(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org

Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 22:23:51 -0400 (EDT)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Numbers

Dede Toledano-Efromson brings up the thorny issue of the 400 years in
Egypt. This was recently discussed on my email group Rashi-Is_simple

To make a long story short I make two points about the "standard theory"
that the 400 years dates back to the avoth

1) The original Biblical verse Gen 15:13 speaks about being sojourners
being slaves and being tortured. It is only being sojourners that took 400
years. The slavery and torture were much less (and only occured in Egypt)

2) Citing a Malbim that the verb TO BE denotes intensity and permanance I
point out that the statement THEY **WILL BE** SOJOURNERS emphasizes that it
won't just happen in one land but in many. INdeed browsing thru the
Konkordance we find that all the Patriarchs were sojourners (e.g Gen 23:4).

In summary many people find the "dating back to the patriarch" theory as
far fetched. This is so because we mistakingly expect all 3--slavery,
sojourner and torture to last 400 years. As soon as we require only the
sojournership to be 400 the theory turns out more palatable.

Russell Jay Hendel,Phd ASA; Rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu
Moderator; Rashi-Is-Simple; Http://www.shamash.org/rashi/