Shemot: Language and Translation

The children of Israel proliferated, swarmed, multiplied and grew more and more.* [Exodus/Shemot 1:7] This is a very odd verse, stylistically. There are four almost synonymous verbs of increase that seem to gain momentum till climaxed by the double-barrelled adverbial intensifier of me’od me’od [note**]. –Nechama Leibowitz, Studies in Exodus*** Leibowitz discusses classical views of […]

Shemot: Something to Notice

These are the names (v’eileh shemot) of the sons of Israel (bnei yisrael) who came to Egypt with Jacob, each coming with his household. (Exodus 1:1) These opening words elegantly make a transition from Genesis into the second book of the Torah. Ve’eileh, “And these…,” Exodus begins, indicating that this is in fact not an […]

Shemot: Great Source(s)

The entire episode of the midwives [Exodus/Shemot 1:15-21] is likewise presented poetically, in a manner beloved of ordinary folk. Conversations of this nature between the great king, who was revered by the Egyptians as a deity, and the Hebrew midwives (Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, etc.) would not be conducted […]