Vocabulary: Hieroglyphics, mummies, Pharos, Pyramids

Discussion: Ok so we learned a lot about Avraham Avinu’s world yesterday, can someone tell me about the world that Yosef lived in?

Motivations: Ask students to try and remember what they can without a Chumash about the society that Pharoh lived in and try to identify aspects of Ancient Egyptian life. Then I will follow with my own list.

1) It was a river valley civilizations with big cities such as we find with Pisom and Ramses (Shemos 1:11).

2) Religion (what type)-Polytheistic- avoda zara as we see the Torah says vuese shefotim belohaihem),

3) Government: who were its leaders- Pharaoh and his advisors,

4) Social structure- slaves we can easily identify from the Torah as the Jews worked as slaves in Mitzrayim, and since all the Mitzryim sold themselves as slaves to Pharaoh after running out of food, Farmers we also know from the Torah since they produced much wheat as is evident from the years of famine and people who worked in agriculture as their fields where destroyed in Barad and Arbeh. Artisans-we see from the fact that many Egyptians knew the craft of mummifying which is skilled labor. Merchants we know from the fact that the Yishmaylim who sold Yosef to Mitzrayim were carrying spices down to Egypt to sell. Scribes we know according to Rav Hirsch were the Chartumim which is from the lashon to חורט to engrave. Soldiers we know from those that chased the Jews after we left Egypt. Government officials we know that they were the Chachamim who advised Pharaoh on his dreams etc. Then finally Pharaoh and he we know.

5) Arts and architecture. That they had magicians see Rashi Shemos 7;17, 10;10, Mummifying we find by Yaakov avinu in (Biraishis 50:2) Hieroglyphics the Malbim (Shemos 32:5 See there how he explains that it was those Chartumim who mistakenly interpreted Ahron’s command to make a Kruv and they made instead an egel!) says is one who makes words through pictures. Rav Hirsch disagrees and says that its some form of scribe not necessarily a scribe who is expert in hieroglyphics.

6) Besides those mentioned in the Torah what else do we associate with mitzrayim today? Discuss the pyramid’s and whether it’s possible if the Jews made the Pyramids.