• Home
  • Parashah Insights
  • Ask the Rabbi
  • Festivals & Fasts
  • Articles
  • Books
  • About
  •  

    Egypt & Mitzrayim

    Mitzrayim is the Hebrew word for Egypt.

    It derives from metzar, a word we know well from Hallel where Psalm 118:5 says min ha-metzar karati Y-ah, “Out of the straits I called to the Lord”.

    The root denotes distress or constriction; its opposite, found in the same verse of Hallel, is merchavyah, “enlargement”. A person in distress feels hemmed in and calls upon God to give him room.

    Why Mitzrayim has a dual plural ending recognises two zones – upper and lower Egypt. The original Mitzrayim was the second son of Cham who settled in Egypt and gave his name to the country.

    Spiritually Mitzrayim denotes someone who is hemmed in because of the forces of evil which prevent him from exerting his personality and expressing his real self.

    Comments are closed.