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Did any Jews stay behind in Egypt?

by Mrs. Dinka Kumer

  

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Unfortunately, yes.

Only one fifth of the Jewish people left Egypt. The other four fifths were satisfied with the corrupt Egyptian culture and did not want to leave Egypt, so they perished during the plague of darkness (so the Egyptians wouldn’t be witness to this.)1

However, in the future redemption through Moshiach, all Jewish people will be redeemed. Each Jew was redeemed from Egypt based upon his or her individual merit. But, from the time of the Jews’ gathering at Mt. Sinai and the Torah’s giving, the Jewish people became a unified and undividable nation. As such, when the ultimate redemption will happen, no Jew will be left behind.

Footnotes

  • 1. Rashi on Exodus 10:22; Mechilta, Tanchuma, Beshalach 1; Rashi on Exodus 13:18

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COMMENTS

Did any Jews stay behind in Egypt?

Posted by: Russ Hadley, Westerly, RI on Jul 12, 2006

Mrs Kumer states with certainty, but with no authority, "Only one fifth of the Jewish people left Egypt." Moses certainly didn't write anything to that effect, but rather leads us to believe that Jacob's family of 70 had grown to the numbers described as leaving Egypt, as if those leaving were all of the descendants. What was it, about 600,000 men of soldier age? Add wives and children and aged members and you've got quite a bunch.

Editor's Comment

Mrs. Kumer's statements are rooted in the Midrash--and are based on a peculiar word "chamushim" used by the Bible to describe the Jews when they left Egypt.

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History » Egypt

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