“Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph.”
- Shemot (Exodus) 1:8, JPS
With chilling detail, the above verse reminds of the constant struggle of anti-Semitism which we all face as Jews, and as like-minded Gentile believers. In the last number of Parashiot, Adonai raises up Joseph to the second most prominent position of leadership in Egypt and by doing so, blessing and honor is given to Adonai as the only true God, and where His chosen people are also honored. Yet as we come to Parashah Shemot, we are immediately confronted with how circumstances can so easily change when people choose the path of intolerance, prejudice and a hate for God’s chosen people. In this, Exod. 1:8 speaks volumes by indicating how this “new king” of Egypt had neither been taught, nor was willing to learn the lessons of the past concern Israel and the God of Joseph! Per Rashi (Sotah 11a, Exod. Rabbah 1:8) there are two possible views of this passage where one Sage indicates that Pharaoh at the latter end of Genesis had died, or of a second Sage, that it was just that the first Pharaoh’s policies and beneficial graces toward the Jewish people had radically changed back to a spirit of oppression, as he saw the Hebrews increase in both number and influence.
Regardless, this is for us as a Midrash, reminding that in every generation, the nations can so easily turn against us because we are chosen and aligned with the One and Only True God! Yet, in considering these truths, the will of God is not that we slip into despair or fear of what might be - but instead to know that He is always faithful and He will never leave or forsake us, where Deut. 31:6 reminds, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them., for Adonai your God goes with you, He will never leave you or forsake you.” With this friends, we are assured with confidence that no matter what 2021 might hold for us, God in Yeshua our Messiah is always with us and in every circumstance we can fully and completely rest in Him! Yes, of every generation there are those who rise up against us, but Every Moment of Every Day the Lord is watching over us and is our Hope and Salvation.
- Rabbi Mark Rantz
Shabbat - January 9, 2021 | 25th to Tevet, 5781
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