APPEAL BY THE RABBI OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ST.PETERSBURG
"And a new king rose over Egypt and he did not know Josef and
he told his people: here is the people of Israel, stronger and larger. Let us
do something so that it would not multiply?And Egyptians enslaved the sons of
Israel " (Shemot I; 8,9,14) Events described in the above Torah portion took
place in the year 2332 from the creation of the world (i.e. 3427 years ago).
94 years before that the Jews came to Egypt and settled down in the Goshen land.
One must say that at the beginning the Egyptians treated the strangers with
a deep respect. The Jews lived separately, followed every letter of their law,
and were well -known for the strictness of customs and unimpeachable honesty.
Their community was secluded and extremely united. None of the Egyptian officials
had an intention to interfere with the community life. Not much time has passed
(94 years only) and the Jews are slaves! How could this happen? The Jews were
such respected people. Everything is very simple. The Jews destroyed their isolation
and left the land of Goshen and settled down all over Egypt. Their relations
with the Egyptians were becoming closer and closer and their community relations
weakened. One must say that many Jews considered this process to be a positive
one. After all you can be Jewish at home and a regular man in the street! (German
Jews adopted this slogan from the Jews of ancient Egypt. What it resulted in
in Germany is well known) Egyptians took a different look at the situation.
"Why should we respect people if they do not respect themselves? If everything
ours is dearer to them than their own. And who are they? Just foreigners! So
why don't we enslave them?!" Thus the story of 116 years of Egyptian slavery
began. Conclusion? It is simple enough: There is no life for a Jew outside a
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