As Passover 2023 continues, Jewish faith leaders are examining its timeless lessons and applying them to issues all Americans deal with today.
The story of Passover, culminating in the liberation of the Jewish nation and the destruction of Egypt, begins with a deceptively simple line: “A new king rose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish values in Baltimore, Maryland, told Fox News Digital, referencing Exodus 1:8.
“If we unravel the meaning of this cryptic statement, we learn that this account offers a prescient warning for America today,” Menken said.
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“Joseph, per the biblical account, was the prophetic and economic genius who saved Egypt, he continued.
Joseph understood Pharoah’s dreams, saw that “years of plenty would be followed by famine,” and showed Pharoah the path forward: to “collect surplus grain throughout the years of plenty, and sell that scarce resource during the famine,” he noted.
Rabbi Yaakov Menken, executive director of the Coalition for Jewish Values, is based in Baltimore. (Coalition for Jewish Values)
“In so doing, he saved countless Egyptians from starvation, enriched the royal coffers and made Egypt a magnet for international trade,” he also said.
“He was also a Jew, and together with his family founded a distinct ethnic community in Egypt,” he explained.
The Jews followed “biblical morality” and rejected Egyptian idols, but “participated in and enhanced” the national economy, Menken also said.
“America cannot afford to be torn apart by the new King.”
The Bible’s “succinct statement” that Pharoah did not know Joseph, then, means “much more” than forgetting the human man that Pharoah was, he noted.
“Pharoah decided that allowing others to live by moral values and principles was a threat, rather than the boon it actually was,” he continued.
He absurdly argued that while Joseph had saved the country, “Joseph’s family would join Egypt’s enemies and destroy it,” he added.
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“Pharoah then set out to destroy the Jewish nation under this false pretense … and the nation he fractured and destroyed was Egypt itself.”
Menken said that today, we “cannot afford to forget the past, abandon what we learned or demonize values.”
Foods traditionally served during the Passover seder shown above. During the holiday, Rabbi Menken commented on the state of society today. (iStock)
“Yet America is doing all of these things today,” he emphasized.
Today we have leaders — that “new king” — who “do not know Joseph,” he added
“That new king claims to welcome ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion,’ but puts race before effort or ability,” he said.
“The king moves us further and further from the colorblind, merit-based society of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream,” Menken also said, noting the hate crimes perpetrated on America’s Jewish communities today.
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“The new king hates those who follow the Bible with regard to life, marriage or gender,” he also said.
“If you even say that [a] drag queen story hour might not be right for public libraries or schools, you are ‘dehumanizing LGBTQ individuals,’” he added.
“The new king has brought with him (or her, they or thex) a wave of hate,” said Baltimore-based Rabbi Yaakov Menken. (iStock/Coalition for Jewish Values)
Biological men “must not only be allowed to dominate women’s sports,” he continued, “but must be allowed to enter women’s shelters, prisons and private spaces” — no matter the entirely “predictable” and “appalling” results for biological women, he underscored.
“Children too young to drive, drink or shoot a gun must be given agency to permanently deprive themselves of even the desire to procreate,” much less the ability to “produce biological children,” he said.
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However, “if you consider this harmful and abusive, you are ‘bigoted,’” he also said.
“The new king has brought with him (or her, they or thex) a wave of hate,” he added.
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“The king, like Pharoah, declares that others who merely wish to live by their moral values and principles are a threat, rather than a boon to society — all while proclaiming tolerance and respect.”
He also said, “America cannot afford to be torn apart by the new king.”