ur Sages teach us that even circumcision had been abandoned, and Moses had to force it upon the population prior to the exodus.At the same time, we are told that there were some aspects of tradition which remained intact -- namely, the Jewsretained distinct dress, names, and language.It is fascinating to note that Moses himself -- the savior, if you will -- seems to be deficient in these areas.* * *
THE NAME OF MOSES
Moses was born into a family from the tribe of Levi. At that time there was an edict that all newborn males bethrown into the Nile River. Moses was found as a baby by the daughter of Pharaoh, floating in a
or "ark." Sheadopted him and named him; thus Moses was not his Hebrew name.And the child grew, and was brought to the daughter of Pharaoh, he became a son to her, she named him Moses,and she said (explained) "for from the water he was drawn out." [Exodus 2:10]When the daughter of Pharaoh named Moses what was she trying to communicate?In order to understand the depth of her action, we must first understand who this woman was, and, for that matter who her father was. In the Book of Ezekiel the following passage appears:Speak and communicate, thus says God, "Behold I am against you Pharaoh, king of Egypt, the great crocodile thatcrouches in the midst of the streams who says the (Nile) River is mine, for I created it." [Ezekiel 29:3]Pharaoh believed that he was god of the Nile, that he created the Nile. This insight allows us to understand why thechildren were thrown into the Nile. When the midwives refused to kill the newborn males, Pharaoh suggested thatthey throw the babies into the water instead. In effect he said, "cast the children into the Nile, and the god of the Nile shall decide who will live and who will die", as if the midwives would not be performing the act of murder.This will also give us insight into the first plague -- "blood." Turning the Nile into blood was an act of war, perceived by the Egyptians as if someone had stabbed their god. Not only did Pharaoh think that he was god of the Nile, but he named his daughter Btya, "daughter of god.""And these are the children of Btya, daughter of Pharaoh" [Divri Hayamim I 4:18, also see "Kala Rabbati" 3:23,Vayikra Rabba 1:3]This was the woman who saved, and named, Moses. Her father was "god of the Nile" she was daughter of "god",and she pulled a son out of the Nile, and named him Moses.* * *
SON OF THE NILE
Btya, in naming Moses, was making a claim which had theological meaning as well as political implications. Shewas claiming that the Nile had given birth to her son.