This week's parsha
Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the Chabad.org website. We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given. For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website. If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the Chabad.org website.
Trapped? Not trapped!
Thrown Into the River
Our Parshah tells of the harshness of the ancient Egyptian aggression against the Jewish people. First they were enslaved. Then there was a new, cruel decree: "any boy who is born should be thrown into the river" (Exodus 1:22).
The Sages explain that, like everything in the Torah, this command to throw the Jewish children into the Nile can be understood on several levels. One, of course, is the literal meaning of the physical threat. Another level of meaning has direct relevance to us today.
In Egyptian life the Nile River was seen, quite naturally, as the source of the great prosperity of the land. With reliable regularity the Nile would overflow its banks, providing water for the irrigation for the fertile Nile valley, the basis of the Egyptian economy. For this reason the river was worshiped as an idol.