Mitzrayim, Midrash and Myth
Egyptian Mythology, Rabbinic Tradition, and the Story of the Exodus
By Yisroel Cohen
Said God: “What do I still need to do to inform Pharaoh of one more plague?” Immediately God as it were plunged into the palace of Pharaoh for the sake of Moshe who had said [to Pharaoh] “I will not continue to see you,” so that he should not appear to be untruthful. (Shemot Rabba Bo 18§1)
And in Egypt from where did God reveal himself? R Brechiah in the name of R Helbo said from within the palace of Pharaoh
One of ancient Egypt’s oldest pictorial names for a pharaoh was the Horus name Serekh. The crest contained the image of a palace underneath the name of the pharaohs. Above was a figure of the falcon god Horus, who was thought to be the patron of the pharaoh, its earthly reincarnation. In these midrashim God is described as having plunged into or from the palace of Pharaoh for Moshe’s sake.
Can we connect the dots? Or is it purely a coincidence?
The Torah records the events that took place in a bygone Egypt. Their ancient gods and fallacious ways are the subject of many verses. Chazal (Rabbinic tradition) delved past the written word and brought forth a new light on an ancient era. Let us revisit the pinnacle moments when God kviyachol and Moshe were in Pharaoh’s palace and deeply enhance our understanding of the extent that the Jewish people were redeemed – from Egyptian mythology.