Contents Calendar Find Reference
Torah 
Navigating the Bible
Exodus BeShalach
Genesis
Exodus
  Shemot
  VaEra
  Bo
  BeShalach
  Yitro
  Mishpatim
  Terumah
  Tetsaveh
  Ki Tisa
  VaYakhel
  Pekudey
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
First Reading, Second Reading, Third Reading, Fourth Reading, Fifth Reading, Sixth Reading, Seventh Reading, Last Reading

BeShalach

  
BackForward
 14:1  14:2
 14:3
14:1 God spoke to Moses, saying,
Vayedaber Adonay el-Moshe lemor.
14:2 'Speak to the Israelites and tell them to turn back and camp before Freedom Valley, between Tower and the sea, facing Lord-of-the-North. Camp opposite it, near the sea.
Daber el-beney Yisra'el veyashuvu veyachanu lifney Pi haChirot beyn Migdol uveyn hayam lifney ba'al tsfon nichecho tachanu al-hayam.
14:3 Pharaoh will then say that the Israelites are lost in the area and trapped in the desert.
Ve'amar Par'oh livney Yisra'el nevuchim hem ba'arets sagar aleyhem hamidbar.



Commentary:

Freedom Valley
  (Rashi). Pi HaChiroth in Hebrew. See Exodus 14:9; Numbers 33:7,9. Literally, 'The mouth of freedom,' possibly 'Freedom Bay.' The Hebrew Pi can also denote the mouth of a river (cf. Isaiah 19:7). Talmudic sources identify Pi HaChiroth with Pithom (Mekhilta), which is said to be on the site of Tanis (Targum Yonathan; see Exodus 1:11). This would indicate that the crossing was along the Mediterranean, possibly at Lake Manzaleh or Lake Sirbonis (see Exodus 13:18). Pi HaChiruth would then be a delta tributary of the Nile. Indeed there is a town Per Chet Cher mentioned in ancient texts as being near Tanis. Per Cheru was also the name of a canal and a generic name for the temples of Horus. Another town in the delta was Per Ari.

Some say that Pi HaChiruth was the mouth of Suez (Abarbanel). Other sources indicate that it was a narrow valley where the Israelites were completely boxed in (Mekhilta; Sekhel Tov), or a narrow beach between cliffs and the sea (Josephus 2:15:3).

Tower
  Migdal in Hebrew. See Jeremiah 44:1, 46:14, Ezekiel 29:10, 30:6.

Lord-of-the-North
  Baal Tzafon in Hebrew. According to Talmudic sources, this was a huge idol (Mekhilta; Rashi; Ibn Ezra). Some say that this was to the south of Egypt, along the Red Sea (Josephus 2:15:1; MeAm Lo'ez/The Torah Anthology 5:166). Egyptian sources from the Hellenistic period speak of the Megdal pef Bla Tzapnu (Cairo Papyrus 31169), which is identified as Jebu al Chasan, some 8 miles north of Suez. (This would indicate that the crossing was near the Bitter Lakes, where the Gulf of Suez was thought to have extended in ancient times). It may have been called Lord-of-the-North because it was at the northern end of the Suez Gulf.

Those who favor a northern crossing, identify Tzafon with Dafne or Tachpanchas (Jeremiah 2:16, 43:7, Ezekiel 30:18), near Pelusium and Lake Serbonis. Others identify it as the sanctuary of Zeus Casius, a small hill on the western extremity of Lake Serbonis, known as Machmudiyya. Still others say that it is Rus Kasrun near the Serbonic Lake, the site of the Hellenistic-Roman city of Casius.





Copyright © 2000 World ORT
Notice: This computer program is protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.