of oil and honey-cakes (citing Deut 32:13). When the Egyptians noticed them and sought to kill them, the children and their mothers were miraculously swallowed up in the ground. Later, when God revealed Himself to the Israelites at the Sea of Reeds, these children were the first to recognize Him (citing Exod 15:2: This [implying prior awareness] is my God and I will praise Him). 101.  Ps 68:27. NJPS translates: In assemblies bless God, the LORD, O you who are from the fountain of Israel. A rabbinic tradition (t. Sotah 6:4) expounds this verse

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with respect to the embryos in their mothers’ wombs who also sang the Song at the Sea at the time of Israel’s deliverance (the “fountain” or “source” is identified with the womb). 102.  Cf. Ps 66:5. 103.  Cf. Ps 40:6. 104.  Cf. Prov 17:4. 105.  The reference is to the Patriarchs. See also Mekhilta deRabbi Ishmael, Shirata, 3 (ed. Lauterbach, 2:28): “My father’s God and I will exalt Him (Exod 15:2)—I am a queen, the daughter of kings; beloved, the daughter of beloved ones; holy, the daughter of holy ones; pure, the daughter of pure ones.” 106.  Frenkel, 353, suggests another possible rendering: “On account of my inheritance (=the Torah; cf. Deut 33:4), I must praise Him.” 107.  Exod 15:2. 108.  Ps 18:11 (=2 Sam 22:11). This verse and Ps 18:15 are expounded in Song Rab. 1:9 with reference to God’s defeat of Pharaoh at the Sea of Reeds. 109.  Ps 18:15. 110.  Ps 18:15. 111.  Song 5:2. 112.  Song 2:10, 13. In Song Rab. 2:9–11 and 13, these verses are applied to the deliverance from Egypt, as well as to future deliverances and the final redemption. 113.  Ruth 3:12. 114. The same rhetorical techniques of identification may be found, for example, in the texts of Bach’s cantatas and Passion arias and chorales, all composed for a liturgical setting; the technique is an old one in Jewish and Christian hymnology. Liturgical poems/hymns among Jews, Christians, and Samaritans seem to have originated in rough temporal and spatial proximity. On this topic, see most recently Ophir Münz-Manor, “Liturgical Poetry in the Late Antique Near East,” Journal of Ancient Judaism 1 (2010): 336–61; and Münz-Manor, “Hirhurim ‘al ‘ofyah shel hashirah hayehudit vehanotsrit beshalhei ha’et ha’atiqah,” Pe’amim 119 (2009): 131–72. 115.  The translation and annotations follow Frenkel, Mahzor Pesah, 362. Each line of this poem begins with a verse-fragment from the Song at the Sea, followed by an alphabetical acrostic. 116.  Exod 15:15, Now are the clans of Edom dismayed. 117.  Exod 15:16, Terror and dread descend upon them. 118.  Exod 15:17, You will bring them and plant them in Your own mountain. 119.  Cf. Ps 55:15. 120.  Exod 15:18, The LORD will reign forever and ever. 121.  A classic statement of this position was made, during the December, 1789, debates in the French National Assembly over the eligibility of Jews for French citizenship, by Count Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre: “The Jews should be denied everything as a nation, but granted everything as individuals. They must become citizens . . . It is intolerable that the Jews should become a separate political formation or class in the country. . . The existence of a nation within a nation is unacceptable to our country” (quoted in Paul R. Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History [New York: Oxford University Press, 1980], 104). The internalization of this position by many western

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Jews is epitomized in the urgings of the Berlin Jewish Aufklärer Saul Ascher to his fellow Jews, in his Leviathan, oder über Religion in Rücksicht des Judenthums (1792): “Remain, children of Israel, upon the path of your parents. Our religion is for all human beings and for all ages. Demonstrate that your religion can make you more fully human and that it can educate you to become citizens” (quoted in Michael A. Meyer, Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism [New York: Oxford University Press, 1988], 22, and see Meyer’s discussion there). 122. Virtually all of the Festival piyyutim were deleted in most Reform prayer books. Very few of the piyyutim in the Ashkenazic High Holy Day liturgies were preserved; these were replaced by piyyutim from the Sefardic (Spanish-Portuguese) liturgies, which were deemed to be more accessible and less linguistically complicated. 123.  The classic treatments of this topic are Jakob J. Petuchowski, Prayerbook Reform in Europe: The Liturgy of European Liberal and Reform Judaism (New York: World Union for Progessive Judaism, 1968) for developments in Europe up to 1967; and Eric L. Friedland, “The Historical and Theological Development of the Non-Orthodox Prayerbooks in the United States” (Brandeis University Ph.D. dissertation, 1967, available through ProQuest: UMI Dissertation Publishing), and Friedland, Were Our Mouths Filled With Song: Studies in Liberal Jewish Liturgy (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1997), for developments in the United States (the latter volume also treats of Great Britain and Israel). A good overview may be found in Elbogen, Jewish Liturgy. 124.  These phrases were still retained in the first German Reform congregational prayer book, that of the Hamburg Tempelverein (1819), but were omitted in the first revision of 1841. Similarly, all of these phrases except for one (“The waters covered their enemies; not one of them was left”) were still retained in the first American Reform congregational prayer book, that of Temple Emanuel, New York (edited by Leo Merzbacher; 1855), but were omitted in the first revision (by Samuel Adler) of 1860. All of the phrases were retained in the first edition (1857) of Isaac Mayer Wise’s Minhag America; the second edition (1872) is similar to that of New York Emanuel 1855. Abraham Geiger’s 1854 prayer book for Breslau (Israelitisches Gebetbuch für den öffentlichen Gottesdienst im ganzen Jahre, 36–37) effects a novel compromise, retaining the full traditional text in the Hebrew, while paraphrasing it drastically and purposefully in the German: “Er [=Gott] hat als heilig und liebevoll Sich ihm [=Israel] bekundet von der Zeit an, da Er es aus Aegypten geführt mit Wundermacht und es zu Seiner Gemeinde Sich erzogen, von der Zeit an, da Er am Schilfmeer ihm beigestanden, der Aegypter Uebermuth versenkt [italics mine] und Israel hindurchführte” (“He [=God] has revealed Himself to Israel as holy and loving from the time that He led them forth out of Egypt with wondrous power, and has raised them to be His community [not people!—RS] from the time that He stood by them at the Sea of Reeds; the insolence of the Egyptians sank [italics mine], while Israel was brought up from there.”) The euphemism employed here has the force of “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” 125.  This was already omitted in Hamburg 1819. In the United States, it is retained in New York Emanuel 1855, but omitted in the 1860 revision (in its place is the more generalized “Exalt the horn of Israel”). It is retained in both editions of Isaac Mayer Wise’s Minhag America (1857, 1872). Geiger/Breslau 1854 retains the traditional Hebrew, but offers the following German paraphrase (Gebetbuch,

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37): “Mein Gott, sowie Du bisher ein Retter und Erlöser Israel’s gewesen, so stehe auch weiter bei mit Deiner Hülfe, dass wir Dich immer in Freude preisen als den Heiligen, der in Israel wird verehrt, der an Israel sich bewährt!” (“My God, as you have been Israel’s deliverer and savior until now, so stand by us still with your help, that we may continually praise You in joy as the Holy One: revered by Israel, true to Israel!”). 126.  The most radical of the German prayer books, that of the Berlin Reformgemeinde (1848), simply omits reference to the exodus deliverance entirely at this point (see Gebetbuch der Genossenschaft für Reform im Judenthum, Erster Theil: Allwöchliche Gebete und häusliche Andacht, 45). 127.  The Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship. Part I (Cincinnati: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1895), 20–22. 128.  The morning version of this benediction in the 1895 UPB (p. 62) mentions the exodus from Egypt, but then immediately generalizes like the evening version: . . . As Thou has saved Israel from Egyptian bondage, so mayest Thou send Thy help to all who are oppressed. May Thy love descend upon all Thy children, and Thy truth unite them in bonds of fellowship. May the righteous of all nations rejoice in Thy power and exult in Thy grace . . .

129.  Here, for example, is an even freer paraphrase, stressing the generalized theme of social justice, from Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayer Book (ed. Chaim Stern; New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1975), 195 (freely adapted from the 1940 newly revised UPB, 41): Eternal truth it is that You alone are God, and there is none else. May the righteous of all nations rejoice in Your love and exult in Your justice. Let them beat their swords into plowshares; let them beat their spears into pruninghooks. Let nation not lift up sword against nation; let them study war no more. You shall not hate another in your heart; you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Let the stranger in your midst be to you as the native; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. From the house of bondage we went forth to freedom, so let all be free to sing with joy.

This text uses biblical verses from Isaiah and Leviticus to stress themes of peace, justice, and brotherhood, and appeals to the experience of Egyptian slavery to teach compassion for the stranger. 130.  Emil G. Hirsch, translator and editor, Dr. David Einhorn’s Olat Tamid: Book of Prayers for Jewish Congregations (Chicago: n.p., 1896), 54. Noteworthy in this passage is Einhorn’s distinctive understanding of the divine election of Israel and Israel’s ongoing mission to be God’s holy priest-people in this world, serving God on behalf of the rest of humanity and modeling for it proper worship and behavior. This understanding provides a powerful rationale for the continuation of Jewish identity in modern western society. 131. For further analysis, see Friedland, Were Our Mouths Filled With Song, 294–316, and the insightful essays of Lawrence A. Hoffman, Wendy I. Zierler, and

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Carole B. Balin, in Hoffman and Arnow, eds., My People’s Passover Haggadah, 1:47– 90, as well as the commentaries of Zierler and Balin throughout the two volumes. 132.  Die Pesach-Hagada vom Neuem verdeutscht und commentiert. Nebst einem Anhange, eine freie Bearbeitung der Hagada, und viele in Musik gesetzten Lieder enthaltend, von Leopold Stein (Frankfurt am Main: J.S. Adler, 1841) As the long title indicates, this volume gives the full Hebrew text of the traditional Haggadah with a new German translation. A 36–page appendix, that reads from left to right, gives a modernized adaptation of the Haggadah in German (21 pages), together with new German-language hymns, new German settings of some of the traditional Hebrew songs, and sheet-music inserts. 133.  More precisely, what Moses adapts into English in 1892 is the revision of Stein’s Haggadah that appears in Stein’s Seder Ha’avodah: Gebetbuch für israelitische Gemeinden. Erster Band: Zur Sabbath- , Fest- und Werktage (Mannheim: J. Schneider, 1882). See further Eric L. Friedland, “Leopold Stein: A Liberal Master of Prayer,” in David J. Goldberg and Edward Kessler, Aspects of Liberal Judaism: Essays in Honour of John D. Rayner (London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2004), 49–72. 134.  This volume was recalled the following year and ultimately replaced by the version of 1895 (Vol. I), in order to placate the followers of David Einhorn–and his sons-in-law, Kaufmann Kohler and Emil G. Hirsch—and to induce a number of large east coast congregations to purchase the Union Prayer Book. The Ritual Committee of the CCAR had also complained that they had not authorized Moses to include a Haggadah text in the prayer book. See Lou H. Silberman, “The Union Prayer Book: A Study in Liturgical Development,” in Bertram W. Korn, ed., Retrospect and Prospect: Essays in Commemoration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Founding of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (New York: CCAR Press, 1965), 46–80, particularly 52–61. 135.  Union Prayer Book, as adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis; published by the Ritual Committee (Chicago: Bloch Publishers, 1892), 229. This renders Stein’s 1882 text (165): Und wo Volk Israel noch klagt Man Recht und Freiheit ihm versagt, Gott wird Erlöser Allen sein, Von Druck die Menschheit zu befrein. Stein’s 1841 original here, 5, is considerably less distanced from the experience of suffering: Der Herr, der waltet immerdar; Beschirmt sein Volk von Jahr zu Jahr; Und wen noch drücket Noth und Pein, Erlöser wird der Herr ihm sein!

A 1905 draft for the first edition of the CCAR’s Union Haggadah, 14, reads here: “God grant that next year at this time, all our brethren, wherever they dwell, may be as free as ourselves.” In the actual publication (1907, reset and slightly revised in 1908, 16), the text reads, rather less smugly: “God grant that next year at this time, the whole house of Israel may be free.” Compare with this the similar rheto-

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ric in the first Haggadah published by the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in London in 1918 (in Services and Prayers for Jewish Homes, 34–53): “Since the Exodus from Egypt, God has wrought many other deliverances for Israel; for oppression has again and again been the lot of Jews. And if there are still any of our brothers who are made to suffer for their religion [italics mine], may God speedily deliver them, and all the suffering among his children [italics mine]. Blessed be the Lord God, our Redeemer” (38). 136.  Union Prayer Book (1892), 230, rendering Stein (1882), 166, “von Israels Volk,” which, perhaps, is less distanced. The 1841 original, 6, may be even less distanced, since it speaks of “seinem [Gottes] Volke”—which presumably includes the participants. 137.  Union Prayer Book (1892), 241–42. Yet again, the Moses adaptation refers to the American context in the 1890s, while the Stein original reflects the German states in the early1840s (with little editorial change to this section in 1882). There is no reference to Palestine at the end of the first paragraph in either of the German versions: “ . . . mit dankerfülltem Herzen aufschauen zu Ihm der uns und unseren Kindern ein um so viel besseres, schöneres Loos bestimmt hat” (17 [1841], 177 [1882]). Nor is there a reference there to the sufferings of the past as “a period of probation, fitting us for our universal mission.” This, rather, reflects the influence on Moses of David Einhorn’s distinctive revisioning of Israel’s mission as God’s priest-people, messengers and exemplars to all humanity of religious piety and morality (Einhorn had also included a similarly-themed “domestic service on the eve of Passover” in his 1858 prayer book, Olat Tamid [475–86]; see on this Friedland, Were Our Mouths Filled With Song, 39–42). Stein’s second paragraph, which reflects more clearly Jewish identification with, and aspirations for, their situation in Germany, reads as follows: “Und mit tiefgefühlter Anerkennung der Güte Gottes [1882, 177: der himmlichen Güte] sprechen auch wir es aus [1882 lacks: vor Ihm], dass er [1882: Gott] uns eingegeben dieses Land [italics in the original]; dass er uns, nach so [1882 lacks: vielen], vielev Jahrhunderten des Herumirrens [1882 adds: der Heimathlosigkeit] und der Verstossung, endlich den Boden, auf welchen er uns versetzte, zur heimathlichen Erde umgeschaffen. [1882 lacks: Auch uns gab er ein Vaterland, auf welchem; in its place: Hier sollen] wir ausruhen [1882 lacks:sollen] von den Schmerzen und Leiden einer trübseligen Vergangenheit. Unsere Zukunft aber legen wir getrost in seine [1882: Gottes] Hand. Er, der Allwaltende, wird uns gewiss herrlich dem Ziele entgegenführen [1882, 178 adds: und uns das Land seiner Verheisung zum Erbe geben]” (17–18). The last-added phrase in 1882 is noteworthy. Only in the 1882 revision of his Haggadah does Stein include an updated Hebrew and German version of Shefokh et hamatekha, a medieval expression of anger and frustration at gentile oppression. Stein’s revised version renders, “Pour out your spirit upon all flesh, that all the nations may come to worship You with one accord. Then Sovereignty will be the Lord’s” (184). (My colleague, Prof. Eric L. Friedland, called this text to my attention.) Regarding the distinctly American vision of those revised versions of the Haggadah published in the United States, it is worth noting that the 1907/1908 edition of the Union Haggadah concludes with an original hymn, “God of the mighty hand,/ Found in the thirsty land,/ Holy and pure;” set to the tune of “America.” The 1923 revision concludes with the actual words of “America” (which also appears

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in the Reconstructionist New Haggadah of 1941 [176, first verse only, together with Hativkah, the Zionist national anthem; on this Haggadah, see below] and even the 1959 Conservative Haggadah edited by Morris Silverman [Hartford, CT: Prayer Book Press], 83, last verse only, together with Hatikvah; Silverman, 82, also quotes from the American Declaration of Independence). For most American Jews of this period, Egypt represented the Europe from which they had departed or escaped— either the reactionary regimes in central Europe or, later, the Czarist Russian Empire. By contrast, America seemed to them genuinely to be the Promised Land. 138.  Another important German Liberal Haggadah to which Prof. Friedland called my attention is Hagada: Liturgie für die häusliche Feier des Sederabende, edited by Caesar Seligmann (Frankfurt a.M.: J. Kauffmann Verlag, 1913). There is much original interpretive material here; the text strikes both a particularist and a universalist note—both pride in Jewish persistence in the face of adversity and a future hope for universal brotherhood. Under the rubric Tsei ul’med (“Learn, now!”) in the narration, Seligmann continues the narrative through to the present and concludes: “Seht ihr dort . . . der Mann . . . der am jeden Sederabend sich niedersetztet und von seines Gottes Hilfe fang, der Mann, der an sich vorüberrauschen hörte die Wogen der Völkerbrandung und die Stürme der Weltgeschichte, allein aufrecht, wo alles fiel, allein verschont, wo der Würgeengel der Herrn alle Völker schlug, allein hineinragend aus dem Morgengrauen der Weltgeschichte lebendig bis in unsere Zet–es ist das ewige unsterbliche Judentum“ (23–24). Compare with this the vision of the ultimate redemption “am Pesach der Zukunft” a few pages later: “An jenem Tage wird alle Schmach getilgt, aller Wahn verscheucht, alle Tränen warden getrocknet, alle Finsternis in lichten Tag verwandelt sein. Da tönt nicht mehr der Kriegsdrommete Schall, nicht klirren mehr der Unterdrückten Fesseln. Zu einem grossen Bunde wird sich mit uns die ganze Menschheit einen, und Gott wird seinen neuen Tempel bauen, keinen Tempel aus Menschenhand, sondern den Tempel der Liebe und des Friedens auf Erden” (29). 139.  So, for example, the narration in the 1923 revision of the Union Haggadah (38–40) begins as follows: “In every generation, each Jew should regard himself as though he too were brought out of Egypt. Not our forefathers alone, but us also, did the Holy One redeem; for not alone in Egypt but in many other lands, have we groaned under the burden of affliction and suffered as victims of malice, ignorance, and fanaticism. This very night which we, a happy generation, celebrate so calmly and safely and joyfully in our habitations was often turned into a night of anxiety and of suffering for our people in former times. Cruel mobs were ready to rush upon them and to destroy their homes and the fruits of their labors. But undauntedly they clung to their faith in the ultimate triumph of right and freedom. . . . While enjoying the liberty of this land, let us strive to make secure also our spiritual freedom, that, as the delivered, we may become the deliverer, carrying out Israel’s historic task of being the messenger of religion unto all mankind.” Much of this language derives directly from Einhorn’s Olat Tamid, as Friedland, Were Our Mouths Filled With Song, 41–42, points out. Here, again, is the (Einhornian) idealized rationale for remaining Jewish in a land of freedom and a sense of religious noblesse oblige. Characteristic also is this Haggadah’s free paraphrase of the Seder’s conclusion (78): “The festive service is completed. With songs of praise, we have lifted up the cups symbolizing the

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divine promises of salvation, and have called upon the name of God. As we offer the benediction over the fourth cup, let us again lift our souls to God in faith and hope. May He who broke Pharaoh’s yoke for ever shatter all fetters of oppression and hasten the day when swords shall, at last, be broken and wars ended. Soon may He cause the glad tidings of redemption to be heard in all lands, so that mankind—freed from violence and from wrong, and united in an eternal covenant of brotherhood—may celebrate the universal Passover in the name of our God of freedom.” Compare this with the traditional version, above, at note 26 in the main text. 140.  A sample of pages from European Haggadot from the period of the Holocaust (from the concentration camps and the allied armies during the war, and from the displaced persons camps after the war) may be found in Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi, Haggadah and History: A Panorama in Facsimile of Five Centuries of the Printed Haggadah (Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1975), plates 158–65, 167–69, 172–73,176–81. 141.  The New Haggadah for the Pesah Seder, edited by Mordecai M. Kaplan, Eugene Kohn, and Ira Eisenstein for the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation (New York: Behrman House, 1941) © Behrman House, Inc., reprinted with permission. www.behrmanhouse.com. See also the discussions of Friedland, “Were Our Mouths Filled with Song,” 296, and Eric Caplan, From Ideology to Liturgy: Reconstructionist Worship and American Liberal Judaism (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2002), 48–50. 142.  New Haggadah, v–vi. 143.  New Haggadah, 3. 144.  It should be noted that the ten plagues are not enumerated here in the traditional manner, with a drop of wine spilled at the mention of each. They are merely alluded to, in summary fashion, in the course of an original narrative paraphrase. Kaplan, in this regard, is very much in concert with the Reformers, avoiding anything that looks like hostility toward, or disparagement of, gentiles. 145.  New Haggadah, 50–51. 146.  New Haggadah, 11–13. 147.  Arthur I. Waskow, The Freedom Seder: A New Haggadah for Passover (New York: Holt/Rinehart/Winston and Washington, DC: Micah Press, 1979). A heavily revised and updated version (its “fifth reincarnation,” as Waskow notes) was published as “The Rainbow Seder,” in The Shalom Seders: Three Haggadahs Published by the New Jewish Agenda (New York: Adama Books, 1984). 148. Waskow, Freedom Seder, vi-vii. 149. Waskow, Freedom Seder, 3. 150.  Among the seminal volumes in this area are those of Susannah Heschel, ed., On Being a Jewish Feminist: A Reader (New York: Schocken Books, 1983), Judith Plaskow, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1990), and Rachel Adler, Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997). 151.  This history is chronicled by Maida E. Solomon, “Claiming Our Questions: Feminism and Judaism in Women’s Haggadot,” in Joyce Antler, ed., Talking Back: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture (Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, 1998), 220–41; Wendy I. Zierler, “Where Have All the Women Gone?: Feminist

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Questions about the Haggadah,” in Hoffman, My People’s Passover Haggadah, 1:71–77; and is further synthesized by Emily Dunn, “Telling and Retelling: The Women’s Seder and Ritual Innovation” (HUC-JIR Rabbinic Thesis, Cincinnati, 2010). The earliest publication of materials for a feminist Haggadah appears to be that of Aviva Cantor Zuckoff, “Jewish Women’s Haggadah,” in Arlene Swidler, ed., Sister Celebrations: Nine Worship Experiences (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974), 77–88, although the Portland, OR, “Rice-Paper Haggadah” of 1971 had already been described in “This Year in Brooklyn: A Seder to Celebrate Ourselves,” Off Our Backs 3, 8 (May, 1973): 15–18, and a 1973 Berkeley feminist Haggadah was also self-published in that year: Fayla Schwartz, Susie Coliver, and Elaine Ayela, Pesach Haggadah: A Statement of Joyous Liberation—Women’s Seder, Berkeley, California, 1973; see Solomon, in Antler, Talking Back, 226, 140. Solomon has also written a Master’s thesis on this subject: Maida E. Solomon, “The New Haggadahs: Feminism as a Force within Judaism” (San Francisco State University, 1987). 152.  E. M. Broner and Naomi Nimrod, “A Women’s Passover Haggadah and Other Revisionist Documents,” in Ms. 5:10 (April, 1977): 53–56. This subsequently appeared, in revised form, as a free-standing volume: E. M. Broner, with Naomi Nimrod, The Women’s Haggadah (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993), and forms the basis for Broner’s chronicle in The Telling: The Story of a Group of Jewish Women Who Journey to Spirituality through Community and Ceremony (San Francisco: HarperSan Francisco, 1993). 153. Broner, Women’s Haggadah, 16–17. 154. Broner, Women’s Haggadah, 26–27. 155. Broner, Women’s Haggadah, 56–62. 156. Broner, Women’s Haggadah, 37–38. 157. According to an account of the congregation’s history on its website, www.cbst.org/About/History, accessed 02/08/2011. 158.  Available for downloading at http://www.jqinternational.org/resources/ glbt-passover-haggadah/ and at http://elearning.huc.edu/jhvrc/docs/JQ%20 Haggadah%20Final%20no%20pics%204%209%2008.pdf, both accessed 06/11/2014. 159.  GLBT Passover haggadah, 2–3, 18. 160. Compare with this, Women’s Seder, 17: “In our new tradition we speak of the breaking of the matza as a break, a change, from the old order. We hide the past from ourselves and need to redeem it to create a whole from the broken halves.” 161.  “Our two Seder plates represent the duality of symbolism as we sit here at our GLBT Passover Seder; the Jewish traditions that we embrace since ancient days and our transformation as GLBT Jews into equal contributors to the growth of our people’s traditions” (GLBT Passover haggadah, 26). 162. The novel customs of Miriam’s Cup and the orange on the Seder plate originated among women; the latter was associated initially with lesbians (at first, a crust of bread was put on the Seder plate in defiance of an Orthodox teacher’s remark that “a lesbian has as much place in the Jewish tradition as a crust of bread on the Seder plate;” Susannah Heschel substituted for this the less halakhically transgressive and more “fruitful” orange), and then, in a contemporary instance of reinterpretation, the association came to be generalized to all women (“A woman has as much place on the bimah as an orange on the Seder plate”); see

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GLBT Passover haggadah, 26. It has become important to recover and publicize the original association. 163.  In the United States: Howard A. Berman and Benjamin Zeidman, eds., The New Union Haggadah, Revised Edition (New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2014); Alan S. Yoffie, ed., Sharing the Journey: The Haggadah for the Contemporary Family (New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2012); Sue Levi Elwell, ed., The Open Door: A Passover Haggadah (New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2002); Joy Levitt and Michael Strassfeld, eds., A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah (Philadelphia: Reconstructionist Press, 2000); Rachel Anne Rabinowicz, ed., Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom (New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 1982). In Israel: Yehoram Mazor, Dalia Marx, and Yehoyada Amir, eds., Haggadah lazeman hazeh: Haggadah lepesah shel hayahadut hamitqademet beyisra’el (n.p.: MaRaM--Mo’etset harabbanim hamitqadmim beyisra’el, 2009). In Great Britain: Rabbi Andrew Goldstein and Rabbi Pete Tobias, eds., Haggadah B’chol Dor va-Dor (London: Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, 2010). Also of interest in this context are Jonathan Safran Foer, ed., The New American Haggadah, translated by Nathan Englander (New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012) and Mishael Zion and Noam Zion, A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices (Jerusalem: Zion Holiday Publications, Inc./Halailah Hazeh, Ltd, 2007); these present the traditional Haggadah text with much contemporary interpretation and hyper-text. 164.  A characteristic example is A Naye Hagodeh shel Peysakh (New York: The Education Department of the Workmen’s Circle, 1946). Much of the text is original Yiddish poetry and song (including pieces by Mark Warshovsky, Abraham Reizen, Yudel Marks, and S. An-Ski, as well as Hirsh Glick’s “Partizan-Lied”). Typical of the sensibility here is the interpretive rendering of Vehi she’amedah (“The divine promise that sustained our fathers”): The leader asks “What is it that has stood by us in every generation when our enemies have arisen and sought to destroy us?” The assembled company responds: “Our faith in truth and justice and our courage have fortified us for everything that is holy and dear—have rescued us from the hand of our enemies” (12 [pages unnumbered]). 165. Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine, The Humanist Haggadah (Farmington Hills, MI: Society for Humanistic Judaism, 1979). 166.  The Humanist Haggadah, 7–9, 14. Beth Adam, a congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio, that promotes Judaism with a humanistic perspective, published an artistically pleasing Haggadah in 1996 (revised from the original 1988 publication) that includes the following responsive reading over the second cup of wine, in place of the traditional Redemption benediction: We remember the pain of slavery Our world must not know it again. We see the cruelty of injustice And resolve to stand against it. We hear the words of hatred and prejudice And vow that they shall not go unchallenged. We remember And we must act. We strive to create a world

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Richard S. Sarason in which no person will know the pain of slavery the cruelties of injustice the hatred and anger of prejudice. We remember and we will act. They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor ever again shall they train for war. (Haggadah: The Seder, 22–23)

167.  For a bibliography and discussion of kibbutz Haggadot through 1965, see Nathan Steiner, “Haggadot qibutsiyot,” in SBB 7 (1965), Hebrew section, 10–31, together with the additions by Isaac Rifkind and Steiner’s reply, 32–35. The Klau Library, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, maintains a large collection of kibbutz and other early Yishuv/Israeli Haggadot in its rare book collections, RBR C, Boxes 1–5 and 1–4. Kibbutz Haggadot most recently have been the subject of an exhaustive study, Zvi Shua (Faust), El erets hadashah attah ‘over: Hahaggadah haqibbutsit shel pesah vetoledotehah (Beit Hashitah: Shittim Machon Hehagim, 2011). See also Muki Tsur and Yuval Danieli, eds., Yots’im bahodesh ha’aviv: Pesah erets-yisra’eli bahaggadot min haqibbuts (Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Tzvi, Machon Ben-Gurion, Yad Tabenkin, and Yad Ya’ari, 2004). 168. A widely popular Yishuv/Israeli Passover song by Shalom Postolsky (1898–1949) of Kibbutz Ein Harod sets the words, ‘avadim hayinu; ‘atah v’nei horin, “We were slaves; now we are free.” The first phrase is from the Haggadah (and derives ultimately from the Babylonian Talmud, Pesah. 116a), but is further specified there: “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt;” it continues, “and the Lord our God brought us forth from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. And if the Holy One had not brought our forefathers forth from Egypt, then we, our children, and our children’s children would still be Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt.” The liberating agency in the Haggadah text is divine, not human; while in the secular Yishuv/ Israeli version, it is exclusively human (“the Jewish people redeems itself”). 169.  Note the obvious similarities between the ideas expressed in this last paragraph and those in the Yiddish-socialist Haggadot and in Waskow, Freedom Seder, all voicing concerns for economic and social justice from a socialist perspective. 170.  It is interesting to note that the Haggadot from the same period published by the two other secular kibbutz movements, Hakibbutz Heme’uhad (associated with the Ahdut Ha’avodah political party of the time) and Ihud Hakibbutzim vehakevutzot (associated with the Mapai political party of the time; later all three of these parties merged into the contemporary Labor party) retain the traditional formulation of these latter texts, including the references to divine redemption and deliverance. 171. The most recent published National Jewish Population Survey (from 2000–2001) indicates that, at that time, 79 percent of American Jews attended a Passover Seder each year; among those who did not identify with any of the religious denominations, the number was 57 percent. See Jonathan Ament, American Jewish Religious Denominations. United Jewish Communities Report Series on the National Jewish Population Survey 2000–2001, no. 10 (Feburary, 2005), 20, accessed at www.jewishfederations.org/local_includes/downloads/7579.pdf on

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02/09/2011. The percentages are slightly lower in the more recent (2013) survey of U.S. Jews conducted by the Pew Research Center: 70 percent of all American Jews surveyed had attended a Passover Seder in the previous year, while only 42 percent of those not identifying as religious did so. See A Portrait of Jewish Americans: Findings from a Pew Research Center Survey of U.S. Jews (October 1, 2013), accessed on 06/12/2014, at http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/10/ jewish-american-full-report-for-web.pdf. The relevant data is at http://www .pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-4–religious-beliefs-and-practices/, accessed on 06/12/2014. 172.  I wish to express here my gratitude to my colleague, Prof. Eric L. Friedland, emeritus professor at Wright State University in Dayton, OH, whose careful reading of the penultimate version of this chapter yielded many erudite and enriching additions and refinements. The chapter is dedicated, with respect and appreciation, to my Doktorvater, Prof. Jacob Neusner, on the occasion of his eightythird birthday.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources Rabbinic Literature The Mishnah. Translated by Herbert Danby. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1933. The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew. Translated by Jacob Neusner. 6 vols. Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishing House, 1981–86. The Babylonian Talmud. Edited by Isadore Epstein. 26 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1935–48. The Talmud of the Land of Israel: A Preliminary Translation and Explanation. Edited and translated by Jacob Neusner. 35 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983–94. Mekilta de-Rabbi Ishmael. Edited and translated by Jacob Z. Lauterbach. 3 vols. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1933. Seder Rav Amram Ga’on. Edited by Daniel Goldschmidt. Jerusalem: Mossad HaRav Kook, 1971. Ginzberg, Louis. Geonica. 2 vols. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1909.

Rabbinic Liturgy The Koren Siddur. Edited and translated by Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks. Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2009. The Koren Pesaḥ Maḥzor. Edited and translated by Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. Jerusalem: Koren Publishers, 2013. Mahzor Pesah. Edited by Yonah Frenkel. Jerusalem: Koren, 1993. Mahzor lePesah. Edited by Wolf Heidenheim. Translated by Jenny Marmorstein. 2 vols. Basle: Victor Goldschmidt Publishers, 1967.

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The Passover Haggadah. Edited and translated by Nahum N. Glatzer. New York: Schocken Books, 1953. A Sephardic Passover Haggadah. Edited and translated by Rabbi Marc D. Angel. Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishing House, 1988.

Cited Modern Liberal Prayer Books (arranged chronologically by date of publication) Seder Ha’avodah: Ordnung der öffentlichen Andacht für die Sabbath- und Festtage des ganzen Jahres. Nach den Gebrauche des Neuen-Tempel-Vereins in Hamburg. Edited by S[eckl] I[saac] Fränkel and M[eir] I[srael] Bresselau. Hamburg: selfpublished, 1819. Seder Ha’avodah: Gebetbuch für die öffentliche und häusliche Andacht, nach dem Gebrauch des Neuen Israelitschen Tempels in Hamburg. Hamburg: B.S. Berendsohn, 1841. Gebetbuch der Genossenschaft für Reform im Judenthum, Erster Theil: Allwöchliche Gebete und häusliche Andacht. Berlin: self-published, 1848. Seder Tefillah Devar Yom beYomo: Israelitisches Gebetbuch für den öffentlichen Gottesdient im ganzen Jahre, mit Einschluss der Sabbathe und sämtlicher Feier- und Festtage. Edited by Abraham Geiger. Breslau: Julius Hainauer, 1854. Seder Tefillah: The Order of Prayer for Divine Service. Edited by Leo Merzbacher. Vol. 1 Daily, Sabbath and Holidays; Vol. 2 Day of Atonement. New York, J. Muhlhauser, 1855. (Second edition revised by Samuel Adler. New York: M. Thalmessinger, 1860.) Minhag America: Tefillot B’nei Yeshurun. The Daily Prayers, Part I. Revised and Compiled by the Committee of the Cleveland Conference [Isaac Mayer Wise, Isidor Kalisch, Benjamin Rothenheim]. English translation by Isaac M. Wise. German translation by Isidor Kalisch and Benjamin Rothenheim. Cincinnati: Bloch, 1857. (Second, revised edition, Cincinnati: Bloch, 1872.) Olath Tamid: Gebetbuch für Israelitische Reform-Gemeinden. Edited by David Einhorn. Baltimore: C. W. Schneidereith, 1858. (English version: Book of Prayers for Israelitish Congregations. Edited by David Einhorn. Translated with emendations by Bernard Felsenthal. New York: Stewart, Werner & Co., 1872.) Tefillot Yisrael: Union Prayer Book, as adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis; published by the Ritual Committee. Chicago: Bloch Publishers, 1892. Seder Tefillot Yisrael. The Union Prayer-Book for Jewish Worship, edited and published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Part I. Prayers for the Sabbath, the Three Festivals, and the Week Days. Cincinnati: Bloch Publishers, 1895. (Revised edition, 1918; newly revised edition, 1940.) Dr. David Einhorn’s Olat Tamid: Book of Prayers for Jewish Congregations. Edited and translated by Rabbi Dr. Emil G. Hirsch. Chicago: n.p., 1896. Sha’arei Tefillah. Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayerbook. Weekdays, Sabbaths, Festivals; Services and Prayers for Synagogue and Home. Edited by Chaim Stern. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1975.

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Selected Modern and Contemporary Haggadot (arranged chronologically by date of publication) Die Pesach-Hagada vom Neuem verdeutscht und commentiert, Nebst einem Anhange, eine freie Bearbeitung der Hagada, und viele in Musik gesetzten Lieder enthaltend, von Leopold Stein. Frankfurt am Main: J.S. Adler, 1841. (Second, revised edition: “SederHagada. Vortrag für den Pesach-Vorabend [Familienfeier].” In Seder Ha’avodah: Gebetbuch für israelitische Gemeinden. Erster Band: Zur Sabbath-, Fest- und Werktage. Edited by Leopold Stein. Mannheim: J. Schneider, 1882. Pp. 161–98.) Haggadah lePesach: Domestic Service for the First Night of Passover used by the Members of the West London Synagogue of British Jews. Edited by Rev. D[avid] W[oolf] Marks. London: J. Wertheimer and Co., 5602/1842. “Hausandacht an vorabend des Pesachfestes.” In Olath Tamid: Gebetbuch für Israelitische Reform-Gemeinden. Edited by David Einhorn. Baltimore: C. W. Schneidereith, 1858. Pp. 475–86. (English version: “Domestic Service on the Eve of Passover.” In Book of Prayers for Israelitish Congregations. Edited by David Einhorn. Translated with emendations by Bernard Felsenthal. New York: Stewart, Werner & Co., 1872. Pp. 379–87.) Easter Eve, or “The New Hagodoh shel Pesach.” Ed. H[erman] M[ilton] Bien. Cincinnati: Bloch Publishing and Printing Co, 1886. “Domestic Service for the Eve of Passover.” In Union Prayer Book, as adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis; published by the Ritual Committee. Chicago: Bloch Publishers, 1892. Pp. 227–57. (English translation and adaptation by Isaac S. Moses of Stein, 2nd edition.) The Union Haggadah: Home Service for the Passover Eve. Edited and published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Cincinnati: Bloch Publishing Co., 1907. Corrected, 1908. Hagada: Liturgie für die häusliche Feier des Sederabende. Edited by Caesar Seligmann. Frankfurt a.M.: J. Kauffmann Verlag, 1913. The Union Haggadah: Home Service for the Passover. Revised edition. Edited and published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. N.p., 1923. The New Haggadah for the Pesah Seder. Edited by Mordecai M. Kaplan, Eugene Kohn, and Ira Eisenstein for the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation. New York: Behrman House, 1941. A Naye Hagodeh shel Peysakh. New York: The Education Department of the Workmen’s Circle, 1946. The Passover Haggadah. Edited and translated by Morris Silverman. Hartford, CT: Prayer Book Press, 1959. Jewish Liberation Hagadah. Edited by Aviva Cantor Zuckoff with Itzhak Epstein and Jerry Kirschen. New York: Jewish Liberation Project, 1971 (Mimeographed). “This Year in Brooklyn: A Seder to Celebrate Ourselves,” Off Our Backs 3, 8 (May, 1973): 15–18. Pesach Haggadah: A Statement of Joyous Liberation—Women’s Seder. Edited by Fayla Schwartz, Susie Coliver, and Elaine Ayela. Berkeley, CA, 1973. Zuckoff, Aviva Cantor. “Jewish Women’s Haggadah,” in Arlene Swidler, ed., Sister Celebrations: Nine Worship Experiences. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974. Pp. 77–88.

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(See also Aviva Cantor, “An Egalitarian Haggadah,” in Lilith, Spring/Summer, 1982/5742: 9–24). A Passover Haggadah: The New Union Haggadah. Prepared by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Edited by Herbert Bronstein. New York: Grossman Publishers and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, 1974. Revised, 1975 and 1982. Broner, E[sther] M. and Naomi Nimrod. “A Women’s Passover Haggadah and Other Revisionist Documents,” in Ms. 5:10 (April, 1977): 53–56. Revised as The Women’s Haggadah. Edited by E. M. Broner, with Naomi Nimrod. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. The Freedom Seder: A New Haggadah for Passover. Edited by Arthur I. Waskow. New York: Holt/Rinehart/Winston and Washington, DC: Micah Press, 1979. (Revised edition: “The Rainbow Seder,” in The Shalom Seders: Three Haggadahs Published by the New Jewish Agenda. New York: Adama Books, 1984.) The Humanist Haggadah. Edited by Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine. Farmington Hills, MI: Society for Humanistic Judaism, 1979. San Diego Women’s Haggadah. La Jolla CA: Women’s Institute for Continuing Jewish Education, 1980. Second edition, 1986. Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom. Edited by Rachel Anne Rabinowicz. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 1982. Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb. Edited by Roberta Kalechovsky. Marblehead, MA: Micah Publications, 1988. The Seder. Cincinnati: Congregation Beth Adam, 1988. Revised edition, 1996. On Wings of Freedom: The Hillel Haggadah for the Nights of Passover. Edited by Rabbi Richard N. Levy. Hoboken, NJ: B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations in association with Ktav Publishing House, 1989. B’tseit Yisra’el: The Journey Continues. Ma’yan Passover Haggadah. Edited by Tamara Ruth Cohen, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Deborah Lynn Friedman, and Ronnie M. Horn. New York: Ma’yan: The Jewish Women’s Project, 1996. Revised version, 2000. A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah. Edited by Noam Zion and David Dishon. Jerusalem: The Shalom Hartman Institute, 1996. Gates of Freedom Haggadah. Edited by Chaim Stern. West Orange, NJ: Behrman House, 1999. A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah. Edited by Joy Levitt and Michael Strassfeld. Philadelphia: Reconstructionist Press, 2000. The Open Door: A Passover Haggadah. Edited by Sue Levi Elwell. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2002. A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices. Edited by Mishael Zion and Noam Zion. Jerusalem: Zion Holiday Publications, Inc./Halailah Hazeh, Ltd, 2007. JQ International GLBT Passover Haggadah. Developed by JQ International in collaboration with the Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation at Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles, 2008. Online. Available for downloading at http://www.jqinternational.org/resources/glbt-passover -haggadah/ and at http://elearning.huc.edu/jhvrc/docs/JQ%20Haggadah%20Final%20no%20pics%204%209%2008.pdf.

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My People’s Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries. Edited by Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Ph.D. and David Arnow, Ph.D. 2 vols. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2008. Haggadah lazeman hazeh: Haggadah lepesah shel hayahadut hamitqademet beyisra’el. Edited by Yehoram Mazor, Dalia Marx, and Yehoyada Amir. N.p.: MaRaM— Mo’etset harabbanim hamitqadmim beyisra’el, 2009. Haggadah B’chol Dor va-Dor. Edited by Rabbi Andrew Goldstein and Rabbi Pete Tobias. London: Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, 2010. The New American Haggadah. Edited by Jonathan Safran Foer. Translated by Nathan Englander. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2012. Sharing the Journey: The Haggadah for the Contemporary Family. Edited by Alan S. Yoffie. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2012. The New Union Haggadah, Revised Edition. Edited by Howard A. Berman and Benjamin Zeidman. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis, 2014.

Secondary Sources Balin, Carole B. “Moving through the Movements: American Denominations and Their Haggadot.” In Hoffman, My People’s Passover Haggadah. 1:79–84. Bokser, Baruch M. The Origins of the Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984. Broner, E[sther] M. The Telling: The Story of a Group of Jewish Women Who Journey to Spirituality through Community and Ceremony. San Francisco: HarperSan Francisco, 1993. Caplan, Eric. From Ideology to Liturgy: Reconstructionist Worship and American Liberal Judaism. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 2002. Davidson, Israel. Thesaurus of Medieval Hebrew Poetry. 4 vols. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1930. Reprint; New York: KTAV Publishing House, 1970. Dunn, Emily. “Telling and Retelling: The Women’s Seder and Ritual Innovation.” HUC-JIR Rabbinic Thesis, Cincinnati, 2010. Elbogen, Ismar. Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History. Translated by Raymond P. Scheindlin. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1993. Fleischer, Ezra. Tefillah uminhagei tefillah erets-yisra’eliyim bitequfat hagenizah. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988. Friedland, Eric L. “The Historical and Theological Development of the NonOrthodox Prayerbooks in the United States.” Brandeis University Ph.D. Dissertation, 1967, available through ProQuest: UMI Dissertation Publishing. ———. Were Our Mouths Filled With Song: Studies in Liberal Jewish Liturgy. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1997. ———. “Leopold Stein: A Liberal Master of Prayer.” In David J. Goldberg and Edward Kessler, Aspects of Liberal Judaism: Essays in Honour of John D. Rayner. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2004. Pp. 49–72. Geertz, Clifford. The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books, 1973. Goldschmidt, Daniel. Haggadah shel pesah vetoledotehah (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1969).

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Grimes, Ronald L. Beginnings in Ritual Studies. Revised edition. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1995. Hoffman, Lawrence A. and David Arnow, eds. My People’s Passover Haggadah: Traditional Texts, Modern Commentaries. 2 vols. Woodstock, VT: Jewish Lights, 2008. Kasher, Menahem. Haggadah shelemah: Seder haggadah shel pesah. 3rd ed. Jerusalem: Torah Shelema Institute, 1967. Kugel, James, ed. Prayers that Cite Scripture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2006. Langer, Ruth. “Biblical Texts in Rabbinic Prayers: Their History and Function.” In Albert Gerhards and Clemens Leonhard, eds., Jewish and Christian Liturgy and Worship: New Insights into its History and Interaction, Jewish and Christian Perspectives Series 15. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007. Pp. 63–90. Mendes-Flohr, Paul R. and Jehuda Reinharz. The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980. Meyer, Michael A. Response to Modernity: A History of the Reform Movement in Judaism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Mihaly, Eugene. “The Passover Haggadah as PaRaDiSe.” CCAR Journal, April, 1966: 3–27. Münz-Manor, Ophir. “Hirhurim ‘al ‘ofyah shel hashirah hayehudit vehanotsrit beshalhei ha’et ha’atiqah.” Pe’amim 119 (2009): 131–72. ———. “Liturgical Poetry in the Late Antique Near East.” Journal of Ancient Judaism 1 (2010): 336–61. Neusner, Jacob. The Enchantments of Judaism: Rites of Transformation From Birth Through Death. New York: Basic Books, 1987. ———. Handbook of Rabbinic Theology. Leiden: Brill, 2002. Petuchowski, Jakob J. Prayerbook Reform in Europe: The Liturgy of European Liberal and Reform Judaism. New York: World Union for Progessive Judaism, 1968. Safrai, Shmuel and Ze’ev Safrai. Haggadat haza”l: Haggadah shel pesah. Jerusalem, Carta, 1998. Sarason, Richard S. “Communal Prayer at Qumran and among the Rabbis: Certainties and Uncertainties.” In Esther G. Chazon, ed., Liturgical Perspectives: Prayer and Poetry in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Leiden: Brill, 2003. Pp. 151–72. ———. “Liturgy, Midrash in.” In Jacob Neusner and Alan J. Avery-Peck, eds., Encyclopedia of Midrash: Biblical Interpretation in Formative Judaism, 2 vols. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005. 1: 463–92. Shua (Faust), Zvi. El erets hadashah attah ‘over: Hahaggadah haqibbutsit shel pesah vetoledotehah. Beit Hashitah: Shittim Machon Hehagim, 2011. Silberman, Lou H. “The Union Prayer Book: A Study in Liturgical Development.” In Bertram W. Korn, ed., Retrospect and Prospect: Essays in Commemoration of the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the Founding of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. New York: CCAR Press, 1965. Pp. 46–80. Solomon, Maida E. “The New Haggadahs: Feminism as a Force within Judaism.” M.A. Thesis, San Francisco State University, 1987. ———. “Claiming Our Questions: Feminism and Judaism in Women’s Haggadot.” In Joyce Antler, ed., Talking Back: Images of Jewish Women in American Popular Culture. Hanover, NH: Brandeis University Press, 1998. Pp. 220–41. Tabory, Joseph. Pesah dorot: Peraqim betoledot leil haseder. Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuchad, 1996.

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———. Mo’adei yisra’el bitequfat hamishnah vehatalmud. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997. Tsur, Muki and Yuval Danieli, eds., Yots’im bahodesh ha’aviv: Pesah erets-yisra’eli bahaggadot min haqibbuts. Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Tzvi, Machon Ben-Gurion, Yad Tabenkin, and Yad Ya’ari, 2004. Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim. Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America and Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1982. ———. Haggadah and History: A Panorama in Facsimile of Five Centuries of the Printed Haggadah. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1975. Zierler, Wendy I. “Where Have All the Women Gone?: Feminist Questions about the Haggadah.” In Hoffman, My People’s Passover Haggadah. 1:71–77.

Bibliography on Editions of the Passover Haggadah Yaari, Avraham. Bibliografia shel haggadot pesah mereshit hadefus v’ad yamenu. Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1961; supplemented by the following reviews/ lists of addenda: Abraham M. Haberman. Kiryat Sefer 36 (1961): 419–22. Naftali Ben-Menahem, Areshet 3 (1961): 442–65, and Areshet 4 (1966): 518–44. ———. “Besha’arei ha”Haggadah shel Pesach,” Sinai 57 (1965): 56–67. Tzvia Atik. “Addenda to Bibliographies of the Passover Haggadah.” SBB 12 (1979): 29–36. Hirschhorn, Harry J. “Keren ha-haggadot.” In Mah nishtanah. Highland Park, IL: Kol Ami Museum, 1964. Lehmann, Ruth P. “Anglo-Jewish Hagadot: A Bibliography,” in John M. Shaftesley, ed., Remember the Days: Essays in Anglo-Jewish history presented to Cecil Roth by members of the Council of the Jewish Historical Society of England. London: Jewish Historical Society of England, 1966. Pp. 335–50. Steiner, Nathan. “Haggadot qibutsiyot.” SBB 7 (1965), Hebrew section: 10–31; additions by Isaac Rifkind and Steiner’s reply, 32–35. Further bibliographical information on kibbutz haggadot may be found in Shua (Faust), listed above under secondary literature. Wiener, Theodore. “Addenda to Yaari’s Bibliography of the Passover Haggadah.” Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 7 (1965): 90–129; “Addenda to Yaari’s Bibliography of the Passover Haggadah from the Library of Congress, Hebraica Section.” In Studies in Jewish Bibliography, History and Literature in Honor of I. Edward Kiev, ed. Charles A. Berlin. New York: HUC Press, 1971. Pp. 511–16. Yudlov, Yitshak. Otsar hahaggadot: Bibliografiah shel haggadot pesah mereshit hadefus ha’ivri ‘ad shenat 5720. Jerusalem: Magnes, 1997.

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The Impact of the Exodus on Halakhah (Jewish Law) Reuven Hammer

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he impact of the Exodus on Halakhah (Jewish Law) is at the same time profound and also more hidden than revealed. If by Jewish Law we mean the post-biblical developments often termed Oral Law or Oral Torah that were first formulated in the Mishnah, the Tannaitic Midrashim (second–third century CE) and then subsequently in the Talmud (ninth century CE) and later medieval authorities, these were based and built upon the primary layer of biblical law.1 Those biblical laws were profoundly influenced by the experience of the Exodus, as stated repeatedly in the biblical text itself,2 so that all subsequent halakhah based upon them can be said to have their origin in the Exodus as well. Furthermore, as will be demonstrated, the theoretical basis justifying the binding nature of Jewish Law is the Exodus itself even when there is no specific mention of the Exodus in Talmudic and medieval halakhic discussion. Therefore our discussion will be grounded in the biblical laws based on the Exodus and their subsequent development in rabbinic literature. Other than those, no other specific laws seem to have developed as a consequence of the Exodus which had occurred so many hundreds of years prior to the post-biblical development of Jewish Law.3 The spirit of those laws, dictating just and merciful treatment of strangers and slaves, permeated Jewish Law and set a tone of care and tolerance that underlies so much of Jewish practice until today. In addition there are also laws concerning ritual practice that are based upon the Exodus and its commemoration. The founding myth4 of Israel as a people is the Exodus from Egypt— yetziat mitzrayim. We encounter it first in God’s words to Abraham, foretelling the destiny of his descendants: 111

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Know well that your offspring will be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will execute judgment on the nation that they shall serve and in the end they shall go free with great wealth. (Gen 15:13–14)

Indeed the experience of Egypt that is outlined in these few words spoken to Abraham contains the basic elements that were so influential in the formation of Israel’s basic law: the suffering, the enslavement, and the miraculous redemption.5 It is in Egypt that they became a nation rather than an enlarged family or clan, greatly enhanced in numbers and bound together by a common experience and the expectation of a land of their own.6 It is the pharaoh of enslavement who calls them “the Israelite people,” marking their new status.7 The religion of Israel and the Judaism that emerged from it are inconceivable without the experience of the Exodus. Whether or not the story as told in the Torah is an exact record of the events, the influence of the myth of the Exodus from Egypt on Judaism in general and on Halakhah— Jewish Law8—was immense and profound, both on halakhic ritual practice concerning the observance of certain holy festival days and Shabbat and, most importantly, on civil law, the relations between human beings, mitzvot ben adam lehavero. THE EXODUS AS THE FOUNDATION OF HALAKHAH The covenant entered into at Sinai, the foundation of Jewish law, in which Israel becomes the Lord’s people and the Lord becomes Israel’s God, rests upon the Exodus experience: I, the Lord, am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage (Exod 20:2; Deut 5:6).9

As its part of the Sinai covenant, Israel takes upon itself the obligation of the observance of all the mitzvot and regulations, not solely the Decalogue. The prologue to the theophany at Sinai and the making of the covenant states this explicitly: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me. Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples. (Exod 19:4–5)

In a similar manner the third paragraph of the Shema, which explains why Israelites are to observe God’s commandments, concludes with:

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Thus you shall be reminded to observe all My commandments and to be holy to your God. I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God; I, the Lord your God. (Num 15:40–41)

Thus it is the Exodus that entitles God to demand the observance of his rules and regulations. Because God brought about the Exodus, God is entitled to ask Israel’s obedience. Thus all of halakhah is based upon this premise.10 According to Exod 29:46, even the purpose of erecting the Tabernacle was so that “they shall know that I the Lord am their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might abide among them, I the Lord their God.” Therefore it is not accidental that the famous Holiness Code (Leviticus 19), which repeats many of the Decalogue’s provisions as well as many other basic laws of Judaism,11 concludes with “I the Lord am your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt. You shall faithfully observe all My laws and all My rules: I am the Lord” (19:36–37). So too the list of commands in Leviticus 22 concludes with, “You shall faithfully observe My commandments: I am the Lord . . . I who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God, I the Lord” (Lev 22:31–33). In the words of Baruch Levine, “As in 19:36, reference is made, at the conclusion of ritual legislation, to God’s act of liberating the Israelites from Egyptian bondage—the basis of His demand for obedience to His law and commandments.”12 In Deuteronomy, as Israel readies itself to enter the land, Moses reminds them that they should observe the commandments because “You have seen all that the Lord did before your very eyes in the land of Egypt” (29:1–8). The tannaim (early Sages) asked why the Decalogue was not placed at the beginning of the Torah. They answered with a parable: It may be likened to a king who entered a city. He said, “I shall rule over you.” But they said to him, “Have you brought us any benefits at all that you should rule over us?” What did he do? He built them a wall, brought water for them, and waged war for them. Then he said to them, “I shall rule over you.” They said, “Yes, oh yes.” Thus God brought Israel out of Egypt, split the Sea for them, brought down manna for them, caused the well to spring up for them, brought quail for them, and waged water for them against Amalek. [Then] He said to them, “I shall rule over you .” They said, “Yes, oh yes.” (Mekhilta BaHodesh 5) It may be likened to a king who entered a city. His advisors said to him, “Issue laws for them.” He said to them, “No! When they accept my sovereignty over them I will issue laws for them, for if they do not accept my sovereignty, why would they observe my laws?” (Mekhilta Bahodesh 6)

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According to the Torah and to the interpretation of the Tannaim, it is the Exodus that serves as the basis for God’s right to issue regulations concerning Israel’s way of life—mitzvot. The Exodus thus has played a double role in the existence of the people Israel. Without it, as the haggadah puts it, “we would still be slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt,” that is, the Israelites might well have perished altogether either through persecution or through assimilation. Thus Jews owe their physical existence to the Exodus. But in addition it is the Exodus that validated the system of mitzvot, the basis of halakhah which formed the Jewish way of life and has governed the actions of observant Jews. SPECIFIC SOCIAL LAWS RESULTING FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF THE EXODUS The Torah, comprising the five books of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) that are the foundation of Jewish Law, does not always give a reason for observing a specific mitzvah.13 They are all to be observed because God has commanded them and God has the right to do so because of His actions at the Exodus, as discussed above. But the reasons for specific actions often beg an explanation and are cited from time to time. For example mention is made of general reasons such as “You shall be holy for I the Lord your God am holy” (Lev 19:2), that is, imitatio Dei. That is also the reason for not eating flesh torn by beasts (Exod 22:30). Similarly the prohibition of making gashes or marks because of the dead is explained as being because “You are the children of the Lord your God” (Deut 14:1), “a people consecrated to the Lord your God” (Deut 14:2). Some specific practices such as not sacrificing an animal that has a defect (Deut 17:1) or eating certain animals (Deut 14:3) are deemed a toevah—abhorrent. Being dishonest in weights and measures is also “abhorrent to the Lord your God” (Deut25:13–16).14 The inviolability of human life, the prohibition against murder, is explained as being because “in His image did God make man” (Gen 9:6). Similarly the body of an executed person must be buried the same day for it is “an affront to God” (Deut 21:22). The reason for the prohibition of Ammonites or Moabites entering the congregation is “because they did not meet you with food and water . . . and because they hired Balaam” to curse Israel (Deut 23:5). Laws concerning the cleanliness of the camp are explained as “Since the Lord your God moves about in your camp . . .” (Deut 23:15). God’s merciful nature is cited as a reason treating the poor and the widow well since “if he cries out to Me, I will pay heed, for I am compassionate” (Exod 22:26). Many commandments, however, are given without any explanation. The most famous example is the red heifer (Numbers 19). Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai, the first century tanna, had no explanation for the fact that the ashes of the red heifer cleansed and

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yet rendered impure the one who sprinkled them. He told his pupils that it was simply “a decree of the Holy One. . . . I have set it as a statute, I have issued a decree. You are not permitted to transgress My decree” (Pirke deRav Kahana 4:7), thus leading to the concept that “decrees”—hukkim—have no rational, at least none revealed to humans.15 There is, however, one reason that is cited time and time again when discussing mitzvot concerning social justice: the experience of the Exodus—being a stranger, enslavement and redemption from slavery. Thus the enslavement and subsequent manumission of Israel is the reason that Israelites are to treat others differently than they were treated. It is the driving force behind so much of the Torah’s social legislation, legislation which was often revolutionary for its time. It might have been expected that the lesson to be learned from the experience of slavery and liberation would be never again to permit others to enslave them, to avoid being mistreated in that way at any cost. Instead the lesson is that having experienced the suffering of slavery and the suffering of being a stranger without rights, they should never treat others in that way. Having gained their freedom, they should want to share it with others. Thus empathy for the stranger and for anyone who is powerless results in a series of laws that protect their rights. The Treatment of Slaves Slavery was a normal and accepted part of life in ancient days and has remained so in certain parts of the world until this day. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Torah contains specific laws regarding slavery, although it must be admitted that it is ironic to see laws of slavery as the very first laws given to the newly freed Israelites following the Decalogue. The collection of laws known as Sefer HaBerit—the Book of the Covenant—begins with laws of slavery (Exod 21:2). Those who have just left the condition of slavery are told what to do when acquiring a slave. What must be noted is that this very first law of slavery limits the term of slavery: “When you acquire a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years; in the seventh year he shall go free, without payment.” As Nahum Sarna pointed out, the laws of slavery found in Exod 21:2–11 deal specifically with “the imposition of legal restraints on the power of a master over his Hebrew male and female slaves, and the establishment of the legal rights of slaves”16 The emphasis of the Torah is not on the fact that Israel may have slaves, but on the way in which slaves must be treated as human beings, not as chattel, and the legal limitations put upon the rights of the so-called “owner.” The intent of these rulings in Exodus is to recast the slavery of Israelites and limit it. That is why Israel is immediately commanded that after six years that slave must go free.17

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Slavery is thus not commanded but rather condoned. It is taken for granted that one may acquire a slave, since the poor are likely to find themselves in a position in which they have no choice but to sell themselves into a form of slavery, better termed “indentured servitude.” The use of the same word—eved—for Israelites and non-Israelites leads to confusion, since only the non-Israelite eved is a slave in the usual understanding of the term, while the Israelite eved is quite different with limited servitude and special laws to define his treatment. This is clarified by the laws in Lev 25:35–43 which deal with what to do when “your kinsman, being in straits, comes under your authority” (25:35). Under such circumstances, “do not subject him to the treatment of a slave—eved. He shall remain with you as a hired—sakhir—or bound laborer—toshav” (25:39–40).18 He is not really a slave, although called one. The very term “slave” would seem to be inappropriate. Lauterbach remarks, “The Jewish law does not allow an Israelite to become or to be made a slave in the real sense of the word. The term eved, ‘slave,’ then, when applied to a Hebrew or an Israelite, can only mean one who has to serve for a certain definite period . . .”19 As the midrash says, “Perhaps he should not be called ‘slave’ at all, since it is a shameful term? But the text says ‘If you buy a Hebrew slave.’ Against his will the Torah designates him a slave.”20 In Exod 21:1–11, the laws of “slavery,” no specific connection is made between these regulations and Egyptian slavery, although, as Sarna wrote, “The priority given to this subject by the Torah doubtless has a historical explanation. Having recently experienced liberation from bondage, the Israelite is enjoined to be especially sensitive to the condition of the slave.”21 In Deut 15:12–18, however, where the same laws found in the book of Exodus are repeated and expanded, the connection is clear. After adding that when the slave is freed he must be given provisions “out of the flock, threshing floor, and vat, with which the Lord your God has blessed you” (15:14) the words “Bear in mind that you were slaves in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I enjoin this commandment upon you today” (15:15) are appended.22 In their comments to this verse the tannaim also made this connection clear: Just as I repeatedly furnished you in Egypt, so must you furnish the Hebrew slave repeatedly. Just as I furnished you with a generous hand in Egypt, so must you furnish him with a generous hand.23

The connection to the experience of the Exodus is also mentioned specifically when slavery is discussed in Lev 25:35ff. In the words of a medieval midrash: “These are the laws . . . when you acquire a Hebrew slave” (Exod 21:2)— Since God had freed them from slavery and granted them freedom He com-

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manded them first of all not to enslave their brothers by force and not to enslave them in perpetuity but only until the seventh year, as it is said, “For they are My servants, whom I freed from the land of Egypt; they may not give themselves over into servitude.” (Lev 25:42)24

One is not forced into slavery but is rather “acquired”—that is, purchased. The midrash relies specifically upon the Exodus as a proof that the slavery of a Hebrew is not what is commonly called slavery but is severely limited in time and in the way in which one enters into it. The verse mentioned in this midrash, Lev 25:42—“For they are My servants, whom I freed from the land of Egypt; they may not give themselves over into servitude” is very important. It adds another dimension to the understanding of the way in which the Exodus impacted on Jewish law. In addition to the fact that the experience of slavery was to make Israel more sensitive and merciful, God’s acquiring of the people of Israel as God’s own slaves means that legally no one else can enslave them. God has prior ownership. The Sifra, the tannaitic midrash to Leviticus, concludes from the words “they are My servants” in that verse that God acquired them prior to anyone else and that the mention of freeing them “from the land of Egypt” indicates that God freed them “on condition that one not be sold as a slave is sold . . . nor is one to be made to stand on a trading platform in the street.”25 Thus the halakhah makes rules mitigating the conditions of the Hebrew slave that are not explicitly found in the Torah and bases them upon the Exodus.26 In the Leviticus code, however, unlike those of Exodus and Deuteronomy, we find no mention of the period of six years. Rather we learn that the Israelite slave must be let go in the fiftieth year when the Jubilee year arrives. “Then he and his children with him shall be free of your authority; he shall go back to his family and return to his ancestral holding.—For they are My slaves,27 whom I freed from the land of Egypt; they may not give themselves over into servitude.—You shall not rule over him ruthlessly; you shall fear your God” (Lev 25:41–43). Is this to be understood as a contrast to both Exod 21:1–6 and Deut 15:12–18 that specify the limitation of six years? If so, according to Leviticus he could serve as many as fifty years.28 It is difficult to understand why Leviticus would take such a stand and extend servitude for such a long period of time. Tigay believes nevertheless that such is the case and that the code in Leviticus is different from and independent of the laws of Exodus and Deuteronomy. Which came first is a matter of scholarly debate. “This system seems to approach the problem from the perspective of tribal society, which thought of itself as an aggregate of clans and families rather than individuals.”29 Y. Kaufmann takes an entirely different view. He writes, “Lev 25:39–43, on the other hand, does away with Israelite bondage entirely, for Israelites

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are “slaves of YHWH,” whose lordship excludes subservience to human masters.”30 Kaufman seems to base this on a close reading of the Hebrew terminology. Lev 25:39 says “do not subject him to the treatment of a slave,” using the root ayin bet dalet three times, while 25:40 then refers to the condition of the Israelite as “a hired or bound laborer.” Exod 21:2 also calls him eved irvi—a Hebrew slave. Thus, according to Kaufman, Leviticus considers that there is no Hebrew slave but only a hired servant who cannot change that status until the Jubilee year, whenever that may occur. Leviticus also adds, as opposed to Exodus, that in all cases his wife and children are also freed at the Jubilee year. Baruch Levine has yet a different view of the Leviticus code, seeing it as a late development, reflecting the time of Nehemiah when the exiles returned from Babylonia when the emphasis was upon regaining control over the land.31 The sages in the Sifra attempt to reconcile these various laws by saying that the Leviticus rule applies to the one who wishes to continue in slavery after six years are up, as is the case in Exod 21:5. Nevertheless he too cannot serve forever but attains freedom in the Jubilee, a further limitation on perpetual slavery. 32 The connection to the Egyptian experience is repeated again in Lev 25:47–55 regarding an Israelite who has sold himself into servitude to a non-Israelite resident alien. There are various ways in which he may be redeemed but if the Jubilee year comes he too goes free automatically “For it is to Me that the Israelites are servants; they are My slaves, whom I freed from the land of Egypt, I the Lord your God”(25:55). Thus according to Leviticus it is not only that bondage should have made us sensitive to the suffering of the slave, but that by freeing the Israelites from slavery, God has acquired them as His slaves—they cannot then belong to anyone else! Thus Israelite slavery would be totally eliminated.33 In general early Rabbinic Judaism dealt with the differences among these laws of slavery by conflating them. Thus Sifre Deuteronomy takes the verses requiring the granting of generous provisions to the slave who goes free as applying both to the one who goes free after serving six years and to “one who is freed in the Jubilee year or upon the death of his master, or to a Hebrew bondswoman.”34 The Mishnah expresses this as well: A Hebrew slave is acquired by money and by deed and acquires himself (attains freedom) by years (after six years), by Jubilee (if it comes before the six years) and by deduction from the purchase price.35

The Mekhilta, the tannaitic midrash to Exodus, places severe limitations on the service of the “Hebrew slave.” Basing itself upon the verse in Lev 25:39 “You shall not make him serve as a slave” it rules that he is not to “wash the feet of his master, not put his shoes on him, nor carry his

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things before him when going to the bath house, nor support him by the hips when ascending steps, not carry him in a litter or a chair or a sedan chair as slaves do.” Ironically it adds that a son or a pupil may do these things. Then, based on Lev 25:40 “as a hired man,” the Mekhilta goes on to rule that just as a hired man cannot be made to do work that is not in his trade, so too the Hebrew slave cannot, and may not be put to work in any trade such as barbering, tailoring, or baking in which he must serve the public. He cannot be made to work at night but only during the day.36 All of these laws were understood as applying only to Israelites. Lev 25:42–46 makes it clear that the Torah’s lenient regulations of slavery apply only to Israelites. Others may be acquired as slaves and “such you may treat as slaves.” They are your property and may be inherited by your children. Foreigners could become slaves. It was possible that the term eved ivri—“a Hebrew slave”—might have been understood as “the slave belonging to a Hebrew”—that is, a non-Israelite.37 Therefore the midrash elaborates on various verses and comes to the conclusion that there are extra words in Deut. 15:12,—“a Hebrew man”—the purpose of which are to indicate that “when using the expression ‘Hebrew’ Scripture deals with an Israelite (slave).”38 The Torah places severe limitations on Israelite slavery in all three legal codes—Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Nahum Sarna states that “the laws mitigate the harshness that accompanies the status of chattel, and they enhance the recognition of the slave as a human being.”39 For example, Exod 22:26 grants the slave freedom if the master injures him seriously. The Ten Commandments specify that “your male or female slave” shall not work on the Sabbath (Exod 20:10) and, in total contradiction to all other codes at that time, and indeed to laws of slavery in the United States in the 1800s, Deut 23:16–17 decrees that a runaway slave is not to be returned to his master.40 Israelite slavery was not abolished but it was modified so that the term “slave” is no longer appropriate. The later development of rabbinic law continued the trend of delegitimizing slavery, as we can see from such statements as that of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai interpreting the statement in Exod 21:6 that if a slave decides not to go free after six years as is his right, “his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall then remain his slave for life”— The ear, which heard at Sinai “For it is to Me that the Israelites are slaves: they are My slaves whom I freed from the land of Egypt, I the Lord your God” (Lev 25:55) but nevertheless preferred subjection to men rather than to God, deserves to be pierced!41

Whereas the Torah simply states that if the man decides to remain a slave he may do so and then has his ear pierced as a sign of this status, Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai sees this as a shameful act. Slavery—even if freely accepted—is a disgraceful matter.

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In a similar way Rabbi Simeon b. Rabbi taught that the reason the door and the doorpost were used when the ear was bored was because they “were witnesses in Egypt when I passed over the lintel and the doorposts and proclaimed ‘For it is to Me that the Israelites are slaves: they are My slaves whom I freed from the land of Egypt,’ (Lev 25:55) and not the slaves of slaves but nevertheless preferred subjection to men rather than to God, deserves to be pierced!”42 The Sages also interpreted the word “forever” to mean only until the Jubilee year. “When the Jubilee arrives he goes free. If his master dies sooner, he also goes free.”43 Even if there is a son who inherits, the slave goes free immediately.44 The Tannaim also disputed whether or not one who sells himself into slavery may forfeit his freedom and have his ear bored, thus selling oneself into perpetual service.45 Rabbinic law limits the service of a Hebrew slave to the master and, if he dies, to his son, but not to a daughter or anyone else. A female Hebrew slave serves only the master and no one else.46 According to a beraita, the verse “he is happy with you” (Deut 15:16) indicates that the slave must have whatever you have. That is the meaning of the words “with you”—“He must be ‘with you’ in food and drink. You cannot eat white bread and he black bread, you cannot drink old wine and he new wine, you cannot sleep on a feather bed and he on straw. Thus the popular saying: if one acquires a Hebrew slave, one acquires a master.”47 Note that this interpretation of Deut 15:16 applies specifically only to the Hebrew slave and not to others. According to the Talmud, the institution of the Hebrew slave was totally abolished when the Jubilee year was no longer in practice, that is, after the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE48 Maimonides (Yad Hilkhot Avadim 1:10), after devoting an entire chapter to the laws of the Hebrew slave, similarly states that these apply “only when the laws of the Jubilee are in force.” Maimonides then devotes an additional four chapters to the Hebrew slave. In view of this, the extensive discussions of Hebrew slavery in the Mishnah, the various tannaitic Midrashim, the Talmud and later codes are all theoretical. The assumption may be that the time will come when the Jubilee is again in force and therefore these laws too could become relevant. It is questionable, however, if this was actually the case. Evidence seems to indicate that Jewish slavery among Jews continued into the Roman era.49 Slavery of others was never officially suspended or abolished in theory. The rules for non-Israelite slaves are quite different. Regarding them, the only major modification was in the matter of the return of runaways. The non-Israelite slave, often called by the rabbis eved kena’ani—”Canaanite slave”—was a slave forever, as indicated by Lev 25:44–46 which says spe-

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cifically that “you may keep them as a possession for your children after you, for them to inherit as property for all time” (25:46). The Talmud cites this verse as proof that the Canaanite slave does not go free or revert to a previous owner even at the Jubilee.50 He does go free, however, if his master injures him so that he loses a limb. Maimonides limits this to those slaves who have been circumcised and undergone ritual immersion, thus attaining a status of being “partially observant of mitzvot.”51 It is sometimes difficult to know if the Torah is referring to all slaves including the non-Israelite, or only to the Hebrew slave. Exod 22:26–27, for example, states that “When a man strikes the eyes of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.” A beraita in the Talmud uses these verses as proof that a heathen slave goes free “through the loss of his eye, tooth, and projecting limbs that do not return.”52 Similarly when the Torah specifies that on the Sabbath “your male or female slave” is not to work on the seventh day (Exod 20:10, Deut 5:14), or that “your male or female slave” is to rejoice with you on your festival (Deut 16:14), is this only the Hebrew slave or the non-Israelite slave as well? Since the Torah states, “You shall not rule over him ruthlessly” (Lev 25:43) specifically in reference to the Hebrew slave, it was inferred that it was permitted to do so with the non-Hebrew slave. Thus Maimonides ruled, “It is permitted to make a Canaanite slave work ruthlessly.”53 He then continues, “Even though this is the law, the quality of mercy and the ways of wisdom teach that one should be merciful and pursue righteousness and not act unjustly toward his slave or work hardship on him. Rather he should give him all kinds of food and drink. . . . Nor should one scream at or be angry overmuch with his slave, but speak with him kindly and listen to his complaints. . . . Cruelty and harshness are the ways of idolaters, while the seed of our father Abraham, Israel, who were taught by the Holy One through the beneficence of the Torah laws and statutes of righteousness, are merciful toward all.”54 The question arises here, as in all other matters of biblical law, as to whether or not these regulations were carried out in practice or were merely theoretic concepts. We know, for example, that as early as the days of Jeremiah, just before the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE the laws of release of the Hebrew slave after six years was not observed. When King Zedekiah proclaimed that all salves had to be released, they were, but were then taken back into slavery almost immediately. The Lord complains, through Jeremiah’s prophecy, that the Israelites had not been observing God’s law concerning slaves and again were flouting it. “Therefore I proclaim your release to the sword” (Jer 34:8–17). More recent studies of the question of Jewish slavery have also called into question the

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assertion that Jewish slavery ceased early or that in general slavery was frowned upon within Jewish society in the Roman period.55 How deeply the attitude of biblical law toward slavery influenced the actual daily life of Jews remains an unanswered question. Regarding biblical law, Tigay has summed up the matter well: Servitude was an accepted fact of life in Israel as it was everywhere in the ancient world. Biblical law and ethical teachings aimed at securing humane treatment for servants. These aims are based on the Bible’s recognition of the shared humanity of master and servant and on the special empathy the Bible expects of Israelites because their ancestors were slaves in Egypt. The Torah, unique among ancient law codes, insists that servants be given rest on the Sabbath, be included in the festivities of holidays, and be protected from physical abuse and harm by their masters.56

The Treatment of the Stranger (Ger) “You shall not wrong a stranger [ger] or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exod 22:20). The Exodus is cited specifically in the Torah as the reason why Israelites should treat the stranger—ger— well. In Tigay’s words, “Israel’s experience of slavery should lead to empathy not only with slaves, whose experience is identical to theirs, but with all the disadvantaged.”57 In addition, the frequent repetition of concern for the stranger serves “to inculcate the idea that the rejection of the non-Israelite religious practices (Exod 22:19) has no bearing on the inalienable right of the alien to civilized treatment free of victimization.”58 The definition of the ger in the Torah is more than that implied by the English word “stranger.” Rather it reflects a legal status: one who lives permanently in the land but is not part of the native community and therefore does not have all the rights accorded to a citizen (ezrah).59 We find this status referred to in the story of Abraham’s desire to purchase a burial place for his wife Sarah. “I am a resident alien [ger vetoshav] among you; sell me a burial site among you . . .” says Abraham (Gen 23:4). As a resident alien he has no right to purchase land. Therefore he must implore them to make an exception for him. Unlike the nokhri—foreigner—who is found in the land of Israel only temporarily, the Biblical ger does have certain rights and obligations but he is not considered an Israelite.60 When the Torah proclaims that there shall be one law for the ger and for the ezrah—the citizen—it is placing the alien on the same footing as the native, but only in certain specific cases.61 As Milgrom writes, this injunction “should not be misconstrued. It applies only to the case given in the context; it is not to be taken as a generalization.”62 Sarna points out that “Because [the stranger] could not fallback upon local family and clan ties, he lacked the social and legal protection that

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these ordinarily afforded. Being dependent on the goodwill of others he could easily fall victim to discrimination and exploitation.”63 They were easy victims of economic exploitation, the deprivation of property, or denial of legal rights. Therefore the Torah provides for their protection. The first such regulations appear in Sefer HaBerit, the Book of the Covenant, (Exod 21:1–23:33), the code that immediately follows the proclamation of the Decalogue itself, the same collection that contains the laws of slavery discussed above. According to the biblical account, these laws and regulations were given by God at Sinai at the same time as the Decalogue was proclaimed and therefore have particular importance as part of the original covenant made between God and Israel. This is made clear from verses 24:3–4, “Moses went and repeated to the people all the commands of the Lord and all the rules; and all the people answered with one voice, saying, ‘All the things that the Lord has commanded we will do!’ Moses then wrote down all the commands of the Lord.” Among these “rules” are the following: “You shall not wrong a stranger [ger] or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exod 22:20). This is repeated again even more explicitly in the very next chapter: “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exod 23:9). In both cases, proper treatment of the stranger is predicated upon the experience of having been strangers is Egypt. This is the first time that the experience of Egypt is cited as the reason for a social enactment. This is particularly striking in view of the fact that the injunctions concerning slavery, which appear earlier in the same codex, inexplicably do not mention it although other Biblical laws of slavery do.64 Since these two verses are similar and could be seen as repetitious, rabbinic interpretation seized on the two different words used, toneh— wrong—in 22:20 and tilhatz—oppress—in 23:9 to define each as referring to different conduct. The Tannanim defined hona’ah—wrong—as verbal and emotional abuse. “Oppress”—l-h-tz—was interpreted as defrauding in monetary matters: You shall not wrong him—with words. Neither shall you oppress him—in money matters.65 On the other hand, both the Talmud66 and Sifra to Leviticus67 utilize two verses in Leviticus 25 containing the word “to wrong” as prohibiting both verbal and monetary abuse. Again following the rabbinic principle that there is no repetition in the Torah’s laws, they teach that since “When you sell property to your neighbor or buy any from your neighbor, you shall not wrong one another” (25:14) clearly refers to monetary abuse, “Do not wrong one another” (25:17) must be referring to something else, namely verbal abuse. Noting that Lev 25:17—referring to verbal abuse—concludes with the words, “but fear your God; for I the Lord am your God,” while Lev 25:14

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“you shall not wrong one another” which forbids monetary wrong does not contain that phrase, Rabbi Shimon b. Yohai concludes that this teaches us that “verbal abuse is worse that monetary wrong” and R. Samuel b. Nahmani explains that the reason is “because restoration of monetary abuse is possible while there is no restoration for verbal abuse.”68 The rabbis defined oppression in monetary matters as overcharging by one sixth of the value of the object being purchased. In such a case the purchaser may demand a refund or revoke the sale.69 The Mishnah also includes victimizing and defrauding under the category of “wrong.”70 The Holiness Code in Leviticus, like the code in Exodus, also clearly connects the treatment of the ger to the experience of Egyptian suffering but goes beyond it in calling not only for good treatment of the stranger but for love of the ger as well. Leviticus, which commands us to love our fellow, makes a special provision for the stranger—who is really not our fellow. He is “the other.” Thus: When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I the Lord am your God (Lev 19:33–34). The phrase “resides with you,” repeated twice, makes it clear that we are speaking of one who is more than a transient, but is a part of the community, although not from the stock of Israel. The fact that the Israelites were once strangers themselves is then given as the reason that they should love the stranger and not wrong the stranger. Having experienced this status and having suffered because of it, they should have learned that lesson and respond differently when they are in the position of being the host rather than the stranger. The Holiness Code of Leviticus 19 is the priestly equivalent of Sefer HaBerit—the code of laws of Exodus 21–23. It is striking that the most important codes in each of these books single out the ger for protection and fair treatment. As Levine puts it, “In the biblical ethos, the importance of being considerate to foreign residents drew added impetus from the memory of the Israelite sojourn in Egypt—Israelites should be able to empathize with the alien.”71 In Egypt they were wronged and oppressed and as a result, knowing nefesh hager—what it means to be a stranger—having suffered that status, they should not want to inflict it upon anyone else. The bracketing of the ger with the poor is found in Leviticus: they both have rights to gleanings (19:10, 23:22).72 Deuteronomy also classifies the ger together with other defenseless members of society, the fatherless and the widow. They receive the tithe of the third and sixth year of each cycle (Deut 14:29). Even though rabbinic law interpreted the ger here as a “member of the covenant,” that is, one who has already converted to

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Judaism,73 this is certainly not the original intent of the Torah. Strangers are included in the list of those who rejoice in the festivals (16:11, 14). When the theme of the stranger is taken up by Deuteronomy it requires the judicial system to protect the rights of the stranger: “. . . decide justly between any man and a fellow Israelite or a stranger” (1:16). “For the Lord your God. . . . upholds the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and befriends the stranger, providing him with food and clothing. You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (10:17–19). Here too the stranger is listed with others who require the protection of God because they are otherwise defenseless, but here too the stranger is singled out from the group and mention is made of the special reason for treating him well—our experience as strangers in Egypt. The need for the court to treat the stranger fairly is also expressed in Deut 24:17—“You shall not judge the stranger or the fatherless unfairly.” This is followed by special attention to the stranger—“Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Lord redeemed you from there; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment.”(Deut 24:18). Once again, as in the codes of Exodus and Leviticus, the reason for treating the stranger fairly is that Israel experienced mistreatment—here it is spelled out even more specifically—not merely that they were strangers in Egypt but that they were slaves there. By adding the mention of their being redeemed by God, similar to what is said in regard to the covenant as a whole and the Decalogue (see above), they are reminded both that because of that they are obligated to observe whatever God commands and because they have known slavery and what it means to be free from it, they should want to grant that to anyone else.74 The section containing the declaration made upon the first fruits (Deut 26:1–11) concludes with the command that your bounty is to be shared with “the Levite and the stranger in your midst.” Noting that the orphan and the widow are not mentioned here, as they usually are, Tigay suggests that “the verse singles out strangers because it is their situation that best corresponds to the Israelites’ experience in Egypt mentioned in verse 5, “sojourned there” (ger, “stranger,” echoes gur, “sojourn” in that verse; both words are from the same stem). The Israelite farmer, whose ancestors sojourned as strangers in Egypt and were oppressed, now must provide generously for the strangers in his own land.75 Once again the remembrance of Egyptian slavery and the Exodus as the reason for the observance of a mitzvah—sharing their bounty with the stranger. Just as the poor and the defenseless must receive preferential treatment and are singled out for mercy under God’s personal protection, so too the stranger. The stranger, however, is singled out more often for the simple reason that whereas one might normally have pity for those who are part and parcel of your own people—widows, orphans, poor people—strangers

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are intrinsically dangerous, under suspicion and those for whom you would seem to have no responsibility. Although Levine states that specific laws to protect the stranger were found in most ancient societies,76 Tigay, noting the many times this is expressed in the Torah, states that “Concern for the protection of strangers was not nearly so common elsewhere in the ancient Near East. The only passages I have noted are in the Egyptian wisdom text Amenemopet, chap. 28 (ANET, 424c, and the Hittite text cited by Weinfeld, Commentary, at 10:18.)”77 In that case it may indeed be that ancient Israel and its religious leaders were more sensitive to the needs of the stranger because of the suffering they endured in Egypt. The reason cited so often in the various codes of the Torah is not merely a literary device but a historical fact based on experience. Later Rabbinic Judaism went beyond the Torah and developed the concept and category of ger toshav, a resident alien, referring to one who is living in the land and adopted some of the commandments of the Torah and therefore was entitled to some of the privileges of one born a Jew. The term is found in Gen 23:4 in reference to Abraham’s status in Canaan, as mentioned above. It is then found in Lev 25:35 and 25:47 where it is obvious that it refers to one who is not “your kinsman,” not an Israelite, but not a stranger either. He is one who lives in the land permanently and has even prospered enough that he owns land78 and can purchase an impoverished Israelite to be his indentured servant. This same person is referred to as a toshav who “lives with you” in Lev 25:6. In Exod 12:45 it is stated, in contrast to the circumcized slave, that a toshav may not eat of the Pacal lamb. In that respect he is still likened to a foreigner.79 It is not at all certain that the Torah makes a distinction between the ger and the ger toshav. Rabbinic Judaism, however, did. It understood ger as a convert, one who becomes a Jew, and ger toshav as one with an in between status. Referring to Lev 25:35, the Tannaitic midrash Sifra teaches: “Ger— this means a righteous convert. Toshav—this refers to a convert who eats unkosher meat.” 80 One of the few places in which the word ger was interpreted by the Sages as referring to the ger toshav is found in the Mekhilta to Exod 23:12:81 “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease from labor, in order that your ox and your ass may rest, and that your bondman and the stranger [ger] may be refreshed.” This refers to the ger toshav. Perhaps this is the righteous convert? Since elsewhere it says, “. . . or the stranger who is within your settlements . . .” (Exod 20;10), 82 the righteous proselyte has been mentioned. Therefore when the Torah says here “and the stranger,” it refers to the ger toshav. On the Sabbath he may act as does the Israelite on a Festival.83

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The specific definition of a ger toshav is found first in the Talmud: Who is a ger toshav? One who takes upon himself in the presence of three haverim (scrupulously observant Jews) not to worship idols. So says Rabbi Meir. But the Sages teach: One who takes upon himself the seven Noahide commandments. Others say: These are not in the category of a ger toshav. Rather it is a convert who eats of animals not ritually slaughtered, i.e. he took upon himself the observance of all the commandments in the Torah except the prohibition of eating animals not ritually slaughtered.84

From this discussion it would seem doubtful that there really was any agreed upon category of the ger toshav. In medieval times Maimonides combined some of these definitions and defined the ger toshav as one who pledged not to worship the heavenly bodies and took upon himself the seven Noahide commandments, but was not circumcised and did not undergo ritual immersion. Such a person was considered the “pious of the nations” and could live amongst Jews in the land of Israel. Maimonides then states, however, that such a category does not exist today since a ger toshav was accepted only at a time when the Jubilee was observed, which would have ruled out the entire Talmudic period as well!85 As noted in Sifra to Behar (107a) these Jubilee rules apply only when the Israelites lived on the land, thus “when the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Menasseh were exiled, the Jubilees were abolished.” Since the rabbinic interpretation of these verses cited above usually identified the ger as a convert and not as the stranger intended by the original meaning of the Torah, their discussions frequently dealt specifically with the treatment of converts, something that will be taken up in the following section. For example the interpretation cited above from the Mekhilta gives as an example of verbal abuse “You should not say to him: But yesterday you were worshiping Bel, Kores, Nebo, and until now swine’s flesh was sticking out from between your teeth, and now you dare to stand up and speak against me!”86 Sifra Behar 107b, referring to Lev 25:17, “Do not wrong one other,” in which there is no mention of the stranger, gives more general definitions of verbal abuse such as reminding a reformed sinner of his former misdeeds: If he was a repentant sinner, do not say to him, “Remember what your former actions were!” If he was the child of converts, do not say to him, “Remember your ancestors’ actions!” If he was ill or buried a child, do not say to him, as Job’s friends said to him, “Is not your piety your confidence, your integrity your hope? Think now, what innocent man ever perished? Where have the upright been destroyed?” (Job 4:6–7). If ass-drivers are looking for grain, do not say to them, “Go to so-and-so,” when he never sold grain. Rabbi Judah

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says, “Neither should one pretend to be interested in purchasing something, nor ask how much it costs, if one is not interested in buying it.”87

In each of these instances rabbinic tradition limited the term ger to the proselyte or, where that did not seem appropriate, interpreted it in other ways, never simply as the “stranger.” For example, Sifre Deuteronomy 17 to Deuteronomy 1:16, suggests that gero means either “one who piles up charges,” “his neighbor,” “his best man” or “the settler [on his property].” Treatment of the Convert (the Rabbinic Meaning of ger). Sometime during the Second Temple Period, probably no later than 200 BCE, the word ger came to connote a convert or proselyte and lost its original meaning of “stranger” in Jewish Law. It was at that time that conversion, in the sense of changing one’s religious affiliation through a specific act, as opposed to the gradual absorption into the people by prolonged residence in the land, came into being. The possibility of an individual deciding to join the people and the religion of Israel was already envisioned by Second Isaiah, living in the Babylonian Exile. He predicted that witnessing the prosperity and the salvation of Israel, “One shall say, ‘I am the Lord’s.’ Another shall use the name of Jacob. Another shall mark his arm ‘of the Lord’ and adopt the name of Israel” (Isa 44:5).88 Exactly when this became a reality is difficult to say, but already in the second century such conversion was accepted, as witnessed by the actions of John Hyrcanus (135–104 BCE), who conquered Idumea and forcibly converted its inhabitants.89 The transition from “stranger” to “convert” was a natural one. The complex social realities of Second Temple Judea bore little resemblance to the reality of early Israel reflected in the Torah’s legislation. The concept of “stranger” living among them who had a special status no longer seemed relevant, but there was a new “stranger”—namely the non-Jew who wished to join Kenesset Yisrael—the congregation of Israel. In rabbinic literature, therefore, the Torah’s references to the ger, with very few exceptions, were understood to refer to the righteous convert.90 Thus the stranger in Deut 24:14 whom “you shall not oppress” is, according to Sifre Deuteronomy 278 “the righteous proselyte.” Similarly Deut 24:17 says “You shall not subvert the rights of the stranger [ger] and Sifre Deuteronomy 281 interprets this as follows: What do I need this reminder for? Is it not stated elsewhere “You shall not judge unfairly, you shall show no partiality” (Deut 16:19)? Rather we learn from there that he who judges the proselyte unfairly violates two commandments.

This is clearly reflected in the statement in Mekhilta Nezikin 18 to Exod 22:20 which teaches:

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“You shall not wrong a stranger”—with words—“or oppress him”—in money matters. You should not say to him: But yesterday you were worshipping Bel, Kores, Nebo, and until now swine’s flesh was sticking out from between your teach, and now you dare to stand up and speak against me! And how do we know that if you wrong him [with words] he can also wrong you? As it is said, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” Concerning this R. Natan used to say, “Do not accuse another of a fault that is your own.”91

The status of the convert can be a humiliating one. This entire section of the Mekhilta, an early tannaitic work, deals with converts and not strangers. When R. Nathan says “Do not accuse another of a fault that is your own,” what “fault” is intended? He means do not taunt the convert with being a stranger to the Jewish people because you yourselves were strangers in Egypt.92 The same statement is found in Baba Mezia 59a along with the comment that if one wounds the feelings of a proselyte he transgresses three negative commands and if he oppresses him he infringes two.93 The Mekhilta contains long passages dealing with the idea that “gerim are beloved.” There are quotations from Deut 10:19 instructing one to love the ger and Exod 23:9 where the reason given is that “you know the heart of the ger.” Many passages where the same word is applied to the ger as to the Israelite are brought to prove that the ger has the same status as the born Israelite. True, these passages also contain criticism of the convert: R. Eliezer the Great said “Why did the Torah warn against wronging a convert in thirty-six or forty-six places? Because he has a strong inclination to evil.”94

But although R. Eliezer takes a negative view of the ger, R. Shimon b. Yohai defends them, proving their worth from the words in Deut 10:18 that God “loves the ger.” He asks, “Who is greater? He who loves the king or he whom the king loves? You must say: It is he whom the king loves.” The discussion in the Mekhilta concludes by teaching that Abraham was circumcised at age ninety-nine “so as not to close to door to future gerim.” Had he been circumcised earlier, people would have thought that conversion was only possible until that particular age.95 From verses Lev 19:33–34, “When a stranger resides with you in your land, you shall not wrong him. The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens; you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I the Lord am your God” the Sages learned rules concerning accepting one as a convert if he declared himself one.96 Regarding the phrase “you shall not wrong him,” this was taken to mean “Do not say to him, ‘Yesterday you worshipped idols and now you have

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come under the wings of God’s Presence.’”97 They also comment that we are commanded to love the convert just as we are commanded to love one another (Lev 19:18). “You should understand the feelings of the convert for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”98 Maimonides also used the fact that “God loves the convert,” a reference to Lev 19:34 instructing us to love the ger “as yourself, for you were gerim in the land of Egypt,” as a reason for Jews to love converts and accept them into the community.99 The story is told that Aquila the proselyte was troubled by the verse that stating that God “loves the ger, providing him with bread and clothing” (Deut 10:18) and asked, “Is that the entire love that God gives the proselyte?” Rabbi Joshua comforted him by saying that “bread” means Torah and “clothing” means the tallit (the ritual garment with fringes on the four corners) and that furthermore the proselyte may marry his daughter to a priest so that his grandson may serve in the Temple. Thus “bread” refers to the showbread and “clothing” to the priests’ special garments.100 Regarding the latter, the Mishnah confirms that the children of proselytes married to Israelites may marry priests or be priests, but contains a dispute over the fate of the children of a marriage between two proselytes. Rabbi Eliezer b. Jacob says such children are not eligible, while R. Jose says they are.101 The Talmud rules in favor of R. Jose, although since the destruction of the Temple “priests have practiced a superior status.”102 There were, however, instances in which some sought to differentiate the proselyte from the born Jew. For example, since the declaration of the first fruits included the phrase “I have entered the land that the Lord swore to our fathers to assign us,” Sifre Deuteronomy 299 says, “thus excluding proselytes.” The Mishnah says that he may bring them but may not utter the declaration.103 At a later time Maimonides ruled that since proselytes are considered to be the same as Abraham’s descendants, he must make the declaration.104 Based on the verse “Be sure to set a king over yourself one of your own people” (Deut 17:15), the Talmud ruled that the proselyte could not serve in any governing administrative capacity.105 The Torah’s rational for treating the stranger well and not oppressing the stranger because Israel had been strangers in Egypt came to be applied to the convert even though the Torah’s reason for this—that Israel had been gerim in Egypt—no longer seems totally appropriate. If there is one thing Israelites had not been in Egypt it was converts! Perhaps one could think of it as making the analogy between Israel’s status as foreigners in Egypt—the “other”—and the convert’s status as a non-native within the Jewish clan. The Torah’s overriding concern for the proper treatment and even love for the ger was transferred to the convert, giving Torah-based authority for an honored place of the convert within the congregation of Israel. Although from time to time and under special circumstances there arose

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suspicion and even dislike of the convert, the overwhelming attitude of rabbinic Judaism was favorable and the teachings of the Torah concerning the stranger—ger—certainly played a vital role in that.106 Treatment of the Poor All three major law codes in the Torah urge special consideration for the poor and the needy, similar to the consideration accorded the stranger, as discussed above in section 2. In the case of Leviticus and even more so in Deuteronomy, the Exodus experience is cited as the reason for doing this and the remembrance of the Exodus is the inspiration for social concern. The code of law in Exod 21:1–23:19, Sefer HaBerit, twice cites the experience of Egypt as the reason for not mistreating the stranger (22:20; 23:9).107 This same code also contains laws of slavery, as cited above, and treatment of the poor: “If you lend money to My people, to the poor among you, do not act toward them as a creditor; exact no interest from them” (Exod 22:24). In neither case is the Exodus mentioned. This is a strange omission for which no explanation has been offered. Regarding the poor, the reason given is God’s compassion—“Therefore if he cries out to Me, I will pay heed, for I am compassionate” (Exod 22:26). On the other hand, in Lev 25:35–38, which is parallel to Exod 22:24 and deals with the treatment of your poverty stricken kinsman, the connection to the Exodus is emphasized. If, not having land, one is reduced to penury, you are commanded “not to exact from him advance or accrued interest. . . . Do not lend him money at advance interest, or give him your food at accrued interest” (25:37). The reason for this is then spelled out, “I the Lord am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God” (25:38). Furthermore, it is the Book of Deuteronomy that emphasizes the special treatment that is to be given to the poor and the stranger beyond that found elsewhere in the Torah. Deuteronomy repeatedly makes the point that this is based on the experience of slavery—on the Exodus. In Deuteronomy we are not exhorted to treat them well because that is right or because we should be merciful or just, but because we were slaves in Egypt. Following a series of laws concerning treatment of the poor and needy, not keeping a garment taken in pledge overnight (Deut 24:10–13, paying the wages of a needy and destitute laborer “on the same day” (24:14–15), not subverted the right of the stranger or the fatherless and not taking a widow’s garment in pawn (24:17), the reason is given that the Israelite must “Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there, therefore do I enjoin you to do this thing” (24:18). This specific philosophy is brought to a climax in the fact that the explanation for observance of the Sabbath in the Decalogue

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in Deuteronomy (5:15) is exactly the same—slavery in Egypt—using the very same phraseology.108 (See discussion below.) The invitation to the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow to participate in the rejoicing at Shavuot is based on the fact that “Bear in mind that you were slaves in Egypt, and take care to obey these laws” (Deut 16:12). Leaving gleanings for the fatherless and the widow as well as the stranger is also followed by “Always remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore do I enjoin upon you to observe this commandment” (Deut 24:21–22). HOLY DAY OBSERVANCES: PASSOVER, SUKKOT, SHABBAT It is obvious that the laws concerning the celebration of Passover are based on the Exodus. Sukkot is also tied to the Exodus as is Sabbath observance. Pesah/Matzot The basic festivals of ancient Israel, Pesah/Matzot in the Spring and Sukkot in Autumn existed prior to the Exodus as festivals of nature and were only later brought into the legislation of the Torah.109 The Exodus experience brought about a reinterpretation of these holy days so that they became historical as well as agricultural feasts. Buber describes this process in which Moses uses the ancient shepherds’ meal, already familiar to the Israelites, as a method of creating the needed sense of unity among the tribes. “Moses transformed the clan feast of the shepherds (the matzoth too, the unleavened flat cakes, are the bread of nomads) into the feast of a nation, without losing its character of a family feast.”110 Buber then describes the changes that took place later in the observance of the Pesah meal and sacrifice and concludes: Yet since the night of the Exodus it has become a history feast, and indeed the history feast par excellence of the world.111

The most important holy days to undergo such a revision were the Spring holidays which consisted of one connected to shepherds and the birth of lambs, Pesah, and one dedicated to farming, the time of harvest known as Matzot. As Sarna points out, the Biblical text uses the terms pesah and matzot without any explanation, “assuming immediate comprehension on the part of the people,” thus indicating that they were already in existence and well known.112

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Eventually these two holidays were combined into one unit that celebrates the Exodus. The lamb offering, which was to be brought each year (Exod 12:24–27) was reinterpreted to connect it to the death of the first born Egyptians and the saving of the first born Israelites. “It is the Passover sacrifice—pesah—to the Lord, because He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but saved our houses” (12:27). The description of that evening makes the connection very clear: This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly: it is a Passover offering to the Lord. For that night I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and I will mete out punishments to all the gods of Egypt, I the Lord. (Exod 12:11–12)

The agricultural feast—matzot—was connected to the subsequent leaving of Egypt itself by reinterpreting unleavened bread as being the food that they had to eat because of their hasty departure, even though its usage had already been prescribed in Exod 12:8.113 After commanding that in the future they shall eat matzot seven days the text continues, “And you shall explain to your son on that that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I went free from Egypt’” (Exod 13:8). Thus pesah stands for their salvation, meaning either “passover” or, as the Sages preferred, “protection,”114 and matzot recalls the freedom from Egyptian slavery.115

The list of holy days in Deuteronomy 16 is based upon the Exodus narrative, although adapting the practices for the fact that under its legislation there will be only one place where the pesah can be brought and slaughtered, namely the “place where the Lord will choose to establish His name” (16:2). Both the pesah and the exclusive use of matzot during the entire week are commanded in order “that you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt as long as you live” (16:3). The differentiation in meaning between the two that is found in Exodus is not noted here, although the matzot are given a new title—lehem oni—“the bread of affliction116—for you departed from the land of Egypt hurriedly” (16:3). In Exodus it was the pesah that they ate hurriedly. As R. Simeon said, “Why is it called the bread of affliction? Only because of the affliction with which the Israelites were afflicted in Egypt.” 117 The pesah is specifically to be eaten at “the time of day when you departed from Egypt” (16:6). The rabbinic interpretation of these two items is found in the Mishnah in the name of Rabban Gamliel and, with elaborations, became a fundamental part of the Hagaddah. In addition he explained the meaning of a

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third item, the bitter herbs, which was mentioned in Exod 12:8 but not explained: Whoever does not speak of these three things on Pesah has not fulfilled his obligation—and these are they: Pesah, matzah and bitter herbs. Why pesah? Because God pasah—protected—the homes of our ancestors in Egypt. Why matzah? Because our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt. Why bitter herbs? Because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt.118

In addition to the Pascal lamb and the prohibition on leavened products and the eating of unleavened bread, the Torah stresses the requirement to tell about the Exodus to subsequent generations. This is found in several places: Exod 12:26–28, Exod 13:8, Exod 13:14 and Deut 6:20–24. Obviously the Torah saw the experience of God’s act of salvation in the Exodus as the very foundation of belief and observance of God’s commands. Therefore it was to be rehearsed and retold whenever the Passover holiday was held. These actions had to be accompanied by the verbal recitation. It was this that led to the eventual formation of the Passover Hagaddah to provide a prepared text for the telling and the institution of the Seder meal. The halakhic regulations for the Seder were spelled out in the last chapter of the tractate Pesahim in the Mishnah and elaborated in the Talmud. Sukkot Sukkot is described in the list of Festivals found in Deuteronomy 16. No connection is made to the Exodus nor is there mention of dwelling in sukkot for the entire week. Of course it may be that this was taken for granted, otherwise why the name sukkot?119 The suggestion is that this too points to an agricultural rather than a historical origin of the festival. Dwelling in booths was done during the harvest time, therefore the autumn harvest festival was symbolized by these booths. Later the historical aspect connected to the time of wandering in the wilderness was added. The fact that this is not mentioned in Deuteronomy could mean that it was not known to the Deuteronomist—who so often mentions the Exodus as a reason for social regulations—or simply that it was taken for granted. The list of holy days in Leviticus 23 makes no mention of the purpose of either the Passover festival or the feast of matzot (Lev 23:5–8).120 Undoubtedly the connection to the Exodus was well known and established and required no elaboration. The same could not be said of the Festival of Sukkot which is not mentioned in Exodus and appears here for the first time.121 After the description of the observance of Sukkot, a seven

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day festival with an eight day additional hag (Lev 23:39–42) the historical meaning of the feast is spelled out: You shall live in sukkot (booths or huts) seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in sukkot, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in sukkot when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I the Lord your God. (23:42–43).122

Ginsberg, who sees the command in Leviticus to live in sukkot as “an afterthought,” is not certain as to the meaning of the word sukkot here, “Is it inexact for tents or did the writer, like Rabbi Eliezer in the Mekilta on Exod 12:37, understand the sukkot which was the Israelites’ first station on their exodus from Egypt to be not the proper name of a place but literal booths?”123 Shabbat—The Sabbath Shabbat underwent a similar transformation in which its original meaning was changed and a connection to the Exodus was introduced. The holiness of the seventh day is first mentioned in the Torah in Gen 2:1–3. “And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased for all the work of creation that He had done” (2:3) The name Shabbat is not found in the passage, although the verb form—to cease or rest—is there twice. Nor is there a command for humans to observe that day as a day of rest. The first command to observe the day as a day of rest, a Shabbat, is found following the exodus when the manna descends—“Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath of the Lord. . . . six days you shall gather it; on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none” (Exod 16:23–26). No reason or meaning is yet attached to the observance of the seventh day. In the Decalogue, however, there is an explanation, one that harkens back to Genesis—“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exod 20:11). The language repeats and echoes the Genesis story. There is no mention whatsoever of the Exodus. In Deuteronomy, however, which is written as Moses’s recapitulation of the events some forty years later, suddenly creation disappears and the Exodus takes its place. “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the sabbath day” (Deut 5:15).

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Note the similarity to the wording of the explanations for various other commandments in Deuteronomy concerning the treatment of those who are in inferior positions. For example: Bear in mind that you were slaves in the Land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I enjoin this commandment upon you today. (15:15)

. . . the command to include slaves, Levites, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow in your rejoicing at Temple celebrations: Bear in mind that you were slaves in Egypt, and take care to obey these laws. (16:12)

. . . the injunction not to subvert the rights of the stranger, the orphan and the widow (taking her garment in pawn): Remember that you were a slave in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment. (24:18)

. . . the command to leave parts of your harvest for the stranger, the orphan and the widow: Always remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore do I enjoin you to observe this commandment. (24:22)

Whereas the Decalogue begins by asserting that it was God who brought them out of Egypt—the implication being that therefore God has the right to enjoin these commands upon them (see above)—these individual commands are explained as being a result of their experience of slavery. You who experienced this oppression and deprivation must not inflict it upon others!124 In view of this theme that runs so consistently through Deuteronomy, it is not so surprising that it has also entered the Deuteronomic version of the Decalogue. Nevertheless the existence of two versions of the Decalogue is a difficult and complex matter. Did two different traditions exist? Among other theories there is one that posits a terser Decalogue, without explanatory clauses, as the ancient source which was elaborated differently in Exodus and in Deuteronomy.125 For the Sages the problem was solved by saying that both were uttered at once at Sinai, 126 as the Friday evening hymn Lekha Dodi put it,—shamor vezakhor bedibbur ehad—“keep (Deut 5:12) and remember (Exod 20:8) were uttered as one.” Childs explains that “Israel is commanded to observe the sabbath in order to remember its slavery and deliverance. . . . The festival arouses

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and excites the memory . . . The Deuteronomist’s concern is not primarily humanitarian, but theological. He is basically concerned that ‘all Israel’ participate in the Sabbath. This is only a reality when the slaves also share in its observance. Israel’s memory functions to assure the proper celebration of the Sabbath by remembering the nature of the Sabbath in Egypt at the time of the Exodus.”127 Tigey suggests that the disappearance of creation with its description of God having rested may be a result of Deuteronomy’s “less anthropomorphic view of God.”128 What is of importance in the context of this essay is the inclusion of the remembrance of slavery. Since Deuteronomy is a later collection than Genesis-Exodus, it is more than likely that it represents a different understanding of the meaning of Shabbat. Deuteronomy, as many Biblical scholars have suggested, is a more humanistic book than others books of the Torah.129 It is not concerned so much with God’s deeds as with man’s needs. The concept of God resting is an anthropomorphic one that makes one uncomfortable. The rabbis themselves reinterpreted the Sabbath because of that: And is God subject to tiredness? . . . Rather it is as if He permitted it to be written about Him that he created His world in six days and rested on the seventh so that we should infer: if He who is not subject to tiredness wrote (this) about Himself . . . surely human beings . . . must rest on the seventh day!130

Interpreting rest on Shabbat as the social right of each individual, based upon the fact that slaves such as we were in Egypt had no rest, was much more palatable to the Deuteronomist and much more meaningful. That may be why that reason is given in Deuteronomy rather than the remembrance of creation. CONCLUSION The experience of Israel in Egypt as depicted in the Bible may be divided into three parts: their sojourn there as strangers under the protection of Joseph (Gen 47–50);131 their enslavement under a “new Pharaoh” (Exod 1–2),132 their liberation by Divine intervention under the leadership of Moses (Exod 3–13:16).133 In essence all that was known to the people of Israel about the sojourn in Egypt when the various codes of law were compiled in the Torah is what is contained in those brief chapters. As mentioned above, this had been foretold in God’s message to Abram in Gen 15:13–14: Know well that your offspring shall be strangers in a land not theirs, and they shall be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years; but I will execute

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judgment on the nation they shall serve, and in the end they shall go free with great wealth.

Here too we have the three parts—strangers, enslavement, and freedom. The declaration made when bringing the first fruits—later incorporated into the Passover Hagaddah as the central narrative of the Exodus—encapsules the same three part story: They went down to Egypt as sojourners, they were oppressed and enslaved by the Egyptians, the Lord saw their oppression and freed them from Egyptian bondage (Deut 26:5–8). All three of these phases, which were enshrined in the collective memory of the people and their religious leaders, became the basis for observance of certain laws and attitudes and are explicitly cited as reasons for these actions. It should be noted that the historical accuracy of the Biblical account has been called into question. There are some archeologists who believe it to be an elaboration on a less grandeous experience, while others question if it ever took place at all. When assessing the influence of the Exodus on Jewish law, however, that controversy is of no importance since the law was based upon the belief in the traditional Exodus story. The people of Israel were nourished by that story.134 The power and influence of the narrative is unquestioned in the formation of Jewish consciousness. As noted in Deut 6:20–24: When, in time to come, your children ask you, “What mean the decrees, laws and rules that the Lord our God has enjoined upon you?” you shall say to your children, “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt and the Lord freed us from Egypt with a might hand. The Lord wrought before our eyes marvelous and destructive signs and portents in Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his household; and He freed us from there, that he might take us and give us the land that he had promised on oath to our fathers. Then the Lord commanded us to observe all these laws . . .

This was the narrative that was passed on from generation to generation, the narrative which formed the theological basis of the religion of Israel. The basic reason for obeying God and entering into a covenant with God is that God “brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” God freed and redeemed Israel, that is, God was the savior of Israel.135 The laws of slavery are based upon the fact that they were slaves in Egypt and were then redeemed from slavery. “Bear in mind that you were slaves in the land of Egypt . . .” Therefore they were to treat slaves fairly.136 Leviticus adds that God has taken them as His own slaves. Therefore they cannot be enslaved by anyone else.137

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The laws concerning the fair treatment of the stranger—ger—later understood as applying to the convert—are connected to the fact that they were strangers in Egypt. “You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”138 The treatment of the poor is based on the fact they were brought out of Egypt139 and that they had been slaves in Egypt. “Always remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt . . .”140 Thus the experience of poverty and having the inferior status of strangers impelled Israel to treat the poor, the needy, the stranger with love and generosity. The experience of slavery taught them to modify slavery by transforming it into limited servitude for their fellow Israelites and even to modify it for others. The experience of redemption and freedom made them grateful to God and caused them to be willing to serve God and obey God’s commands. The experience of the Exodus, then, became a major influence upon Jewish law, both ritual and social. This was made clear in the very first stage of the development of Jewish law, the law codes of the various books of the Torah, and was then elaborated in the rabbinic developments found in the Mishnah, the early midrashim and the Talmud and, subsequently, in the Medieval codices. It has remained a powerful source of thinking on social issues in Judaism throughout the ages.141 NOTES 1.  On the development of Jewish Law see such works as Louis Jacobs, A Tree of Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), Elliot N. Dorff and Arthur Rosett, A Living Tree (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988), and David Weiss Halivni, Midrash, Mishnah, and Gemara (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986). 2.  For example, “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exod 23:9) and “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day” (Deut 5:15). 3.  The Exodus is generally dated in the thirteenth century BCE. 4.  “Myth” does not imply that it is false, but that it is an elaborate story that encompasses the way in which the group understands itself. 5. Subsequent Halakhah concerning the observance of Passover enshrined these elements in the explanation of the three major symbols on the Seder plate: Rabban Gamliel says: Whoever does not say these three things on Passover has not fulfilled his obligation, and they are: Pesah (the pascal lamb represented by the shankbone)—because God protected (pasah) the houses of our ancestors in Egypt; merorim (bitter herbs)—because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt; matzah (unleavened bread)—because they were redeemed, Pesahim 10:5.

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  6.  See Exod 3:7–10.  7. Exod 1:9.  8. The word halakhah does not appear in the Torah which uses terms such as mishpatim (laws), hukim (ordenances) and mitzvot (commandments).  9. See Jeffrey H. Tigay in The JPS Commentary Deuteronomy (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996), 63—“By adding that it was He who freed the Israelites from bondage, God establishes the basis on which He expects them to accept His authority.” See also 355 n. 27. 10. See Moshe Greenberg, Understanding Exodus (New York: Berman House, 1969), 9; Nahum M. Sarna, Exploring Exodus (New York: Schocken Books, 1986), 2. 11.  See Baruch Levine in JPS Commentary Leviticus (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989), 124ff and Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 17–22, (New York: Anchor Bible, 2000). 12.  JPS Commentary Leviticus, 153. 13.  See Yitzhak Heinemann’s Taamei Hamitzvot (The Jewish Agency, Jerusalem, 1942) on this general topic. 14.  See also Deut 24:4. 15.  See, however, Jacob Milgrom’s explanation of this commandment in JPS Torah Commentary-Numbers (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1990) 438ff. 16.  Exploring Exodus, 159. 17.  Although the traditional understanding of this is that he serves six years and then goes free on the seventh, as found in Mekhilta Nezikin 1, some modern commentators such as Nahum Sarna and Baruch Levine believe that the release was always in the Sabbatical year, regardless of when the servitude began. See Levine, JPS Commentary to Leviticus, 271. 18. See Lev 25:6 where the rules are given for “hired and bound laborers.” As Levine explains, “Sakhir usually rendered a laborer who works for wages, whereas toshav often designates a foreign ‘resident,’ a merchant or laborer.” JPS Commentary-Leviticus, 170. 19.  Mekhilta 111, 3 n. 3. 20.  Mekhilta Nezikin 1, III, p.4. 21.  JPS Commentary to Exodus, 118. 22.  This is in line with Deuteronomic phraseology regarding the treatment of those in need. 23.  Sifre Deuteronomy Piska 120. 24.  Lekah Tov to Exod 21:2. 25.  Sifra Behar 6, ed. Weiss, 109b. 26.  It is possible that the use in the Bible of the Hebrew word for “master”— Adon—as an appellation for the Lord reflects this concept since the one who owns a slave is his Adon. See Isaiah 26:13 where others who held power over Israel are called adonim. 27.  Or “servants.” (The Hebrew is the same—avadim). 28.  So Levine in JPS Commentary, 179. 29.  See Excursus 16, JPS Commentary to Deuteronomy, 467. 30.  Yehezkel Kaufmann, The Religion of Israel (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), 318. 31.  JPS Leviticus Commentary, 273–74.

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32.  Sifra Behar 2, 107a. 33.  Rabbinic law does not see it that way and amalgamates all of these codes into the laws of the eved ivri. 34.  Sifre Deuteronomy Piska 119. 35.  Kiddushin 1:2. 36.  Mekhilta Nezikin 1. See also Ketubot 96a and Sifre Deut 37. Mekhilta Nezikin 1, III, 5–6. See also Sifra Behar 5 and 6 (109b), Sifre Deuteronomy 123, Kiddushin 15a and Yerushalmi Kiddushin 1:2 take the opposite view—that the slave works day and night, based on Deut 15:18. 37.  See Brevard S. Childs The Book of Exodus (Philadelphia: Westminster/John Knox, 1974), 468, on the term “Hebrew slave.” 38.  Mekhilta Nezikin 1 (Lauterbach III, 3–4). 39.  Understanding Exodus, 181. 40.  Although the text is not clear on this issue, many Biblical scholars believe that this provision deals with non-Israelite slaves who run away from masters elsewhere and seek refuge in Israel. Does it also apply to Israelites? See Tigay’s discussion on page 215 of JPS Commentary. 41. Tosefta Bava Kamma 7:5; Kiddushin 22b. The word avadim here is often translated “servants” but the force of the verse is really “slaves.” 42.  Kiddushin 22b. 43.  Mekhilta Nezikin 2 (Lauterbach III, 17). 44.  Rambam, Hilkhot Avadim 3:6–7. 45.  Kiddushin 14b. 46.  Kiddushin 17b. Rambam Yad Hilkhot Avadim 2:12. If there is no son, the slave goes free immediately. 47.  Kiddushin 20a and 22a; Sifra Behar 7:3. 48.  This was based upon an interpretation of Lev 25:10, “You shall proclaim release throughout the land for all its inhabitants”—“when all its inhabitants are in the land.” Sifra Behar to the verse. See Kiddushin 69a and Gittin 65a. 49.  See Catherine Hezser, Jewish Slavery In Antiquity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005). 50.  Kiddushin 22b. 51.  Rambam, Hilkot Avadim 5:4–5. 52.  Kiddushin 24a. 53.  Rambam, Hilkhot Avadim 9:8. 54. Ibid. 55.  See Hezser, Jewish Slavery in Antiquity. 56.  JPS Commentary: Deuteronomy, 148. 57.  Ibid. 24:18. 58.  Nahum Sarna, JPS Commentary Exodus, 137. 59.  Baruch Levine defines the ger as a resident foreigner—“most often a foreign merchant or craftsman or a mercenary soldier.” JPS Commentary Lev 19:33. 60.  See Excursus 34 in J. Milgrom’s JPS Commentary Numbers, 398ff for a full explanation of the status of the ger. See also N. Sarna’s comments in JPS Commentary Exodus, 137. 61.  See Num 15:15; Exod 12:48–49; Lev. 7:7, 24:22; Num 9:14; 15:29–30. 62. Milgrom, JPS Commentary Numbers, 399.

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63.  JPS Commentary Exodus, 138. See also Brevard S. Childs, The Book of Exodus, 478 and 482. 64.  See the discussion of slavery above for citations. 65.  Mekhilta Nezikin 18, III, 137. See also Midrash HaGadol to 22:20 which speaks of two types of wrong and two types of oppression, monetary and verbal. 66.  Bava Metzia 58b. 67.  Behar 107b. 68. Ibid. 69.  See Bava Metzia 4:3 and 49b. 70.  Bava Metzia 4:10. See also Bava Metzia 59b. 71.  JPS Commentary Leviticus, 134. 72.  See also Lev 25:6. 73.  Sifre Deuteronomy 110. 74.  “In court the alien is at a disadvantage because he is neither a fully integrated member of society nor a peer of the judges or of his adversary . . .” Tigay, JPS Commentary to 24:17. 75.  Comment to Deut 26:11. 76.  JPS Commentary Leviticus, 134. 77.  JPS Commentary Deuteronomy, 346 n. 68. 78.  On the other hand, Lev 25:23 implies that the ger toshav does not have absolute right to ownership of land. 79.  See also Lev 25:40 where the status of an Israelite who has sold himself into servitude is likened to the toshav as opposed to that of a non-Israelite slave. See also Num 35:15 where the toshav and the ger are given the right to flee to a city of refuge just as an Israelite may. Most translations of that verse assume that this is actually not referring to two classes of people but to the ger toshav. 80.  Sifra Behar 109a. 81.  Mekhilta Kaspa 3 (Lauterbach III, 178). 82.  The verse is from the Decalogue mandating rest on the seventh day. 83.  Since he is not a full convert, he need not observe the Sabbath completely. He is allowed to rest, but he may prepare food, as an Israelite is allowed to do on a Festival (but not on the Sabbath). 84.  Avodah Zarah 64b. 85.  Rambam, Issurei Biah, 14:7–8. See also Shulhan Arukh Yoreh Deah 124:1. 86.  Mekhilta Nezikin 18. 87.  See also Bava Metzia 58b. 88. In Avot DeRabbi Natan A, chapter 36, the interpretation given to that verse is that “This refers to the proselytes among the nations.” In Mekhilta Nezikin 18, (III, p. 141) the phrase “and adopt the name of Jacob” is said to refer to “righteous proselytes. See also Shalom M.Paul, Isaiah 40–66: Introduction and Commentary (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2008) (Hebrew), to the verse: Individuals from the other nations will want to be counted among the servants of the Lord and even among the Israelites . . . they will join the people of Israel. 89. The fact that the Torah’s idea of one being “accepted into the assembly of the Lord” (Deut 23:9) after several generations is found in a statement in Sifre Deuteronomy 253 to the effect that an Egyptian proselyte, a disciple of Rabbi Akiba, wanted his son to marry the daughter of an Egyptian proselyte “so that

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my grandson will be fit to enter the congregation.” Exactly what is meant by this is unclear, as is the entire matter, since Rabbi Akiba himself said that since Sennacherib mixed all the nations, the laws regarding the Egyptians and others no longer apply since they are not the same people referred to in the Torah. See Tosefta Kiddushin 5:4.  90. See Milgrom JPS Commentary Numbers, 401–2, on the change from stranger to convert as well as J. Milgrom, “Religious Conversion and the Revolt Model for the Foundation of Israel,” Journal of Biblical Literature 101 (1982): 169–76. See also Theodore Friedman, “Conversion According to Halakhah,” in Responsa of the Israel Law Committee, Volume 3, 59–68 (Jerusalem: Knesset Harabbanim Beyisrael, 5748–49 [1988–1989]) on the development of conversion. Sifre Deuteronomy 110 to Deut 14:29 discusses the list which includes the stranger and indicates that the reference is to those who are “members of the covenant,” hence converts. See Sifre D. 16 (end) for one of the few places when the word ger (in this case gero) is taken to mean a dweller—toshav.   91.  Lauterbach III, 137–38. See also Sifra Kedoshim 9, 91a; Bava Metzia 58b.  92. In Midrash Hagadol to Ex. 23:9 this is found in the name of R. Eliezer. See a similar statement in Mekhilta DeRashbi, 210, and Midrash HaGadol Shmot to the verse.  93. See also Sifre D. Piska 281.   94.  Lauterbach III, 138. See also Bava Metzia 59b.   95.  Lauterbach III, 140.  96. In Sifra Kedoshim 8 (91a) the rule is that he must bring witnesses in the land of Israel but not elsewhere. In Yevamot 47a the rule is that witnesses are needed in both places.  97. Sifra ibid.  98. In Sifra Emor 7 (98a) the stranger mentioned in Lev 24:17 regarding presenting burnt offerings is interpreted as being the convert.  99. Responsa Rambam (ed. Freimann), 369. 100.  Genesis Rabba. 70:5. 101.  Kiddushin 4:7. 102.  Kiddushin 78b. 103.  Bikkurrim 1:4. 104.  Code, VII, vi, iv 3. 105.  Kiddushin 76b. 106.  See Avi Sagi and Zvi Zohar, Conversion To Judaism (Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 1994) (Hebrew). 107.  See discussion above, page x. 108.  See discussion below, page x. 109.  See M. Buber, Moses, (New York: Harper Brothers, 1958); H.L. Ginsberg, The Israelian Heritage of Judaism (New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1982). 110.  Moses, 70–72. 111.  Ibid, 73. 112.  Sarna, Exploring Exodus, 86. 113.  See Sarna ibid., chapter 5, for a comprehensive discussion of the festivals and the Hebrew calander.

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114.  See Levine’s discussion in JPS Leviticus Commentary, 156. 115.  See also Exod 13:3–4 where the matzot are again connected to freedom and Exod 12:39 where the explanation is given that they ate this because they had no time to bake regular leavened bread. 116. This might seem to imply that they ate this bread when they were enslaved in Egypt, as opposed to the Exodus story that they ate it when they left Egypt. The end of the verse appears to revert to that story. See Tigay’s comment to the verse, JPS Commentary, 154. 117.  Sifre Deuteronomy, 130. 118.  Pesahim 10:5. 119.  See Excursus 17 in JPS Commentary Deuteronomy, 469ff. 120.  The list of holy days in Numbers 28–29 is confined to the rituals of each and gives no reasons for any of them. 121.  The first time in the chronology of the Torah as we have it. The actual chronology depends on the dating of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, on which there is no consensus among biblical scholars. 122.  Levine to the verse suggests that this is a double-entendre since according to Exodus 12:37 Sukkot was the name of the first stop on their journey out of Egypt. 123.  H. L. Ginsberg, The Israelian Heritage of Judaism, 70ff. 124. Tigay, “Some [commentators] believe [that this motive emphasizes] the memory of servitude, in order to create empathy for the servant’s need to rest.” Note to Deut 5:15. 125.  See discussion in Solomon Goldman, The Ten Commandments, 49. 126.  Mekhilta Bahodesh 7. 127. Childs, Exodus, 417. 128.  JPS Commentary, 69. 129.  See Tigay, op cit, and Moshe Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School (Oxford: Clarendon, 1972). 130.  Mekhilta Bahodesh 7. 131. Little attention is given to the positive features of that early period— namely that they were saved from famine, lived in an excellent place and multiplied greatly. What is stressed in rather their status as strangers. 132.  According to Sarna, Exploring Exodus, this was a pharaoh of the XVIII Dynasty, probably Ramesses II. 133.  See Sarna, Exploring Exodus, 17ff, for a historical reconstruction of these events and a detailed description of the “state slavery” that took place. 134.  See Sarna, Exploring Exodus, 7ff, on the historical background of the Exodus. 135.  Exod 19:4–5; 20:2; 29:46; Lev 19:36–37; 22:31–33; Num 15:40–44; Deut 5:6; 29:1–8. 136.  Deut 5:15; 15:15. 137.  Lev 25:42; 25:55. 138.  Exod 22:20; 23:9; Lev. 19:33–34; Deut 10:17–19. In Deut 24:18 the idea of slavery in also mentioned. 139.  Lev 25:38. 140.  Deut 16:12; 24:21–22.

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141. For example, Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolutiom (New York: Basic Books, 1985).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Buber, Martin. Moses. New York: Harper Brothers, 1958. Childs, Brevard S. The Book of Exodus. Old Testament Library. Philadelphia: Westminster/John Knox, 1974. Dorff, Elliot N., and Arthur Rosett. A Living Tree. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988. Friedman, Theodore. “Conversion According to Halakhah,” in Responsa of the Israel Law Committee, Volume 3, 59–68. Jerusalem: Knesset Harabbanim Beyisrael, 5748–49 (1988–1989). Ginsberg, H.L. The Israelian Heritage of Judaism. New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1982. Goldman, Solomon. The Ten Commandments. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1956. Greenberg, Moshe. Understanding Exodus. New York: Berman House, 1969. Hezser, Catherine. Jewish Slavery In Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. Jacobs, Louis. A Tree of Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984. Kaufmann, Yehezkel. The Religion of Israel. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960. Levine, Baruch. JPS Commentary Leviticus. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989. Milgrom, Jacob. “Religious Conversion and the Revolt Model for the Foundation of Israel,” Journal of Biblical Literature 101 (1982): 169–76. Milgrom, Jacob. JPS Torah Commentary—Numbers. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1990. Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 17–22. New York: Anchor Bible, 2000. Paul, Shalom M. Isaiah 40–66: Introduction and Commentary. Miqra Leyisrael. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2008 (Hebrew). Sagi, Avi, and Zvi Zohar. Conversion To Judaism. Jerusalem: The Bialik Institute, 1994 (Hebrew). Sarna, Nahum M. Exploring Exodus. New York: Schocken Books, 1986. Tigay, Jeffrey H. The JPS Commentary Deuteronomy. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1996. Walzer, Michael. Exodus and Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 1985. Weinfeld, Moshe. Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School. Oxford: Clarendon, 1972. Weiss Halivni, David. Midrash, Mishnah, and Gemara. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986.

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Passover and Thanatos in Medieval Jewish Consciousness Kalman P. Bland

R

PROLOGUE

oughly forty years ago, in my grandfather’s archly orthodox, oldworldly synagogue, on the north side of Chicago, not too far from Lake Michigan, not too far from the apartment building where he lived on Sheridan Road, I made a serendipitous discovery. On the unsteady shelves of the synagogue’s musty library leaned a tattered, yellowing book. I pulled it down to help pass the time before Grandpa Harry was ready to head home for lunch. I do not remember if it was Passover, nor can I recall the name of that book or its author. A glance at the title page assured me that it was not a medieval text. It was a collection of learned homilies for the festivals, written in Yiddish and Hebrew, probably in Eastern Europe in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. I flipped to the Passover section, and started reading. In typical, premodern rabbinic fashion, the author structured his homily by first raising then resolving a problem. He objected to the apparent incongruity of assigning the “Four Questions” to Passover rather than to Sukkot, the Festival of Booths. After all, he argued, what is it about Passover that prompts the question, “why does this night differ from all other nights?” On Passover, sensible people notice that they are comfortably seated around the dining table at home. On Sukkot, by contrast, they are surrounded by unmistakable evidence that life has been turned topsy-turvy. They are obliged to reside in a sukkah, a makeshift, temporary dwelling. Its timid walls and filigreed roof made of branches, open to the skies, are hardly able to protect them from bad weather. The answer is obvious, he replied. Sukkot, marked by irregularities and vulnerabilities, 147

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especially its temporary dwelling unable to protect us from the elements, is par for the tenuous, ephemeral course of everyday life. We are accustomed to the transitory happenstance. That explains why we don’t conjure the thought that the nights of Sukkot might be different from all other nights of the year. On Passover, by contrast, our celebration is surprisingly regulated by the mechanism of a seder, an order, a set of sequential expectations that is never thwarted. For a radical change in life, during Passover, the chaos is controlled and the madness has method. This order is the anomaly that paradoxically confounds us, and that is the reason we say on Passover, “why is this night different from all other nights?” I remember being astonished by the humor and wisdom of the homily. I was eager to read more. But Grandpa Harry was finally ready to go home. I hurriedly replaced the book on its sagging shelf, and we left the synagogue. Strolling toward lunch, I recounted the homily to my grandfather. I do not remember his reactions. A few weeks later, I returned to the synagogue, or at least I hope I did. I wanted to record the author’s name and book’s title for future reference. But I was unable to find the tattered volume anywhere in that mildewed library. I sometimes think the whole episode was a dream. Perhaps it was. Grandpa Harry is no longer around to set me straight, and I miss him. I miss him intensely at Passover. Missing him has proved to be an academic’s unexpected clue. Feeling the loss of a departed relative at Passover, I have come to understand, is not my quirk. The melancholy is communal; it is ages old and integral to the holiday. Death has always stalked Passover. Passover is polyphonic. Its melodies are contrapuntal. Although the tonality of bliss prevails, bereavement and solemnity compete for attention. Passover’s harmonies are equally complex. A palimpsest of unmistakably audible layers, Passover combines the Allegro Vivace of major keys with the Lacrimoso of minor chords. The joyous festival celebrating redemption and spring simultaneously commemorates death. The commemoration of mortality, in all of its dimensions, vibrates with multiple strains. The sweet mingles with the bitter. The unbridled satisfactions of hoping for and witnessing the undoing of hateful oppressors blends with the grief of mourning the demise of beloved victims. Passover can be terrifying. TEXTUAL FOUNDATIONS FOR PASSOVER AS MEMENTO MORI The biblical narrative of triumphal liberation from slavery in Egypt is laced with staccato references to the threat and reality of death. Corpses abound. Human beings die, kill, or are killed; beasts die; plants are destroyed. Restricting the inventory of death to the first fourteen chapters of

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Exodus, we encounter these passages, with emphasis added: “Joseph died, and all his brothers with him, and all that generation” (1:6); “When you deliver the Hebrew women . . . if it is a boy, you shall put him to death” (1:16); “[Moses] . . . struck down the Egyptian and buried him in the sand . . . the [Hebrew man] said [to Moses], ‘Who set you as a man prince and judge over us? Is it to kill me that you mean as you killed the Egyptian?’” (2:12, 14); “Pharaoh . . . sought to kill Moses . . .” (2:15); “And it happened after a long time had passed that the king of Egypt died, and the Israelites groaned from the bondage and cried out, and their plea from the bondage went up to God” (2:23); “The Lord said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go, return to Egypt, for all the men who sought your life are dead . . . and you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus said the Lord, . . . Send off my son that he may worship Me, and you refused to send him off, and look, I am about to kill your son, your firstborn.”’” (4:19, 23); “And it happened on the way at the night camp that the Lord encountered [Moses] and sought to put him to death” (4:24); “[the Israelite overseers] said [to Moses and Aaron], ‘. . . you have made us repugnant in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of his servants, putting a sword in their hand to kill us’” (5:21); “. . . And the fish that are in the Nile will die . . . and the fish that were in the Nile died” (7:18, 21); “. . . and the frogs died” (8:9); “. . . and all the livestock of Egypt died, but of the livestock of Israel not one died. And Pharaoh sent and, look, not a single one had died of the livestock of Israel” (9:6–7); “Every man and the beasts that will be in the field and not taken indoors, the hail shall come down on them and they shall die . . . And the hail struck through all the land of Egypt whatever was in the field, from man to beast, and all of the grass of the field did the hail strike, and every tree of the field did it smash . . . and the flax and the barley were struck” (9:19, 26, 31); “And the locust went up over all the land of Egypt . . . and it consumed all the grass of the land and every fruit of the tree that the hail had left . . . and Pharaoh hastened to call to Moses and to Aaron, and he said, ‘. . . forgive, pray, my offense, just this time, and entreat the Lord your god, that He but take away from me this death’” (10:14–17); “And Pharaoh said to [Moses], ‘Go away from me. Watch yourself. Do not again see my face, for on the day you see my face, you shall die’” (10:28); “And Moses said, ‘Thus said the Lord: Around midnight I am going out in the midst of Egypt. And every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die . . .’”(11:3); “An unblemished lamb, a yearling male you should have, from the sheep or the goats you may take it . . . and the whole congregation of the community of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight . . . It is a Passover offering to the Lord. And I will cross through the land of Egypt on this night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt from man to beast . . . Seven days you shall eat flatbread. The very first you shall expunge leaven from your houses, for whosoever eats leavened bread, that person shall be cut off from Israel” (12:5–16); “And

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it happened at midnight that the Lord struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and every firstborn of the beasts” (12:29); “And every donkey’s breach you shall redeem with a lamb, and should you not redeem it, you shall break its neck” (13:13); “And it happened, when Pharaoh was hard about sending us off, that the Lord killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt from the firstborn of man to the firstborn of beast” (13:15); “And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him . . .” (13:19); “And [the Israelites] said to Moses, ‘Was it for lack of graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? . . . Isn’t this the thing we spoke to you in Egypt saying, Leave us alone, that we may serve Egypt, for it is better for us to serve Egypt than for us to die in the wilderness’” (14:11–12); and finally, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea . . . and the Lord shook out the Egyptians into the sea. And the waters came back and covered the chariots and the riders of all Pharaoh’s force who were coming after them in the sea, not a single one of them remained . . . And the Lord on that day delivered Israel from the hand of Egypt, and Israel saw Egypt dead on the shore of the sea . . .” (14:27–30).1 Over time, the biblical account was rendered more melismatic. Its joyous melodies articulating miraculous redemption were affirmed and embellished; the contrapuntal themes of death were augmented and amplified. In late antiquity, these embellishments, ornaments, and variations were produced by rabbis who transposed the biblical narrative into midrashic keys and idioms.2 Among the rabbinic traditions concerning death, two related and innovative trends are notable: the number of deceased Egyptians and Israelites grows larger, and empathetic grief for both groups of the dead becomes more pronounced. Evidence for the first trend may be gleaned from rabbinic traditions that either increase the number of Israelites who died under slavery in Egypt or severely reduce the number of Israelites who departed in freedom. According to one midrashic opinion, no fewer than “180,000 men fell in battle with the Egyptians.” The fallen soldiers were zealots, descendants of Ephraim who mistakenly mounted an armed rebellion “eighty years too soon with regard to the time set for redemption.”3 According to another cluster of midrashic opinions, an uncertain but significant proportion of Israelites perished during the abysmal darkness of the ninth plague. Their death was construed as retribution for their wickedness.4 Regarding the “figs” mentioned in the Song of Songs (2:13), it was taught that the ripening fruit paradoxically signifies “the three days of darkness during which wicked Israelites perished.”5 Without specifying the cause of the reduced population departing Egypt with Moses, another tradition offers a paronomastic rendering of the predicate “hamushim” employed in Exod 13:18. Since the Hebrew hamesh signifies five and its multiples, the predicate is midrashically construed to “mean that only one in five

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managed [to depart from Egypt]; others claim [that it means] one in fifty; others claim one in five-hundred. Rabbi Nehorai proclaimed, ‘not even one out of five-hundred managed [to depart from Egypt.]’”6 In the biblical narrative, dead Egyptians abound and the number of dead Israelites is either minimal or goes unmentioned. In the rabbinic narratives, by contrast, Egyptian corpses abound and increase dramatically. Their rising death tally pairs with an initially large number of dead Israelites that increases arithmetically. This comparison of biblical and rabbinic narratives is suggestive. It allows us to infer that, within the late ancient rabbinic contemplation of history, the joy wrought by the ignominious downfall of the Egyptians was both tempered by an awareness of the immense loss of innocent Israelite life and checked by an awareness of the enormous loss of sinful Egyptian and sinful Israelite life. The rabbinic acknowledgment of casualties on both sides suggests the hypothetical possibility that in the minds and hearts of at least some rabbis there may have been grief over the loss of human life regardless of its ethnic identity. That some rabbis did indeed grieve can be found in several midrashic passages. The late ancient rabbis were perspicacious connoisseurs of biblical rhetoric. Among them, several were attuned to the frequency and distribution of the biblical command “to rejoice” on the various holidays. They noticed that the commandment appears three times, twice in Deuteronomy and once in Leviticus, always in the context of Sukkot: “You shall rejoice in your festival (Deut. 16:14); “You shall have nothing but joy” (Deut 16:15); and “You shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Lev 23:40). It was also noticed that the command “to rejoice” occurs only once in the context of Weeks: “You shall rejoice before the Lord your God . . .” (Deut 16:11). It was also noticed that the commandment never occurs in the context of New Year or Passover. Regarding the conspicuous absence of a scriptural commandment to rejoice on Passover, two explanations were offered: meteorological and historical. The first invoked anxieties over rainfall in the coming year that militate against unfettered rejoicing; the second explanation was blunt: “Because the Egyptians died during Passover. Therefore, although we recite the entire Hallel (Psalms 113–118) on each of the seven days of Sukkot, on Passover we read the entire Hallel only on the first day and the night preceding it, because of the verse which [the sage] Samuel loved to quote, ‘If your enemy falls, do not exult; if he trips, let not your heart rejoice’” (Prov 24:17).7 Imbued with the same ethical sensibility, another late ancient rabbinic tradition reports that God rebuked the angels for singing a triumphal hymn (shirah) when the Israelites escaped safely and the Egyptians were vanquished by the sea. The tradition quotes God distancing Himself from the angels and saying, “The works of my hand are drowning and you utter a hymn!”8

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MEDIEVAL CONTINUITIES AND INNOVATIONS The interaction of two factors insured that the various death-motifs associated with Passover would undergo modification and acquire new layers of meaning in medieval Jewish societies. The first factor was conservative and traditional. Its components derived from the archival legacy of sacred texts and halakhic regulations preserved in the canon of biblical and rabbinic literature. The second factor fomented change as the Jews responded to the progressive “deterioration” of Jewish life in Christendom.9 Medieval Judaism was an organic offshoot of Talmudic law, midrashic imagination, and rabbinic liturgy. “Talmudic Judaism,” as Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi framed the consensus of historians, was “the substructure for all medieval Jewish life and creativity.”10 That Yerushalmi’s dictum includes the anti-rabbinic Karaites living in medieval Islamicate realms seems true enough, but this paper addresses neither the Karaites nor their observance of Passover, except to mention in passing that they (and Maimonides) refer explicitly to Moses on the first night of Passover. The practice of referring to Moses contrasts sharply with the Rabbanites, responsible for establishing the official Haggadah, who scrupulously excluded all such references at the seder, the official Passover meal.11 That Yerushalmi’s dictum applies directly to Jews living in medieval Christian Europe is a certainty. Rabbi Solomon ben Yitzhaq, Rashi, the widely read and influential eleventh-century exegete, and the Zohar, the authoritative thirteenth-century repository of Kabbalah, neatly illustrate the exactitude of Yerushalmi’s metaphor—“substructure.” In his commentary on Exodus, Rashi incorporated the traditions cited above regarding the sinful Israelites who died in Egypt. Interpreting the biblical phrase, “. . . there was pitch dark in all the land of Egypt for three days” (Exod 10:22), Rashi explained that God “had brought the darkness because in that generation there were evildoers who refused to depart. They died during those three days of darkness so that the Egyptians would not witness their demise and conclude that [the Israelites] were being struck down just as we, [the Egyptians], were.” Regarding the subsequent biblical phrase, “. . . and the Israelites went up hamushim” (Ex. 13:18), Rashi offered the paronomastic notion of fifths as an alternative explanation to the conventional translation “armed with weapons,” noting that “only one in five departed [Egypt], the other four divisions having died during the darkness.” Since the original rabbinic sources did not explicitly associate the term hamushim with wicked Israelites, it seems clear that Rashi modified the diverse traditions he inherited by blending them into a seamless harmony. The Zohar, too, integrated vast amounts of classical rabbinic midrash in its mystical meditations on the Torah, including the tradition of hamushim,

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five and its derivatives or multiples. More than modifying the archive of diverse biblical and midrashic texts, as did Rashi, medieval Jewish mystics adventurously transubstantiated them. The mystics thereby illustrate the efforts of medieval Jewish intellectuals and scholars creatively to reorchestrate and transpose the legacy of biblical and rabbinic tradition into the psychological keys of personal interiorization and spiritualization.12 After speculating on the numerical proportion of pure Israelites who departed Egypt in the company of the “mixed multitude,” the demographic hodgepodge of gentiles that was blamed for the sin of the golden calf and its deathly consequences, the circle of kabbalists responsible for composing the Zohar proceeded to explore the significance of the number fifty by linking it to the seven-cycles of seven years culminating in the fiftieth year of Jubilee, which in turn was understood to symbolize the theosophic sefirah of Binah. Had it not been for the irresistible intervention of this divine potency, the Israelites would have been unable “to go up. Therefore, they tarried fifty days to receive the Torah, and from that site [i. e. Binah] Torah was issued and was given.”13 Perhaps reflecting the rabbinic tradition that ranked Passover beneath Sukkot and Weeks with respect to joy, the Zohar rendered Passover inferior to the festival of Weeks with respect to Torah. They made redemption, or liberation from slavery, subordinate to revelation. Within the framework of the Zohar’s transfiguration of Pharaoh and Egypt into the paradigmatic embodiments of the demonic Sitra ‘Ahra, the shadowy “other side” of divinity, the historical drama of Israelite salvation from Egyptian slavery was transformed for medieval Jewry into a parallel drama of existential struggle against the cosmic and metaphysical forces of evil, sin, and death. The struggle was materialized in the dietary prohibitions and obligatory ritual foods consumed during the seven days of Passover, thus charging the rituals with exciting layers of mythological meaning unknown to biblical or rabbinic practice. The devouring of forbidden leavened bread, or hametz, for example, was identified with idolatry, the forbidden worship of demonic forces of evil. The prescribed eating of unleavened bread, or matzah, was identified with a stage on the spiritual path that ascends from sin, impurity, and death toward unity and unification with the divine pleroma.14 The Zohar originated in thirteenth-century Spain. It built upon roughly one-hundred years of experiential, conceptual, and hermeneutic foundations established by Jewish mystics active in southern France (Provence) and northeastern Spain.15 The Zohar’s transfiguration of Passover is therefore indicative of multifaceted Jewish adjustments to the life of a dissonant minority within Christian Europe. No less innovatively reactive than the Zohar to Christian Europe are a number of other developments in the medieval Jewish understanding and practice of Passover. These developments include a noticeable shift of attention toward death. To gauge the

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full extent of these inventive developments, including the spiritualizing and mythopoeic transfigurations delineated in the Zohar, a glimpse of Passover as it was understood in the venerable centers of Jewish life in Islamicate societies will be helpful. The glimpse is fixed by a scene preserved in Moses ben Maimon’s authoritative code of law, the Mishneh Torah.16 Composed in the late twelfth century, the code’s appearance coincides with the era seen by historians as the turning point in the downward spiral of medieval Jewish destiny. Maimonides’s strictures against eulogizing the dead within the context of a joyful festival like Passover therefore provide a benchmark for assessing the differences between Jewish life in Arabophone Islamic realms and Latinate Christendom as well as measuring the changes in medieval Jewish life that occurred between the late twelfth and late sixteenth century. In the section of the Mishneh Torah devoted to explicating the laws that regulate observance of the festivals, Maimondes declared that the seven days of Passover, the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the other festival days, are all days, on which funeral eulogies (be-hefsed) and fasting are forbidden. It is one’s duty to rejoice and be of cheerful heart on these days, together with his children, his wife, his grandchildren, and all the other members of his household . . . Thus children should be given parched grains, nuts, and other sweet dainties; women should have clothes and pretty trinkets bought for them, according to one’s means; and men should eat meat and drink wine, for there can be no real rejoicing without meat to eat and wine to drink. And while one eats and drinks, it is his duty to feed the stranger, the orphan, and other poor and unfortunate people, for he who locks the doors to his courtyard and eats and drinks with his wife and family, without giving anything to eat and drink to the poor and the bitter in soul—his meal is not a rejoicing in a divine commandment, but a rejoicing in his own stomach . . . Rejoicing of this kind is a disgrace to those who indulge in it, as Scripture says, “I will spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your sacrifices.” (Malachi 2:3)17

This passage from the Mishneh Torah allows us to picture the festive celebrations that medieval Jews, at least until the end of the twelfth century, happily began to anticipate as the seasons turned to spring and Passover approached. Their anticipations of joy untarnished by shades of melancholy were simultaneously triggered and enriched by the liturgical calendar established by the rabbis in late antiquity. The calendar assured that preparations for Passover could not begin too soon. The preparations included memories of oppressors vanquished in the past and hopes that enemies will be vanquished in the eschatological violence of a messianic future. Exactly one month prior to Passover, medieval Jews celebrated the car-

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nivalesque holiday of Purim, in the month Adar, as late winter begins yielding to early spring. They read the Book of Esther, with all of its intertextual allusions to the saga of Joseph in Pharaoh’s court and its spectacular tale of the salvation of the Jews from the hand of their Persian enemies, especially the wicked Haman and sons who were hung from the gallows. Purim was a foretaste of Passover to come, vengeful violence included.18 Anticipation was also aroused by the prelude of four specially designated, consecutive Sabbaths culminating in Passover, the “Festival of Matzoth, the Season of our Liberation,” hag ha-matzoth, zeman herutenu. First came “Parshat Sheqalim,” on the Sabbath before the New Moon of the month of Adar, harbinger of spring, with its reading of chapters from 2 Kings; then came “Parshat Zakhor,” the Sabbath immediately before Purim, with its reading of chapters from I Samuel recalling the episode of King Saul’s mismanaging the war against Israel’s perennial and archetypal foe, Amaleq; then followed “Parshat Parah,” echoing the pentateuchal account of the purifying ashes of the red heifer with its reading of chapters from Ezekiel, promising the glories of future purification and redemption. In fourth place, one week later, came “Parshat Ha-Hodesh,” occurring on the last Sabbath of Adar, the Sabbath which immediately precedes the beginning of the month of Nisan, the official beginning of spring, with its selection of readings from Ezekiel, with its account of Passover in the future. The crescendo of anticipation reached its peak on the fifth Sabbath, the Sabbath immediately prior to Passover. It was called “The Great Sabbath,” “Shabbat Ha-Gadol,” with its readings selected from the prophetic book of Malachi, including the lines describing that “day which burns like an oven. All the arrogant and the doers of evil shall be straw . . . but you shall go forth and stamp like stall fed calves, and you shall trample the wicked to a pulp, for they shall be dust beneath your feet on the day that I am preparing—said the Lord of Hosts . . . and, Lo, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of the Lord . . .” (Mal 3:19–23).19 Were the triggers of spring, the celebration of Purim, and the liturgical cycle of special Sabbaths unable to arouse Jews in Europe to prepare for Passover, their neighbors, the Christians, preparing for and celebrating Easter, would succeed in stimulating Jewish activity. Easter and Passover, like Esau and Jacob, are twins. Together, they resonate with mutual echoes and reverberations. To put it paradoxically, the coincidence of Passover and Easter is no accident. Easter originated in the Jewish Passover.20 Like late ancient Passover and Easter, medieval Passover and Easter were partially made for each other. They were equally ruddy; both required the sacrificial lamb. Both coincided with the season of spring. Medieval Passover and Easter were made from, with, and against one another.

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The fateful interdependence of the two holidays helps explain why the Passover experienced by Jews living in medieval Christian Europe differed from the Passover prescribed by Maimonides and experienced by Jews living in medieval Islamic societies. Nothing in the Islamic calendar functions theologically like Easter, and even if there were, the Islamic lunar calendar evenhandedly distributes its festivals among the seasons. Unlike Easter which is pegged to the solar calendar and fixed with the Spring equinox, no annually recurring Islamic match is created for the Jewish Passover. Paired with Easter, beginning with the Crusades and continuing throughout the following centuries, Passover in medieval Christian Europe gradually changed in timbre and practice. Prominent among the distinctive cultural traits of late medieval Passover in Ashkenaz were two tendencies: liturgical and scholastic polemics directed against Christianity, and institutionalized cultic rites commemorating Jewish death and martyrdom.21 Ivan G Marcus, historian of medieval Judaism, has recently called our attention to the post-1096 Ashkenazic cycle of lighting candles and chanting memorial prayers, the so-called yizkor or hazkarat ha-neshamot liturgy, a ceremony conducted on the last day of Passover, the last day of Sukkoth, and Shavuot. The ceremony apparently originated exclusively for practice on the Day of Atonement and subsequently spread to the other three festivals. As Marcus cogently argued, this cycle of memorial observances was inspired by routine Christian practice on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, as well as ongoing Christian monastic rituals for the dead. The text of yizkor in English translation reads as follows: May God remember the soul of my (deceased relative) who has gone to his/ her eternal [rest]. For that, I now solemnly offer charity for his/her sake; in reward for this, may that soul enjoy eternal life, with the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and the rest of the righteous males and females that are in Paradise, and let us say, amen.22

As Marcus notes, this funereal addition to the festival and Passover liturgy was innovative. It was unknown in late antiquity, and originally distinctive to northern, European, medieval Jewry. “Remembering the dead,” Marcus reminds us, “had a different history in the Muslim East and Spain from that in Christian northern Europe . . . No special ceremony, like Yizkor in northern Europe, existed for remembering the souls of the dead in a collective way.”23 However rich the repertoire of motifs informing Passover already was when it was received by medieval Jewry, it became even richer and more complicated in Christendom. Passover was now inextricably associated with a Jewish cult of the dead. The ancient victims of Amaleq/Haman now typologically morphed into

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the more recent victims of Esau/Edom/Rome. Rome now morphed into the Judaeophobic Church that unleashed the Crusades, in whose bloody wake traveled the sanctified memory of Jewish martyrs and deceased relatives. The irony is instructive. It reveals the complexities of medieval Jewish interaction with the hostile majority in whose midst the Jews lived. The same Christianity which brutalized and slaughtered the Jews provided the template for memorializing their deceased. A second manifestation of late medieval Christianity’s impact on the Jewish experience of Passover is to be found in biblical commentaries and inter-religious polemics. To observe the Passover meant to review biblical texts in depth, and to review those texts was inescapably to confront Christianity. Consider passages from the late thirteenth-century, antiChristian, Hebrew compendium, Sefer Nizzahon Ha-yashan. Commenting on Exodus 12:3, “Speak to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month each of them shall take a lamb to a family, a lamb to the household,” the unknown German Jewish scholar who composed Sefer Nizzahon noted that Christians misconstrue this verse and many similar ones as references to the “talui,” the “hanged one,” Jesus. The absurdity of their errant hermeneutics becomes obvious, he remarked, once it is noticed that if the Christians “were right and this passage prefigured the hanged one, then it would imply that many Jesuses would would be destined to be born and hanged, inasmuch as God commanded the Jews to take not one lamb but many, “ one for each household.”24 Referring to contested readings of Exod 12:9, “Do not eat any of [the lamb] raw, or cooked in any way with water, but roasted—head, legs, and entrails—over the fire,” the author of Sefer Nizzahon, took further pains to excoriate the Christians, thereby helping to transform the whole of Passover into a living embodiment of defiant Jewish repudiation of Christian misdeeds, including outrageous allegations of cannibalism and blood-libel. “Nor cooked in any way with water” refers to the exile where they take us and cook us, as it is written, “we have gone through fire and water” (Psalms 66:12). “Head, leg, and entrails” indicates that the exile oppresses us from head to foot, as it is written, “from the sole of the foot, even unto the head there is no soundness in it, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores” (Isaiah 1:6). “They shall take [the lamb] with unleavened bread and bitter herbs” (Numbers 9:11; Exodus 12:8) refers to the fact that the nations subject us to hard work, embitter our lives, and revile us by saying that we eat human beings and the blood of Christian children . . . The answer to this argument is that Scripture can be cited to prove that they too eat human beings, as it is written, “for they have consumed Jacob” (Jer 10:25).25

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Or consider this polemical discussion of Exod 12:22: “Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood that is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and to the two doorposts.” The author of Sefer Nizzahon, remarked that the Christians say that the blood in these three places [the lintel and the two doorposts] formed a cross and that is why they were saved. The retort is that this is not the [verse’s] meaning. What God meant, rather, was that He would judge the Jews innocent when he would see the three dabs of blood on the entrance for they symbolize the blood of Abraham’s circumcision, of the binding of Isaac when Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, and of the paschal lamb.26

Nowhere, however, do the deafening reverberations of medieval Jewish-Christian realities resound more forcefully than in the insertion within the body of the seder, the festive Passover meal, of the Shefokh Hameteka verses, on the occasion of the cadential third cup of wine that separates the Grace after Meals from the recitation of the Hallel psalms. The door is opened, welcoming Elijah, harbinger of the messianic era, the consummate Passover to come, and the company rises to say: Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge You, and on the kingdoms that do not call on Your name. For they have consumed Jacob and laid waste his habitation (Ps 79:6–7) Pour out your indignation upon them, and let Your fierce anger overtake them (Ps 69:25). Pursue them in wrath and destroy them under the heavens of the Lord. (Lam 3:66)

Commenting on this passage, the historian Israel Jacob Yuval has persuasively argued that the medieval insertion of a curse against the Gentiles reveals medieval European Jewry’s appetite for a messianic redemption that includes vengeful retaliation against their hated Christian enemies. As Yuval writes, “‘Pour out Your Wrath’ thus joins the custom of dipping wine at the mention of the ten plagues on Egypt in the Haggadah as well as the exegesis multiplying the number of plagues the Egyptians suffered . . . These customs base the substance of the seder not on the ‘historical’ memory of the past redemption, but on inspiring hope for the future deliverance. The attention of these medieval sages was directed to the future, to the final Redemption.”27 Yuval’s comments remind us that Jewish tradition acknowledges that there are three distinct, but simultaneously experienced Passovers: Passover Past, recollecting events in ancient Egypt; Passover Present, recollecting parallel events in the here and now; and Passover Future, recollecting parallel events in the messianic tomorrow as if they had happened already and were happening now, for the festival and its rites caused ordinary distinctions in time and space to collapse and dissolve into a seamless, swarming, multi-textured

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unity. Integral to the warp-and-woof of that textural unity is preoccupation with death. EPILOGUE The collection of books in my grandfather’s synagogue was modest. In all likelihood, it did not include the rhetorical and spiritual ancestors of the modern book I read some forty years ago that juxtaposed Passover and Sukkot in terms of everyday life caught between the polarities of order and chaos, safety and danger, stability and ephemera. Among those textual ancestors is Zevah Pesah (Sacrificial Offering of Passover), the late fifteenth-century Hebrew commentary explicating the Haggadah of Passover. The commentary was composed in 1496 by the notable figure of Don Isaac Abarbanel, a refugee first from Christian Portugal and then an exile from post-Reconquista Christian Spain. Abarbanel was then living in Italy, in the Adriatic coastal town of Monopoli.28 The final section of the commentary takes the form of a brief essay that begins in typical premodern rabbinic fashion with an uninterrupted scholastic battery of questions.29 Unlike the modern homily that raised only one initiating question, Abarbanel’s homiletic essay raises numerous, comprehensive questions: “Why did God, may He be blessed, decide to liberate His people from Egypt in the month of Spring (Aviv) rather than in any of the other seasons? For what reason did He forbid leavening (hametz) and make the [punishment for this] prohibition so severe . . .? Why were the prohibition against leavening and the days of the festival to last seven days, rather than one day as in the case of the giving of Torah [Shavuot, or Weeks]? Why is work forbidden on the first and seventh day . . .? Why was the paschal lamb not eaten in households, as was matzah, but only in the Temple; and why [was it eaten] ‘head upon legs and entrails’ [Exodus 12:9]; and why was it eaten only at night and only until midnight and only by properly credentialed people and only roasted and only until satiation,” in contrast to the eating of matzah concerning which similar restrictions do not apply? “Also [questions] regarding the four cups [of required wine] and all the other matters.”30 Precisely like the modern homily, Abarbanel’s systematically uniform answer bypassed the historical facts of Passover Past, Present, or Future in favor of a Passover preoccupied with the trans-historical, existentially fraught domain of personal life. Absent, too, from Abarbanel’s reply to the questions are polemics against Christianity and kabbalistic meditations on transcendent, theosophic mysteries. Abarbanel argued that Passover, along with all the other regulations governing Jewish life, especially those involving the number seven and its multiples,31 were designed

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with the seventy-years and four seasons of an individual’s Jewish life in mind.32 The notion of a seventy-year life span derives from Scripture: “A prayer of Moses, the man of God . . . The span of our life is seventy years” (Ps 90:1, 10).33 The notion that those seventy-years can be divided into four seasons or stages derives from common knowledge among “medical doctors.”34 The four seasons are the “spring” of birth and early childhood (yaldut); the “summer”of youth (bahrut); the “autumn” of aging adulthood (ziqnah); and the “winter” of greying senectitude (sevah). In the light of these four seasons, the prohibition against work on the first and seventh days of the festival becomes self-evident, since it corresponds to the fact that in the “spring” of early childhood and the “winter” of advanced old age men do not undertake manual labor, since at senectitude “man resembles a dead corpse.” In that same light, the requirement to drink four cups of wine on Passover becomes equally self-evident: “The festival of Unleavened Bread in its entirety alludes to the creation of man, his life, and the number of his years. . . .” In that same light, the plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians are understood symbolically by Abarbanel to mirror the excruciating birth pangs at delivery “that bring forth the fetus to life.” The repeated allusions to the biological length and stages of life’s course were carefully designed to serve the higher purpose of constantly goading the Jews to be aware of impending death and always to strive for “the perfection of their souls (hashlamat nafsham).” Abarbanel declared that the “divine wisdom saw fit to arouse a man by means of his commandments to [awareness of] the brevity of his days and the shortness of his years . . . Moreover, to instruct and guide man to the true essence of his nature,” God issued commandments to arouse his awareness of “the true nature of his creation, number of days, years, and death.” In the light of this principle, the prohibition against leavened bread becomes intelligible: “the prohibition offers instruction with respect to keeping corporeal, hedonistic desires at a safe distance, for leavened bread and fermenting agents are equivalent to Satan and the evil impulse.” Passover, according to Abarbanel’s strictly psychological analysis, provides an abundant store of edible memento mori. Eating unleavened bread is complemented by consuming the paschal sacrifice, which “alludes to the decomposition of the body (hefsed ha-guf) and the separation of the soul from it.” The law requires that the paschal lamb be eaten at night, “which [also] alludes to death.” And finally: “Because the paschal lamb teaches lessons regarding death and the decomposition of the body, [God] commanded that it be eaten last and to satiety. They must not eat anything afterwards, insofar as it is the end of all men and the terminal stage of the path.” Abarbanel’s homiletical essay concludes with brief remarks explaining that Sukkot, the holiday of “gathering” (asif) is no less a reminder of

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death than Passover. Sukkot, too, calls upon a Jewish person to engage in moral introspection (heshbon zemano), “so that he might know his end approaches.” Thinking about my grandfather, I know that Abarbanel’s conclusion was shared by medieval masters and their successors, the Humanists and Renaissance philosophers.35 His conclusion is simply, perhaps lamentably, true. NOTES   1.  The translations are borrowed from Robert Alter, The Five Books of Moses (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2004).   2.  For a synoptic overview of the rabbinic elaborations, see Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, trans. Henrietta Szold, Vol. II (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1910), 245–375.  3. Pesiqta’ De-Rav Kahana 11:10. For the English translation, see Pesikta d-Rav Kahana, trans. William G. Braude and Israel Kapstein (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2002), 282. For the original Hebrew and references to parallel sources, see Pesikta de Rav Kahana, ed. Bernard Mandelbaum, (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1962) I:186.   4.  For an overview, see L. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, II:345, III:42, V:431 (n.198).  5. Pesiqta De-Rav Kahana 5:9 (in Mandelbaum’s edition I:94, ll.12–13).  6. Pesiqta De-Rav Kahana 11:11 (in Mandelbaum’s edition, I:186, ll.14–15, and parallels). According to another version, Rabbi Nehorai proclaimed, “not even one of five thousand,” for which see Mekhilta De-Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, trans. and ed. W. David Nelson (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2006), 82 (Beshallah 20:2).  7. Pesiqta de-Rav Kahana, Appendix 2 (in Braude’s translation, 630; in Mandelbaum’s critical edition, 2:458). For the reference to the tannaitic sage Samuel, see Mishnah Avot 4:19.  8. Babylonian Talmud Megillah 10b. By “distancing Himself from the angels,” I mean to convey a sense of the midrashic play on the passage from Exodus that describes the protective separation between the Egyptian and Israelite encampments, “Thus there was the cloud . . . so that one could not come near the other” (Exodus 14:20). The midrashic transfiguration of “one could not come near the other” suggests that God and the angels disagreed.   9.  For the historical “dynamics of deterioration,” see Robert Chazan, The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom: 1000–1500 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 239–42. As supplement, see Jonathan Elukin, Living Together Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Christian Relations in the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007) and Mark R. Cohen, Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008) (reissue, with new introduction and afterword). 10.  Yosef Hayyim Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (New York: Schocken, 1989), 32–33.

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11.  See Samuel al Maghribi (15th cent.), “Other Rules Concerning the Passover” in Leon Nemoy, Karaite Anthology: Excerpts from the Early Literature (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952), 207. 12.  For an introductory overview of the medieval tendency toward spiritual interiorization, see Joseph Dan, Jewish Mysticism and Jewish Ethics (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1986). 13. See Zohar 2:46a. For the English translation and clarifying footnotes, see The Zohar IV, trans. by Daniel C. Matt (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), 214–15. 14.  For a masterful introduction to the kabbalistic understanding and practice of Passover, supported by representative primary texts, see Isaiah Tishby, Mishnat Ha-Zohar ( Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1961) II:508–13, 526–29, 566–70, 572–78. For an English translation of Tishby’s indispensable work, see The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts, vol. 3, trans. David Goldstein (New York: Littman Library by Oxford University Press, 1989), 1238–43, 1254–56, 1314–17, 1319–25. For monographic treatment of the Kabbalah’s understanding and practice of ritual diet, including useful discussions of Passover and its typical foods, see Joel Hecker, Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005). 15.  For the details of the Zohar’s pre-history in Spain and Provence, see Gershom Scholem, The Origins of the Kabbalah, ed. R. J. Werblowski, trans. Allan Arkush (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). 16.  For an array of current scholarship, see Isadore Twersky, Introduction to the Code of Maimonides (Mishneh Torah) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980); Herbert A. Davidson, Moses Maimonides: The Man and His Works (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 189–289; and Joel L. Kraemer, Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds (New York: Doubleday, 2008), 316–56. 17. Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Zemanim, Hilkhoth Yom Tov 6:17–18. 18. For a fascinating discussion, including observations of medieval realities, see Elliot Horowitz, Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008). 19. For the complete biblical texts, English translations, and accompanying notes tracing the meanings and history of this pre-Passover cycle, see Michael Fishbane, The JPS Bible Commentary: Haftarot (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2002), 338–66. 20.  For discussion of the Jewish template, see Baruch Bokser, The Origins of the Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 2002). 21.  For a fuller picture of the cultural differences demarcating the two major sub-cultures of medieval Jewry, in addition the sources listed in n. 9 supra, see Raymond P. Scheindlin, “Merchants and Intellectuals: Judeo-Arabic Culture in the Golden Age of Islam,” Benjamin R. Gampel, “A Letter to a Wayward Teacher: The Transformation of Sephardic Culture in Christian Iberia,” and Ivan G. Marcus, “A Jewish-Christian Symbiosis: The Culture of Early Ashkenaz” in Culture of the Jews: A New History, ed. David Biale (New York: Schocken Books, 2002), 313–516.

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22.  For a complete text of the tripartite memorial service as it emerged gradually over time, see, for example, the modern version reproduced in The Daily Prayer Book, trans. Phillip Birnbaum (New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1995), 602–8. The liturgy combines the paragraph beginning with “yizkor ‘elohim” (May God remember), a paragraph beginning with “‘el mal ‘e rahamim” (God, full of mercy), and a paragraph beginning with “‘av ha-rahamim” (Father of mercy). The provenance of all three paragraphs is medieval. 23.  Ivan G. Marcus, The Jewish Life Cycle: Rites of Passage from Biblical to Modern Times (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004), 231–34. For a parallel anthropologist’s perception of the medieval memorial ceremonies, see Harvey E. Goldberg, Jewish Passages: Cycles of Jewish Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003), 203–6. 24. See The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages: A Critical Edition of the Nizzahon Vetus, intr., trans, and ed. David Berger (Northvale: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1979 [1996]), 52–53. 25.  Ibid., 53–54. 26. Ibid., 64. 27.  See Israel Jacob Yuval, Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, trans. Barbara Harshav and Jonathan Chapman (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), 123–29. 28.  For the life, times, and works of Abarbanel, who in so many respects epitomizes the late medieval Jewish experience, including repeated exiles, diplomacy, banking service to various crowns, and prodigious, multi-faceted scholarship, see the scholarly foundation laid by Benzion Netanyahu, Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman and Philosopher (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1968). Updating our knowledge and rendering it more accurate are Eric Lawee, Isaac Abarbanel’s Stance Toward Tradition: Defense, Dissent, and Dialogue (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001) and Seymour Feldman, Philosophy in a Time of Crisis: Don Isaac Abravanel—Defender of the Faith (New York: Routledge Curzon, 2003). All three volumes contain references to Abarbanel’s commentary on the Haggadah. For a critical and annotated edition of the Hebrew text, often published and reprinted in popular formats, see Haggadah shel Pesah ‘im Perush le-Rabbenu Don Yitzhaq ‘Abarbanel, ed. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Persser (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 2007). 29.  For discussion of this stylistic fashion in medieval and early modern rabbininc homiletics, see Kalman P. Bland, “Issues in Sixteenth-Century Jewish Exegesis” in The Bible in the Sixteenth Century, ed. David C. Steinmetz (Durham: Duke University Press, 1990), 50–67, 210–14; Kalman P. Bland, “Cain, Abel, and Brutism” in Scriptural Exegesis: The Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination—Essays in Honor of Michael Fishbane, ed. Deborah A. Green and Laura S. Lieber (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), 177; and Marc Saperstein, “The Method of Doubt: Problematizing the Bible in Late Medieval Jewish Exegesis” in With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, ed. Jane Dammen McCauliffe, Barry D. Wallfish, and Joseph W. Goering (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 133–56. 30.  Haggadah shel Pesah ‘im Perush le-Rabbenu Don Yitzhaq ‘Abarbanel, 291. 31.  Among the examples of seven-ness mentioned by Abarbanel are “the seven days of creation . . . the seven days of marriage celebration (huppah) . . . the seven

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days of sexual abstention following menstruation . . . the [seven days] of purification following leprosy, impurity of the corpse . . . shemittah years and Jubilee, in order that one should always be mindful of the number of years in life.” Haggadah shel Pesah ‘im Perush le-Rabbenu Don Yitzhaq ‘Abarbanel, 295. 32.  That Abarbanel was speaking particularly about Jews and not universally about all human beings is an argument I base on his explicit remarks in the Passover homily regarding God’s choice of the Jews (p. 292) and the illuminating, nonapologetic discussion in Elliot R. Wolfson, Venturing Beyond: Law and Morality in Kabbalistic Mysticism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 17–128. 33. As correctly noted by Persser, editor of the critical Hebrew text, among others, Abarbanel condensed and adapted the complex of hermeneutical themes developed by Isaac Arama, from whom Abarbanel in Spain might have received them directly. For Arama’s essay on time and the human life-cycle, see his ‘Aqedat Yitzhaq, section 59 (in Akaidath Yitzchak, ed. C. Y. S. Pollack [Jerusalem: Makor Publishing Ltd., 1988] 3:19–27) (reprint of the 1849 Pressburg edition). 34.  Haggadah shel Pesah ‘im Perush le-Rabbenu Don Yitzhaq ‘Abarbanel, 297. All subsequent citations are found in Perserr’s edition, 291–98. 35. For a judicious discussion of the balance between medieval and Renaissance salients in Abarbanel’s oeuvre, see Feldman, Philosophy in a Time of Crisis, 150–60.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alter, Robert. The Five Books of Moses. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2004. Arama, Isaac. Akaidath Yitzchak, ed. C. Y. S. Pollack. Jerusalem: Makor Publishing Ltd., 1988. Bland, Kalman P. “Issues in Sixteenth-Century Jewish Exegesis” in The Bible in the Sixteenth Century. Edited by David C. Steinmetz. Durham: Duke University Press, 1990. ———. “Cain, Abel, and Brutism” in Scriptural Exegesis: The Shapes of Culture and the Religious Imagination—Essays in Honor of Michael Fishbane. Edited by Deborah A. Green and Laura S. Lieber. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Bokser, Baruch. The Origins of the Seder: The Passover Rite and Early Rabbinic Judaism. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 2002. Chazan, Robert. The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom: 1000–1500. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Cohen, Mark R. Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. The Daily Prayer Book. Translated by Phillip Birnbaum. New York: Hebrew Publishing Company, 1995. Dan, Joseph, Jewish Mysticism and Jewish Ethics. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1986. Davidson, Herbert A. Moses Maimonides: The Man and His Works. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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Elukin, Jonathan. Living Together Living Apart: Rethinking Jewish-Christian Relations in the Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. Feldman, Seymour. Philosophy in a Time of Crisis: Don Isaac Abravanel-Defender of the Faith. New York: Routledge Curzon, 2003. Fishbane, Michael. The JPS Bible Commentary: Haftarot. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2002. Benjamin R. Gampel. “A Letter to a Wayward Teacher: The Transformation of Sephardic Culture in Christian Iberia” in Culture of the Jews: A New History. Edited by David Biale. New York: Schocken Books, 2002. Ginzberg, Louis. The Legends of the Jews. Translated by Henrietta Szold. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1910. Goldberg, Harvey E. Jewish Passages: Cycles of Jewish Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. Haggadah shel Pesah ‘im Perush le-Rabbenu Don Yitzhaq ‘Abarbanel. Edited by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Persser. Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 2007. Hecker, Joel. Mystical Bodies, Mystical Meals: Eating and Embodiment in Medieval Kabbalah. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2005. Horowitz, Elliot. Reckless Rites: Purim and the Legacy of Jewish Violence. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. The Jewish-Christian Debate in the High Middle Ages: A Critical Edition of the Nizzahon Vetus, intr. Translated and edited by David Berger. Northvale: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1979. Kraemer, Joel L. Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds. New York: Doubleday, 2008. Lawee, Eric. Isaac Abarbanel’s Stance Toward Tradition: Defense, Dissent, and Dialogue. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2001. al-Maghribi, Samuel. “Other Rules Concerning the Passover” in Leon Nemoy, Karaite Anthology: Excerpts from the Early Literature. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1952. Marcus, Ivan G. “A Jewish-Christian Symbiosis: The Culture of Early Ashkenaz” in Culture of the Jews: A New History. Edited by David Biale. New York: Schocken Books, 2002. ———. The Jewish Life Cycle: Rites of Passage from Biblical to Modern Times. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004. Mekhilta De-Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai. Translated and edited by W. David Nelson. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2006. Netanyahu, Benzion. Don Isaac Abravanel: Statesman and Philosopher. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1968. Saperstein, Marc. “The Method of Doubt: Problematizing the Bible in Late Medieval Jewish Exegesis” in With Reverence for the Word: Medieval Scriptural Exegesis in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Edited by Jane Dammen McCauliffe, Barry D. Wallfish, and Joseph W. Goering. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Scheindlin Raymond P. “Merchants and Intellectuals: Judeo-Arabic Culture in the Golden Age of Islam” in Culture of the Jews: A New History. Edited by David Biale. New York: Schocken Books, 2002.

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Tishby, Isaiah. Mishnat Ha-Zohar. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1961 (English: The Wisdom of the Zohar: An Anthology of Texts. Translated by David Goldstein, New York: Littman Library by Oxford University Press, 1989). Pesikta de Rav Kahana. Edited by Bernard Mandelbaum. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1962. Pesikta d-Rav Kahana. Translated by William G. Braude and Israel Kapstein. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2002. Scholem, Gershom. The Origins of the Kabbalah. Edited by and translated by R. J. Werblowski and Allan Arkush. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987. Twersky, Isadore. Introduction to the Code of Maimonides (Mishneh Tora). New Haven: Yale University Press, 1980. Wolfson, Elliot R. Venturing Beyond: Law and Morality in Kabbalistic Mysticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayyim. Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory. New York: Schocken, 1989. Yuval, Israel Jacob. Two Nations in Your Womb: Perceptions of Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Translated by Barbara Harshav and Jonathan Chapman. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006. Zohar. Translated by Daniel C. Matt. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004–09.

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Observations on the Biblical Miniatures in Spanish Haggadot Vivian B. Mann

W

e now know that the haggadah, the service book for the Passover Seder, became an independent codex—no longer always attached to a prayer book—ca. the year 1000.1 Three centuries later, it was transformed again. In this second reformulation, which took place in both Ashkenaz and Spain, the haggadah became a lavishly illuminated manuscript.2 This paper concentrates on the Spanish examples produced largely in Barcelona and the region surrounding it during the fourteenth century. These haggadot were decorated with text illustrations, such as the Drinking of the Four Cups of Wine and symbols of ritual foods like the matzah and bitter herbs, and were often furnished with prefatory biblical scenes that might range from the Creation to the Death of Moses, and with genre scenes showing preparations for the Passover holiday as well as the Seder itself. Illuminated borders and word panels completed the program of illumination. In all, there remain some ten haggadot from Spain produced from ca. 1300 to ca. 1360 in the Crown of Aragon and Castile whose biblical miniatures precede the text of the haggadah. In an additional example, the Barcelona Haggadah (British Library, Add. 14761), the biblical scenes serve as text illustrations.3 The number and contents of these illustrations are not uniform. For example, the Hispano-Moresque Haggadah (British Library, Or. 2737), the Rylands (Rylands Library, JRL Heb. 6) and its related Brother manuscript (British Library, Or. 1404) adhere most closely to the text of the haggadah since their miniatures are based solely on the Book of Exodus, while the illustrations in the Sarajevo Haggadah (Sarajevo, National Museum), as well as the Golden Haggadah (British Library, Add. 167

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27210) and its Sister manuscript (British Library, Or. 2884) begin with the Creation, as described in Genesis. The most extensive biblical cycle is in the Sarajevo Haggadah; it begins with Creation and ends with the Death of Moses. Two haggadot with a limited number of biblical illustrations, the Prato (Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, Mic. 9478) and a partial manuscript in Bologna (Biblioteca Universitaria, Ms. 2559)4 are related iconographically to the illuminations of the Sarajevo Haggadah. There may have been similar manuscripts that were lost in the upheaval of the Expulsion from Spain in 1492 or the Expulsion from Portugal in 1496/7 (where Spanish Jews had found a temporary refuge). Manuscripts were virtually the only artistic genre that the Jews of Spain were allowed to carry with them into exile.5 All works in precious metals were confiscated; even synagogue textiles woven or embroidered with silver or gold were seized and burned to extract their bullion.6 Scholars dispute whether the number of remaining Spanish manuscripts accurately reflects the number that once existed, or whether they are a small portion of a once larger corpus. Popular literature, like the recent novel recounting a “history” of the Sarajevo Haggadah,7 has made the public aware that medieval manuscripts may suddenly appear. Those made for private use are, after all, relatively small works of art. The reappearance of the Sarajevo Haggadah in the nineteenth century, brought to Hebrew school by a young boy, inspired the writing of the first monograph on Jewish art in 1898 by the eminent art historians David Heinrich Müller and Julius von Schlosser, with an additional essay by the collector and bibliophile David Kaufmann.8 Their study was the first to consider a work of Jewish art from an art historical perspective, although one that was not devoid of the prejudices of its writers.9 Since the Sarajevo Haggadah became known, there have been no other “miraculous” discoveries of hitherto unknown illuminated Sephardi manuscripts, although recently, Spanish and Italian conservators have begun the painstaking process of retrieving lost pages by exploring the book bindings made out of folios of medieval Hebrew manuscripts. These investigations have yielded some illuminated pages and marginalia, although not entire manuscripts.10 To understand the visualization of the Bible in medieval Spanish Hebrew manuscripts, we are confined to seven fourteenth-century haggadot and to works related to them. The major question is to define the “related works,” whose study would allow an understanding of the sudden appearance of richly illuminated haggadot ca. 1300 and of their iconography. One would expect such lavishly decorated manuscripts to be preceded by tentative experiments with only a few miniatures, but that is not the case. The illuminated haggadot from fourteenth-century Spain appear complete with three types of miniatures and text decoration, as if full-blown from the head of

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Olympian Zeus.11 Art historians have given various explanations to the appearance of this new type of manuscript. One approach emphasizes the fact that the biblical miniatures of the haggadot precede the text and are not integrated with it, as is also the case with Books of Hours and Psalms, or manuscripts that contain both Hours and Psalms.12 Although the placement of the miniatures in both the haggadot and the Latin prayer books is the same, and the latter may have inspired the positioning of the former, their content is very different. The prefatory scenes in Books of Hours and Psalms were individualized according to the history and religious preferences of the patron or recipient, while the themes of the haggadot illustrations were universal. In Spain, a Book of Hours was written for Ferdinand I of Léon and Castile in the eleventh century that included prefatory miniatures (Santiago de Compostela, University Library, Res. 1). By the early thirteenth century, a Bohemian Book of Hours was furnished with a prefatory cycle of miniatures based both on the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.13 Ferrer Bassa (d. 1348), head of an atelier that produced Latin texts as well as Hebrew books such as a Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed (Copenhagen, Koniglege Bibliothek, Hebr. XXXVII) and a Medical Treatise (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Hébreu 1203),14 created a Book of Hours for Mary of Navarre, wife of Pedro IV, between 1338 and 1342. Ferrer was also responsible for completing the decoration of the AngloCatalan Psalter (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Lat. 8846), a work that was begun in Canterbury in the thirteenth century and arrived in Spain by the fourteenth. Although there is no evidence for a haggadah from Bassa’s atelier, the portion of the Anglo-Catalan Psalter he painted includes numerous biblical scenes from both Genesis and Exodus that may have been based on an earlier manuscript available to the workshop. Further, the earlier Pamplona Bibles that were completed in 1235 contained hundreds of compositions executed as line drawings that could have served as an iconographic model.15 One explanation for the sudden appearance of illuminated haggadot with a well-developed program of illustrations is to postulate that they represent the reappearance of biblical iconography that is known from Early Jewish and Christian art, which is best represented by the large number of biblical scenes painted on the walls of the synagogue in Dura-Europos ca. 250 and found in Christian monuments such as the mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore, ca. 432–440. There are some striking correspondences between the iconography of works from the earlier period and the Spanish haggadot, and between the Roman-era works and works of Christian art created in Spain during the late Middle Ages. A noteworthy example is the reappearance of the nude Egyptian princess who bathes in the Nile, sometimes with her handmaidens, and finds the baby Moses in his basket. This iconographic motif appeared in the

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synagogue of Dura-Europos, then in the Pamplona Bibles (Amiens, Bibliothèque Ms. lat. 108) patronized by King Sancho el Fuerte of Navarre (1153–1234) that were finished in 1235, and in the Golden Haggadah ca. 1320 and its related manuscript, the Sister of the Golden Haggadah.16 Another scene with a similar history is Abraham’s Hospitality to the Three Angels in which Sarah stands at left within a building representing a tent and Abraham serves the three angels who sit at a table occupying the right half of the composition. Occasionally, Sarah is omitted from the scene. A tree in the background represents the terebinths of Mamre that figure prominently in the story (Gen. 18:1–6). Abraham’s Hospitality is depicted in the fourth-century catacomb of Via Latina and is one of the mosaics in Santa Maria Maggiore, dated 432–440.17 A fragment of the composition remains in the floor of the synagogue at Sepphoris of the early fifth century.18 It then appears in San Vitale in Ravenna, 526–547, in the Pamplona Bibles, the Golden Haggadah and in the Sister of the Golden Haggadah.19 During their visit, the angels foretell the birth of a son to the aged Sarah. Subsequently, Abraham is commanded to sacrifice his son, but is prevented from doing so by an angel. In the mosaics of Sepphoris and San Vitale, the Offering of Isaac is juxtaposed to the Hospitality scene, linking the prophecy of Isaac’s birth to the great dramatic moment of his life. A Third scene with roots in early art is the Crossing of the Red Sea and the Drowning of the Egyptians. In its antique form, this composition is divided diagonally into two wedges: one occupied by the fleeing Israelites and the other by the drowning Egyptians. The nexus between the two is the figure of Moses who holds out his staff to effectuate the drowning. The composition appears in the fourth-century Via Latina catacomb and among the mosaics of Santa Maria Maggiore.20 A variant also seen in classical art appears in the Golden Haggadah: Moses points his staff toward the drowning Egyptians but the composition lacks a clear diagonal division between the two groups.21 A century and a half later, a version of the first classical composition appears in the Exodus from Egypt included in the Retablo de San Bernardi i l’Angel Custodi of 1462–1482 (Barcelona: Diocesan Museum), which is the work of a painter from the atelier of Jaime Huguet.22 The drowning Egyptians appear in a lower corner, while the Israelites stride along the Red Sea. Although composed traditionally, the Israelites on the retablo are represented as contemporary Jews, and in this they are different from all the actors in the biblical scenes of the haggadot, who are generalized figures dressed in indistinguishable tunics. The painter of the altarpiece, however, took great care to individualize the faces of the Israelites and to vary their dress. The foremost Jewish figures, representing Moses and Aaron, are thought to be portraits of the leading Jewish residents of Banyoles where the retablo first hung. The figure guided by the Guardian Angel is tentatively identified as Bonjuà Cabrit who was doctor-surgeon to the Royal House of Barcelona.23 He wears a

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striped garment over his head, probably a tallit or prayer shawl and a gold-bordered cloak, and carries a codex with gilt edges. Although most of the women leaving Egypt wear simple scarves over their heads, one near the end of the procession wears an elaborate headdress with chin strap that forms a roll around her head and has a protruding element at top dotted with pearls. Attention is drawn to this elaborately dressed woman by her bright red cloak, which visually links her to Bonjuà Cabrit, the man at the head of the procession who may have been her husband.24 The same headdress worn in the Exodus is used in Christian sculptures and on altarpieces to identify Jewish women, which indicates that this headdress was considered distinctive. It appears, for example, on a retablo panel of the Massacre of the Innocents dated 1390–1400, now in the Saragossa Museum,25 and worn by a group of women on a fourteenth-century capital in the cloister of Barcelona Cathedral.26 These particularized details of dress combine with individualized representations of the figures involved. They are truly portraits, which might be explained in terms of Gothic naturalism, but they are also evidence for the artist’s knowledge of his Jewish contemporaries and signify the continuation of convivencia, living together, thirty years before the Expulsion. How would this iconography—known from the frescoes and mosaics of immovable buildings—have been transmitted to medieval Spain? The key monument, the synagogue of Dura Europos with its many biblical scenes, lay hidden from the year 256 when the city was destroyed by the Parthians until its discovery in 1932 by a team from Yale University. The usual answer to the question of transmission is a manuscript intermediary, although as Robert Scheller has noted, “The investigator generally turns to a lost model hypothesis as a last resort when other explanations have proved fruitless.”27 That one work of art like a manuscript has served as a model for another has long been known, but is not always obvious for the haggadot. The choice of scenes and style differ from cycle to cycle except for the Rylands and Brother Haggadot that are stylistically related.28 Some of iconography of scenes in the so-called Sister of the Golden Haggadah is based on the earlier Golden Haggadah dated ca. 1320, but rendered in a much cruder style. An example of copying from one manuscript to another dating shortly after the period of the haggadot is described in the preamble to the Alba Bible. In 1422 Don Guzman, Master of the Order of Calatrava, commissioned a new translation of the Hebrew Bible into Castilian from Moses of Arragel, which became known as La Biblia de Alba (Madrid, Palacio de Liria, no. 399).29 Don Guzman wished the text to be accompanied by a commentary and illustrations, but the rabbi was reluctant to violate what he understood to be the biblical prohibition against images. In response, Don Guzman agreed to hire several illuminators from Toledo and to provide them with a manuscript from the cathedral to serve as a model for the miniatures. Thus,

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one model was another pre-existent manuscript containing illustrations to the Hebrew Bible; others may have been used as well, given the fact that the completed Alba Bible has 334 miniatures.30 It must be noted that a significant number of these scenes include midrashic material that may have been present in a model or was added by Moses of Arragel.31 The existence of Ferrer Bassa’s atelier is of great significance when considering the genesis of the illuminated haggadot produced in Spain during the fourteenth century. Given the fact that medieval Spanish ateliers like Bassa’s (and there are others) produced works for both Christian and Jewish patrons,32 and that one can demonstrate the influence of originally Jewish or Christian compositions on works for the other faith as in the scene of the Finding of Moses, we can postulate that medieval artists may have had before them both earlier Jewish and Christian art that served as models. Manuscripts were not the only illustrated works to be based on earlier art. The contracts that govern the production of Spanish altarpieces of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries sometimes specify the exact work of art on which the new work was to be modeled. Consider for example this 1483 contract written for a painter, Pere Cabanes, who was to create an altarpiece in a Valencian funerary chapel: “First, in the center, the image of the most glorious Virgin Mary that is [the same as the image of Mary] in the retablo mayor of the Cathedral of Valencia . . .”33 Another path for the transmission of biblical iconography is the movement of small works of art like textiles with cycles of scenes from the lives of Abraham and Joseph that were woven in Coptic Egypt during the eighth to tenth centuries.34 It must be recognized, however, that the Coptic textile scenes are abbreviated, showing only the essential elements necessary to an understanding of the subject matter. Another genre of small works with both biblical scenes and Hebrew inscriptions that has not been discussed in relation to the haggadot is a group of cameos from southern Italy dated to the mid-thirteenth century.35 The extant scenes include an enthroned figure of King David, today in the Prado Museum, a scene of Joseph and his Brothers in the Hermitage, Jacob Blessing the Sons of Jacob (Private Collection, on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; figure 6.1), Samson and the Lion, and King Jehu in a Chariot.36 In addition, there is a cameo of Noah and the Ark that lacks any inscription. Of the same date as this group is an inscribed cameo with Ahasueros and Mordecai that is attributed to France. The cameo scenes that are found in Spanish haggadot are very different in style and composition, for example the scene of Joseph Revealing Himself to his Brothers that is also found in the Sarajevo Haggadah and in the Golden, and Noah and the Ark that appears in the Golden and Prato Haggadot.37 On the basis of the extant scenes, the Hohenstaufen cameos appear to belong to a different

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Figure 6.1.  Cameo with Jacob Blessing the Sons of Joseph, Southern Italy, mid-13th Century. Private Collection

tradition of biblical iconography than the Spanish haggadot, although it is worth noting that Gabrielle Sed-Rajna proposed that Jewish communities in southern Italy or North Africa were the intermediaries in passing on the art of the classsical period to Spain during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, as can be demonstrated for other literary and artistic traditions.38 Recently, Katrin Kogman-Appel proposed that the haggadot miniatures were composed in Spain of iconographic details seen by artists on their travels and remembered, particularly the reliefs of San Restituta in Naples and the capitals of the Cathedral of Monreale.39 Although a famous example of an itinerant artist who transmitted iconography and style is the English artist who worked on both the thirteenth-century Winchester Bible and the frescoes in the Spanish monastery of Sigena,40 there is no evidence that artists of the haggadot traveled to Naples and Monreale, although Monreale was part of the Crown of Aragón in the fourteenth century (but Naples was not). Indeed, there are biblical cycles closer to “home,” to the area in which most of the haggadot were created, namely altarpieces and reliefs of the cathedrals in Girona and Valencia. One avenue for understanding the haggadot that has not been pursued in the scholarly literature is to see them within the context of medieval Spanish art of the thirteenth through the fifteenth centuries. Important to an understanding of this context is Millard Meiss’s 1941 essay that drew attention to the close stylistic relationship between an altarpiece dedicated to St. Mark, now in the Morgan Library, and the Ceremonial de consagración

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y coronación de los Reyes de Aragón in the Museo Lazar Galdiano (Madrid, R.14.425).41 He analyzed the figure style and the compositions and concluded that both types of work had been created in the same atelier that he named the St. Mark’s workshop. Meiss’s thesis revolutionized the customary view that workshops were devoted to producing single types of art, and emphasized the stylistic link between retablos (altarpieces) and miniatures. Francis Wormald added another innovative insight to Meiss’s work by demonstrating that a Hebrew manuscript of Maimonides, the Guide to the Perplexed (Moreh Nevukhim) in the Royal Library, Copenhagen (Hebr. XXXVII), was a product of the same workshop.42 Since the publication of Wormald’s article in 1953, other art historians have added both Hebrew and Latin manuscripts to the output of the St. Mark’s atelier headed by Ferrer Bassa, who died in 1348 during the Black Plague.43 The result of all this scholarship was to link manuscripts to altarpieces and works for Jewish patrons to those for Christians as the products of one workshop, thereby enabling a comparison of style and iconography between different types of art.44 With this understanding that Jewish artists and scribes worked together with Christians, it is possible to develop the Spanish context for the appearance of the haggadot. For example, the earliest surviving manuscript, the Hispano-Moresque Haggadah in the British Library (Or. 2737; figure 6.2) of the late thirteenth century is stylistically related to scenes from the Life of Christ on a fragmentary altarpiece in The Cloisters of the same date (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 55.62 a, b and 1977.94; figure 6.3) and to similar retablos. In these works, the scenes are set in architectural frames, often painted a deep red, above which are rubrics indicating the content of the scene (Latin on the altarpieces; Hebrew in the haggadah). The languages of these rubrics, assuming they served as instructions to the artists, indicate that Jewish artists created the haggadah scenes and Christian artists worked on the altarpiece.45 The action takes place below against blank backgrounds, with only the minimal props required by the narrative. Terracotta Figure 6.2.  Preparations for Passover, red and ochre are the dominant colors Hispano-Moresque Haggadah, Castile, on both works, and they appear satuca. 1300. © The British Library Board, Or. 2737, f.88 rated rather than shaded. Throughout,

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Figure 6.3.  Anonymous, Panels with Scenes from the Life of Christ,” Castile, 13th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Carl Otto von Kienbusch, 1976, (1977.94)

the size of key figures such as Jesus or Moses and Aaron, or even the baker of matzot (the unleavened bread for Passover), is enlarged to indicate a subject’s importance. Still, differences between the two works indicate that more than one artist was responsible for the haggadah and the retablo. Although the heads and hands of the figures of both works are outlined, rather than modeled, the painter of the Christian scenes often added a small circle of red paint to indicate a protruding cheek and furnished his figures with eyebrows, details absent on the haggadah figures. As is typical of the art of this period, figures are slim and drapery hides the body in both works, but the cloaks of the altarpiece figures are slightly more detailed, with a white highlight along the edge of the material. The haggadah and the retablo fragments in the Cloisters belong to a group of works whose style has been termed “linear Gothic,” nearly all of them dated to the late thirteenth–first half of the fourteenth century.46 A frequently made observation about the haggadot is the inclusion of biblical scenes without any relationship to the text, which focuses on the Israelites’ bondage in Egypt and their Exodus. Among the most commonly added miniatures are scenes of the Creation, sometimes with the addition of the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden and Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. A highly compressed account appears in the early Golden Haggadah

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in which five episodes in the Garden of Eden occupy two frames: Adam Naming the Animals in its own frame and the remaining four occupying a single frame of the four-frame scheme used in the miniatures (figure 6.4). The sequence reads chronologically from right to left, the direction in which Hebrew is read: Adam Naming the Animals (Gen. 2:20), the Creation of Eve (Gen. 2:21–22), the Temptation of Eve (Gen. 3:1–5), Adam and Eve Covering their Nakedness (Gen. 3:7) and God (in the guise of an angel) Reproaching Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:16–18). In the second, composite frame, the figure of Eve is shown tempted by the serpent and simultaneously covering herself

Figure 6.4.  Scenes of Creation, The Golden Haggadah, ca. 1320. © The British Library Board, Add. 27010, f.2v

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with a large leaf, while Adam both covers himself and raises his head as the angel reproaches him. Nevertheless, the rubric for the second frame refers only to the third episode: “Adam and his Wife were Naked.” The Golden Haggadah is dated ca. 1320 based on its figure style, which is similar to that of the Usatges de Paris (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale ms. lat 4670) and like the Latin work was produced in Barcelona or Lleida.47 A retablo dedicated to St. Andrew (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 25.120.257; figure 6.5) has both stylistic and iconographic connections to the Golden Haggadah (figure 6.4). The altarpiece originally included seven Creation scenes, but the location of three of them is today unknown. With one exception, each of the altarpiece scenes is given its own pictorial space: God Creates the Creatures of the Waters and the Birds (Day 5; Gen. 1:20–23), the Creation of Man (Day 6; Gen. 1:26–27), God Casts a Deep Sleep on Adam (Gen. 2:21), God Presents Eve to Adam (Gen. 2:22), God Commands Adam and Eve Not to Eat from the

Figure 6.5. Anonymous Castilian Painter, Scenes from the Creation; Scenes from the Life of Saint Andrew, Añastro, Castile, late fourteenth century.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection, 1925 (25.120.257)

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Tree of Knowledge (Gen. 2:16–17), the Temptation and Reproach (Gen. 3:1–6; 11), and the Expulsion (Gen. 3:24). Both the retablo and haggadah scenes are set against diapered backgrounds—gold for the haggadah and silver on the altarpiece—with the foregrounds made up of landscape elements: earth and stylized trees. The patches of earth on the retablo are composed of stylized forms stacked up against one another, while in the haggadah the landscape is a continuous, shaded mass. On the altarpiece, God dominates through his size or his appearance in a mandorla; in the haggadah scenes he is absent. Despite differences in the figure style between the haggadah and the altarpiece—the retablo figures are more linear—there are striking stylistic and iconographic similarities between the two works, in particular their devotion of considerable space to the story of Creation and their emphasis on a few important figures in scenes set against a diapered background and anchored to a foreground of earth and stylized trees. The biblical story of Creation has a special place in Spanish Romanesque art, appearing in frescoes, textiles, miniatures, metalwork and sculpture from the eleventh century on. Among the early works with multiple scenes are the Shrine for the Relics of San Isodoro dated 1063,48 the frescoes from San Martín de Sescorts (province of Barcelona) dated late eleventh to early twelfth century,49 and the early twelfth-century Tapiz de la Creación in the museum of Girona Cathedral.50 Scenes of Adam and Eve also appear on a corner pillar of the cloister at Girona dated shortly before 1150.51 They include: The Creation of Eve, God Showing Adam and Eve the Tree of Knowledge, and a Composite Scene of the Temptation of Eve, Adam Eating the Apple, and Adam and Eve covering their Nakedness and Hiding from God. These are followed by scenes occurring after the Expulsion: Adam and Eve Working and the Story of Cain and Abel. Another corner pillar in the cloister is devoted to twelve scenes of the history of Man through the story of Noah. A third pillar bears scenes from the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while scenes of Samson, Daniel, and Habakkuk are carved on the middle pillar on the east side of the cloister. A biblical cycle was also created on the capitals of the last third of the thirteenth-century Palau Portal of the cathedral in Valencia (figure 6.6). Each of the capitals at Valencia bears two or more scenes, yet their presentation is more detailed than on those at Girona. A major difference between the sculptures and the haggadot is the presence of a figure who is God or Jesus in the carvings, while only an occasional angel appears in the haggadot. The figure of God at Girona, however, is unusual for a Christian work: he has no halo and is the same size as the humans with whom he interacts, while the “God” figure at Valencia always has a cruciform nimbus identifying him as Jesus.

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Figure 6.6.  The Palau Portal, Valencia Cathedral, last third of the 13th century. Photo by author

The more than twenty biblical scenes at Valencia are distributed on twelve capitals and begin with the Fifth Day of Creation and end with Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law. The temporal scope of its subjects is nearly equal to those in the Sarajevo Haggadah, and the iconography of some of the scenes is strikingly similar to that of the miniatures in the manuscript. In both representations of the Fifth Day of Creation, the earth is a sphere whose bottom half is occupied by the waters, above which flies a bird or birds (figure 6.7, left).52 The same sphere appears on the next capital, this time accompanied by the figure of Jesus who points to it, a scene that may represent the phrase that occurs repeatedly in the account of Creation, “And God saw that this was good” (figure 6.7, right). This phrase follows the textual account of the fifth day that appears on the first capital (Gen. 1:21).53 Other scenes whose iconography is shared by the capitals and the Golden Haggadah are the Creation of Eve and the Temptation (figure 6.8), which on both works appear in the same spatial unit, and the Offering of Isaac, although the Sarajevo scene appears to be a reverse image of the capital depiction. Sometimes the same subject appears in both works, but their iconography differs.54 The capitals include scenes that are not found in the fourteenth-century haggadot, for example, God Discussing with the Angels the Creation of

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Figure 6.7.  The First Two Days of Creation, The Palau Portal, Valencia Cathedral, last third of the 13th century. Photo by author

Figure 6.8.  Scenes of Adam and Eve (at right) and of God Discussing with the Angels the Creation of Man (at left), The Palau Portal, Valencia Cathedral, last third of the 13th century. Photo by author

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Man (Gen. 1:26, figure 6.8). A very unusual detail of this scene is that the foremost angel wears a Judenhut,55 a hat that sometimes identified the wearer as a Jew, a symbol unusual for Spanish art but common in contemporaneous Ashkenazi miniatures and sculpture. Another unusual iconography is that Abraham rides a camel to Shechem—a detail absent from the biblical text (Gen. 12:6–7, figure 6.9)—and the representation of a horned Moses in the scene of the Receiving of the Law (figure 6.10).56 There are other parallels between the capitals and the haggadot with biblical cycles, but we will limit this aspect of the discussion and list scenes absent from the Sarajevo Haggadah but sculpted on the Valencia capitals: Abraham Entertaining the Three Angels who foretold the birth of Isaac, which is also in the Golden Haggadah (fol. 3r). (This is the only capital that is out of order according to the biblical narrative.) The gaps in the narrative presented by the capitals, for example, the omission of any subjects that took place in Egypt concerning the salvation of the Israelites, and the concentration on scenes of Creation and on others that prefigure Christian history, like the Offering of Isaac, the Giving of the Law (a parallel to the Giving of the New Law), Abraham Rides a Camel to Shechem (hinting at Jesus’s Entry into Jerusalem), and Abraham Entertaining the Three Angels, a symbol of the Trinity, suggest a thoughtful choice by the patron or sculptor to concentrate on the biblical content that had the most

Figure 6.9.  Abraham Riding to Shekhem, The Palau Portal, Valencia Cathedral, last third of the 13th century. Photo by author

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Figure 6.10.  Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law, Palau Portal, Cathedral of Valencia, last third of the 13th century. Photo by author

meaning for the cathedral’s worshippers. In 1909, José Sanchis y Silva, who identified the subjects on the Valencia capitals, interpreted even those that were faithful to the biblical narrative as Christological scenes.57 For example, the fifth day of creation, represented on the first capital by a bird hovering over the waters of the earth as in the Sarajevo Haggadah, is identified by Sanchis y Silva as the creation of the Holy Spirit. The story of Adam and Eve was also painted on church walls and in Christian manuscripts.58 One mural, in the Capilla de la Vera Cruz de Maderuelo (Segovia) of the third quarter of the twelfth century, includes a composite Temptation and Adam and Eve Hiding their Nakedness whose iconography is identical to that on the St. Andrew retablo in the Cloisters.59 An extensive biblical cycle was also painted in the chapter house of the convent of Sigena (Huesca) ca. 1230. The scenes included the Creation of Adam, the Creation of Eve, God Pointing to the Tree of Knowledge, the Temptation and the Expulsion, followed by later biblical subjects such as Moses Receiving the Law and the Anointing of David as King,60 repeating the choice of subjects on the Valencia sculptures with their Christological emphasis.

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Another Genesis cycle appears in the profusely illustrated Pamplona Bibles commissioned by King Sancho of Navarre (1153–1234) and finished in 1235. In the Bible, Jesus is the God of Creation and is furnished with a cruciform nimbus. He is always larger than the other figures, his bulk enhanced by a dark mantle over a lighter tunic. The Pamplona Bibles consist of two copies of the same work, one in Bibliothèque communale in Amiens and the other in the Augsburg Universitätsbibliothek (Ms. I).61 Collating the two works yields 262 images for Genesis and Exodus, plus additional illustrations for other books of the Hebrew Bible. Besides the scene of the Finding of Moses mentioned earlier, the Pamplona Bibles manifest other correspondences with the iconography of the haggadot. For example, the third day of creation is represented by an orb whose bottom half is covered with wavy lines, while the top half is monochromatic. The same form appears in the Sarajevo Haggadah.62 In scenes of Moses at the Burning Bush, God’s presence is rendered as a youthful head emerging from the shrubbery and the same is true in the Golden Haggadah (fol. 10v), its Sister manuscript (fol. 13r), and in the Brother of the Rylands Haggadah (fol. 1v). The Crossing of the Red Sea in the Pamplona Bible shows the waters divided into different zones, but not the pairing of the tribes with individual zones as in the Brother Haggadah, whose composition is based on a midrash.63 The Spanish haggadot and related works incorporate iconography from various sources. The oldest reflect works of early Jewish and Christian art that were transmitted through intermediate works to late medieval Spain. As noted by many writers, Christian art may have served to transfer compositions developed in the ancient Land of Israel and surrounding areas to Europe, with southern Italy playing a key role, but the remarkable thirteenth-century cameos with Hebrew inscriptions indicate that Jews also commissioned and created portable works in the same region. Ferrer Bassa was one of the Spanish artists who journeyed to Italy and absorbed its painting style before returning to work in the region of Barcelona where his workshop created art for both Christians and Jews. The most important and significant parallels occur in Spanish art from the twelfth century onward. Works that were installed in public spaces such as the Valencia portal and church frescoes were available as models to those creating miniatures for haggadot. (Jews were known to have frequented churches when forced to hear conversionist sermons, or attended on their own out of interest in intellectual discourse.)64 Jews who were artists employed by the Church created works of art on Christian themes.65 The mixed ateliers like that of Ferrer Bassa provided other avenues by which Jewish and Christian iconography could have been

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exchanged during the fourteenth century when illuminated haggadot were popular among those able to afford them. The result of all these influences was a very creative, productive period in Hebrew manuscript painting. The production of illuminated haggadot ceased in Spain, even before the destruction of the Jewish quarter of Barcelona and other cities during the pogroms of 1391 for reasons that are still inexplicable. NOTES A first version of this article was published in Images. A Journal of Jewish Art and Visual Culture, 4 (2011), 1–17.   1.  For the earliest haggadot manuscripts, see Jay Rovner, “An Early Passover Hagaddah according to the Palestinian Rite,” Jewish Quarterly Review, 3–4 (2000), 337–96. I want to thank Dr. Rovner for advising on the earliest haggadot.   2.  Representations of the symbolic foods eaten at the Seder appear in eleventhcentury haggadot, but are isolated illustrations. For examples, see David Kaufmann, “Notes to the Egyptian Fragments of the Haggadah,” Jewish Quarterly Review, X (1898), 381.  3. Bezalel Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Isles. Volume One. Spanish and Portuguese Manuscripts (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), figs. 230–35, 239.   4.  The second half of the Bologna manuscript is in Modena (Biblioteca Estense, cod. A-K. 1–22–Or. 92). This haggadah is part of a maḥzor, a prayer book for holydays.   5.  Gabrielle Sed-Rajna noted that very few Hebrew manuscripts remain on the Iberian peninsula. Most must have been carried into exile. (“Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula,” Convivencia: Jews, Muslims and Christians in Medieval Spain, Eds. Vivian B. Mahr, Terrilyna Dodds, and Thomas F. Glick (New York: George Braziller, 1992), 133.   6.  Henry Kamen, “Toward Expulsion,” in Elie Kedourie, ed., Spain and the Jews: The Sephardi Experience 1492 and After (London: Thames and Hudson, 1992), 71.  7. Geraldine Brooks, People of the Book: A Novel (New York: Viking, 2008).  8. David Heinrich Müller and Julius von Schlosser, Die Haggadah von Sarajevo. Eine spanisch-jüdische Bilderhandschrift des Mittelalters. Anhange von David Kaufmann (Vienna, 1898).   9.  For a critical view of the first publication of the Sarajevo Haggadah, see Eva Frojmovic, “Buber in Basel, Schlosser in Sarajevo, Wischnitzer in Weimar: The Politics of Writing about Medieval Jewish Art,” Imagining the Self, Imagining the Other. Visual Representation and Jewish-Christian Dynamics in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, ed. Eva Frojmovic (Leiden: Brill, 2002), 8–19. 10.  For an account of this research, see Fragments from the “Italian Genizah,” an Exhibition (Jerusalem: Jewish National and University Library, 1999). Among the

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works included in this exhibition is a marginal depiction of “David and Goliath,” as well as illuminated word panels. The manuscripts stem from all over the Jewish world including Spain. 11. Aeschylus, Oresteia, trans. Richard Lattsmore (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954), 662–65. 12.  Michael Batterman, “The Emergence of the Spanish Illuminated Haggadah Manuscript,” Ph.D. Dissertation (Northwestern University: 2000). 13. For example, a Book of Hours for Premonstatensian use, Bohemia, ca. 1215 (Roger S. Wieck, Painted Prayers. The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art [New York: George Braziller, Inc. and The Pierpont Morgan Library, 1997], 21). 14.  Gabrielle Sed-Rajna, “Hebrew Manuscripts of Fourteenth-Century Catalonia and the Workshop of the Master of St. Mark,” Jewish Art, 18 (1992), 117–28. 15.  François Bucher, The Pamplona Bibles (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970). 16.  Gabrielle Sed-Rajna, Ancient Jewish Art. East and West (Paris: Flammarion, 1975), 74; Bucher, The Pamplona Bibles, Pls. 98–99; Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, figs. 131 and 176. 17.  Jeffrey Spier, Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007), figs. 48–49. 18.  Ze’ev Weiss and Ehud Netzer, Promise and Redemption. A Synagogue Mosaic from Sepphoris (Jerusalem: The Israel Museum, 1996), 32–33. 19.  For the scene in San Vitale, see Spier, Picturing the Bible, fig. 50; for the Pamplona Bibles, see Bucher, The Pamplona Bibles, pl. 32; for the haggadot, see Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, Pls. XXIX and XLVII. 20.  For the catacomb fresco, see Henry N. Claman, Jewish Images in the Christian Church: Art as the Mirror of the Jewish-Christian Conflict 200–1250 C.E. (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2000), fig. 2–4 and for the mosaic in Santa Maria Maggiore, see Wolfgang Volbach, Early Christian Art, Pl. 129. 21.  For classical examples, see a fourth-century Roman sarcophagus now in the Vatican Museums, no. 31434, and the doors of Santa Sabina dated ca. 432. (Spier, Picturing the Bible, cat. no. 43 and fig. 88.) 22.  Joan Molina i Figueras, “Al Voltant de Jaume Huguet,” L’Art Gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura III. Darreres manifestacions (Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2006), 142–43. 23. Bonjuà Cabrit is cited in legal records as possessing a copy of Avicenna that was stolen from Meir of Figueras, the son of a deceased physician. (Robert I. Burns, Jews in the Notarial Culture: Latinate Wills in Mediterranean Spain 1250–1350 (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: Univerisity of California Press, 1996), 64. 24.  Her headdress is similar to that worn by the mistress of the household in the Seder scenes of the Sarajevo Haggadah and the Sister of the Golden Haggadah. (Cecil Roth, The Sarajevo Haggada (Belgrade: Beogradski Izdavač-Grafički Zavod, 1975, n.p.; Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, fig. 188). Knowledge of this headdress had even spread to Germany by the beginning of the fifteenth century. In a scene of the birth of Mary on the Buxtehuder Altar, Meister Bertram painted the woman serving Elizabeth wearing a headdress with

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chin strap and circular element atop her head. (Jürgen Wittstock,ed., Aus dem Alltag der mittelalterlichen Stadt. Hefte des Focke Museums, no. 62 [1982], 165, fig. 7.) 25.  Alfredo Romero Santamaría, ed., Hebraica aragonalia. El legado judío en Aragón (Saragossa, Palacio de Sastago—Diputación de Zaragoza, 2002), Vol. 1, 155. 26. For the capital, see Elena Romero, ed., La Vida Judía en Sefarad (Toledo, 1991), 60. Until early in the twentieth century, the Jewish women of Salonica wore headdresses whose constituent elements were similar to those depicted in Spanish art, but whose proportions were somewhat different. (Batsheva Goldman-Ida, “The Sephardic Woman’s Head-Dress,” in From Iberia to Diaspora. Studies in Sephardic History and Cultlure, ed. Yedida K. Stillman and Norman A. Stillman [Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill, 1999], 525–30.) 27.  Robert W. Scheller, Exemplum: Model-book Drawings and the Practice of Artistic Transmission in the Middles Ages (ca. 900–ca. 1470), trans., Michael Hoyle (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1995), 27. 28.  Sed-Rajna, “Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula,” 145. 29.  A facsimile of the Alba Bible has been published accompanied by essays on the manuscript: Moses of Arragel, trans., La Biblia de Alba, ed. Jeremy Schonfeld (Madrid: Fundación Amigos de Sefarad, 1992); see there the older bibliography. 30. Sonia Fellous has written that the number of miniatures suggests more than one model. (Histoire de la Bible de Moïse Arragel [Paris: Somogy éditions d’art, 2001], 337–38.) 31.  Carl-Otto Nordström, The Duke of Alba’s Castilian Bible. A Study of the Rabbinical Features of the Miniatures (Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksells, 1967). 32.  Vivian B. Mann, “Jews and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain,” Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain, ed. Vivian B. Mann (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010), 106–18; Sonia Fellous has written that a Spanish atelier of Jewish painters who worked for both Christians and Jews may have created the miniatures in the Bible d’Alba completed in 1430. (Fellous, Histoire de la Bible de Moïse Arragel, 340.) 33.  Judith Berg Sobré, Behind the Altar Table. The Development of the Painted Retable in Spain, 1300–1500 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989), 36–37. 34.  See Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Coptic Fabrics (Paris: Adam Biro, 1990), pp 78–79 and 129–31. 35.  I want to thank Charles Little of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for sharing his research on the cameos. 36.  For the figure of King David see, José Luis Lacave et al, Sefarad, Sefarad. La España Judía (Madrid: Lunwerg Editores, 1992), 212; for the others, see Rainer Hausherr, ed., Die Zeit der Staufer. Geschichte-Kunst-Kultur (Stuttgart: Württembergisches Landesmuseum, 1977), cat. nos. 881, 885, 886, 889, 898; and Hans Wentzel, “Die Kamee mit dem ägyptischen Joseph in Leningrad,” Kunstgeschichtliche Studien für H. Kauffmann. Berlin: Mann, 1956, 85–100. 37.  For Joseph Revealing Himself see Cecil Roth, The Sarajevo Haggada (Belgrade: Beogradski Izdavač-Grafički Zavod, 1975) and Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, fig. 130; for Noah, see Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, fig. 125 and

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Naomi M. Steinberger, ed., The Prato Haggadah. Facsimile (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 2007), fol. 84r. 38. Gabrielle Sed-Rajna, The Kaufmann Haggadah (Budapest: Kultura International, 1990), 12. 39. Katrin Kogman-Appel, Illuminated Haggadot from Medieval Spain: Biblical Imagery and the Passover Holiday (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006), 56–61. 40.  For an account of the remaining frescoes from Sigena, see Eduard Carbonell i Esteller et al., Guía arte románico (Barcelona: Museu nacional d’art de Catalunya, 1998), 170–75. 41.  Millard Meiss, “Italian Style in Catalonia and a Fourteenth-Century Catalan Workshop,” Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, 4 (1941), pp. 45–87. 42.  F. Wormald, “Afterthoughts on the Stockholm Exhibition,” Konsthistorish Tidskrift, 22 (1953), 74–78. 43.  Sed-Rajna, “Hebrew Manuscripts of Fourteenth-Century Catalonia and the Workshop of the Master of St. Mark,” 116–28; Rosa Alcoy i Pedrós, “Ferrer Bassa, un creador d’estil,” L’Art Gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura I. De l’inici a l’italianisme (Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2005), 162–63. 44.  Mann, “Jews and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain,” 112–118. 45.  That they were not titles for the finished miniatures is indicated by the discrepancies between the texts and the subjects depicted. 46. The architectural frame and drapery style of the Cloisters retablo panels are particularly close to those on the frontale (altar frontal) of Santa Perpetua de Mogoda of the first or second quarter of the fourteenth century (Barcelona, Museo Diocesano, Inv. MDB/400). See Marisa Melero-Monea, “La Pintura sobre tabla del Gótico lineal. Frontales, laterales de altar y retablos en el reino de Mallorca y los condados catalanes,” Memoria Artium, 3 (2005), 72–79. 47.  Kim Dame, “Les haggadot catalanes,” L’Art Gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura I. De l’inici a l’italianisme (Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2005), 106. 48.  Creation scenes on the reliquary include The Creation of Adam, The Temptation, God Admonishing Adam and Eve, God Clothing Adam and Eve, and The Expulsion from Paradise. (Pedro de Palol and Max Hirmer, Early Medieval Art in Spain [New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1966], figs. 71–73.) 49.  Remaining frescoes are Adam and Eve Hiding from God and the Expulsion from Paradise. They are now in the Museo Episcopal in Vich. (De Palol and Hirmer, Early Medieval Art in Spain, Pl. XXVI.) 50.  The Third Day of Creation: Separation of the Waters from the Dry Land; Fourth Day Creation of Sun and Moon; The Fifth Day: Creation of the Birds and Creatures of the Deep; Sixth Day of Creation: The Creation of Adam; The Creation of Eve, Adam Naming the Animals (De Palol and Hirmer, Early Medieval Art in Spain, Pl. XXXV, figs. 132–33). 51.  For the scenes of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah, see De Palol and Hirmer, Early Medieval Art in Spain, figs. 144–47. Also, Josep Calzada i Oliveras, Die Kathedrale von Girona, 2nd ed. (Barcelona, Editoral Escudo de Oro, 1988), 14. 52.  On representations of the earth as a sphere in the Sarajevo Haggadah and its relationship to other manuscripts, see Herbert Broderick, “Observations on the

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Creation Cycle of the Sarajevo Haggadah,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 3 (1984), 320–24. 53.  The same phrase appears in the account of the first day of Creation (Gen. 1:10) and following the account of the sixth day (Gen. 1:25). 54.  For example, Adam and Eve Covering Themselves, The Offering of Abel and his Killing by Cain, The Drunkeness of Noah, and Moses at the Burning Bush. 55.  In the scene of the Second Council of Joseph’s Brothers in the Golden Haggadah (fol. 6v), one of the brothers wears a Judenhut. 56.  Camels figure prominently in a later episode, Eliezer’ search for a bride for Isaac (Gen. 24:10–14). On the horned Moses, see Ruth Melnikoff, The Horned Moses in Medieval Art and Thought (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970). 57.  José Sanchis y Silva, La Catedral de Valencia: Guia historica y artistica (Valencia: F. Vives Mora, 1909), 72–73. 58. For example, a Bible from the Monastery of San Pedro de Cardeña in Burgos, ca. 1175 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art of Medieval Spain, A.D. 500–1200, no. 152). 59.  Palol and Hirmer, Early Medieval Art in Spain, pls. XL and XLI. Adam and Eve also appear in frescoes from Vich (Barcelona) of the late eleventh to the early twelfth century. (Ibid., pl. XXVI.) 60.  See above, n. 40. 61. Bucher, The Pamplona Bibles. 62.  Bucher, Pl. 3 and Cecil Roth, The Sarajevo Haggada. 63. Bucher, The Pamplona Bibles, Pl. 118; Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, fig. 294. 64.  Mann, “Jews and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain,” 119. 65.  Ibid., 86–92.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Alcoy i Pedrós, Rosa. “Ferrer Bassa, un creador d’estil.” In L’Art Gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura I. De l’inici a l’italianisme. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2005. Batterman, Michael. “The Emergence of the Spanish Illuminated Haggadah Manuscript,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Northwestern University: 2000. Berg Sobré, Judith. Behind the Altar Table. The Development of the Painted Retable in Spain, 1300–1500. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1989. Broderick, Herbert. “Observations on the Creation Cycle of the Sarajevo Haggadah.” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 3 (1984): 320–24. Bucher, François. The Pamplona Bibles. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970. Burns, Robert I. Jews in the Notarial Culture. Latinate Wills in Mediterranean Spain 1250–1350. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1996. Calzada i Oliveras, Josep. Die Kathedrale von Girona, 2nd ed. Barcelona, Editoral Escudo de Oro, 1988. Claman, Henry N. Jewish Images in the Christian Church. Art as the Mirror of the JewishChristian Conflict 200–1250 C.E. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2000.

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Dame, Kim. “Les haggadot catalanes.” L’Art Gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura I. De l’inici a l’italianisme, 104–9. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2005. Fellous, Sonia. Histoire de la Bible de Moïse Arragel. Paris: Somogy éditions d’art, 2001. Fragments from the “Italian Genizah,” an Exhibition. Jerusalem: Jewish National and University Library, 1999. Frojmovic, Eva. “Buber in Basel, Schlosser in Sarajevo, Wischnitzer in Weimar: The Politics of Writing about Medieval Jewish Art.” In Imagining the Self, Imagining the Other. Visual Representation and Jewish-Christian Dynamics in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. Edited by Eva Frojmovic, Leiden: Brill, 2002, 18–19. Kamen, Henry. “Toward Expulsion,” in Spain and the Jews. The Sephardi Experience 1492 and After. Edited by Elie Kedourie, London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. Kaufmann, David. “Notes to the Egyptian Fragments of the Haggadah.” Jewish Quarterly Review, X (1898), 381. Kogman-Appel, Katrin. Illuminated Haggadot from Medieval Spain. Biblical Imagery and the Passover Holiday. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006. Lacave, José Luis, et al. Sefarad, Sefarad. La España Judía. Madrid: Lunwerg Editores, 1992. Mann, Vivian B. “Jews and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain.” In Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain. Edited by Vivian B. Mann, 106–18. New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010. Meiss, Millard. “Italian Style in Catalonia and a Fourteenth-Century Catalan Workshop.” Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, 4 (1941): 45–87. Melero-Monea, Marisa. “La Pintura sobre tabla del Gótico lineal. Frontales, laterales de altar y retablos en el reino de Mallorca y los condados catalanes.” Memoria Artium, 3(2005), 72–79. Molina i Figueras, Joan. “Al Voltant de Jaume Huguet.” L’Art Gòtic a Catalunya. Pintura III. Darreres manifestacions. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana, 2006), 142–43. Moses of Arragel, trans. La Biblia de Alba, ed. Jeremy Schonfeld. Madrid: Fundación Amigos de Sefarad, 1992. Müller, David Heinrich and Julius von Schlosser. Die Haggadah von Sarajevo. Eine spanisch-jüdische Bilderhandschrift des Mittelalters. Anhange von David Kaufmann. Vienna: n.p., 1898. Narkiss, Bezalel. Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Isles. Volume One. Spanish and Portuguese Manuscripts. New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. Nordström, Carl-Otto. The Duke of Alba’s Castilian Bible. A Study of the Rabbinical Features of the Miniatures. Uppsala: Almquist and Wiksells, 1967. Palol, Pedro de, and Max Hirmer. Early Medieval Art in Spain. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1966. Romero, Elena, ed. La Vida Judia en Sefarad. Toledo: n.p., 1991. Roth, Cecil. The Sarajevo Haggada. Belgrade: Beogradski Izdavač-Grafički Zavod, 1975. Rovner, Jay. “An Early Passover Hagaddah according to the Palestinian Rite.” Jewish Quarterly Review, 3–4 (2000): 337–96.

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Sanchis y Silva, José. La Catedral de Valencia: Guia historica y artistica. Valencia: F. Vives Mora, 1909. Santamaría, Alfredo Romero, ed. Hebraica aragonalia. El legado judío en Aragón. Saragossa, Palacio de Sastago—Diputación de Zaragoza, 2002. Scheller, Robert W. Exemplum: Model-book Drawings and the Practice of Artistic Transmission in the Middles Ages (ca. 900–ca. 1470). Translated by Michael Hoyle. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 1995. Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle. Ancient Jewish Art. East and West. Paris: Flammarion, 1975. Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle. “Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts from the Iberian Peninsula,” Convivencia. Jews, Muslims and Christians in Medieval Spain, eds. Vivian B. Mann, Thomas F. Glick, Jerrilynn D. Dodds (New York: George Braziller, 1992), 133–156. Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle. “Hebrew Manuscripts of Fourteenth-Century Catalonia and the Workshop of the Master of St. Mark.” Jewish Art, 18 (1992): 117–28. Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle. The Kaufmann Haggadah. Budapest: Kultura International, 1990. Spier, Jeffrey. Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Steinberger, Naomi M., ed. The Prato Haggadah. Facsimile. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 2007. Wentzel, Hans. “Die Kamee mit dem ägyptischen Joseph in Leningrad,” In Kunstgeschichtliche Studien für H. Kauffmann. Berlin: Mann, 1956, 85–100. Wieck, Roger S. Painted Prayers: The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art. New York: George Braziller, Inc. and The Pierpont Morgan Library, 1997. Wormald, F. “Afterthoughts on the Stockholm Exhibition.” Konsthistorish Tidskrift, 22 (1953), 74–78.

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From Myth to Memory A Study of German Jewish Translations of Exodus 12–13:16 Abigail E. Gillman

D

THE EXODUS MYTH

oes the story of the Exodus from Egypt require translation? What might it gain in translation? Can a nation go from slavery to freedom without translation? Exodus, y’tziat mitzrayim, Passover and Pesah, evoke a range of images, songs, and symbols that have traveled through Jewish history, across geographical boundaries and also across the religious/secular divide. References to the Exodus are ubiquitous in Judaism, beginning with the Hebrew Bible itself;1 the Sabbath kiddush even places the Exodus from Egypt on par with the creation of the world. Passover rituals have had unparalleled staying power; and the liturgy of the hagadah, as ancient as the Mishnah, has adapted itself time and time again to struggles of liberation, to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, the movement to free Soviet Jewry, feminism, and more recently, to promote solidarity with African-Americans, Christians, and Muslims. How did the Exodus story attain such an exalted status? The Exodus myth is not a product of the midrashic or historical imagination; it originates squarely within the narrated timeline of the Bible (as opposed to the narrative timeline or actual chronology). Even before the Israelites come out of Egypt, Moses instructs them, “And you shall explain to your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt’” (Ex 13:8).2 The myth-making even predates the leave-taking! And it recurs, always in broad strokes and clear, binary terms. “You shall say to your children, ‘We were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt and the Lord 191

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freed us from Egypt with a mighty hand’” (Deut 6:21). . . . has anything as grand as this ever happened, or has its like ever been known? . . . Has any god ventured to go and take for himself one nation from the midst of another by prodigious acts, by signs and portents, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and awesome power, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” (Deut 4:32, 34)? These child-centered versions are just what is called for “when in times to come, your children ask you” about the need for so many laws and statutes and rituals. When the Rabbis of the Mishnah prescribed that the seder narrative—whatever its content—follow a fixed trajectory that “begins with disgrace and concludes with praise,” they insured that the mythic characterization of the Exodus would endure.3 It would seem that there is no story more transparent—and less in need of translation—than the events detailed in Exodus 12–13:16. But that is of course a fiction. Exodus 12–13:16, which describes the end of slavery and the redemption and re-birth of the Israelite nation as the chosen people of God, depicts the first momentous transition in Israelite (and Jewish) history. If the drowning of the Egyptians marks the definitive burial of the Egyptian past—the sea is both the tomb of the Egyptians and the womb of the Israelites—the night of the fourteenth–fifteenth is pure limbo. As the Hebrew families roast and consume the lamb according to precise instructions during the final night in their Egyptian houses, clad in their traveling clothes, they not only simulate their upcoming journey, but also creatively visualize their new identity as God’s people. Everything had changed and yet nothing had changed. The first difficulty posed by the Exodus story owes to its extreme liminality, exemplified by the oxymoron “Pesah Mitzrayim”—the Talmud’s designation for what I call the virtual Pesah celebrated during the night prior to the Israelites’ departure. A liminal mood is also evoked with the instruction that the lamb is to be slaughtered not at a specific hour, but “between the two evenings” (beyn ha’arbaim) of the fourteenth and fifteenth days (Ex 12:6). The JPS translation renders the phrase “at twilight,” but an imaginative modern translator, Samson Raphael Hirsch, renders it “between the two mixtures of day and night,” commenting, “the one, where night already mixes itself with day, the other where day is still mixed with the night.” The chaotic series of events that we are to believe occurr during this “night of vigil”—the baking of the dough, sacrificing, eating, packing, and, once the plague subsided, the actual departing— transpire in a period that can be likened to the seconds after an infant emerges from the womb and before it begins to breathe. The confusion is more than just symbolic, however. Very little about the Exodus pericope or Ur-Exodus is black and white, and the account

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muddles most of the important details, such as the etymology of the festival’s name and the timing of the departure. Were the Israelites safe during their last night in Egypt, or were they in danger? Did God pass over the Israelite homes in haste, or linger over them when protecting them from the “Destroyer?”4 Did God’s people leave Egypt stealthily, in the dark of night, or triumphantly, in broad daylight the following morning? Was the unleavened bread, later called “bread of distress” (Deut 16:3), intended to commemorate servitude in Egypt or to provide a first taste of freedom? What is the necessary connection between the ceremonial feast of the lamb and the festival of unleavened bread? To some degree, and for some readers, these difficulties can be resolved through reference to different sources. For example: Exodus 12:29–39, which begins “in the middle of the night,” describes a hasty nighttime departure, with the Israelites being urged on by Pharaoh and the impatient Egyptians. These verses, attributed to the J account, pick up the narrative thread of Exodus 11:4–8, where God first announces the tenth plague (though no mention is made of blood on the doorposts), foretelling that following the midnight plague against the Egyptian firstborn, Pharoah’s courtiers will urge the people to depart. But Numbers 33:3–4 goes out of its way to emphasize that the people departed in broad daylight: They set out from Ramses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. It was on the morrow of the passover offering that the Israelites started out defiantly, in plain view of all the Egyptians. The Egyptians meanwhile were burying those among them whom the Lord had struck down, every first-born—whereby the Lord had executed judgment on their gods.

This version follows the account of the opening section of Exodus 12, attributed to the Priestly source. There, the Israelites are instructed not to leave their houses during the plague, and the bloodied doorway functions apotropaically to spare the first-born children. The fact that the “hasty” nighttime departure is simulated within the ceremony—“This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly: it is a passover offering to the LORD” (Ex 12:11)—suggests the integration of elements of the J account by P. All in all, scholars believe that four independent traditions were expertly woven together and reinterpreted to comprise the Exodus story as we know it.5 The pericope was likely composed at time when the festival of Passover was already enormously important. Yet source criticism cannot account for the most striking aspect of the Exodus narrative, its obsession with memory. In Brevard Childs’s eloquent formulation: “How could Israel be observing the feast of unleavened bread when they were thrust out of Egypt? The text itself seems to be somewhat aware of the problem when it stresses the command for

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perpetual observation. Still the redactor makes no real effort to ease the difficulty of passing from the first night to later celebrations of the festival and seems basically unconcerned with the exact historical sequence of events. What happened ‘that day’ is to be remembered in Israel throughout all generations in the festival of unleavened bread.”6 Why are the Israelites instructed to celebrate Passover even before they leave Egypt? What are the implications of this inversion of the event and its commemoration? Were the mandates of performativity, transmission, and commemoration important to such a degree that they not only shaped the biblical narrative but eclipsed the departure itself? If in fact the departure from Egypt was commemorated even before it was even experienced, then on some level, the “actual” Exodus merges with its own telling. When the narrator seals the story of the departure from Egypt with the comment, “That was for the LORD a night of vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt; that same night is the LORD’s, one of vigil for all the children of Israel throughout the ages” (Ex 12:42), the need to obliterate any gap whatsoever between the first Passover and the later festival becomes palpable. Childs explains, In theological terms, the relation between act and interpretation, or event and word, is one which cannot be separated. The biblical writer does not conceive of the event as primary or “objective” from which an inferential, subjective deduction of its meaning is drawn . . . The event is never uninterpreted. For this biblical narrator the historical distinction between earlier and later passovers was lost.7

These observations about the blurring of objective and subjective dimensions recall French historian Pierre Nora’s now-classic understanding of the interplay of history and memory. I return to my original question: is not the power of Exodus mnemonic, as much as it is mythic? The biblical narrator recorded the Exodus story not as myth, nor as chronicle, but as a lieu de mémoire, a layered, conflicted, constructed site of memory.8 In Pierre Nora’s words, these sites aim to provide a history in multiple voices . . . less interested in causes than in effects; . . . less interested in “what actually happened” than in its perpetual re-use and misuse, its influence on successive presents; less interested in traditions than in the way in which traditions are constituted and passed on.9 Contrary to historical objects . . . lieux de mémoire have no referent in reality; or, rather, they are their own referent . . . This is not to say that they are without content, physical presence, or history; it is to suggest that what makes them lieux de mémoire is precisely that by which they escape from history. In this sense, the lieu de mémoire is double: a site of excess closed upon itself, concentrated in its own name, but also forever open to the full range of its possible significance.10

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Paradoxically, a story that is at once self-referential and saturated with memory remains open to “the full range of its possible significance.” “AND THE BLOOD ON THE HOUSES SHALL BE A SIGN FOR YOU.” To regard the Exodus story as a site of Jewish memory is to subvert the mythic, child-centered perspective; it is to appreciate that the Jewish Exodus is not a one-way street to freedom, but rather a dialectical experience, where past and future step out of chronology, inside and outside reverse directions, “mountains skip like lambs,” and rivers run upstream. In this reading, the blood-stained doorway is the critical topos or point of departure. The sacrificial blood painted on the doorposts and the lintel was at one and the same time for God’s eyes (“when I see the blood I will spare you”) and for human eyes (“and the blood on the houses shall be a sign for you”).11 The first rationale powerfully echoes God’s justification for setting the rainbow in the clouds as a sign of the primordial covenant in Genesis 9:12–17. In Exodus 12, as the contest with Pharaoh, the magicians, and the gods of Egypt comes to a head, God prepares to lay down the bow once again; blood is painted in a bow-shaped formation over the doorway in Exodus 12.From the vantage point of the Israelites on the ground, the blood ostensibly signaled both the horizontal and vertical dimensions of God’s power. Hirsch observes that the blood above, on the lintel, denotes both the natural world—all that which rained down from above in the months prior to this first month—and the supernatural Being who pulls the strings, whereas the blood on the doorposts highlights the revolution taking place in the social domain, in the household, the family, the community, the nation.12 For the reader of Exodus, the blood signals all of this and more. It reminds us that the opening of the Israelite dwelling was the womb of God’s first-born people. Blood, a feature of all covenantal moments, also denotes the fact that Jewish survival is anything but certain. For it is not the actual door but the blood that makes possible the Exodus “from slavery to freedom,” because if God’s Destroying agent had not passed over/jumped over/spared the Israelite homes, their children would have perished that night as well. To be sure, there can be no Exodus without a doorway. But blood is what transforms the doorway into site of memory, foreshadowing the incomparable power of the Exodus story in the Jewish imaginary. In some respects, however, the door does mark an absolute dividing line between slavery and freedom, Us and Them. For one thing, it prevents the “destruction” or the “Destroyer” from entering the Israelite dwellings (12:13, also 13:23), making it possible for the nation to survive its own redemption. Throughout the first chapters of the book of Exodus and the

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account of the plagues, the door distinguishes the destiny of the Hebrews from that of the Egyptians, “in order that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel”; light from darkness; life from death; the saved from the drowned. And there are other absolute barriers as well. In the Pesah ritual, no leavened bread may be eaten for seven days, and those who eat of it will be “cut off from Israel” (Ex 12:15). The Pesah offering must be eaten “in one house,” and no leftovers may be taken out of the house (Ex 12:46)—no take-outs. At other times, however, these absolute barriers become less certain and even permeable. The categorical rule of “one lamb per household” can be modified in the case of an unusually small household to include the neighbors (Ex 12:3–4). The nomadic existence that awaits the Israelites on the other side of the door is paradoxically introduced into their slave homes by way of the prescribed costume: the Pesah sacrifice is to be eaten with girded loins, sandaled feet, staff in hand (Ex 12:11). The essential Egypt/Israel distinction notwithstanding, death does enter into the Israelite homes by way of the slaughtering of the lamb, not to mention the screams emitted from the Egyptian dwellings, for “there is no house that there was not a dead one there”; the paschal blood could bar the Destroyer from entering, but not the impact of his Destruction. Transitions are times of greatest vulnerability and danger—a state captured by the beautifully ambiguous designation “night of vigil.” In more ways than one did the Israelites get a taste of that which their enemies experienced. Most surprisingly, by the end of chapter 12, even the national barriers between us and them, Israelite and non-Israelite, citizen and alien, prove pliable. Chapter 12 closes with the astounding statement that in future times there will be “one law for the citizen and stranger who dwells among you” (Ex 12:49) with respect to the eventual observance of the paschal rite; another ancient blood rite, circumcision, can turn an outsider (slave or sojourner) into an insider (Ex 12:44). In all of these ways, the narrative conveys that to walk through the doorway was not to leave the past behind, but to overcome the “insider/ outsider binary,”13 to bring the outside inside, and to merge, rather than separate, future liberation and past bondage. TRANSLATIO IMPERII: READING EXODUS IN TRANSLATION I began with the question of whether a nation can go from slavery to freedom without translation. Evidently, the biblical writer did not think so. Nor did a group of modern translators, German Jewish scholars who were drawn to respond, as translators and commentators, to the ambiguities and nuances in the Exodus narrative.

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For was it not the case that these German Jewish intellectuals, who experienced political and social Emancipation, Haskalah, the growth of three major Jewish movements, and a Jewish cultural, intellectual Renaissance in the early twentieth century, were undergoing another y’tziat mitzrayim, another momentous departure, one no less dialectical in nature? In 1780–1783, Moses Mendelssohn—inspired in part by the modern Yiddish translations produced in Amsterdam in 1678 and 1679—designed the first German translation of the Hebrew Bible for Ashkenazi Jews; he intended the translation to wean them from the Yiddish translations, return them to the Hebrew Torah as a text worthy of study in its own right, and familiarize them with the structure of language (German and Hebrew). What Hermann Levin Goldschmidt called “the Jewish quest for a German Bible” continued apace in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and even after the Holocaust in Israel.14 The translations were intended for Jews who were trilingual (Yiddish, Hebrew, German) in varying degrees. In keeping with the rapidly changing social and political reality of the German Jewish population, Bible translation promoted a range of religious, political, educational, and linguistic goals. German Jewish translators approached the Bible with diverse agendas and concerns; they approached the Exodus narrative in particular in search of a usable Jewish past. A sample comparison of how a few translators chose to render three key words into German—hodesh (month), Pesach (Passover); ezov (hyssop)—reveals that each found radically different answers to fundamental questions about the origins of the Jewish nation; time; transmission and translation itself. Hodesh Exodus 12:2 declares with total confidence that time begins anew: “This month is for you a head of months; it is the first for you of the year’s months.” (Propp / Anchor Bible) “This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.” (JPS)

Commentators have noted that the verse’s parallel structure suggests its status as a performative utterance. Propp explains, “Creation of a calendar is an exercise of sovereign power, an affirmation that Yahweh’s reign over Israel has begun and Pharoah’s has ended” (see Exodus Rabbah 15:13).15 But how does one locate such an event in modern time? Translators are divided on this question. Yet they knew that the answer lay in the thricerepeated word hodesh, “new moon,” “lunar month,” or simply “month.” (The echo of rosh and rishon also provided an unexpected opportunity.)

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Moses Mendelssohn wanted his readers to regard the biblical month as identical to a modern month. Like both English versions cited above, he used the commonplace German word for hodesh, “Monat,” on all three occasions. Mendelssohn (1783): Diser Monat sey euch der Anfang der Monate. Er soll euch der erste seyn, zu allen Monaten des Jahres.16

Mendelssohn’s Hebrew commentary on the verse reveals that the word “month” concealed a pedagogical opportunity. This month: The time period of the rotation of the moon from renewal to renewal is 29 days 12 hours and 43.93 parts of an hour. It is called month or month of days, and the first day is called “head of months” or simply “month” . . . and the period of time the sun requires from one point in its cycle to its return to the same point is called a year, in a year there are sometimes twelve lunar months and sometimes thirteen, as is known, because the solar year is 365 days . . . 17

The passage exemplifies the ways in which the Bible in the haskalah functioned as a lexicon or textbook. The commentary is not religious per se; it is informative, rather than scholarly. Mendelssohn translated the Torah for Yiddish-speaking Jews without knowledge of German, let alone of the astronomical basis of the calendar.18 He sought wherever possible to disambiguate scripture, to provide an idiomatic modern German version that was clear and accessible. A strikingly different approach to the same verse was taken by Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig in the 1920s. Diese Mondneuung sei euch Anfang der Mondneuungen, Die anfängliche unter den Mondneuungen des Jahres sei sie euch.19

Buber and Rosenzweig go out of their way to avoid the word Monat that was so innovative one-hundred-and-fifty years earlier. “Month” was for them too opaque, eclipsing the lunar and the experiential dimensions of the Hebrew hodesh. They invent a neologism, “Mondneuung” or “moon-newing,” to emphasize, moreover, that the ancient hodesh was NOT the same as the modern month. With the appearance of the moon, moreover, the national commencement was related to a natural phenomenon. Throughout their translation, Buber and Rosenzweig also sought to be faithful to the repetition of similar roots, what they called Leitwörter or leading-words throughout scripture. Here, they use “Anfang” (beginning) and “anfängliche” (first) to parallel the echo of rosh and rishon. (Mendelssohn uses “Anfang” and “erst,” as does JPS with “beginning” and “first”). As the layout conveys, Buber and Rosenzweig rendered 12:2 in verse format, making visible the chiasm and the parallelism. Lastly,

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they include neither commentary, nor notes, nor verse numbers in the body of their translation, as they wanted the encounter between the reader and the text to be unmediated, unchoreographed. As we shall see, Buber and Rosenzweig sought to render the Exodus as a naturalistic story that a modern reader might also, by way of a certain kind of translation, be able to experience. In contrast to his precursor Mendelssohn and his heirs Buber and Rosenzweig, Samson Raphael Hirsch, the Rabbi and philosopher who translated the Torah in the 1860s–1870s, found Ex 12:2 problematic. When viewed through a homiletical lens, the verse is indeed troublesome: it appears to say the same thing twice. Following in Rabbi Akiva’s tradition that every letter of scriptural is meaningful in its own right, Hirsch (like many earlier commentators) believed repetition in scripture must be a means to an end. Hirsch did not dare to repeat the word “month” or even “moon-newing” three consecutive times. Buber and Rosenzweig thought repetition in scripture was poetic. Mendelssohn used repetition to be prosaic: to teach the plain meaning of the Torah. But Hirsch placed no value on repetition as an end in itself, or for that matter, on accessibility. Moreover, to a degree that has not been fully appreciated, Hirsch, (like Buber and Rosenzweig,) used translation to defamiliarize scripture: to provoke his reader to discover something new and different. “‘This month’ cannot mean ‘this month’”—so begins Hirsch’s commentary on 12:2: Hirsch (1867): Diese Mondeserneuung (renewal of the moon) sei euch Anfang von Neumonden. [New moons]; er sei euch der erste unter den Monaten des Jahres.20 “This month” cannot mean “this month” but “this renewal of the moon . . . ” . . . this would then be completely identical with the second half of the verse . . . Were the beginning of our months . . . to be fixed exactly by the astronomical phases of the planets . . . then we and our God too, would appear to be bound by the blind and unalterable laws of nature . . . But that is exactly what it should NOT be. It is not to be the conjunction of the moon with the sun . . . to which our celebration of the New Moon is to be dedicated. But each time the moon finds the sun again, each time it receives its rays of light afresh, God wants His people to find Him again and to be illuminated with fresh rays of His light . . . 21

When is a month not a month? The first step in Hirsch’s interpretation is to deny that the biblical month is like a modern month (Mendelssohn’s priority); the second is to deny that each of the three appearances of the word hodesh requires the same rendering (Buber and Rosenzweig).22 When is a month not a month? When astronomy becomes an allegory for a religious process, whereby the sun represents God and the moon, God’s people. Hirsch’s idealism is here fully in view. The interpretation solves

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the homiletic difficulty, and secondly, it opens up Hirsch’s religious approach to the Exodus story by retranslating the natural occurrence into a story of spiritual rejuvenation. Pesah How does Passover get its name? The Hebrew verb pasah first appears in Ex 12:11 (“it is a passover offering to the Lord”), but it is explained only in 12:27: “. . . you shall say, ‘It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, because He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt . . .” The etymology derives from God’s action. But what exactly did God do? The English “passed over” conceals a tension in the Hebrew between two meanings of pasah, to skip over or to spare. The idea that God spared the people suggests that they were, in fact, in danger, vulnerable like the Egyptians to the Destroyer who killed the Egyptian first-born children. Compare a series of German translations of Ex 12:27. Mendelssohn (1783): So sprecht, es ist ein Überschreitungsopfer dem Ewigen zu Ehren, weil er in Mizrajim über die Häuser der Kinder Jisrael’s hinweg geschriten . . . Zunz (1837): So sprechet: Ein Peßach-Opfer ist es dem Ewigen, der hinwegschritt über die Häuser der Kinder Jisrael in Mitzrayim.23

Like the English “pass over,” the German terms “überschreiten” and “hinwegschreiten” (stepping over, stepping away) neutralize the danger, as well as the ambiguity. Both Mendelssohn and Zunz use the Jewish Mitzrayim in lieu of Ägypten, though likely for different reasons. Zunz’s translation follows Hebrew word order at the cost of correct German syntax; he also retains the Hebrew Fremdwort “Pessach” (as did Martin Luther); yet Zunz does not go so far as to clarify how Pessach-Opfer relates to the German hingwegschritt; this was the accomplishment of another translator of the 1830s, Joseph Johlson.24 The comparison begins to illustrate that the overarching priority of Zunz—and of the generation of translators following Mendelssohn—was to challenge Mendelssohn’s idiomatic translation and produce a German Jewish Bible that was closer to the Hebrew in form, syntax, and vocabulary. We have already noted that Hirsch in the nineteenth century and Buber and Rosenzweig in the twentieth used translation to highlight what they perceived to be the origins, be they naturalistic or supernatural, of the Passover festival. Translating the root pasah/Pesah provided an opportunity to unearth further layers. Hirsch and then Buber and Rosenzweig reverted to an alternative meaning of the root (psh), connecting it to piseah, limping or hopping.

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Hirsch is the only translator (or commentator) to my knowledge who suggested that God did not gracefully pass over the houses of the Israelites, but rather limped or lingered above their houses, thereby testing them, waiting for them to prepare themselves for redemption. He translates Exodus 12:27 as follows: Hirsch: “So sollt ihr sagen: Ein Mahl zögernd hinüber schreitender Rettung ist es, Gott geweiht, der über die Häuser der Söhne Israels in Mizrajim zögernd hingeschritten . . . ” Hirsch (trans. I. Levy): “Ye shall say: ‘It is a meal of haltingly-passing over salvation, dedicated to God, who haltingly passed over the houses of the Sons of Israel in Egypt”

Hirsch explains the decision in his commentary on the earlier verse (12:11) through recourse to his own pseudo-etymological system and theory of interchanging letters.25 Pesach is related to Pasah, to step, and even, as it seems from Isaiah 27:4, to step out vigorously, Chaldean psa, psiyah, simply to step, apace. If then, pasach is “to limp” and piseach is “lame,” we seem to have another example of the [letter] chet indicating restriction, a hindrance, of the idea which is expressed by the [letter] ayin Noach and Noa, chala and alah. In any case, as pasach quite definitely means to limp, and piseach equally definitely means lame, pasach is a restricted, slow, halting stepping along. Pasach al would accordingly mean “to step haltingly over something” . . . it was only slowly and haltingly that the danger passed away from over their heads. So press on, delay not to make yourselves deserving for it to do so (“you shall eat it in haste”).26

To use grammar as the basis for tropology, or for a moralizing interpretation, is nothing new. But while many translators used language (and Leitwörter) as the basis for interpretation, Hirsch was the only one to invent his own linguistic approach to biblical Hebrew. According to a rule within Hirsch’s system of interchanging letters, pasah (ending with chet) must connote the opposite of pasa (ending with ayin), meaning “to step”—in other words, to step haltingly or slowly, to limp. The homily that evolves out of God’s limping is that the redemption of the Jews involves a slow transformation, whereby the Israelites make themselves worthy of being redeemed; eating the Paschal lamb is a means to this end. If the passing over was halting rather than hasty, the connotation of the word “b’chipazon,” or “in haste” such as that put forth by Rabbi Akiva (Brachot 9a) also has to be reversed. The God who limps, who steps haltingly over the Israelite homes, is not in any hurry to spare them. The people are in a hurry, but the hurrying does not pertain to eating.

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For entirely different reasons, Buber and Rosenzweig also rejected the benign or idiomatic meaning of pasah as “stepping over,” supplanting it with the more vigorous “leaping over” or “hopping”: Buber and Rosenzweig:

. . . dann sprecht:

Schlachtmahl des Übersprungs ist es IHM Der die Häuser der Söhne Jisraels übersprang in Ägypten. Slaughter-meal of leaping-over it is for/to HIM Who leaped over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt.

This approach is elucidated by Buber in his 1946 study Moses: The Revelation and the Covenant. We do not know what the original meaning of the term pessah, translated Passover, may have been. The interpretation of the “leaping over” the houses of Israel by YHVH or the “destroyer” during the night of the death of the first-born is, in any case, secondary; even though at the time of Isaiah this supplementary meaning of the verb, to pass over and spare, had already become established. The verb originally meant to move on one foot, and thereafter to hop. It may be assumed that at the old nomad feast a hopping dance had been presented, possibly by boys masking as he-goats. . . . It is obviously a mimetic game which is meant, a later transformation of the old shepherd round-dance. “And so you shall eat it,” are the instructions: “your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, your sticks in your hands; and you shall eat it in haste, it is pessah for YHVH. “The Exodus was, so say, performed,” it has been correctly said of the Passover feast, and possibly a hopping beating of time by those standing round the table was part of the performance. But this fresh mimetic character may have been given to the feast at this historical moment itself. Just as there are war dances in which the desired event is portrayed and simultaneously trained for until the mime suddenly becomes a reality, so, it may well be imagined, a symbolic representation of the Exodus may have passed into the Exodus itself.27

Like Johlson’s sparing God and Hirsch’s limping God, Buber’s leaping God restores a forgotten layer to the Exodus story: in this case, the pre-Israelite origins of the festival, a shepherd’s feast which involved a hopping dance and beating of drums—a scenario also present in the original meaning of hag as “ring-dance.”28 Notice the rhetorical steps which “lead” Buber to his interpretation: although far more attuned to the history of interpretation than Hirsch, he sidelines both the senses of “passing over” and “sparing” as secondary, in order to foreground the performative, experiential quality of the Exodus story, admitting that what he calls the “fresh mimetic character” may or may not be historical after all. Whatever its origins, the significance

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is clear: the Passover story exemplifies the fact that the Bible records how a people “experience” certain events. Buber takes it for granted that the Torah combines fact and legend, “saga and history”—is in other words a true site of memory—but at its core remains a “story of faith.” The scenario described in Exodus 12–13 exemplifies the transformation of the collective experience into “sensory” experience, a symbolic act—a blood-stained doorway. Because such an experience must evolve out of whatever existed from time immemorial, Moses reintroduces the holy, ancient shepherd meal, endowing the rite with new meaning. Thus, Buber and Rosenzweig alone use Mahl (meal) rather than Opfer (sacrifice) for zevah, placing the emphasis on the symbolic meal rather than the sacrifice.29 Buber considers the possibility that the mimetic character was introduced only by Moses; indeed, the thesis of Moses is that Moses introduced the Paschal ceremony precisely to create an overlap between past and present, attaching a new meaning to the ancient shepherd’s rite. (Hirsch, by contrast, emphasizes that the meal prepared them mentally for their departure, by restoring to them the tradition of the family meal eaten together in the home.) They were thereby given a taste of their eventual life as a freed people, as God’s nation, and as a collective comprised of families observing common rituals in their own homes. Moreover, the fact that the departure from Egypt is anticipated by and in fact absorbed into its own commemoration surely was planned as a way to maximize the staying power of the story and its impact on readers. When the Passover Hagadah instructs each individual to literally “see himself as if he had left Egypt,” we might reflect on the fact that according to the Bible, our premodern counterparts were commanded to literally see themselves as if they were us—some future generation of Jews celebrating what they were about to go through! In sum, the Exodus Buber and Rosenzweig retrieved was neither nationalistic nor cultic per se; they foregrounded the experiential (existential) dimensions, inspired by “religiosity” rather than “religion.”30 Ezov My final comparison concerns two late nineteenth-century renderings of Exodus 12:21–22. When Moses reports God’s instructions about the sacrifice to the elders of Israel, he adds a few additional details, among them, that when they take the lamb’s blood to paint the doorposts and upper threshold of their homes—protecting themselves from the plague of the first-born sons—they should use agudat ezov, “a bunch of hyssop,” for the dipping and smearing. Moses then summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go, pick out lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover offering. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and apply some of the blood

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that is in the basin to the lintel and to the two doorposts. None of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.” (Ex 21:21–22)

Ludwig Philippson’s Israelitische Bibel (1839–1856) became the principle Bible for liberal German Jews in the second half of the nineteenth century. Philippson was one of the most prolific Rabbis of the period, a centrist who sought to popularize Jewish religious ideas and culture through many different media, as preacher, creative writer, founder of a Jewish book club, and editor for fifty years of the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums. The Israelite Bible was an encyclopedic, three-volume work of translation and commentary which also incorporated hundreds of illustrations. These woodcuts, taken from myriad sources, frame the Hebrew national story in the realia of the text. By reconstructing the broad cultural context in which the text was originally composed, the Philippson Bible continued the mission of the Wissenschaft des Judentums. Yet historical authenticity and national identity were not Philippson’s only concerns. The predominance of plants, animals, and geographical landscapes among the images reinforces the sense that what is being showcased in this Bible is not a particular religious world but rather the natural world. Moreover, the extensive use of orientalist imagery—costumes, jewelry and architecture—exemplifies the tendency of German Jews from the mid-nineteenth century on to view their history through an orientalist lens. Philippson’s Bible depicts the message of scripture in universal terms, as nothing less than the education of the human race. To this end, he replaced the particularist, Hebrew-centered approach favored by the early nineteenth-century translators Zunz, Johlson, and others, with a naturalistic-univeralist aesthetic. Philippson’s commentary on the word ezov reads like a nineteenthcentury German encyclopedia entry: Even as the Greek ύσσωπος sounds like the Hebrew ezov, which commonly leads one to explain it as hyss. Officinalis—a plant that grows on ruins and walls (I Kings 5, 13), with lanceolate leaves, 1 to 1 ½ feet high stem, blue flower—however the tradition (Talmud Pesachim 11.7 [fol. 118.1]) distinguishes the hyssop of this law explicitly from Roman and Greek hyssop. Maimonides and Saadia translate with the Arabic Zaatar, which is [arabic] “Origanum” (Dosten), an aromatic plant with one-foot high straight stem and many downy leaves which commonly grows in Palestine, Syria, Egypt and Arabia. A completely different interpretation was attempted with Phytolacca decandra, which is frequently found near Aleppo and in Abyssinia, and has a long and attenuated stalk and an unusual number of salty parts (compare Psalm 51:9). According to the tradition (Talmud Parah 11,9), a “bundle” contains three stems, according to Maimonides (Ethics of the Fathers 3) it is the amount that can be grasped by a hand.31

Philippson’s concern appears to be the precise identification and classification of the hyssop plant. Yet one cannot help but wonder whether

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Figure 7.1.  Hysop. (Phytolacca decandra) From Ludwig Philippson’s commentary to Exodus 12:22. “Dann nehmet ein Bündel Hysop . . .” Die Israelitische Bibel, erster Theil: Die fünf Bücher Moscheh, 2nd edition, ed. Dr. Ludwig Philippson (Leipzig: Baumgärtner, 1858) 361.

he hoped that a fact-laden commentary, alongside the pretty image of a bundle tied up with ribbon, would sublimate or perhaps distract from the national drama, blood, death and all.32 Why would this be desirable? Other than the parting of the Sea, there is no moment in the drama of the Exodus that demarcates so clearly the violence with which the Israelites uprooted themselves from the diaspora context. It is easy to understand that this is not a message that a liberal rabbi in nineteenth-century Germany would care to broadcast to the world.

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When Samson Raphael Hirsch encountered the hyssop, what caught his attention? I cite from his commentary on Exodus 12:22. Here, right at the very first Mitzva, we have a concrete example of torah sheb’al peh (the spoken, traditional Torah). Here we have recorded in the “written Torah” that Moses gave additional details of the procedure to be carried out, which are not mentioned above in the “written” record of God’s commands. In the same way, at all the later laws, Moses had to receive and transmit more detailed explanations which were not given in the written record of God’s words, which only contain a general reference to the law, and leave these detailed explanations for verbal transmission.33

Though Hirsch does go on to discuss the characteristics of the hyssop plant, what he notices first and foremost is that the hyssop is not mentioned in the initial command to Moses. Hirsch takes up this theme again in his commentary on the words ken asu, “And the Children of Israel went and did as God had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they do.” (Ex. 12:28) Moses and Aaron remitted it faithfully and truly, Israel accepted and carried it out faithfully and truly, and so Israel’s act completely corresponded with God’s command. This shows incidentally, how, from the very beginning, the Law came to be kept solely on the basis of verbal tradition. Out of the six hundred thousand men who had to bring the Pessach only the elders had the order direct from Moses, the others only got it through a whole series of intermediate transmitters, and nevertheless the Torah tells us that the order was carried out completely in accordance with the command that God had in the first place given to Moses and Aaron.34

The hyssop branch provides Hirsch an occasion for a defense of the Oral Law, but the “incidental” subtext of that defense is a poetics of translation: a commitment to locating the significance of Torah beyond the text proper, claiming all the while that this meaning is wholly internal to it. Hirsch’s translation and commentary directly opposed the approach of his contemporary Philippson. Whereas the latter sought to translate the Jewish religious idea into universal terms (and pictures), the former sought to re-segregate, or insulate, the Jewish Bible from the outside world by inventing a method of translation that treated the Hebrew language as something which only Jews could fully understand. The neoOrthodox character of this project has to do with its use of translation as a defense against modernization, and as an instrument to reinstate the Talmud, the Oral Law, as the foundation, the interpretive key, the central hermeneutic, by which scripture was to be understood. As we saw in

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his commentary on pasach, Hirsch believed that the insights of comparative philology, history, even Hebrew grammar, that were so prized by Philippson (and Zunz and Johlson), were irrelevant. Hebrew was God’s holy tongue, unique and self-contained. The Hebrew Bible, complemented by the Rabbinic tradition, contained everything one needed to know to understand its words. The Exodus from Egypt, which entered the Jewish imagination as a site of memory, had everything to gain in translation. The Jewish translators I have surveyed took their cue from the biblical writer; a word was enough to open up ancient layers of meaning, and also, on occasion, to support their own myth-making. Otherwise stated, the translators approached Exodus as an immanently translatable text, with translation serving distinct national and religious priorities. In this respect, translation does not only describe an inter-linguistic activity, but also the transformation and adaptation of the Jewish sacred story as it approaches a critical boundary—a blood-stained doorway. This phenomenon has been eloquently theorized by Naomi Seidman in Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation. Seidman argues that the translator of Jewish sacred stories filters or distorts them in order to render them suitable for the majority culture, typically by suppressing Jewish difference and Jewish rage—a facet of translation which has long been a strategy for Jewish survival. To refer to this type of translation as mistranslation, as Seidman does, is to admit that the assymetrical power relationships between the minority and majority cultures have an inevitable impact on the process. While Seidman’s book focuses on instances where the Jewish sacred story becomes tailored or distorted for a non-Jewish (Christian or universal) audience—such as the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, or the staging of Anne Frank’s diary for an American public—her insights may also illuminate what one might call the poetics of intra-biblical translation in Exodus: the manner in which the biblical redactor forged (in the double sense) the account of the most fateful transition in Israelite history. In the course of a single night, the slave dwelling became a Jewish home, the house of bondage turned into a place of collective celebration and ritual observance, and the nation was birthed as God’s first offspring. But, unlike the “bet” of Bereshit, the blood-stained doorway of the Israelite home was not closed to the past; as this volume as a whole demonstrates, the Exodus story became a transit point for “ours” to meet “theirs,” for the meeting of internal and external imperatives. From that day forward, the one who would pass through, be it the biblical redactor, or the modern Jewish translator, would serve two masters: the national and the universal, the ancestral God and the God of all the universe.

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NOTES 1.  See Pamela Barmash’s essay in this volume. 2.  All English translations of biblical verses come from the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh (1985) unless otherwise noted. 3.  BT Pesahim 10:4. 4.  “For when the Lord goes through to smite the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, and the Lord will pass over the door and not let the Destroyer enter and smite your home” (Ex 12:23). 5.  1) The ritual of the Paschal sacrifice is thought to derive from a pre-Israelite shepherd’s feast celebrated each spring before going out to summer pasture. It is supposed that this rite involved the sacrifice of a year-old lamb and the placement of the animal’s blood on the tent to ward off demons or the ancestral spirits of the animal, and possibly also a “hopping dance.” Within Ex 12:1–20, verses attributed to the Priestly writer, the placement of the blood on the doorposts (v. 7) becomes linked to the tenth plague in verses 13 and 23, where the apotropaic function of the blood is explicitly noted. See William H.C. Propp’s rendering: “And I will see the blood and protect over you, and harm from destruction will not be upon you in my striking the land of Egypt.” William H. C. Propp, Exodus 1–18. A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven: Yale UP, 1999). 2) Whereas the Paschal sacrifice was a pastoral rite, the festival of unleavened bread, detailed in 12:15–20, likely originated as an agrarian or agricultural festival also celebrated in springtime. The command to abstain from grain, and the concept of “bread of distress,” may have reflected anxiety about the upcoming harvest. The matzot accompanying the roasted meat and bitter herbs in v. 8 reflects a practice that evolved later in the sacrificial cult, but that serves as a leitmotif to unite the accounts. 3) The plague tradition, which describes a contest between God and the Egyptian magicians, is thought to be independent of the paschal sacrifice and also unrelated to the tenth plague. See the detailed analysis of the Plague Narrative in Samuel E. Loewenstamm, The Evolution of the Exodus Tradition, trans. Baruch J. Schwartz (Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1992). There are many different theories as to the origins (and number of) of plagues, and whether they reflected a contest between the God of Israel and Pharoah or the magicians. Some scholars argue that there were only seven plagues; others suggest there were three groups of three plagues. In Exodus 4:21–23, Moses is instructed to tell Pharoah, “Thus says the Lord: Israel is my first born son. I have said to you, ‘Let my son go, that he may worship Me,’ yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay your first born son.” The main point is that the coincidence of the Passover account with the tenth plague is thought to be unconvincing: in the case of the previous nine plagues, there was no need for a sign to separate or protect the Israelites from the fate of the Egyptians; moreover, the ultimate showdown with Pharoah comes later, at the Red Sea. Nonetheless, the death of the first-born sons becomes a critical feature of the Passover myth: “You shall say, ‘It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, because He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians, but saved our houses.”

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4) The commandment to consecrate the first-born in Ex 13 is a yet another distinct commemorative ritual that is here “given a new raison d’etre as a commemoration of God’s slaying the first-born of Egypt and sparing those of Israel at the time of the exodus” (Jeffrey H. Tigay, Commentary on Ex 13:1; The Jewish Study Bible, ed. Adele C. Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, Oxford UP, 2004.) These rituals have in common the simultaneous sacrifice and redemption of the first-born as elaborated in Ex 13:15: “‘When Pharoah stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, the first-born of both man and beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord every first male issue of the womb, but redeem every first-born among my sons.’” As Tigay writes, chapter 13 also makes reference to the instructions about unleavened bread, although the account in Ex 13:3 and vv. 6–8 disagrees in some details with Ex 12:14–20.  6. Brevard S. Childs, The Book of Exodus: A Critical, Theological Commentary (Westminster: John Knox Press, 2004) 199.  7. Childs 204.   8.  Pierre Nora, “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire,” Representations 26 (1989) 7–25.  9. Nora 24. 10.  Nora 23–24. 11. “Lamb sacrifices came to be interpreted as signs and reminders for Heaven, ‘the merits of the that sheep bound on the altar who bared his throat for the sake of Thy Name.’ And so too he who died on the cross came to be called the sheep or the lamb slain to win by his blood redemption for all, of every nation and tongue. Even more: Jesus was called ‘the paschal sacrifice’ of the believers ‘who are justified by his blood.’ Paul would spare nothing until he had converted everything he had learned from rabbinic instruction into a proclamation of the blood of the crucified Jesus acting as saving and safeguard for all who put their trust in him: for their sake he had surrendered his life to destruction, to prevent the destroyer from striking the children of his covenant.” Targum Jonathan and Targum Jerushalmi on Lev. 22:27, cited in Shalom Spiegel, The Last Trial (New York: Pantheon Books, 1967) 85. 12.  Samson Raphael Hirsch, trans. and ed., The Pentateuch. Volume II: Exodus, trans. Isaac Levy. 2nd rev. ed. (Gateshead: Judaica Press, Ltd., 1982) 133–34. 13. Steven Ascheim, Richard L. Cohen, Jonathan Frankel, Stefani Hoffman, eds., Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010) 1. 14.  Later translators had diverse agendas. The translation edited by Leopold Zunz sought to make Hebrew, or the Hebraic character of scripture, accessible in translation (much like efforts of Everett Fox and Robert Alter in our time). Ludwig Philippson designed an illustrated ‘study bible’ with expansive commentary that incorporated biblical and philological scholarship, aesthetic tastes, and the fascination with the Orient. Samson Raphael Hirsch’s translation promoted neoOrthodoxy as embodied in midrashic interpretations of the Torah. 15. Propp, Exodus 1–18, “Notes,” 384. 16.  Moses Mendelssohn, Gesammelte Schriften. Jubiläumsausgabe. Band 9.1: Schriften zum Judentum III, 1, bearbeitet von Werner Weinberg (Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann Verlag, 1993) 238.

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17. Mendelssohn, GS-Jub Band 16: Hebräische Schriften II, 2, 91. 18. Salomon Maimon’s Autobiography (1792–1793) contains a memorable description of the impact of an astronomical work on the seven-year-old Maimon. 19.  Die fünf Bücher der Weisung. Verdeutscht von Martin Buber gemeinsam mit Franz Rosenzweig. 10th edition [1954]. Lizenzausgabe. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1992. 20.  Der Pentateuch / übersetzt und erlaeutert von Samson Raphael Hirsch (Frankfurt am Main: J. Kaufmann Verlag, 1867–1878). 21.  Hirsch/Levy 125. 22.  It is probable that Hirsch’s “moon-renewing” was the source of Buber and Rosenzweig’s “moon-newing.” 23.  Die vier und zwanzig Bücher der heiligen Schrift. Nach dem masoretischen Texte. Unter der Redaction von Dr. Zunz, übersetzt von H. Arnheim, Dr. Julius Fuerst, Dr. M. Sachs, 16. Auflage. (Frankfurt a. M.: Verlag von J. Kaufmann, 1913). 24.  Zunz’s contemporary Joseph Johlson found a way to preserve the Hebrew keyword while at the same time opening up the ambiguity in meaning. Johlson renders the first mention of Pesah “it is a Passover offering to the Lord” (Ex 12:11) “es ist das Passah [Ueberschreitungs- od. Verschonungs-Opfer] des Ewigen..” Using square brackets, Johlson gives the reader three options; even more striking, he is comfortable conveying to the reader that we do not know exactly what God was up to that night! Die heiligen Schriften der Israeliten. Nach den masoretischen Texte neu uebersetzt von J. Johlson (Frankfurt am Main: in der Andreaeischen Buchhandlung, 1831). 25.  Rabbi Matityahu Clark, Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew: Based on the Commentaries of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1999) xi–xii. 26.  Hirsch/Levy 138–139. 27.  Martin Buber, Moses (Oxford: East and West Library, 1946) 71–72. Buber cites here from Pederson, “Passahfest und Passahlegende,” in Zeitschrift fuer alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, New Series XI (1937) 167. 28. “It should also be added that the word chag, festival, originally meant to dance in a ring. ‘It will be a song for you,’” says Isaiah of YHVH’s coming judgment on Assyria, in the likeness of the Passover judgment on Egypt, “as in the night when the ring dance is hallowed, that is, when the holy ring dance is danced.” Buber, Moses, 71. 29.  They also consistently reject Opfer as a translation for korban. 30.  Martin Buber, “Juedische Religiosität,” Vom Geist des Judentums (Leipzig: Kurt Wolff Verlag, 1916) 49–74. 31.  In German: “So gleichklingend auch das griechische [ ] mit dem hebr. Ezov ist, so daß man es gewöhnlich mit hyss. Officinalis erklärt, einer auf Schutt und Mauern wachsenden Pflanze (I Kings 5, 13), mit lanzetförmigen Blättern, 1 bis 1 ½ Fuß hohem Stengel, blauer Blume: dit Trad. (Pesach 11.7) [fol. 118.1] unterscheidet dennoch den Hysop des Gesetzes ausdrücklich vom röm. Und griech. Hysop, Rambam und Saad. geben es mit dem arab. Zaatar. Welches [ ] Origanum (Dosten), eine aromatische Pflanze mit 1 Fuß hohem geradem Stengel und vielen wolligen Blättern, bezeichnet, die in Palästina, Syrien, Aeg. und Arab. sehr häufig

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wächst. Eine ganz andere Deutung versuchte man in Phytolacca decandra, die bei Aleppo und in Abyssinien häufig gefunden wird, mit langem und gestrecktem Stiele, und eine ungemeine Menge salziger Theile enthält. (Vgl. Ps 51, 9).—Nach der Tradit. (Parah 11, 9) gehören zu einem Bündel drei Stengel, nach Rambam (Pyrke Aboth 3.) was man mit einer Hand faßt.” Die israelitische Bibel; enthaltend: den heiligen Urtext, die deutsche Uebertragung, die allgemeine, ausfuehrliche Erlaeuterung mit mehr als 500 englischen Holzschnitten. Hrsg. von Ludwig Philippson (Leipzig: Baumgaertner, 1841–1858) 361. 32.  Contrast this treatment with the scene as Cecil B. de Mille stages it: the Hebrews crouching in their homes, the bloody door-posts, the Angel of Death whizzing through the streets, and the Egyptians’ screams of horror in the background. 33.  Hirsch/Levy 146–47. 34.  Hirsch/Levy 150.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Ascheim, Steven, Richard L. Cohen, Jonathan Frankel, and Stefani Hoffman, eds. Insiders and Outsiders: Dilemmas of East European Jewry. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2010. Buber, Martin. “Jüdische Religiosität.” In: Vom Geist des Judentums, 49–74. Leipzig, Kurt Wolff Verlag, 1916. Buber, Martin. Moses. Oxford: East & West Library, 1946. Buber, Martin and Franz Rosenzweig, trans. Die fünf Bücher der Weisung. 10th ed. [1954]. Lizenzausgabe. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1992. Childs, Brevard S. The Book of Exodus: A Critical, Theological Commentary. Westminster: John Knox Press, 2004. Clark, Rabbi Matityahu. Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew. Based on the Commentaries of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1999. Hirsch, Samson Raphael, trans. and ed. Der Pentateuch. Frankfurt am Main: J. Kaufmann Verlag, 1867–1878. Hirsch, Samson Raphael, trans. and ed. The Pentateuch. Volume II: Exodus. Translated by Isaac Levy. 2nd rev. ed. Gateshead: Judaica Press, Ltd., 1982. Loewenstamm, Samuel E. The Evolution of the Exodus Tradition. Translated by Baruch J. Schwartz. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, The Hebrew University, 1992. Mendelssohn, Moses. Gesammelte Schriften. Jubilaeumsausgabe. Band 9.1: Schriften zum Judentum III, 1. Edited by Werner Weinberg. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann Verlag, 1993. Nora, Pierre. “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire.” Representations 26 (1989): 7–25. Philippson, Ludwig, trans. and ed. Die israelitische Bibel; enthaltend: den heiligen Urtext, die deutsche Übertragung, die allgemeine, ausführliche Erläuterung mit mehr als 500 englischen Holzschnitten. Leipzig: Baumgaertner, 1841–1858. Propp, William H. C. Exodus 1–18. A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Yale Bible. New Haven: Yale UP, 1999.

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Tigay, Jeffrey H. “Introduction and Commentary to Exodus.” In The Jewish Study Bible, edited by Adele C. Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, 102–202. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004. Zunz, Leopold, ed. H. Arnheim, Dr. Julius Fuerst, Dr. M. Sachs, trans. Die vier und zwanzig Bücher der heiligen Schrift. Nach dem masoretischen Texte. 16th ed. Frankfurt am Main: J. Kaufmann, 1913.

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The Desert Comes to Zion A Narrative Ends its Wandering Arieh Saposnik

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n the introduction to his Exodus and Revolution, political philosopher Michael Walzer notes the ubiquity of “the Exodus reference in the political history of the West.” Indeed, so omnipresent is the trope of Exodus, he writes, that he began to take particular note of instances of political—and in particular, revolutionary movements—in which it was missing.1 If Walzer’s principal example of a glaring absence of the Exodus trope is the French Revolution, he notes that in the Zionist case, by contrast, “the biblical narrative [of the Exodus] has provided much of its imagery.”2 In fact, however, the relationship between the Exodus reference and the Zionist project was a bit more complicated. Walzer’s observation seems to hold true with regard to Zionism in the Diaspora. Surprisingly, perhaps, in the Jewish Yishuv (pre-state community) in Palestine itself—the geographical and conceptual hub of the Zionist undertaking—one is struck by a near absence, a relative silence, of the Exodus story in the Zionist cultural project there and in the construction of a Zionist national liturgy. For a cultural-political project which conceived of itself as a liberation movement entailing a modern exodus of sorts, and which was based in many respects on transvalued mobilizations of traditional Jewish themes (which in themselves do have a notable presence in the making of Zionist culture in Palestine), this is all the more striking. If this is the case in the narrative and semiotic realms—in the central symbols of the Yishuv’s identity and the ways in which it narrated itself—moreover, Anita Shapira has also pointed to a parallel scarcity of Passover, the ritual and liturgical manifestation of the Exodus story, in the calendar and lifecycle of the Yishuv.3 As a festival celebrating 213

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both a universally human theme—freedom and liberation—and a particularist national impulse, she writes, Passover would seem to have been uniquely amenable to the kind the re-delineation of the national body that Zionism in Palestine attempted to effect.4 Re-cast holidays and modes of celebration were in fact among the centerpieces of Palestine’s new Zionist culture, often incorporating a host of new rituals—from hikes to the Hasmonean tombs in Modiin on Hannukah, the planting of trees on Tu Bishvat, and the agricultural festivities associated with the festival of Shavuot.5 Such new customs were invariably intertwined with the adoption of recast narratives that helped frame these holidays as those of Palestine’s new Hebrews, rather than their earlier provenance as celebrations by would-be exilic Jews. Most familiar, perhaps, of these reframed narratives and recast rituals were the efforts to retell the Hannukah story in terms of military victory, political independence, or the proto-socialist victory of an authentic peasant class over a Hellenizing upper crust.6 In short, in a context in which the reformulation of ritual, narrative, and celebration was deemed a national imperative of the first order, the relative silence of such efforts with regard to the Exodus from Egypt is puzzling. This being said, it is also the case that the Yishuv’s seeming reticence regarding explicit mobilization of the Exodus trope is counter-balanced by a sometime more implicit use of imagery and themes taken from the biblical Exodus story, although not always centerpieces of a new national narrative and ritual system in the way new imagery of the Maccabees reshaped the story and the celebration of Hanukkah, and became a prime source of national inspiration, the Exodus trope can nevertheless be found scattered throughout the Yishuv’s new national semiotics. The ways in which it was utilized seem, in fact, to point to some important aspects of the self-perception of many of the central figures in the Yishuv’s cultural undertaking. Both the places where the Exodus is all but absent and the points at which it is (sometimes obliquely) present in the laying of the narrative and ritual foundations of the Yishuv’s culture, point to some core components of that culture and of the self-image that it both reflected and helped to generate in Palestine, and later Israel, and to some foundational divergences in temperament and substance between Zionism in the Diaspora and the society it produced in the Yishuv. THREE LITERARY REPRESENTATIONS That there should be such a difference between the Yishuv and the Diaspora in the use of the Exodus motif is in many senses not surprising. By their own self-conception, after all, Zionists in the Diaspora remained in exile, with the Promised Land but a yearning (albeit a sometimes ambivalent one) and a

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destination yet to be reached. For Zionists in Palestine, on the other hand, the Exodus could in some senses be seen as obsolete, since they had (sometimes no less uncertainly, to be sure) already arrived in the Promised Land. An illustration of this difference can be found in the differing imagery in three early twentieth century popularized Hebrew-language booklets about Moses. The epic poem “Moshe” by Mordechai Gottfried (published in Vienna in 1919), tells the story of the young Moses, “his attitude to nature, his views on God and the universe and all of his visions and ideas from the dawn of his youth until the Exodus of Israel from Egypt.”7 Heavily didactic, but not lacking in emotional force, Gottfried’s poem taken as a whole is a stark cry against Exile, as understood by a poet whose Zionism and universalism are clearly indistinguishable. Gottfried begins with a Rousseauian lament about humanity’s exile from nature. From there he moves to a pointed attack on the Jews’ self-imposed oppression and exile—central components of which are their estrangement from nature and from their national tongue—both, to him, varieties of imprisonment. In Gottfried’s interlacing of liberation from without and from within, this internal Jewish critique is fused with his invective against oppression by Egypt. Although the title page foregrounds the Exodus, it is exile as an existential and physical state that stands at the center of Gottfried’s work. Exile, to him, is in large measure the product of petty men “of small spirit” who erect fences and barriers and who “condemn all that nature has done/ who have closed off [their] surging, open heart/Forbidding you to see colors and hues/and the magical tapestry of birth and creation” (11). Both a universal human existential condition and a specifically Jewish affliction, Gottfried’s attention is focused on what in much of Zionist thought and literature is the deepest, or most harshly criticized, exile—the self-inflicted. Echoing the biblical narrative, Gottfried’s Moses expresses his frustration to his brother Aaron, to whom he reveals his visions of human liberation and grandeur, which have only been rebuffed by the foolish, exilic Hebrew nation which heeds not my words. What can be the cause of this indolence but that the curse is in their very soul and slavery has made a nest [in it] and they feel not the sanctity and majesty of freedom. (37)

In line with the classical Zionist critiques of such writers as Yosef Chaim Brenner and Michah Yosef Berdiczewsky, the pathos of Gottfried’s Moses is born of a frustration with the Jews’ seeming insistence upon remaining in exile. His Moses is the frustrated leader of a deeply exilic people whose (somewhat questionable) ability to find the strength to effect an Exodus is left for the very end of his work. The Promised Land toward which they are ostensibly heading remains beyond their scope and apparently beyond the horizon of Gottfried’s epic.

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The 1930 “Moshe—A Passover Play in Two Acts,” aimed at young children in American Hebrew schools, takes less license and evinces much more modest literary ambitions than Gottfried’s poem. It does little more than re-tell the story of Moses’s early childhood in simple, vocalized Hebrew clearly aimed at young pupils. The short play’s finale comes with the rescue of baby Moses from the Nile River by Pharaoh’s daughter. This is followed by a quick prayer of thanks offered to God by the child’s mother, who requests that God “guard this child and make him wise and brave so that he might lead your people Israel out of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and return them to your Land with joy.” The play ends with the chorus singing the Passover song “Be-Tzet Yisra’el mi-Mitzrayim” (When Israel Left Egypt), with the stage instructions indicating that this might be replaced by Yehuda Halevi’s “Song of Redemption.”8 The stress here too is on exile, with the Land and redemption left for a wishful finale. There seem in general to have been fewer publications of this kind in Palestine. Those that did appear, moreover, reflect a very different relationship to the exodus story as a defining trope. Dissimilar as Gottfried’s epic and Berson’s school play are in style, audience, and content, both mark a contrast with a work such as Moses in Light of Jewish Legend, published in Palestine in 1927. Collected and adapted by Israel Goldfarb-Zehavi, this work brings together pieces of rabbinic lore to construct a would-be full historical biography of “Israel’s redeemer.”9 Unlike Gottfried’s work, which aimed at placing European Jews before a rather uncomplimentary mirror reflection, or the New York children’s play which looks to a distant future redemption, Zehavi explains that he aims not only to present “the full stature of the leader of all of Israel . . .” but principally to “reawaken a shining national legend from the archival catacombs, and return it to our new literature with all of the light and splendor that is shed upon it.”10 The context for Zehavi’s study of Moses, in other words, is one in which the Promised Land and its literary and cultural revival is very much present. Redemption is at hand for Zehavi, as is manifested in the fact that Hebrew literature has already been revived and recreated, offering the possibility that “the Hebrew reader” may gain a new appreciation of a figure who had played so seminal a role in a previous rendition of national liberation.

THE EXODUS IN ZIONIST ART Another emblematic representation of the existential and ideological selfperception of Zionism in the Diaspora (and its contrast with the Yishuv) can be found in early Zionist iconographic art. Ephraim Moshe Lilien’s 1900 depiction of Egypt is that of the paradigmatic exile (see figure 8.1).

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Figure 8.1.  Ephraim Moshe Lilien, Passah, c. 1901.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/8725928@N02/6378132673/sizes/l/in/pho tostream/

As in Goldfarb’s poem, Zion here is a distant, almost mirage-like, promise in the far-off eastern sunrise, while the current reality is that of a despondent, mournful Jew entrapped in thorny barbed-wire. Such imagery could be expected to resonate as a current and unmediated reality for Zionists in the Diaspora in ways that were much more direct and experiential (and, of course, far more relevant) than for those in Palestine. The latter could see themselves as having arrived (even if incompletely) to the Promised Land and having begun to taste of its redemptive force. For them, such imagery as Lilien’s might in fact be foreign and unwelcome: As Ranen Omer-Sherman has argued (albeit regarding the literature of a later period), “the appearance of the desert in the Israeli imagination has the startling capacity to rouse the unwelcome specter of ‘Diaspora’ that Zionist teleology had repudiated.”11 If in the Diaspora, this “specter” might be put to good use in the promotion of Zionism, in Palestine, and later in Israel, one strategy (as I will argue below) was to neutralize it by transplanting the desert itself into the newly reclaimed Land. THE EXODUS AT THE ROOTS OF ZIONIST THOUGHT Herzl’s Moses The Exodus served as a critical point of reference for both Theodor Herzl and Ahad Ha’am, the two towering figures (and bitter rivals) of early Zionism, in the making of their own respective self-images. Each of these leaders cast himself repeatedly as a modern Moses and adopted

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the biblical prophet-leader as the principal model in the shaping of their own claims to national leadership as well as their conceptions of what such leadership in fact was.12 In 1895, in one of his early meetings with the Baron Hirsch as he was developing the ideas he would soon publish in Der Judenstaat, Theodor Herzl explained to the skeptical Baron that “To the [German] Kaiser I shall say: Let our people go,” promising to explain in full “the means which I want to use for our exodus.”13 Indeed, that his was a plan for “the exodus to the Promised Land” is a theme that appears repeatedly in Herzl’s writings,14 as is his perception of himself as the Moses who will lead the way. Although he “laughingly rejected” the suggestion by Vienna’s Chief Rabbi Moritz Güdemann, that “You remind me of Moses”—not to mention the Rabbi’s further suggestion that Herzl just might be “the one called of God”15—his repeated recording of such compliments in his diaries is in itself an indication of the extent to which they gratified him and evidently resonated with him. Indeed, however much his sense of etiquette called for a self-effacing stance in the face of such admiration, Herzl’s vision of his project and his role in it were far from modest. Not only was he the modern equivalent of Moses, he would write in one diary entry, but his own, modern, undertaking of transporting the Jews to their Promised Land would in fact far overshadow its biblical precedent. “The Exodus under Moses” Herzl wrote in one (less humble) journal entry, “bears the same relation to this project as a Shrovetide Play by Hans Sachs does to a Wagner opera.”16 When in 1898 Herzl toyed with the idea of writing “a biblical drama” based on the life of Moses (with an outline not unlike Goldfarb’s epic of two decades later), his musings on the character and plight of the leader indicate clearly his identification with his character, who had to contend with the “conditions in Egypt, the internal and external struggles [. . .] I imagine him,” Herzl writes, “as a tall, vital, superior man with a sense of humor.” This physical profile was in itself of vital importance to the theatrically-oriented leader, as it served to blend the bourgeois respectability that was so central to Herzl’s own political vision with the image of the “muscle Jew” propounded by his friend Max Nordau. Such physical appearance, moreover, served to further highlight Herzl’s sense of “the drama” of the leader’s life: “how he is shaken inwardly and yet holds of himself upright by his will.” Much like the way Herzl describes himself in numerous passages in his diaries, Moses “is the leader, because he does not want to be.” And anticipating the struggles and strife that will characterize Herzl’s final years at the helm of his movement, Moses experiences “the tragedy of the leader, of any leader of men who is not a misleader.” Amplifying Herzl’s stress on Diaspora and its conditions in his leadership model, Herzl’s notes further that his Moses “does not care about the goal,

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but about the migration.”17 It is the process of the Exodus, rather than its goal that stands at the center. Herzl’s leadership is that of a Moses who would be satisfied with a good visual survey from Mount Nebo, with little thought of joining his people in the Promised Land. The character traits and physical features that Herzl associated with Moses were further amplified by many of his admirers. In a famous series of biblical scenes, Ephraim Moses Lilien fused Herzl’s image of Moses as “a tall, vital, superior man” with that of Herzl himself in his depictions of a number of Exodus scenes in which the two leaders are conflated. (See figures 8.2 and 8.3). Herzl, in fact, served Lilien as his model for numerous biblical scenes, many of which are taken from the biblical tale of wandering in the wilderness—all part of the Exodus as process, never fully arriving at the Promised Land itself. In his rendering of Balaam and the angel, Herzl has been transported from his role as Moses to that of the angel himself, the divine force that changes the would-be curse of exile and wandering into a blessing that will serve the Israelites as they make their way to the Promised Land. One might see in this the visual translation of Güdemann’s progression from the suggestion of Herzl as reminiscent

Figure 8.2.  Ephraim Moshe Lilien, Moses, 1908.

Yigal Zalmona and Nurit Shilo-Cohen, “Signon ve-Iconographia be-Heftzei Bezalel”, in Nurit Shilo-Cohen, ed., Bezalel Shel Schatz, 1906–1929 (Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1982)

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of Moses to the proposition that he might be a divine messenger in the fullest messianic sense. Reinforcing the sense of Zionism as movement, or process, rather than endziel, there is in Lilien’s depictions not a single image of Herzl in a biblical scene that takes place after the conquest. Perhaps Herzl’s death in the summer of 1904 influenced the artist’s choices in his biblical scenes (all of which are dated four years later), underlining the sense of Herzl as a leader who never lives Figure 8.3.  Ephraim Moshe Lilien, “Breaking the Tabto see the promise fullets of the Law,” 1908. Yigal Zalmona and Nurit Shilo-Cohen, “Signon ve-Iconographia filled. In a similar vein, be-Heftzei Bezalel,” in Nurit Shilo-Cohen, ed., Bezalel Shel Schatz, Leopold Pilichowski’s 1906–1929 (Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1982) portrait of Herzl, commissioned by the Eighth Zionist Congress, places a very bourgeois European Herzl (as opposed to Lilien’s orientalized version of the Viennese leader) on a mountaintop with a view to a Promised Land he will not live to enter (figure 8.4). In Lilien’s series, the closest Herzl gets to the actual land—and Lilien does in one instance take him beyond Mount Nebo—is in his depiction of him as Joshua, sword in hand, with the walls of Jericho in the background (figure 8.5). Here too, however, Herzl-Joshua remains a leader on the cusp, at the transition point between Exodus and promise, never quite making it to the promise itself. Ahad Ha’am and Moses as Prophet-Leaders In Ahad Ha’am’s famous exposition on the nature of Moses’s leadership (and his own), the sense of Zionism-Exodus as process is highlighted once again (although the process is a very different one). For the leader of spiritual Zionism and the B’nei Moshe, the process of return and redemption is necessarily long—surely more drawn out than Herzl would ever

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Figure 8.4.  Leopold Pilichowski, Theodor Herzl, 1908. Courtesy of Ben-Ami Gallery

have been inclined to allow, notwithstanding his own stress on process. As Arnold Band has noted, Ahad Ha’am drew a direct analogy between biblical Israel’s need for a forty year sojourn in the desert and his own argument “that a long period of spiritual rejuvenation was necessary for the modern secular Zionist.”18 His most explicit formulation of his self-image

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Figure 8.5.  Ephraim Moshe Lilien, “Joshua,” 1908.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/Lilian002.jpg

as Moses—his essay “Moshe”—was written during the turbulence of the Uganda controversy, when his rivalry with Herzl was at one of its peaks. As was his wont, Ahad Ha’am made little effort to veil the contemporary implications of his would-be midrash on the biblical tale, in which his own personal identification with the biblical leader entails a rejection of all that Herzl stood for. To Ahad Ha’am, Moses is the prophet-leader, who leads through an uncompromising and unwavering prophetic commitment to a vision of truth and justice. The biblical description of Moses as not “a man of words” is read by Ahad Ha’am to mean that Moses was not the type of “man whose words are but a weapon for obtaining his ends, with no relation to what is in his heart inward.”19 Not even the redemption of

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the people is a worthy enough goal for the prophetic leader to be willing to compromise this principle. Redemption, Ahad Ha’am writes, cannot be brought about through magic and artifice. Bringing the Exodus into the contemporary internal Zionist struggle over territory—the site of the Promised Land to which the Exodus is supposed to lead—Ahad Ha’am mobilizes the story of the spies to castigate Herzl and those who would follow him to East Africa. In their pusillanimous betrayal of the Land’s promise, so tangibly presented to them by Caleb and Joshua, the biblical Israelites had shown their leader that the path to redemption would have to be a long and tortuous one that would take them on a forty-year voyage through the desert and would leave an entire generation dead and buried in its exile, never to make its way to the Promised Land itself.20 In his own effort to steer a fickle and faithless people out of an exile that for him was above all an exile of the spirit, Ahad Ha’am too, as the true claimant to Mosaic leadership, could wait. There was no shortage of admirers who, as in the case of Herzl, further likened Ahad Ha’am to Moses and cast him in the modernized version of that role. In the early years of Hibbat Zion (Love of Zion), some of the most prominent among them came together in the secret order of Bnei Moshe (Sons of Moses). Ahad Ha’am was the clear leader of this group, which was established in 1889, on the seventh of the month of Adar, the traditional birthday of Moses.21 One of these disciples, the Hebrew writer Ben Avigdor (Abraham Leib Shalkowitz) would write his own treatment of Ahad Ha’am in which direct parallels are drawn again to Moses as prophet and as the leader who alone can show a fickle and degenerate nation their way to resurrection.22 MOSES IN THE PROMISED LAND But if this image of a leader of a process, who never quite makes it to the end point might resonate in imagery of Zionism’s leaders in the Diaspora, that Moses is less in evidence in Palestine, and the Exodus is in this sense less prominent as a defining motif of the emerging culture there. Nevertheless, hints—more or less explicit—of Moses and the Exodus do have an unmistakable presence in this Yishuv as well, where they tend, however, to take on a character very different from the one they have in the Diaspora. One of the most sustained and explicit uses of Exodus material in the Yishuv’s budding culture was centered around one of its early flagships, the Bezalel museum and art institute. Established in 1906 by Boris Schatz, the would-be national art institute was named for the biblical Bezalel Ben-Uri, who had been charged by Moses with designing and building “a temple in the wilderness,” in Schatz’s words, for a people heading toward the

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Promised Land.23 Schatz viewed himself and the art he would create as a veritable renewal of prophecy in modern form, and frequently cast himself as the modern equivalent of Moses, once again appointing the artists and directing the art that would create a modern tabernacle to lead a wandering nation to its promised land. With “productivization” of the haluka-based “Old Yishuv” of Jerusalem as one of its principal self-proclaimed goals, Bezalel was based on an assumption that even in the Land of Israel, the Jewish people yet remained a nation in the wilderness, in need of a spiritual guide to lead them in a fuller sense to the Promised Land. This was particularly true for Schatz in Jerusalem itself, whose impoverished Orthodox Jewish community was deemed fundamentally “exilic.” As Schatz envisioned it, the artistic production and economic restructuring that Bezalel would stimulate among the Jews of Jerusalem would together constitute a new Torah, delivered by him to a nation ever more lost in the wilderness since the shattering of its old Torah by the crushing forces of modernity. Much of the Zionist Yishuv hailed Schatz’s arrival and the establishment of the new museum and art school. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was quite explicit about the institution’s potential for representing and constituting a new Torah, proclaiming in his front-page headline on the eve of Schatz’s arrival that “beauty will issue forth from Zion and Art from Jerusalem.”24 For others, however, this claimant to the status of new Torah was a threat to the older Law, and Schatz was soon accused of “defiling the land.”25 In his response to these accusations, Schatz clearly saw himself once again as Palestine’s new Moses, arguing that his opponents were “of the clan of Korach,” the biblical rebel who, motivated by greed and corruption, attempted to challenge the leadership of Moses in the desert (and was punished accordingly).26 But Schatz’s sense of Jewish Jerusalem as still wallowing in wilderness and in need of guidance through his new Torah stood in tension with the fact that the Jerusalem in which his Bezalel had been established was at the same time the very heart of the (biblical and Zionist) Promised Land to which its Jews were to be guided. However “exilic” much of its Jewish life may have been in Schatz’s eyes, Jerusalem’s geographic and conceptual centrality to any notion of the Promised Land was no less powerful a factor in Bezalel’s undertakings and in its self-conception. The institute’s messianic pretension, in other words, strained against itself: Bezalel seemed to be at once a piece of exile in the wilderness—with yet a long and arduous trek to redemption—and at the same time a piece of redemption itself, situated in the very heart of the Promised Land. This tension was manifested in an ambivalence regarding the Exodus story as the context for the work of the original Ben-Uri and his namesake. Among the many biblical motifs in works produced by Bezalel artists, one is hard-pressed to find a single depiction that is taken from the Exodus story. Even Zeev Raban’s famous and much reproduced illustrated Passover Haggadah—seemingly the natural place for images of the Exodus—

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includes few such scenes. Instead, the biblical scenes adopted and adapted by Bezalel artists were designed to evoke the land, its promise, and the Jewish people’s rootedness in it.27 Where one does find echoes of the Exodus, these too tend to be carefully selected as part of an Exodus recast so as to stress the centrality of the Land and its promise rather than the wandering of a generation that would in fact never reach it. It is the endziel here that takes center-stage, in other words, rather than the process. One Exodusbased motif that seems to have been relatively comfortable for Bezalel artists, and which would make numerous appearances in works that they produced, is that of the spies sent by Moses to scout out the land. This, indeed, was a popular image not only for Bezalel, but in other representations of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine (as in figure 8.6). Nowhere more than in this image of the spies is the divergence of Exodus imagery between Palestine and the Diaspora more clear. In his own reference to the spies in his “Moshe,” Ahad Ha’am had focused on the majority of ten who brought back a harrowing negative report. The spy episode was to him a devastating indictment of “a people on its way to possess for itself a national land and to create for its spirit a national life” who are then immobilized and “brought to despair” by “a single adverse rumor.”28 To be sure, the theme of rejection plays an implicit role in the images created in Palestine as well: Much as the biblical “Land of Milk and Honey” message was a minority report brought by Caleb and Joshua, the Zionist undertaking in the Land could take comfort—and stake a claim

Figure 8.6.  Colonists in Rishon Le-Zion.

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for leadership—in being the work of a dedicated vanguard, bearing a message of truth and national honor to a people loath to listen. The principal thrust of these images, however, is clearly that of the bounty of the Land, of the minority spies as victoriously representing a new vanguard, now rooted firmly in that land and its riches (figures 8.7 and 8.8).

Figure 8.7.  Bowl created by Bezalel artists. Courtesy of Israel Museum

Figure 8.8.  Spying the Land, ca. 1925. “It is a Land flowing with Milk and Honey and this is its fruit.” Courtesy of Israel Museum

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Another manifestation of the tension between wilderness and Promised Land in Bezalel’s Exodus imagery—one that went to the very core of Schatz’s project—is in the frequent depictions of Bezalel Ben-Uri himself that adorned Bezalel works. In many of these, he is transported from the tabernacle in the wilderness to the Temple in Jerusalem—the second pillar of Bezalel’s self-image—with the two fully conflated. Even more prominently than the image of the spies, images of the tabernacle appear on countless pieces produced by Bezalel (figure 8.9). Schatz’s own ex libris, for example (figure 8.10), shows the tabernacle in the background with Schatz himself (or at least his face—the body is

Figure 8.9.  Boris Schatz, “Bezalel, Builder of the Tabernacle Resting by the Ark of the Covenant,” 1918. Courtesy of Israel Museum

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Figure 8.10.  Ephraim Moshe Lilien, Boris Schatz Ex Libris, 1905.

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manifestly not his) in the role of Ben-Uri. This is true also on the cover of Schatz’s 1924 treatise “On Art, Artists, and their Critics,” in which a Schatz-like Ben-Uri rests in front of his handiwork (figure 8.11). Two points stand out in these depictions. First, although seemingly central to it, the tabernacle is in fact removed from the context of the Exodus story—there is not a single scene of a wandering people, of the desert, or of anything else that might evoke the biblical narrative. This act of extraction of the tabernacle from its wilderness context goes yet a step further, in depictions such as the one in figure 8.11, where the artist and

Figure 8.11.  Cover of Boris Schatz, On Art, Artists, and their Critics, 1924. Courtesy of Israel Museum

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his work are framed not by wilderness scenes but rather by hanging vines which evoke the flora of Palestine (the bounty presented by the spies) as it was portrayed in Bezalel’s art. Indeed, this extraction of Ben-Uri from the wilderness and the conflation of his tabernacle with the Temple in Jerusalem are brought to more explicit fruition in numerous other works. A postcard publicizing Bezalel shows a figure who can only be understood as the biblical Ben-Uri, yet who is carefully putting the final touches not on the tabernacle or on the arc of the Covenant, but rather on the Menorah that would stand in Jerusalem’s Temple (figure 8.12). The Menorah, moreover, is juxtaposed onto a photograph of the Bezalel building, whose own Menorah, which stood prominently on the rooftop, comes together with that being crafted here by Ben-Uri both to conflate Temple and tabernacle and to drive home the message that the new Temple is to be found in the new western Jerusalem (rather than in the Old City further to the east), and specifically within the walls of the Bezalel institute. A similar motif, with the same crisscrossing conflations, appears in Zeev Raban’s poster for the Bezalel exhibition in 1913 (figure 8.13). Here, in addition to the tabernacle itself (above center), the artistic Ben-Uri is once again at work. With the Menorah in hand and his regal figure seated on a throne framed by stately pillars, this piece seems to conflate not only tabernacle and Temple, but their makers as well, casting Bezalel in the role of Solomon as the builder of Jerusalem’s sacred shrine. Once again, the surrounding framework and the reliefs on the pillars themselves evoke the seven species of the Land of Milk and Honey, with its pomegranates and grape vines. The cover of Schatz’s Yerushalayim haBnuya (Jerusalem [Re-]Built) presents an image of a resurrected Ben-Uri

Figure 8.12.  Shmuel Ben-David, Cover page for postcard series. Courtesy of Israel Museum

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Figure 8.13.  Zeev Raban and Yaacov Stark, Poster for the Bezalel Exhibition, 1913. Courtesy of Israel Museum

visually summoning Schatz to him as he stands by the new Menorah on the rooftop of the new Temple Schatz himself had erected (figure 8.14). Bezalel’s ambivalence in relation to its own central symbol adds another layer to the general picture of an Exodus story less comfortably absorbable in the Yishuv than in the Diaspora—at least in the form in

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Figure 8.14.  Ze’ev Raban, cover for Boris Schatz, Rebuilt Jerusalem, 1924. Ruth Raban Doron, Jerusalem

which it had been put to use there. That reading—and re-writing—of the Exodus was less amenable to Palestine’s version of redemptive nationalism than were the stories of the Maccabees or of Bar-Kochba, set in the Land of Israel and hence much more easily replanted in its soil. To be sure, Palestine seemed to many of its Zionists to be yet a long way from actually constituting the Promised Land, and its Yishuv a far cry from a redeemed, chosen people. And yet, at the same time, in a quite literal and evident sense, it was that land: their Zionist vision was commonly

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planted, firmly and inextricably, in the physical and figurative soil of that land. Countless memoirs and contemporary writings attest to the experience many immigrants to Palestine had of the land as a land of promise— of having undergone a dramatic personal transformation and of having become the “new Jews” for whom Zionists in Europe had longed. In the very same breath with which Schatz could proclaim Bezalel a tabernacle for a people still wandering in the wilderness, he also saw it, after all—in terms that seem at times almost shockingly literal—as a new Temple, the beginnings of a modern national redemption. The desert, and the image of a generation wandering in the wilderness to never quite make it to the Promised Land, could not be made a fully comfortable symbolic fit for those who were, as they believed, living on the cusp of a redemption they were actively issuing in—and living on its very site to boot. The range of associations inherent in the very word Yishuv (literally, “settlement”) as a designation for the pre-state Jewish community of Palestine, as Yael Zerubavel has argued, indicated a self-distancing from its conceptual opposite—“desert,” conceived of as a void and hence in many symbolic contexts as the equivalent of galut. By virtue of its very essence as renewed and reclaimed Jewish place, in other words, the Yishuv could not easily integrate the desert of exile.29 DESERT DEAD AND PROMISED GENERATION But if in some senses, the image of the generation of the desert erected a symbolic screen separating the Yishuv from the Zionist Diaspora, it can also be seen in other instances as a bridge linking the two, constructed of the cultural and symbolic baggage brought by the immigrants themselves to their new home. The use of this trope by poet Haim Nahman Bialik in his “Metei Midbar” (The Desert Dead), and its sometimes contentious reception by Israeli critics, makes this epic poem a particularly evocative bridge traversing the Diaspora roots of Hebrew culture and the culture of the post-1948 state of Israel, for which Bialik was a leading icon. Early critics such as Joseph Klausner and Fishel Lachower, who were in no small measure responsible for elevating (or relegating) Bialik to the status of “national poet,” saw his “Metei Midbar” as a direct adoption of the Exodus story brought directly to bear on contemporary issues (putting biblical imagery to metaphorical social-political use in the fashion of his mentor Ahad Ha’am). In these readings, the desert dead represent Bialik’s own generation, stand-ins for a Jewry that is ghost-like in its living-death national existence (a familiar Zionist trope, dating back at least to Leon Pinsker). At the same time, they retain a spark of life in the form of a noble capacity for bold rebellion against the desert and against God Himself in their stormy declaration that “we are the last generation of enslavement

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and the first generation of redemption”—evincing here a spirit perhaps more reminiscent of Michah Yosef Berdiczewsky, the great rival to Bialik’s mentor, than of Ahad Ha’am himself.30 Such a conflicted estimation of traditional Jewish society was characteristic of many intellectuals of Bialik’s generation, to which Klausner and Lachower belonged. An acute sense of generational divide animated a great deal of their Zionist discourse, particularly in Palestine. There, the parents’ generation was understood as a “generation of the desert,” too deeply infected with the toxins of exile to ever fully partake in the redemption represented by their native-born children. Jewish parents, as educator David Yellin explained “infect their sons with disease, and then go searching for doctors.”31 It was the job of the Hebrew educators in the Yishuv, he (and many other educators with him) urged, to be those doctors and to cure the youth of their parents’ exilic disease. But if this diagnosis seemed to mandate a dramatic change in the youth that was raised in Palestine, many of these same thinkers were distinctly ill at ease when confronted with the reality of that transformation as it seemed to be taking shape among the would-be generation of redemption. To be sure, as a younger Josef Klausner would write in 1907, he was pleased that the new generation in Palestine was free of “oppression by the practical commandments [of traditional Judaism].”32 Indeed, it would be precisely those oppressive commandments which he would see, in his reading of Bialik more than four decades later, as being represented by the sands of the desert that imprison its “dead.”33 Yet this benefit had been won at great cost, he would add, since this was also a generation that had lost the ability to feel “the poetry that is contained in many of [those commandments].” Having lost the “fissure in the heart” that had itself seemed a prison to so many writers of Klausner’s generation, and which the Hebrew education available in Palestine was designed to eradicate, Klausner now began to have misgivings, fearing that the new Hebrew, who had no knowledge of that desert that had so powerfully shaped Klausner’s own Jewish psyche, would be unable to appreciate “our poetic creations.”34 A similar duality, or ambivalence, characterizes Bialik’s desert dead as Klausner and others read them. Although dead, they are even in death more powerful and enduring (eternal, in fact) than the vulture, snake, and lion who seek to do them harm—explicit symbols, in Fishel Lachower’s reading, of Egypt, Babylonia, and Rome, the historic forces responsible for Israel’s exile.35 Indeed, even in death, the desert dwellers, as Bialik describes them, manifest a grandeur and majesty which renders the predators impotent. The only seemingly able foes are the desert itself and the creator, against whom the desert dwellers’ vital rebellion is ultimately aimed. Klausner reads this revolt as reflecting periodic episodes in Jewish history—he mentions Shabbtai Zvi in particular—when the people have sought to throw off the yoke of exile. He reads Bialik as responding very

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directly to current events and understands the poem as an expression of disillusionment with Zionism itself as the latest in a series of desert revolts, which now (ostensibly at the time the poem was written) seemed to be fizzling in the assimilationist delusion of the Russian revolutionaries and the Territorialist betrayal of those who would follow Herzl to Uganda.36 Later critics, writing in an Israel that seemed a securely established reality, could view exile and wandering as an increasingly distant memory and the desert a seemingly conquerable adversary (echoing in some sense Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s famous declarations that conquest of the Negev Desert would be the prime national test and priority). Although he was himself a rather idiosyncratic and controversial figure, Baruch Kurzweil’s reading of Bialik’s poem seems in many senses to be suggestive of this shift. Kurzweil (and others) rejected what they regarded as a schematic and overly nationalized application of the poem to Bialik’s contemporary scene. This overly contemporized reading, Kurzweil suggested, had robbed the poem of its depth. Writing in 1960—about a decade later than Klausner and Lachower—Kurzweil was particularly acerbic (as he often tended to be) in his repudiation of any nationalized readings of the poem, seeing it instead as an expression of human existence and finitude in confrontation with the threatening abyss of eternity—questions with which he was himself often particularly concerned. “Metei Midbar,” Kurzweil writes, is a poem about “the dimensions of the eternal. . . . [an] encounter between ephemeral strength and eternal omnipotent silence.” The historical setting, he argued, “is pretext only.” Comparing the poem to Bialik’s earlier “Metei Midbar ha-Aharonim” (“The Last Dead of the Desert”), Kurzweil acknowledged the poet’s abiding interest in the “fate of the generation of the desert.” In “Metei Midbar,” however, he argues, “the national subject has crossed beyond the boundaries of nationhood to become a poem that struggles with the general problem of man in search of his destiny, in search of a meaning to his life.”37 But Kurzweil’s insistence on the thorough incompatibility of his reading with those of his predecessors seems unwarranted. Himself an archetype of existential torment, Kurzweil fails to recognize the deep and thorough-going psychical and mental angst that lay at the basis of a great deal of Zionism—certainly the Zionism of Bialik. In his implication of a sharp divide between the “national” and the “human” in his critique, Kurzweil seems to have effectively re-inaugurated and immortalized the would-be divide that was such a source of angst for Bialik’s generation. He misses that dimension of Zionism that was based precisely on this tension—the aspiration to effect a complete and overarching revolution in every aspect of Jewish life and in every corner of the Jew’s being in such a way as to change the nature of being human for the modern Jew. There is a paradox in Kurzweil’s reading. While in

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many ways reflecting his own very particular spiritual and intellectual distress, his reassertion of a breach between the Jewish and the human is based on a claim to effect a fusion of the two. In this sense, with all of Kurzweil’s distinctive nonconformity in the early Israeli context, his seems a reading that is in some sense based, at least in some measure, on an Israeli reality of “normalization”—an Israel that now has diminishing use for the particularistic nationalization of Bialik and his work, and that is more comfortable reading the poem for existential human depths. APPROACHING STATEHOOD Kurzweil’s reading seems in some senses to be well adapted to the environment of post-statehood Israel. As it turns out, his interpretation, which sought to wrest the desert dead out of its “historical material,” as he called it, resonates on certain levels with David Ben-Gurion’s post-1948 advocacy of mamlachtiut (statism and a statist identity) and the creation of a new Israeliness. Before examining the statist recasting of the Exodus, however, it is important to note a growing centrality of the Exodus theme in Zionist culture in Palestine prior to the establishment of the state, over the course of the 1930s and 1940s. This is evidenced by the adoption of the Exodus theme, for example, in one of the Yishuv’s central struggles in its final bid for political independence. The struggle for illegal immigration was in itself a powerful symbol, nowhere more effectively brought to the public mind through the struggles of the iconic Haggana ship which bore the name “Exodus 1947.” The ship, with its 4,515 illegal immigrants, became a critical piece of Zionism’s political history among other reasons because members of the UN Special Commission on Palestine happened to witness its passengers’ treatment at the hands of British forces and to have been swayed further toward an immediate solution of the Jewish problem through partition of Palestine and the establishment of a Jewish state.38 It would be no less important in the cultural history of Zionism first in bringing together the ancient Biblical trope with the contemporary, connecting the Exodus from Egypt with the renewed Exodus from Europe in the wake of the Second World War and the Holocaust. The legacy and influence of Exodus 1947 would be further reinforced, of course, due to the inspiration it provided for the 1958 book by Leon Uris and—perhaps more influential yet—the 1960 film starring Paul Newman. This reinvigoration of the Exodus trope through the experiences and iconification of the Exodus 1947 was anticipated in the Yishuv to some degree by what might be deemed a growing degree of comfort with the

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Exodus beginning in the 1930s, manifested, for example, by the increasing proliferation of kibbutz haggadot—a process that would accelerate further into the 1940s and 1950s. The first of these Haggadot appeared in fact in a Zionist training camp in Europe in 1928, followed by its local Palestinian successors beginning in the 1930s.39 As David Jacobson has observed, one reason for the renewed embrace of Passover and the Exodus, and the accelerated production of Haggadot that was perhaps its principal articulation, was the heightened need for that past as a point of identification for the Yishuv during the unsettling events of the Arab Revolt of 1936–1939. The turn to the Exodus narrative, he argues, had the effect of “reinforcing the notion that the Arab Revolt was just one more in a series of cyclical events like the Exodus that always ended in the people being saved from danger.”40 One might suggest a range of additional factors that helped facilitate this partial closing of the gap between the Exodus focus of Diaspora Zionism and the Exodus in the Yishuv. The Yishuv had, by the 1930s, become larger and more institutionalized. Its founders and elite were less a revolutionary vanguard and more of a middle-aged establishment. Related to these, but perhaps most weighty of all, were the changing perceptions of the Diaspora, and a gradual weakening of the “negation of exile” in Zionism as the Yishuv grew and its members aged, and particularly as they confronted the destruction of their former homes and their families in the wake of the Holocaust.41 It is noteworthy, however, that even in these texts, and in the Passover rituals that accompanied them, the Exodus itself, the desert, the wandering, are often all but absent. The stress in these Haggadot tends once again to be placed on the Land as the ultimate goal and promise, and on the Zionist project as the redemption that is the end of the process—rather than on the process itself. As one Kibbutz member wrote in the early 1920s as he prepared for the holiday, “I prepared [. . .] to celebrate my holiday, ours—not the holiday of our ancestors who left Egypt.”42 The cover of a 1935 Haggadah from Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner—appraently the first illustrated kibbutz Haggada43—is representative in this regard (see figure 8.15). Although Egypt is represented on it, it is no more central than Babylonia, with both cast together as the quintessential symbolizations of exile as trope or as Jewish existential condition. At the very center is the Land of Israel, surrounded by a set of images representing the five waves of Zionist immigration to Palestine. Egypt, in other words, is marginal; the desert is absent; and wandering, insofar as it is represented at all, is displayed only through its completion—arrival in the Promised Land. The accompanying rituals, in particular the Seder itself, was similarly transformed on the kibbutz from an evening of textual study of the Exodus narrative and its rabbinic commentaries to an agricultural festival—with the ceremony of

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Figure 8.15.  Cover of Passover Haggadah, Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner, 1935. Courtesy of the Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner Archive

the Omer, the first crops of grain taking center stage (see figure 8.16)—that underscored the members’ return to the Land of Israel and their return to the land as agricultural workers.44 DESERT AND STATE The narrative of Israel’s departure from Egypt and of the generation of desert nomads, then, itself underwent a gradual development over the course of Zionist history, a wandering of its own. The advent of statehood, however, was without a doubt a pivotal and perhaps transformative turning point in its trek.

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Figure 8.16.  Celebration of the Omer (First Crop), Kibbutz Beit ha-Shita, 1947. Courtesy of the Jewish National Fund Photo Archive

In his ambitious efforts to transform the pre-state pioneering ethos into an identity and spirit fit for a new state and society, Ben-Gurion turned to a renewed mobilization of the Bible as an almost self-evident corolary. The “rebirth of Israel and the War of Independence,” he wrote, “placed the Bible before me in a new light.”45 Indeed, the new sovereignty of the Jews in their land, Ben-Gurion indicates, and what he saw (and promoted) as a general turn to the Bible, were of a piece—an integral fusion in the modern story of national redemption. “There is nothing more natural, healthy and fruitful,” he wrote in one of his biblical expositions, “than the devotion to the Bible which is increasing among the masses of Israel, and especially among the youth. Through the return to Zion and to the Bible, the process of the revival and renewal of the Jewish people reached its highest point.” Indeed,

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he added, as the process would continue—as he not only expected, but took pains to ensure that it would—“we will come to complete political and spiritual redemption.”46 The paired redemptions of modern Israel and its sacred text were reflected in Ben-Gurion’s reading of the Exodus story, which he sought to unhook—perhaps to liberate—from its desert setting. The Jews’ days in the wilderness, as far as Ben-Gurion was concerned, had come to a close in one dramatic moment on May 14 of 1948. And with the Jews’ redemption from the desert, Ben-Gurion now set out upon a quasi-scholarly biblical expository project designed to bring a similar culmination to the journey of the Exodus narrative itself, as he transformed it from the story of process, of exilic wandering, to one that is at its heart in fact about Jewish presence in the Land. Ben-Gurion rejected “the modern scholars who do not believe in the Exodus,” asserting that an “event which has been etched so deeply into the consciousness of the nation [. . .] is without a doubt an historical event.”47 On the other hand, he argues, this does not mean one must accept all the “traditional assertions” associated with it. And indeed, at this point, Ben-Gurion launches into a meticulous and painstaking elaboration of biblical lists of names and numbers, beginning with Abraham and through the Exodus and the conquest of the Land, which lead him to rather unconventional findings. Close textual analysis, he writes, points clearly to the conclusion “that the Hebrew people always lived in the land, and only one of its families went down to Egypt.” More than this, he adds, “the numbers of Hebrews believing in one God, who remained in the land, was several times larger than the number of those who left Egypt and returned to the land.”48 Ben-Gurion’s intricate numerical calculations open a window into his conception of Jewish nationhood and of who is included within it and may partake of its would-be redemption. His computation of the numbers of Hebrews living in the Land at the time of the Exodus, he writes, is based on an inclusion of “Abraham’s 318 charges,” making an expansion of the boundaries of nationhood beyond Abraham’s immediate descendants a core component of his argument.49 One hears loud echoes here of an earlier notion Ben-Gurion had championed, according to which the Arab fellahin of Palestine were in fact the descendants of ancient Jews who had refused to leave the land when exiled by the Romans.50 Indeed, the young Ben-Gurion seemed to hold those who had made this choice in higher esteem than those who had followed the more traditional path, prioritizing a normative Judaism at the expense of the primacy of the bond to the Land. In Ben-Gurion’s hands, the Exodus narrative itself now reasserts this primacy of attachment to the Land of Israel, offering a would-be mathematical proof not of the early history of exile as formative to Jewish self-consciousness, nor of the arrival of

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the Israelites out of the desert as conquering newcomers, but rather of the tenacity of Jewish attachment to the Land as the principal defining factor of Jewishness itself.51 The Exodus narrative is spun here toward its own radical homecoming as the Yishuv’s longstanding discomfort with the Exodus as a tale of wandering in the wilderness is now transposed into a tale of being in place.

CONCLUSION: FROM WILDERNESS TO PLACE? If Zionists in Palestine had long since chafed at some of the Exodus themes that were so pivotal for their Diaspora counterparts, the advent of statehood seems to have allowed for a homecoming not only of the wandering Jews themselves, but of the central narrative of their wanderings and exile as well. The Zionist pioneering ethos, as Zali Gurevitz and Gideon Aran have argued, can be understood “as a return to place—a return of [figurative] place to [tangible] place . . . The Zionist revolution was an attempt to redefine the meaning of ‘being in place.’”52 The transition to statehood recast the pioneering ethos itself, transforming it further into an ideology of mamlachtiut, in which the Land, and the state that had now been created on it and which was seen as the culmination of the return to a now sovereign place, stand at the very center of the new Jewishness itself. In this shift, the Exodus narrative, as one of the core texts of Jewish nationhood, is molded to fit into a now completed homecoming. If Boris Schatz and the artists of Bezalel had transported the biblical Ben-Uri from the desert into a regal Jerusalem and Baruch Kurzweil read the desert dead out of the desert, in the hands of David BenGurion, the chief architect and champion of the new mamlachtiut, the Exodus story is itself transformed into a foundational text whose central core is not one of wandering, not a testament to the Jewish people’s exile in Egypt and extended trek through the desert, but rather on the contrary, a textual proof of the ancient and continuous presence of Jews in the Land of Israel. The journey, which had stood at the center for such leaders as Herzl and Ahad Ha’am has, for Ben-Gurion, come to a successful—indeed, a redemptive—conclusion. As Gurevitz and Aran have suggested, Zionism’s efforts to re-localize Jewish culture, to return it to place, have had ambivalent results, reflected in a conflicted attitude to place in Israeli culture to this day.53 In Ben-Gurion’s recasting of the Exodus, however, process—out of placeness—is now all but expunged in his vision for Israel, where endziel—a longed-for being in place—is the one remaining truth.

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NOTES 1.  Michael Walzer, Exodus and Revolution (New York, NY: Basic Books, 1985), 5. 2.  Ibid., 6. 3. See Anita Shapira, “Ha-Motivim ha-Datiyim shel Tenu’at ha-Avoda,” in Yehudim Hadashim, Yehudim Yeshanim (Tel Aviv, Israel: Am Oved, 1997), 267–72. Shapira’s observation does call for some qualification, however. Due to her almost exclusive focus on Labor Zionism as the source of the Yishuv’s culture, and her chronological notion that that culture is created only during the Mandate period, she misses the pre-World War I Passover celebration in Rehovot which, admittedly for a short time, was a major annual event in the Yishuv’s calendar. The Rehovot celebration, as well as its creation and ultimate demise are yet to be studied in any sustained way. 4.  Anita Shapira, “Ha-Motivim ha-Datiyim,” 268. 5.  On Zionist celebrations and reinvented holidays, see, e.g. Yaacov Shavit and Shoshana Siton, Staging and Stagers in Modern Jewish Palestine (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2004); Hizky Shoham, Mordechai Riding the Horse: Purim Celebrations in Tel Aviv (1908–1936) and the Construction of a New Nation (Ramat Gan and Sde Boker: Bar Ilan University Press and the Ben-Gurion Research Institute Press, 2013); Arieh Bruce Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Hebrew National Culture in Ottoman Palestine (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2008), passim. 6.  See, e.g., François Guesnet, “Chanukah and its Function in the Invention of a Jewish-Heroic Tradition in Early Zionism,” in Michael Berkowitz, ed., Nationalism, Zionism and Ethnic Mobilization of the Jews in 1900 and Beyond, (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004), 227–45; Shmuel Dotan, “Me-Hag ha-Hannukah le-’Hag haHashmona’im—Tzmihato shel Hag Le’umi Tzioni,” Mehkerei Hag 10 (1999), 29–53; Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew, 111–17.  7. Mordechai Gottfried, Moshe (Epos) (Wien: Sve Graph, 1919), cover page.  8. Moshe—Hizayon le-Fesach bi-Shetei Ma’arachot (adapted by Dr. H. Berson) (New York, NY: Shilo, 1930), 13.  9. Israel Goldfarb-Zehavi, Moshe Le-Or ha-Aggada ha-Yisre’elit (Biographia Historit) (Tel Aviv: Eldav, 1927), 3 (unnumbered). 10. Ibid. 11.  Ranen Omer-Sherman, Israel in Exile: Jewish Writing and the Desert (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006), 7. 12.  In so doing, the two leaders placed themselves firmly in a well-established tradition in the modern Jewish world of referencing Moses for models of leadership and for affirmations of particular political, social, cultural, or intellectual agendas. See Arnold Band, “The Moses Complex in Modern Jewish Literature,” Judaism, 51:3 (2002), 302–14. 13.  Raphael Patai, ed., The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl (New York: Herzl Press, 1960), Book I, 23. (Entry dated May 26, 1895). 14.  See e.g. ibid., 28. 15.  Ibid., 233. 16.  Ibid., 38. Cf. Jacques Kornberg, Theodor Herzl: From Assimilation to Zionism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), 170.

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17.  Ibid., Book II, 623–24. Cf. Milly Heyd, “Lilien: Between Herzl and Ahasver,” in Gideon Shimoni and Robert S. Wistrich, eds., Theodor Herzl, Visionary of the Jewish State (New York, NY: Herzl Press, 1999), 275. 18.  See Band, “The Moses Complex,” 309. 19.  Ahad Ha’am, “Moshe,” Ha-Shiloah 13:2 (1904). 20.  Cf. Steven J. Zipperstein, Elusive Prophet—Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 214–17 and passim. 21.  See ibid., 42. 22.  Ibid., 51–52. 23.  Boris Schatz, “The Bezalel Institute,” 64. 24. (Unsigned), “Bezalel: Ki mi-Zion Yetzeh Yofi ve-Omanut mi-Yerushalayim,” Hashkafa, 7:19 (28 Kislev 5666/December 26 1905), 1. 25.  Ephraim Deinard to Boris Schatz, November 12, 1906, CZA L42/57. 26.  See Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew, 140–43. 27. Cf. Yigal Zalmona and Nurit Shilo-Cohen, “Signon ve-Iconographia beHeftzei Bezalel,” in Nurit Shilo-Cohen, ed., Bezalel Shel Schatz, 1906–1929 (Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1982), 204. 28.  Ahad Ha’am, “Moshe.” 29. See Yael Zerubavel, “Desert and Settlement: Space Metaphors and Symbolic Landscapes in the Yishuv and Early Israeli Culture,” in Julia Brauch, Anna Liphardt, and Alexandra Nocke, eds., Jewish Topographies: Visions of Space, Traditions of Place (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 201–22. 30.  For a good, succinct summary of Berdyczewsky and his world-view, see Avner Holzman, “Berdyczewski, Mikhah Yosef,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed. in Chief, The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008), 151–53. 31.  “Proceedings of the First General Conference of Hebrew Teachers, Second Session,” 18. Aviezer Yellin Education Archives, 9.1, box 1. For further discussion of this trope in the early Zionist Yishuv in Palestine, see Saposnik Becoming Hebrew, 82–83 and passim. 32. Dr. Yosef Klausner, “Ha-Ivri ha-Tza’ir,” Ha-Shilo’ah, 20 (January–June 1909), 401. 33.  Klausner, “Nevi ha-Aharit o Meshorer ha-Tehiya?” reproduced in Zvi Luz, ed., Al Metei Midbar—Masot al Po’ema le-Bialik (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1988), 15–17. 34. Klausner, “Ha-Ivri ha-Tza’ir,” 402. For an extended discussion of Klausner’s critique and its context, see Saposnik, Becoming Hebrew, 189–211. 35.  Fishel Lachower, “Metei Midbar,” in Luz (ed.), 19–31. 36.  Klausner, in Al Metei Midbar. Klausner, however, had confused the publication date of the poem, which in fact appeared over a year prior to Herzl’s presentation of the so-called Uganda Proposal at the Sixth Zionist Congress in 1903. 37.  Baruch Kurzweil, “Metei Midbar,” in Luz (ed.), 37–38. 38.  The definitive historical treatment is Aviva Halamish (1998). The Exodus affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998). 39. See Muki Tsur, “Pesach in the Land of Israel: Kibbutz Haggadot,” Israel Studies 12:2 (2007), 74–103.

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40. David Jacobson, “Writing and Rewriting the Zionist National Narrative: Responses to the Arab Revolt of 1936–1939 in Kibbutz Passover Haggadot,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 6:1 (2007), 1–20. Quote is from page 4. 41. This point is argued particularly in Dina Porat, “Attitudes of the Young State of Israel toward the Holocaust and its Survivors: A Debate over Identity and Values,” in Laurence J. Silberstein, ed., New Perspectives on Israeli History: The Early Years of the State, (New York: New York University Press, 1991), 157–74. Although Anita Shapira attributes the major shifts to later periods, hints of a similar process beginning as early as the 1940s may also be found in her “Whatever Became of ‘Negating Exile’?” in Anita Shapira, ed., Israeli Identity in Transition (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2004), 69–108. 42. Quoted in Moti Zeira, Keru’im Anu: Zikata shel ha-Hityashvut ha-Ovedet biShenot ha-Esrim el ha-Tarbut ha-Yehudit (Rural Collective Settlement and Jewish Culture in Eretz Israel during the 1920s) (Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 2002), 57. 43.  See Yuval Danieli, “Kol ha-Marbeh Le-Ayer harei zeh Meshubah: Al Iyurei Haggadot Pesach ve-Kishutei ha-Pesach, 1935–1955,” in Muki Tzur and Yuval Danieli, eds., Yotz’im be-Hodesh ha-Aviv: Pesach Eretz-Yisre’eli be-Haggadot min haKibbutz (Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 2004), 183. 44.  Indeed, as Jacobson notes, for example, even the traditional Haggadah’s account of Laban turning from Jacob’s host to his would-be destroyer is translated in a 1937 kibbutz haggadah into the tale of the contemporary Laban—the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini—first selling land to Jews and then becoming the leader and instigator of bloody attacks upon them. The ten plagues are similarly exported from Egypt into Palestine and are now “the ten plagues with which Husayni sabotaged us in order to destroy us.” See Jacobson, “Writing and Rewriting,” 6–8. 45.  David Ben-Gurion, “The Exodus from Egypt,” in Ben-Gurion Looks at the Bible, trans. Jonathan Kolatch (Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1972), 114. Anita Shapira has likewise commented that the 1948 War of Independence constituted “a parting of the waters” in terms of Ben-Gurion’s attitude to the Bible. In the wake of the war, and in the reality of Jewish sovereignty in the biblical land, the Bible took on a far greater centrality in his conception of Jewish history and in his efforts to construct a modern Jewish nationhood based in a historical narrative and consciousness. See Anita Shapira, “Ben-Gurion and the Bible: The Forging of an Historical Narrative?” Middle Eastern Studies 33:4 (1997), 645–74. 46.  Ben-Gurion, “Father of the Hebrew Nation,” in Ben-Gurion Looks at the Bible, 127. 47.  “The Exodus,” in ibid., 113. 48.  Ibid., 114, 124. 49.  Ibid., 124. 50.  The most sustained and familiar exposition of this idea by Ben-Gurion is in his “Le-Verur Motza ha-Fallahim” (“Explaining the Origins of the Fallahin”), Lu’ah Ahi’ever 1 1917, 118–27. 51.  Cf. Gabriel Piterberg, The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics and Scholarship in Israel (London and New York: Verso, 2008), 273–82. 52. Zali Gurevitz, Al ha-Makom (On Israeli and Jewish Place) (Tel Aviv: Am Oved Publishers, 2007), 40–41. 53.  Ibid., passim.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY (Unsigned). “Bezalel: Ki mi-Zion Yetzeh Yofi ve-Omanut mi-Yerushalayim,” Hashkafa, 7:19 (28 Kislev 5666/December 26 1905), 1. Band, Arnold. “The Moses Complex in Modern Jewish Literature,” Judaism, 51:3 (2002), 302–14. Ben-Gurion, David, Ben-Gurion Looks at the Bible, translated by Jonathan Kolatch (Middle Village, NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1972). Ben-Gurion, David. “Le-Verur Motza ha-Fallahim” (“Explaining the Origins of the Fallahin”), Lu’ah Ahi’ever 1 1917, 118–127. Berkowitz, Michael, ed. Nationalism, Zionism and Ethnic Mobilization of the Jews in 1900 and Beyond (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004). Berson, Dr. H. Moshe—Hizayon le-Fesach bi-Shetei Ma’arachot (adapted by Dr. H. Berson (New York: Shilo, 1930). Brauch, Julia, Anna Liphardt, and Alexandra Nocke, eds. Jewish Topographies: Visions of Space, Traditions of Place (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008). Cohen, I., ed. Zionist Work in Palestine (London, 1911). Danieli, Yuval. “Kol ha-Marbeh Le-Ayer harei zeh Meshubah: Al Iyurei Haggadot Pesach ve-Kishutei ha-Pesach, 1935–1955,” in Muki Tzur and Yuval Danieli, eds., Yotz’im be-Hodesh ha-Aviv: Pesach Eretz-Yisre’eli be-Haggadot min ha-Kibbutz (Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 2004). Dotan, Shmuel. “Me-Hag ha-Hannukah le-’Hag ha-Hashmona’im—Tzmihato shel ‘Hag Le’umi’ Tzioni,” Mehkerei Hag 10 (1999), 29–53. Ginsberg, Asher (Ahad Ha’am). “Moshe,” Ha-Shiloah 13:2 (1904). Goldfarb-Zehavi, Israel. Moshe Le-Or ha-Aggada ha-Yisre’elit (Biographia Historit) (Tel Aviv: Eldav, 1927). Gottfried, Mordechai. Moshe (Epos) (Wien: Sve Graph, 1919). Guesnet, François. “Chanukah and its Function in the Invention of a JewishHeroic Tradition in Early Zionism,” in Michael Berkowitz, ed., Nationalism, Zionism and Ethnic Mobilization of the Jews in 1900 and Beyond, (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2004), 227–245. Gurevitz, Zali. Al ha-Makom (On Israeli and Jewish Place) (Tel Aviv: Am Oved Publishers, 2007). Halamish, Aviva. The Exodus affair: Holocaust Survivors and the Struggle for Palestine (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998). Heyd, Milly. “Lilien: Between Herzl and Ahasver,” in Gideon Shimoni and Robert S. Wistrich, eds., Theodor Herzl, Visionary of the Jewish State (New York, NY: Herzl Press, 1999). Holzman, Avner. “Berdyczewski, Mikhah Yosef,” in Gershon David Hundert, ed. in Chief, The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008), 151–53. Hundert, Gershon David, ed. in Chief. The YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008). Jacobson, David. “Writing and Rewriting the Zionist National Narrative: Responses to the Arab Revolt of 1936–1939 in Kibbutz Passover Haggadot,” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, 6:1 (2007), 1–20.

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Klausner, Dr. Josef. “Ha-Ivri ha-Tza’ir,” Ha-Shilo’ah 20 (January–June 1909), 401–06. Kornberg, Jacques. Theodor Herzl: From Assimilation to Zionism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993). Luz, Zvi, ed. Al Metei Midbar—Masot al Po’ema le-Bialik, (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1988). Omer-Sherman, Ranen. Israel in Exile: Jewish Writing and the Desert (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006). Patai, Raphael, ed. The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, (New York: Herzl Press, 1960). Piterberg, Gabriel. The Returns of Zionism: Myths, Politics and Scholarship in Israel (London and New York: Verso, 2008). Porat, Dina. “Attitudes of the Young State of Israel toward the Holocaust and its Survivors: A Debate over Identity and Values,” in Laurence J. Silberstein, ed., New Perspectives on Israeli History: The Early Years of the State (New York: New York University Press, 1991), 157–74. Saposnik, Arieh Bruce. Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Hebrew National Culture in Ottoman Palestine (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). Schatz, Boris. “The Bezalel Institute,” in I. Cohen, ed. Zionist Work in Palestine (London, 1911). Shapira, Anita, ed. Israeli Identity in Transition (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2004). Shapira, Anita. “Ben-Gurion and the Bible: The Forging of an Historical Narrative?” Middle Eastern Studies 33:4 (1997), 645–74. Shapira, Anita. “Ha-Motivim ha-Datiyim shel Tenu’at ha-Avoda,” in idem, Yehudim Hadashim, Yehudim Yeshanim (Tel Aviv, Israel: Am Oved, 1997). Shapira, Anita. “Whatever Became of ‘Negating Exile’?”, in idem, ed., Israeli Identity in Transition (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 2004), 69–108. Shapira, Anita. Yehudim Hadashim, Yehudim Yeshanim (Tel Aviv, Israel: Am Oved, 1997). Shavit, Yaacov and Shoshana Siton. Staging and Stagers in Modern Jewish Palestine (Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2004). Shilo-Cohen, Nurit, ed. Bezalel Shel Schatz, 1906–1929 (Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1982). Shimoni, Gideon and Robert S. Wistrich, eds. Theodor Herzl, Visionary of the Jewish State (New York: Herzl Press, 1999). Shoham, Hizky. Mordechai Riding the Horse: Purim Celebrations in Tel Aviv (1908– 1936) and the Construction of a New Nation (Ramat Gan and Sde Boker: Bar Ilan University Press and the Ben-Gurion Research Institute Press, 2013). Silberstein, Laurence J., ed. New Perspectives on Israeli History: The Early Years of the State (New York: New York University Press, 1991). Tsur, Muki. “Pesach in the Land of Israel: Kibbutz Haggadot,” Israel Studies 12:2 (2007), 74–103. Tzur, Muki and Yuval Danieli, eds. Yotz’im be-Hodesh ha-Aviv: Pesach Eretz-Yisre’eli be-Haggadot min ha-Kibbutz (Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 2004). Walzer, Michael. Exodus and Revolution (New York: Basic Books, 1985).

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Zalmona, Yigal and Nurit Shilo-Cohen. “Signon ve-Iconographia be-Heftzei Bezalel,” in Nurit Shilo-Cohen, ed., Bezalel Shel Schatz, 1906–1929 (Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1982). Zeira, Moti. Keru’im Anu: Zikata shel ha-Hityashvut ha-Ovedet bi-Shenot ha-Esrim el ha-Tarbut ha-Yehudit (Rural Collective Settlement and Jewish Culture in Eretz Israel during the 1920s) (Jerusalem: Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 2002). Zerubavel, Yael. “Desert and Settlement: Space Metaphors and Symbolic Landscapes in the Yishuv and Early Israeli Culture,” in Julia Brauch, Anna Liphardt, and Alexandra Nocke, eds., Jewish Topographies: Visions of Space, Traditions of Place (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), 201–22. Zipperstein, Steven J. Elusive Prophet—Ahad Ha’am and the Origins of Zionism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).

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Index

Page references in italics refer to figures and their captions. Aaron, 206 Abarbanel, Don Isaac, 159–61, 163n28, 164nn31–33 Abel, 175, 178 Abraham, x, 88n29; Ben Gurion on, 239; depicted in Spanish art, 170, 181, 181, 182; as ger, 122; God’s message to, 111–12, 137–38; in Haggadah, 58–59 Adam: depicted in Spanish art, 176–82, 180, 187nn49–52 Afikomen, 77 Ahad Ha’am, xiv, 217, 220–23, 225, 233, 240 Akhenaton (pharaoh), 15n7 Akiva (Rabbi), 26–27, 59, 142–43n89, 199, 200 Alba Bible (La Biblia de Alba), 1–5, 171–72 Alexander, Elizabeth, 39–40 Alter, Robert, 209n14 “Amon,” 37–39 Amos, 12 Angel, Marc D., 86n15 Anglo-Catalan Psalter, 169

Aquila, 130 Arab Revolt (1936–39), 236 Arameans, 12 Aran, Gideon, 240 Ascher, Saul, 93–94n121 Assmann, Jan, 15n7 Babylonian Exile, 13 Band, Arnold, 221 Barcelona Haggadah, 167 Barmash, Pamela, xi, 1–22 Bassa, Ferrer, 169, 172, 174, 183 Ben Avigdor (Abraham Leib Shalkowitz), 223 Ben-David, Shmuel, 229 Ben-Gurion, David, 234, 235; on Exodus, 239, 240; on War of Independence, 243n45 Ben-Yehuda, Eliezer, 224 Berdiczewsky, Micah Yosef, 215, 233 Berlin Reformgemeinde, 95n126 Berson, H., 216 Beth Adam Congregation (Cincinnati, Ohio), 101–2n166

247

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Beth Chayim Chadashim Congregation (Los Angeles), 77 Bezalel (biblical character), 223–30, 240 Bezalel Museum, 224–27, 226 Bialik, Haim Nahman, 232–35 Bible: Alba Bible, 171–72 Ben-Gurion on, 238, 243n45; Exodus in, 1–15, 191; Israelitische Bibel, 204; translated into German, 197, 200, 209n14 La Biblia de Alba (Alba Bible), 171–72 biblical law, 1–2, 6, 10–11, 111. See also Halakhah Birmingham Temple (Birmingham, Michigan), 78 birthstool, 2 bitter herbs, 6, 58, 59, 134 Bland, Kalman, xii, 147–166 Blenkinsopp, Joseph, 15n1 blood, 195 Bnei Moshe (Sons of Moses, Zionist group), 223 Bokser, Baruch M., 23–29 Books of Hours and Psalms, 169 Boyarin, Daniel, 44 Brenner, Yosef Chaim, 215 Broner, E. M., 77 Buber, Martin, 132, 198–200, 202–3 Cabanes, Pere, 172 Cabrit, Bonjuà, 170–71, 185n23 Cain, 176, 178 Caleb, 223, 225 Canaan, 16n10; in Hymn of Victory of Merneptah, 3–4; settlements in, 4–5 Canaanites, 3–4, 120–21 Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), 96n134; Union Haggadah of, 96n135 Childs, Brevard S., 136–37, 193–94 Christianity, 156–58; in Spanish art, 183–84 circumcision, 196 Clermont-Tonnerre, Stanislas de (count), 93–94n121 Congregation Beth Simchat Torah (New York), 77

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converts, xiii, 126–31 Creation story, 42–43, 56; depicted in Golden Haggadah, 176; depicted in Spanish art, 176–83, 187nn49–52 Cushites, 12 Cyrus (emperor, Persia), 14 David (king), 9, 172 Davidic dynasty, 8, 14 Dayenu (poem in haggadah), 75–76 death: as Passover motif, 148–52, 156 Decalogue, 6, 32–33, 113, 136; God introduces himself in, 82n2; Psalm 81 on, 10–11 Deutero-Isaiah, 13–14, 20n50, 128 Deuteronomic Reform, 1 Deuteronomy: holy days in, 133, 134; on the poor, 131; on Sabbath, 135– 37; on strangers, 124–25 Dever, William, 16–17n15, 18n29 Diaspora, 214, 236; Zionism in, 216–17 DuBois, W.E.B., 41–42, 49n61 Easter, 155–56 Edict of Cyrus, 13 Edom, 90n56 Egypt, Ancient, 2; in GLBT Seder, 78; in God’s words to Abraham, 111–12; Israelites in, 3–4, 15n2; in kibbutz haggadah, 236; Einhorn, David, 67, 95n130, 96n134, 97–98n137 Eliezer (Rabbi), 87n20, 129, 135 Eliezer b. Jacob (Rabbi), 130 Ephraimites (people), 8, 19n38 Esther (Hadassah), 38 Eve: depicted in Spanish art, 176, 177, 179–83, 180, 187nn49–52 eved (slave), 116 Exodus (modern book and film), 235 Exodus: as hermeneutical model, vii–ix; history and memory of, ix–xi, 14–15; historical reality of, 2–5, 138; in modern Israel, 239–40; in prophetic literature, 10–14; in Psalms, 7–12, 14; possible date of, 3–4, 16n10

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Index 249 Exodus 1947 (ship), 235–36 ezov (hyssop), 197, 203–7, 205 Ezra, 1–2 Ferdinand I (king, Léon and Castile), 169 Finkelstein, Israel, 18n24 First Temple, 8, 16n10; cult of, 28 Four Questions, 147–48; in kibbutz haggadot, 80; in Women’s Seder, 75 Fox, Everett, 209n14 Fraade, Steven, 35 French Revolution, 65, 93–94n121, 213 Galpaz-Feller, Pnina, 15n3,15n6 Gamliel, Rabban, 85–86n14, 133–34, 139n5 Garden of Eden, 176, 177 gay and lesbian (GLBT) community, 77–78 Geiger, Abraham, 94n124 Genesis Rabbah, 35–38, 40, 42–43 German (language): Hebrew Bible translated into, 197, 200, 209n14 ger toshav (resident alien), 126–27; halakhah on treatment of, 122–31, 139 ge’ulah (benediction in Shemoneh Esreh), 54–55 Gillman, Abigail E., xii, 191–211 Ginsberg, H. L., 135 God: depicted in Golden Haggadah, 177, 178; depicted in Spanish art, 178–81, 180; distancing himself from angels, 151, 161n8; as feminine, 74; speaks to Abraham, 111–12, 137–38 Golden Haggadah, 167–68, 170, 171, 176, 176–81 Goldfarb-Zehavi, Israel, 216 Goldschmidt, Hermann Levin, 197 Gottfried, Mordechai, 215–16 Güdemann, Moritz, 218, 219 Gurevitz, Zali, 240 Guzman, Don, 171

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Haggadah (Haggadot), vii: foods mentioned in, 85–86n14; for Freedom Seder, 72–74; GLBT Haggadot, 77–78; from Holocaust, 99n140 Humanist Haggadah, 78–79; images in, xiv; “It Came to Pass at Midnight” (poem), 60, 88n28; kibbutz haggadot, 79–81, 102n170, 236–37, 237, 243n44; new editions of, xiii; piyyut in, 1; reinterpretations of Exodus in, 67–69; Spanish, 167–84; for Women’s Seder, 74–77; during World War II, 69–72; Zevah Pesah (commentary on haggadah), 159 halakhah, 111; Exodus as foundation of, xiii, 112–14, 138; on holy day observances, 132–37; social laws resulting from the Exodus in, 114–15; on treatment of poor, 131–32, 139; on treatment of slaves, 115–22; on treatment of strangers, 122–31, 139 Halevi, Yehuda, 216 Hallel Psalms, 86n15 Ham (biblical), 90n69 Hamburg Tempelverein, 94n124 Hammer, Reuven, xiii, 111–145 Hanukkah, 214 Hendel, Ronald, 15n7, 18n30 hermeneutics of Exodus, 29–40 Herzl, Theodor, xiv, 217–20, 221, 223, 240; Uganda Proposal of, 234, 242n36 Heschel, Susannah, 100–101n162 Hillelites, 86n15 Hirsch, Baron, 218 Hirsch, Emil G., 96n134 Hirsch, Samson Raphael, 192, 195, 199–201, 203, 206–7; Bible translated into German by, 209n14 Hispano-Moresque Haggadah, 167, 174, 174–75 Hoffman, Yair, 19n37,19n48 Holiness Code, 113 Holocaust, 18n31; Haggadot from, 80, 99n140; as one of many genocides, 18–19n36

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holy days: Passover, 6, 132–34; Sabbath (Shabbat), 135–37; Sukkot, 134–35 Hosea, 10, 11 Huguet, Jaime, 170 The Humanist Haggadah, 78–79 Hyksos, 15n7 Hymn of Victory of Merneptah, 3–4 hyssop plant (ezov), 203–7, 205 immigration, to Palestine, 235, 236 Isaiah (prophet), 10, 55, 210n28 Ishmael (Rabbi), 31–33 Israel (modern), 235–37; in Humanist Haggadah, 78–79; kibbutz movements in, 79–81, 102n170; as state, 238–40 Israelites, 112; artistic depictions of, 170; deaths of, 150–51; ethnogenesis of, 4–6; in Egypt, 3–4, 15n2; as multiple tribes, 5 Israelitische Bibel (Israelite Bible; Philippson), 204 Jacobson, David, 236, 243n44 Jaffee, Martin S., 23, 30, 44–45, 48–49n25 James, William, Sr., 41 James, William, Jr., 41, 49n55 Jesus, 157; depicted in Spanish art, 175, 178–79, 183 as paschal sacrifice, 209n11 Jewish law. See halakhah Jewish mystics, 153 Johanan ben Zakkai (Rabbi), 114–15 Johlson, Joseph, 200, 210n24 John Hyrcanus, 128 Jose (Rabbi), 130 Joseph (biblical character), x, 137 Joseph b. Samuel Bonfils, 87n26 Josephus, 83n4 Joshua (biblical character), 222, 223, 225 Joshua (Rabbi), 87n20, 130 Josiah, 1 Jubilee, 127, 153; slaves freed during, 117–18, 120, 121 Judah (Rabbi), 127–28

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Kadesh-Barnea (‘Ain el-Qudeirat), 4 Kaplan, Mordecai, 69–70 Karaites, 152 Karnak (Egypt), 4, 17n23 Kaufman, Yehezkel, 117–18 Kaufmann, David, 168 Kibbutz Artzi-Hashomer Hatsa’ir movement, 81 Kibbutz Beit ha-Shita, 238 kibbutz movements, 79–81, 102n170; haggadot of, 236–37, 237, 243n44 Kibbutz Na’an (Israel), 80 King, Martin Luther, Jr., 72 Klausner, Joseph, 232, 233–34 Kogman-Appel, Katrin, 173 Kohler, Kaufmann, 96n134 Kurzweil, Baruch, 234–35, 240 Lachower, Fishel, 232–34 Levine, Baruch, 113, 118; on strangers, 124, 126, 141n59 Leviticus: on slaves, 117–19, 138; on strangers, 123–24, 129–30 Lilien, Ephraim Moshe, 216–17, 219– 20; art of, 217, 219, 220, 222, 228 Long, Charles, 23, 40–43, 49n55 Maimon, Salomon, 209n18 Maimonides: on converts, 130; on festivals, 154; on ger toshav, 127; on slavery, 120, 121 mamlachtiut (statism and a statist identity), 235, 240 Mann, Vivian B., xiv, 167–190 manna, 9 Marcus, Ivan G., 156 Mary of Navarre, 169 matzot (unleavened bread), 133, 153, 193–94; origins of, 208–9n5 Meir (Rabbi), 127 Meiss, Millard, 174 Mekhilta: on ger toshav, 126; on slaves, 118–19; on strangers, 128–29 Mendelssohn, Moses, 197–200 Merneptah, Hymn of Victory of, 3–4 “Metei Midbar” (The Desert Dead; poem, Bialik), 232, 234

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Index 251 midwives, 2, 15n2 Mihaly, Eugene, 86–87n16, 87n25 Milgrom, Jacob, 122 Miriam’s cup, 78, 100–101n162 Mishnah, 25, 57, 111; on slaves, 118, 120 Mishneh Torah, 154 Mordecai, 38 Moses, 38, 137, 152; absent from Psalm 78, 9; Ahad Ha’am on, 220–23; as baby, Spanish artistic depictions of, 169–70; birth of, 2; Buber on, 132, 203; on commandments, 113, 123; depicted in Spanish art, 181, 182, 183; Herzl on, 217–20; Hirsch on, 206; literary portrayals of, 215–16; name of, 15–16n8; in Promised Land, 223– 24; speaks to Israelites, 191–92; speaks to Pharoah, 208–9n5 Moses, Isaac S., 67, 97–98n137 Moses ben Maimon. See Maimonides Moses of Arragel, 172 “Moshe” (poem, Gottfried), 215–16 “Moshe—A Passover Play in Two Acts” (Berson), 216 Müller, David Heinrich, 168 mysterium tremendum, 40–43 Natan (Rabbi), 129 National Jewish Organizing Project, 72–73 National Jewish Population Survey, 102–3n171 Nehorai (Rabbi), 151, 161n6 Nelson, W. David, xi, 23–51 Nineveh (Assyria), 39 Noah, 173 Nora, Pierre, 194 Nordau, Max, 218 Northern Kingdom (of Israel), 7–12 Olat Tamid, 67, 95n130 Omer (first crop), 237, 238 Omer-Sherman, Ranen, 217 oppression, religion of: DuBois on, 41, 49n61; Long on, 43

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oral-circulatory conceptual models, 39–40 Oral Torah. See Torah in the Mouth Oshaya (Rabbi), 35–39 Paden, W., 46n17–18 Palau Portal, 178, 179–82 Palestine, 214, 215; as Promised Land, 223–32; Zionists and Zionism in, 232–35 Pamplona Bibles, 169, 170, 183 paschal lamb, 45n8, 159, 160, 201; origins of, 208–9n5 Passover: death motif in, 148–52; Easter and, 155–56; Exodus theme in liturgy of, 57–58; halakhah on observance of, 132–34; as memory ritual, 6; origins of name, 200–203; Sukkot compared with, 147–48; Zohar on, xii, 153–54. See also Seders Paul (apostle), 209n11 Pharaoh, 2, 70 Philippson, Ludwig, 204–6, 205, 209n14 Philistines, 12 Pilichowski, Leopold, 220, 221 Pinsker, Leon, 232 Piramesse (Per Ramesses; Qantir; Tell el-Dabʻa), 3 Pithom (Per Atum; Tell el-Maskhuta; Egypt), 3, 16–17n15 piyyutim, 61, 88–89n49, 94n122 plagues, 9, 208–9n5; in kibbutz haggadah, 243n44 poor: halakhah on treatment of, 131– 32, 139 Postolsky, Shalom, 102n168 Prato Haggadah, 168 pre-Rabbinic Judaism, 25 Promised Land (Palestine), 223–32 Propp, William H. C., 197 proselytes (converts), 130 Psalm 78, 7–10 Psalm 80, 11–12 Psalm 81, 10–11 Psalm 106, 13 Psalm 114, 14 Purim, 1, 155

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Index

Raamses II (pharoah), 3, 17n18 Raban, Zeev, 224, 226, 229, 230, 231 Rabbanites, 152 Rad, Gerhard von, 18n34 Rashi, 152 reality, social construction of, 49–50n65 Redford, Donald B., 15n8, 16n11,17n20 Redmount, Carol A., 15nn2,4 Reform Judaism, 66 Rehovot, 240n3 Rishon Le-Zion (Israel), 225 Roman Empire, 35 Rosenzweig, Franz, 198–200, 202, 203 Rosh Hashanah, 87n20 Rothberg, Michael, 18–19n35 Rylands Haggadah, 167 Sabbath (Shabbat): halakhah on observance of, 135–37 remembrance in prayers on, 56 Samuel (biblical), 151 Samuel b. Nahmani (Rabbi), 124 Sanchis y Silva, José, 182 Sancho of Navarre (king), 183 Sanctification of the Day, 56 Saposnik, Arieh, xiii, 213–245 Sarah, 170 Sarajevo Haggadah, 167–68, 182, 183 Sarason, Richard S., xii, 53–109 Sarna, Nahum, 115, 116, 122–23, 132 Schatz, Boris, 223–24, 226–32, 240 art of, 227, 228, 231 Scheller, Robert W., 171 Schlosser, Julius von, 168 Schneider, Thomas, 16n14 Sea of Reeds: Psalm 106 on, 13 Psalm 114 on, 14 Second Isaiah. See Deutero-Isaiah Second Temple Judaism, 30 Second World War. See World War II secular humanism, 78–79 seders: attended by American Jews, 102–3n171; earliest accounts of, 24–25; Exodus theme in liturgy of, 57–58; Freedom Seder, 72–73; in kibbutz haggadah, 236; origins

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of, 23–24; promise of future redemption in, 59, 87n21; as ritual experience, 29; rituals in, 25–26, 45n8 symbolism of items on plate, 85–86n14, 139n5; Women’s Seder, 74–77. See also Passover Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle, 173, 184n5 Sefer Nizzahon Ha-yashan, 157–58 Seidman, Naomi, 207 Seligmann, Caesar, 98n138 Shabbat. See Sabbath Shalkowitz, Abraham Leib (Ben Avigdor), 223 Shammaites, 86n15 Shapira, Anita, 213–14, 240n3, 243n41, 243n45 Shasu (people), 17n23 Shefokh Hameteka, 158 Shekhinah (feminine God), 74 Shem, 90n69 Shema, 54, 83n4 Shiloh, 9 Shimon b. Yohai (Rabbi), 31, 124, 129 Sifra: on ger, 127–28 on slaves, 117, 118 Sifre to Deuteronomy, 34 Simeon (Rabbi), 133 Simeon b. Eleazar (Rabbi), 33 Simeon b. Rabbi (Rabbi), 120 Sitra ‘Ahra, xii slaves and slavery, xiii, 70–71; halakhah on treatment of, 115–21, 138; treatment of the poor and, 131 social construction of reality, 49–50n65 social legislation: in Torah, 115; on treatment of poor, 131–32; on treatment of slaves, 115–22; on treatment of ger, 122–31 Society for Humanistic Judaism, 78 Solomon ben Yitzhaq (Rashi), 152 Song at the Sea, 84–85n11, 88–89n49 Song of Songs, 88–89n49 Southern Kingdom (of Judah), 7–12 Spain: haggadot from, 167–84 Stein, Leopold, 67–68, 95–98n135–137

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Index 253 Sukkot, 147–48; Abarbanel on, 160–61; halakhah on observance of, 134–35; rejoicing durng, 151 Syro-Ephraimite War, 8

Valencia (Spain) cathedral, 178–82; Palau Portal in, 179–82 Vehi she’amdah (prayer in Haggadah), 81, 101n164

Talmud: on converts, 130; on ger toshav, 127; halakhah in, 111; on slavery, xiii Tarfon (Rabbi), 26–27, 59 Targum Jerushalmi (Yerushalmi), 209n11 Targum Jonathan, 209n11 Temple Emanuel (New York), 94n124 Ten Commandments. See Decalogue Tigay, Jeffrey H., 122, 125, 126, 137, 142n74 Torah: early midrashic references to, 31–32; Genesis Rabbah on, 42–43; on observing mitzvahs, 114; rejection of, 32–34; on Sabbath, 135. See also halakhah Torah in the Mouth, 30, 42, 44, 48–49n25, 82–83n3, 111 traditions, changes in, x Troeltsch, Ernst, 41

Walzer, Michael, 213 War of Independence (Israel; 1948), 238, 243n45 Waskow, Arthur, 72–74 Wine, Sherwin T., 78–79 women, 74–77; Deutero-Isaiah as, 20n50; in GLBT Seder, 100–101n162 Women’s Seder, 74–77 women’s movement, 74 World War II, 69–72, 80 Wormald, Francis, 174 Written Torah: in rabbinic Judaism, 82–83n3

Uganda, 234, 242n36 Union Haggadah, 95–96n135, 98–99n139 The Union Prayer Book for Jewish Worship, 66–67, 95–96n135, 95n127– 28, 97–98n137 United States: attendence at Seders in, 102–3n171; Haggadot in, 72–78; Haggadot referring to, 69–71, 97–98n137; in Humanist Haggadah, 78–79; as land of freedom, 67–68; origins of Reform Judaism in, 66; secular humanist Haggadot in, 78–79 Uris, Leon, 235

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Yannai, 88n28 Yellin, David, 233 Yerushalmi, Yosef Hayim, 80, 152 Yetsiat Mitsrayim, 24, 45n5, 111 Yiddish, 197; Yiddish-socialist Haggadot, 78, 101n164 Yishuv, 213–14, 223–24, 230, 232, 236 Yohanan ben Zakkai, Rabban, 119 Yuval, Israel Jacob, 158 Zedekiah (king), 121 Zerubavel, Yael, 232 Zevah Pesah (Sacrificial Offering of Passover), 159 Zionism: Exodus in, xiii–xiv, 213–14, 235; Exodus in art of, 216–17; Exodus in theory of, 217–23; in modern Israel, 238–40; in Palestine, 215, 225, 229–34 Zohar, xii, 152–54 Zunz, Leopold, 200, 209n14

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About the Contributors

Pamela Barmash is Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible and Biblical Hebrew at Washington University in St. Louis and served as Director of Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Studies there. One trajectory of her academic research is biblical and ancient law: she is the author of Homicide in the Biblical World (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and she is senior editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Law and the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Biblical Law (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). The other trajectory of her academic research is history and memory, and she has published on the Ten Lost Tribes and on the Exodus and exile. Kalman P. Bland is Professor Emeritus of Religion and Jewish Studies at Duke University. Among his publications in medieval Jewish intellectual history, with special interest in Jewish aesthetics and political thought is the monograph, The Artless Jew: Medieval and Modern Affirmations and Denials of the Visual. He is currently at work on a project exploring medieval Jewish fables and perceptions of the human-animal boundary. Abigail E. Gillman is Associate Professor of Hebrew, German, and Comparative Literature at Boston University. She is the author of Viennese Jewish Modernism: Freud, Hofmannsthal, Schnitzler and Beer-Hofmann (Penn State UP, 2008). She is currently writing a cultural history of German Jewish Bible translation from 1783 to 1961. Reuven Hammer, who holds a doctorate in Theology from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in the 255

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About the Contributors

field of special education, has served as Dean and Professor of Rabbinic Literature at the Jerusalem Campus of the Jewish Theological Seminary and as Founding Director of the Schechter Institute. Two of his books, Sifre on Deuteronomy and Entering The High Holy Days were awarded the annual Jewish Book Council prize for the best book of scholarship of the year. His most recent books are The Torah Revolution and the forthcoming Akiva: Life, Legend, Legacy. Vivian B. Mann is Director of the Masters Program in Jewish Art at the Jewish Theological Seminary. For many years, she was the Feld Chair in Judaica at the Jewish Museum. Her latest book is Uneasy Communion: Jews and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain that appeared in 2010. She has been the recipient of numerous fellowships and was a Fellow at The Institute for Advanced Studies, The Hebrew University. In 1999, she received the Achievement Award in Jewish Thought from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. W. David Nelson is Chair of the Department of Religion and Ethics at Groton School, where he also directs Jewish Student Life. He was formerly the Rosenthal Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Texas Christian University and Brite Divinity School. Among his publications in the fields of Midrash and Jewish Studies are The Mekhilta of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, the first annotated translation into English of the ancient collection of rabbinic interpretation of the biblical book of Exodus, and Re-Presenting Texts: Jewish and Black Biblical Interpretation. He currently serves as Chair of the Midrash Section for the Society of Biblical Literature, on the editorial board of the Journal of Race, Ethnicity and Religion, and on the board of directors of the Society of Race, Ethnicity and Religion. Richard S. Sarason is Professor of Rabbinic Literature and Thought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. His scholarly publications deal with Mishnah and Tosefta, midrashic literature, and the history and phenomenology of Jewish liturgy. He has served as Associate Editor of the Hebrew Union College Annual. Arieh Saposnik is Associate Professor at the Ben-Gurion Institute for the Study of Israel and Zionism at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. A historian of Zionism and Jewish nationalism, Saposnik is interested, in the broader context, in the construction of national cultures and identities in the modern world. He is the author of Becoming Hebrew: The Creation of a Jewish National Culture in Ottoman Palestine, published by Oxford University Press. Currently, Saposnik is completing a study of the Jewish Territorialist Organization and the emergence of competing notions of the link between Jews and territory in the modern world. He has also published on imagery and symbolism of the sacred in the making of Jewish nationalism, and in Zionism and Israeli culture in particular.

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