On this day in the Office of Readings, the story of Moses begins. Today's portion takes Moses from his own birth to the birth of his son, Gershom.
Click here to see Exodus, Chapter 2, in Hebrew and English, side by side.
Click here to listen to Chapter 2 in Hebrew.
Moses is born to a man and woman of the tribe of Levi, kept hidden by his mother for three months, and then placed in a papyrus basket sealed with pitch and bitumen and hidden in the reeds. Miriam, the sister of Moses, who will be the first woman called prophet in the Hebrew scriptures and who will sing the oldest song, watches Pharaoh's daughter finds the little ark.
Moses grows up as an Egyptian. The seven daughters of Midian tell their father an Egyptian defended them and watered their flock.
Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism, by Jan Assmann, Harvard University Press, 1998, is a "mnemohistory", a history of cultural memory.
(The Search Inside feature on Amazon provides generous samples of the book, and the Editoral Reviews and Customer Reviews give a good deal of information about it. More of it can be read on Google Books.)
Click here to see the marble relief portrait of Moses in the House of Representatives Chamber, one of twenty-three plaques over the gallery doors depicting "historical figures noted for their work in establishing the principles that underlie American law." All are in profile except Moses.