Wednesday, October 3, 2012

:ס”ג Egyptian Hospitality

פתח ר' יוסי בכבוד אכסניא ודרש לא תתעב אדומי כי אחיך הוא לא תתעב מצרי כי גר היית בארצו והלא דברים קל וחומר ומה מצריים שלא קרבו את ישראל אלא לצורך עצמן שנאמר ואם ידעת ויש בם אנשי חיל ושמתם שרי מקנה על אשר לי

Perhaps I am alone here. But I always thought that the תורה was teaching us in extraordinary – almost incomprehensible – lesson. We are instructed to show grace towards the Egyptians for having hosted in their land even while subjugating us and treating us poorly as slaves. After seeing this גמרא, I think I have a different understanding. It would be foolish to show gratitude to a nation had they “imported” us for the purpose of enslaving us. We are not showing gratitude for those 210 years of subjugation. Rather, we are showing kindness to the Egyptians for their hosting our fledgling nation in the days of יעקב and יוסף for the years leading up to פרעה’s change of heart, when the Egyptians truly showed a degree of grace towards us (even if for ulterior motives as exposed in our גמרא.)

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