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Cairo Genizah

The "Egyptian" Midwives: Recovering a Lost Midrashic Text

The tale of the heroic midwives in Exodus 1:15 records how they risked their lives to save male Hebrew babies despite the charge given them by Pharaoh. Who are these midwives? If they are Israelites, why would Pharaoh trust them with such a task and not suspect their loyalty to their own people? If they are Egyptian, why would they betray their ruler and risk their lives? A text discovered at the Cairo Genizah sheds new light on this exegetical conundrum.

Dr.

Moshe Lavee

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Dr.

Shana Strauch-Schick

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A Monogamous Isaac Prays for His Barren Wife

Midrash Chad Shenati, discovered in the Cairo Genizah, criticizes Abraham for not praying for Sarah and praises Isaac for praying for Rebekah, and gives Rebekah pride of place in its homiletic exposition of the parasha.

Dr.

Shana Strauch-Schick

,

Dr.

Moshe Lavee

,

Contesting the Identification of Elijah the Immortal as Pinchas the Zealot

Conflicting traditions come to a head in an exchange between two cantors and a congregant in a 13th century Egyptian synagogue.[1]

Dr.

Moshe Lavee

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,

The Inner Workings of a Genizah Midrash on the Symbolic Value of Orlah

A set of homilies from the Genizah connects two biblical readings (sidrot) in Leviticus by emphasizing the importance of the mitzvah of orlah as a key to inheriting and remaining on the land.

Dr.

Shana Strauch-Schick

,

Tova Sacher

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