The world is a wonderful, if very wacky, place to be.

Posts tagged ‘Egypt’

Pyramid Scheme

Can I just clear something up?

We didn’t build these.

When we were slaves in Egypt, the pyramids were already pretty old. According to National Geographic, the golden age of pyramid building in Egypt was between 2575-2150 B.C.E. Israelite slavery, however, according to Jewish sources was from 1428 B.C.E. to 1312 B.C.E. That’s one thousand years later. Non-Jewish sources puts the slavery period earlier, but not earlier enough– they suggest that the slavery period began around 1800 B.C.E, still too late.

What this means is that when Abraham went down to Egypt during the famine, he probably complimented Pharoah, “nice pyramids, I love what you’ve done with the place.” Now I know that dating the ancient world is as difficult as it is controversial. Traditional Jews usually follow the dating in the Seder Olam Raba (which puts Abraham and Hamurabi in the same neighborhood at the same time. Interesting, no?) and at least when I was in school, archeologists would take the scribbling of a toddler as more authoritative than the Bible. I’m not the person to reconcile the quagmire that is ancient historical dating, but there is just no way to reconcile the dates of the pyramids with the dates of slavery. Those pretty pyramids were already looming large over the Egyptian landscape while Israelite slaves were building cities full of storehouses in Pitom and Ramses. Just like the Torah says we did in Exodus 1:11.


In Every Generation

I’ve fallen a little bit behind on the papier-mâché project (it’s not a lampshade or a serving dish, and yesterday we painted it green), but I wanted to take a moment to show you what we did last year.

Everyone knows that the Passover Hagaddah states that in every generation, each person is required to see himself as though he personally has gone out of Egypt.

In the generation of photoshop, it’s never been easier.


First, I searched through google images until I found a large image of Egypt. I chose this one, because it has a pyramid, as well as the modern city of Cairo in the background. There are tons of images out there, just make sure you start with a big file, because it’s always easier to scale images down than to scale them up, and I wanted this for printed out for the seder.

Then I went and found an image of sheep as well as Egyptian gold.

The grandparents were coming for Seder, and I asked them for a photo of themselves, dressed up. True to their awesome selves, they obliged.

Then I took a snapshot of all of us. This wasn’t as easy, because I had to set the camera on a timer and get everyone, including a little baby, into position. Cloud Man had just gotten off an airplane, and it was three days to seder and an hour to Shabbat, but he’s a sport and we managed. I had Volucris hold an empty basket. Then I photoshopped the whole thing (actually, I use Gimp because it’s free, specifically the scissors tool to cut and the layers function to paste, and scaled downloaded photos so that they would fit), and created the image.

Because if God had not taken us out of Egypt, we would still be slaves there:

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