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  2. Blessed Lands Egypt
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  4. The Ten Plagues

Unfortunately for the Egyptians, not only the floods of the Nile but all the waters of Egypt, wherever they were, turned to blood. The fish died in the rivers and lakes, and for a whole week man and beast suffered horrible thirst. Yet Pharaoh would not give in. After due warning, the second plague came to Egypt. Aaron stretched forth his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs swarmed forth. They covered every inch of land and entered the houses and bedrooms; wherever an Egyptian turned, whatever he touched, he found there the slimy bodies of frogs, the croakings of which filled the air.

But as soon as the frogs disappeared, he broke his promise and refused to let the children of Israel go. Man and beast suffered untold misery from this terrible plague. The fourth plague to harass the Egyptians consisted of hordes of wild animals roving all over the country, and destroying everything in their path.

Only the province of Goshen where the children of Israel dwelt was immune from this as well as from the other plagues. Again Pharaoh promised faithfully to let the Hebrews go out into the desert on the condition that they would not go too far. But as soon as they had gone, Pharaoh withdrew his promise and refused Moses' demand. How the people must have grieved when they saw their stately horses, the pride of Egypt, perish; when all the cattle of the fields were stricken at the word of Moses; and when the animals upon which they looked as gods died smitten by the plague!

They had, moreover, the mortification of seeing the beasts of the Israelites unhurt. Yet Pharaoh still hardened his heart, and would not let the Israelites go. Then followed the sixth plague, which was so painful and horrible that it must have struck the people of Egypt with horror and agony. Now, Moses announced to the king that a hail-storm of unprecedented violence was to sweep the land; no living thing, no tree, no herb was to escape its fury unhurt; safety was to be found only in the shelter of the houses; those, therefore, who believed and were afraid might keep in their homes, and drive their cattle into the sheds.

Some of the Egyptians took this counsel to heart; but the reckless and the stubborn left their cattle with their servants in the fields.


When Moses stretched forth his staff, the hail poured down with violence; deafening thunder rolled over the earth, and lightning rent the heavens, and ran like fire along the ground. The hail did its work of destruction; man and beast who were exposed to its rage died on the spot; the herbs were scattered to the wind, and the trees lay shattered on the ground. But the land of Goshen, untouched by the ravages of the storm, bloomed like a garden amidst the general devastation.

Then Pharaoh sent for Moses and acknowledged his sins Exodus The L-rd is the righteous One, and I and my people are the guilty ones. Moses replied: "When I leave the city, I will spread my hands to the L-d. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, in order that you know that the land is the L-rd's. The next time Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh, he appeared somewhat relenting, and asked them who was to participate in the worship the Israelites wanted to hold in the desert.

When they told him that everyone without exception, young and old, men and women, and animals, were to go, Pharaoh suggested that only the men should go, and that the women and children, as well as all their possessions should remain in Egypt. Moses and Aaron would not accept this offer, and Pharaoh became angry and ordered them to leave his palace. Before leaving, Moses warned him of new and untold suffering.

But Pharaoh remained adamant, even though his advisers advised against further resistance. As soon as Moses left the palace, he raised his arms toward heaven and an east wind brought swarms of locusts into Egypt, covering the sun, and devouring everything green that had escaped the hail and previous plagues. Never in the history of mankind had there been such a devastating plague of locusts as this one.

It brought complete ruin upon Egypt, which had already been thoroughly ravaged by the previous catastrophes. When relief came, Pharaoh's obstinacy returned to him, and he refused to liberate the people of Israel. Then followed the ninth plague. For several days all of Egypt was enveloped in a thick and impenetrable veil of darkness which extinguished all lights kindled. The Egyptians were gripped with fear, and remained glued to their places wherever they stood or sat. Only in Goshen, where the children of Israel dwelt, there was light.

But not all of the Jews were saved from this plague. There were a few who wanted to be regarded as Egyptians rather than as members of the Hebrew race, and who tried, therefore, to imitate the Egyptians in everything, or, as we call it, to assimilate themselves. They did not want to leave Egypt.

These people died during the days of darkness. Again Pharaoh tried to bargain with Moses and Aaron, bidding them depart with all their people, leaving their flocks and herds behind as a pledge. Moses and Aaron informed him, however, that they would accept nothing less than complete freedom for the men, women, and children, and that they were to take all their belongings with them.

Now Pharaoh became angry and ordered Moses and Aaron to leave and never to return. He warned them that if they were to come before him again they would die. Of the children of Israel, however, nobody was to die. A bitter cry would sweep Egypt, and all the Egyptians would be gripped with terror, lest they all die. Then Pharaoh himself would come to seek out the leaders of the Hebrews, and beg them to leave Egypt without delay!

Speak to the entire community of Israel, saying Exodus , "On the tenth of this month, let each one take a lamb for each parental home, a lamb for each household. And you shall keep it for inspection until the fourteenth day of this month And this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste it is a Passover sacrifice to the L-rd And I will see the blood and skip over you, and there will be no plague to destroy [you] when I smite the [people of the] land of Egypt.

And this day shall be for you as a memorial, and you shall celebrate it as a festival for the L-rd; throughout your generations, you shall celebrate it as an everlasting statute. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the preceding day you shall clear away all leaven from your houses Moses told all this to the children of Israel. It required a great deal of faith and courage for the children of Israel to carry out this Command, for the lamb was a sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians. There was a loud and bitter wail in each house a loved one lay fatally stricken.

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron during that very night, and said to them: "Arise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve the L-rd as you have said; and take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also. Meanwhile the Hebrews had been preparing for their hasty departure. With beating hearts, they had assembled in groups to eat the Paschal lamb before midnight, arrayed as they had been commanded.

The women had taken from the ovens the unleavened cakes, which were eaten with the meat of the roasted lamb. The preparations were at last concluded, and all was ready. At the word of command, the whole nation of the Hebrews poured forth into the cool, still Eastern morning. But not even amidst their trepidation and danger did they forget the pledge given by their ancestors to Joseph , and they carried his remains, with them, to inter them later in the Promised Land.

Oxford university, Head teacher, I'll use this in my school. Were the Israelites affected by the plagues? Did all the ten plagues fall only on the Egyptians? In Sh'Mot The ,"dam", meaning blood, painted on door frame ; top and two sides gave defense that day. All of Israel stayed indoors of those protected dwellings. Thereby we were kept by H'Shem. There are two opinions among the commentaries.

Ibn Ezra opines that in the first three plagues the Children of Israel were also affected. Nachmanides opines only the Egyptians were affected by the plagues. Ref Plague Shares Thank you for input. I will review. Tours of Egypt and the Holy Land can be found to fit any budget or itinerary. Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a recorded cultural history spanning more than 6, years. The shear length of time that Egypt has existed as a culture has led to some of the most notable creations ever attributed to mankind, including one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Trafalgar affordabletours. The nine-day tour includes airfare, land travel by train and air-conditioned motor coach, a three-day Nile cruise, and first-class hotel accommodations. Dining is provided on the train and the Nile cruise, with four continental breakfasts in Cairo and Luxor. The five-day Siwa Safari siwasafaritours. All transportation by air-conditioned vehicle when appropriate and lodging for four nights at a three-star hotel are included in the rate. Breakfast and dinner are provided every day at the hotel, as well as lunch in Siwa. Tour destinations include the battle site at Alamein, the bay of Marsh Matrouh on the Mediterranean and an overnight in Siwa on day one.

Day four includes a visit to Abu Ali Village for a sighting of a prehistoric human footprint atop the mountain, as well as a visit to Shiata lake and the surrounding hot and cold springs for relaxation. Day five includes a transfer back to Cairo for an overnight stay before the morning departure. For legal purposes one's name is usually "given name, father's name, grandfather's name," resulting in three given names e.

Thus one carries one's paternal lineage and one's status in one's name.

Blessed Lands Egypt

In certain parts of rural Egypt, where genealogy is important, people learn to recite a long list of paternal ancestors. Muslim men are likely to have religious names but some have secular names. Christians may carry the names of saints, or may be given names that are Arabic rather than religious. Women also have religious names but sometimes have more fanciful ones, including names of foreign origin. Women often do not change their names upon marriage. Domestic Unit. Although most households now are organized around a nuclear family, there are some extended family households.

Marriage was historically patrilocal brides moved to the household of the husband , though in cities the young couple often establishes a new residence, at least after a couple of years. Even when residence is not shared, extensive kin ties are maintained through frequent family gatherings. Authority tends to be patriarchal, with the senior male in the household generally given the last word and otherwise expecting deference. Wives, for instance, often are reluctant to assert that they have any serious independent power to make decisions.

Islamic law requires partible inheritance. The property of a dead person must be divided among the heirs, usually children and surviving spouse. Male heirs are favored over female heirs by receiving a share that is twice as large. Moreover, any group of heirs should include a male, even if that means tracking down a distant cousin.

A person may not dispose of more than one-third of his or her estate by will, and may not even use this provision to favor one legal heir over another. In other words, a person cannot will this one-third to one son at the expense of another, but could will it to a charity or a nonrelative. Use of this provision is rare, as people accept the Islamic rules and prefer to keep property in the family.

Arrangements among heirs, particularly brothers and sisters, however, may result in a different outcome. For instance, a father may set up his daughter in marriage in lieu of an eventual inheritance. Kin Groups. Egyptian kinship is patrilineal, with individuals tracing their descent through their fathers. Child Rearing and Education. In all parts of Egypt and among all social classes, having children is considered the greatest blessing of all.

Caring for children is primarily the women's responsibility. Many Egyptian women both Copt and Muslim abide by the Koranic directive to breast-feed children for two years. Grandparents and other members of the extended family play an active role in bringing up children. There is a general preference for boys over girls, although in infancy and early childhood children of both sexes are treated with equal love and care.

The preference to have at least one son is related to the desire to have an heir, and so provide continuity from father to son. Education is highly valued in Egypt, and families invest a lot in that area. Even low-income families try to educate their children as much as possible. Education, especially having a university degree, is considered an important avenue for social mobility.

But many families cannot afford to educate their children beyond the elementary level. In addition, many children have to work at an early age to help support their families. Public modesty in dress and deportment is highly valued in Egypt. There is a form of dress code that affects women more than men, and that requires clothing that covers all the body but the hands and face. For women, this most visibly means wearing a head scarf that covers the hair and ears and is pinned under the chin, though there are many other styles ranging from simply covering the hair to covering the entire face.

This is the sense in which veiling exists in Egypt, but the situation is volatile, with a good deal of variety. Many women do not veil at all. What is proper, or required, or necessary, is hotly debated in contemporary Egypt. The motivations for veiling are numerous, and range from those who accept that this is a requirement of Islam to those who cover themselves essentially to satisfy their relatives, male and female. Men are also enjoined to dress modestly, but the changes are not as striking, involving for instance loose trousers and long sleeves.

For both men and women, the principle is that clothes should disguise the shape of the body. Another rule of etiquette is that greetings must precede all forms of social interaction. A person joining any kind of group, even of strangers, is expected to greet those already present. In less anonymous situations handshakes are due.

About the Author

Embracing is also common as a form of greeting, usually among members of the same sex. People are generally addressed by their given name, often preceded by a title of some kind ' am, or uncle, is the all-purpose title for men; others include hajj for a pilgrim returned from Mecca or simply for an older man, duktor for a person with a doctorate, and muhandis for an engineer. To address someone by name alone is impolite.

One important rule of etiquette is to treat guests cordially and hospitably. An offering, usually tea or a soft drink, is the least a visitor expects. The first drink is sometimes called a "greeting. In rural areas, some people avoid visiting those they consider to be of lower status than themselves. From this point of view, visits are always "up," and hospitality is always "down," i. In general, young defer to old and women to men. Members of the younger generation are expected to show signs of respect and not to challenge their seniors and must use the special terms of address for aunts, uncles, and grandparents, as well as for older nonrelatives.

Juniors should not raise their voices to elders, nor should they remain seated while an older person is standing up. With increasing disparities between classes and the spread of patronage ties, there is an inflation in deferential terms of address. This includes the resurgence in the use of terms that were previously official titles but were abolished after , such as Pasha and Bey.

Religious Beliefs. Egypt is a country of "everyday piety. The statement of this basic profession of faith is one of the five pillars of the religion.

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The other four are the Ramadan fast, the pilgrimage to Mecca, the five daily prayers, and the giving of alms. For many Muslims these five pillars sum up the belief system and indicate the practices. Egyptians frequently invoke the notion of God and his power. Any statement about the future, for instance, is likely to contain the injunction, "God willing," showing that the ultimate determination of the intention is up to God. In Egypt, there are other possible elaborations. For some, who focus on God as all-powerful, religious practice involves seeking God's help in over-coming problems and seeking favorable outcomes, for instance, with regard to recovery from disease or misfortune.

Around this notion has grown up a series of practices involving visits to shrines, often The Egyptian Museum in Cairo features artifacts from the tombs of pharaohs. Foremost among these shrines are those in Cairo associated with the family of the prophet Muhammad.

But every village and town has such shrines, whose importance varies. This form of religion is often attacked by religious purists who argue that to give such importance to these "saints" undercuts the oneness of God. Also very common in Egypt are associations of mystics Sufi brotherhoods. These male-dominated groups are under the leadership of a shaykh , or a hierarchy of shaykhs, devoted to helping their members attain a mystical experience of union with God. This mystical experience is often attained through collective rituals, proper to each order, called zikr. There are nearly one hundred officially recognized associations, plus numerous unrecognized ones, and they claim around six million members about one third of the adult male population.

Current mainstream practice in Egypt is to focus on the core beliefs of Islam, and to be concerned with learning the "law" of Islam, the particular details of everyday life that believing Muslims must follow to be in accord with God's will as interpreted by specialists. The authority here is the word of God as found in the Koran. The prayer leader imam can be anyone in religious good standing, although established mosques usually have a regular imam.

The Friday sermon is said by a khatib, many of whom are trained in religious institutes. There have been debates over whether women can play these roles, especially that of a teacher of religion to women and girls. The two top religious leaders in Egyptian Islam are the Shaykh al-Azhar, who heads the religious bureaucracy, and the Grand Mufti, who offers authoritative interpretations of the Koran. The individuals in these posts have been known to take different positions on some issues. The two main Muslim religious holidays are the feast following Ramadan, the fasting month, and 'Id al-Adha, which corresponds to the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

The Ramadan holiday comes after a month of fasting and family visits and people usually just rest. The 'Id al-Adha celebrates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son, who then miraculously turned into a ram, so that most families try to sacrifice a ram on this day. Other religious holidays include Moulid an-Nabi, commemorating the birth of the prophet Muhammad, which is especially important for sufis; and Islamic New Year, the first day of the month of Moharram. In Islam, Friday is the day of the main congregational prayer, and marks a break in the workweek without being a "day of rest" in the formal sense.

In contemporary Egypt, the two-day weekend is Friday and Saturday. The regular work and school week is thus Sunday through Thursday, although some also work on Saturday. Christians who work on this schedule attend church in the evenings, and make use of Friday for major gatherings. The Coptic Orthodox Church is the descendant of the churches associated with the early Christian Patriarchate of Alexandria. It is the main Christian church in Egypt. Its theology is monophysite, holding that in Jesus Christ there is only one nature, both human and divine. The Coptic church is headed by a patriarch and supported by bishops and parish priests.

Monasticism is also central to the Coptic church, and the patriarch comes from the ranks of the monks rather than the priests. When a patriarch dies, his successor is chosen by lot i. The monasteries also serve as pilgrimage and retreat centers for Copts. Currently the Virgin Mary is revered, and many churches are dedicated to her. The two main Christian holidays are the Christmas season and the Easter season. Minor holidays include some that are extensions of these seasons such as 'Id al-Ghattas Epiphany , the baptism of Christ, Palm Sunday, and some associated with the Virgin Mary Ascension, in mid-August, is a main one.

In most aspects of life apart from religion, Egyptian Muslims and Christians are indistinguishable. Everyday devotion is common among both, and many religious values are shared at a general level. The attentive observer can sometimes note marks of distinction: "Islamic" dress marks Muslim women; both men and women among Christians may have a cross tattooed on the inside of the right wrist; names are often but not always indicative. For most people, most of the time, the distinction is not relevant. But every so often there are individuals on one side or the other who stress the difference and claim or practice some form of discrimination or injustice.

Such speech rarely leads to more violent action. Nonetheless, the boundary is maintained and both groups discourage or prohibit intermarriage and conversion. Muslims and Christians are not residentially segregated; instead, there are clusters of Christians scattered among a Muslim majority. In modern times, the presence of both Muslims and Christians has impeded the drive to define Egypt as a Muslim country and thus at least indirectly has favored secularism. Rituals and Holy Places. Rituals marking the different stages of life are also an important area of religious practice, and one that is largely shared by Muslims and Christians.

Egyptians celebrate a naming ceremony normally one week after a baby's birth; this is a mixture of Islamic or Coptic and "traditional" elements, and is basically a family celebration to incorporate the newborn into the family. All boys are circumcised, generally as infants, and girls are usually also "circumcised" before they reach puberty.

Although the form of female genital mutilation varies, surveys suggest that about 97 percent of Egyptian females, both Christians and Muslims, are affected. Marriage is a major focus of Egyptian culture. For Muslims it is considered a contract the signing of which is later followed by a family celebration; for Christians the sacrament takes place in a church, usually followed the same day by a family celebration.

Death and the Afterlife. After a death, both Muslims and Christians try to bury the body the same day.

The Ten Plagues

Condolences are paid immediately, and again after forty days and after a year. The Islamic condolence sessions are often marked by Koran reading. The "soul" exists before birth and after death, while some of the other aspects disappear with death or only appear at death. Health care in Egypt occupies a central place both in people's concerns and in state priorities. There is an extensive network of public hospitals in major towns and cities all over the country.

There is a health unit offering basic medical services in practically every village. The standard of the medical service is variable, however, and people often find they have to obtain treatment in private hospitals and clinics. Among more affluent sectors of urban Egypt, people seek out alternative treatments such as homeopathy.

Egyptians tend to combine the modern health system with traditional practices. In villages, the midwife, for example, plays a key role not just during childbirth and the related ceremonial activities, but also in providing general medical advice to women. There are other traditional health practitioners, such as seers and spirit healers. The zar ceremony marks a form of spirit possession cult that establishes a relationship between an afflicted person and the spirits afflicting him or her. This Egyptians at a festival in Cairo.

Many public Egyptian holidays mark important events in the recent political history of the country. The main public holidays are: 25 April, Sinai Liberation Day, which marks the recovery of the Sinai Peninsula in ; 1 May, International Labor Day; 23 July, which commemorates the revolution of ; and 6 October, Armed Forces Day, which marks the day in when the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal, surprising the Israeli army and scoring a minor military victory that, through later diplomacy, would lead to the return of Sinai to Egypt.

Labor Day in Egypt as elsewhere is used to salute the working class. The others mark important events in the recent political history of the country. All are official affairs, with little popular celebration. Nobel Prize-winning author Naguib Mahfouz b. Folk tales and folk epics survive but are not robust. Graphic Arts. Painters are largely self-supporting through the sale of their paintings. There are many art galleries mostly concentrated in Cairo, and the acquisition of paintings has always been a sign of good taste and distinction among members of affluent social groups.

Folk painting of house walls is well-known in rural Egypt. Performance Arts. The Egyptian film industry is one of the oldest in the world. Film production is at once an art, an industry, and a trade. Egyptian films and television dramas are avidly consumed not just in Egypt but all over the Arab world. They range from tacky melodramas to internationally acclaimed, award-winning films of high artistic value. Film production is now almost exclusively in the private sector. The most famous Egyptian singer was Umm Kalthum d.

Some more recent singers have also had considerable popularity inside and outside the country. There is also a Cairo Symphony Orchestra, a Cairo Opera Ballet, and other troupes producing classical music and dance. There are thirteen government universities, some of which have multiple branches, enrolling about one million students. The much smaller American University in Cairo is an old private university, and there are several new ones.

In general, the physical and social sciences are confined to academic departments of the various universities, and to state-sponsored research centers. There is now an increasing tendency to link scientific knowledge to social and economic demands, by emphasizing the "relevance" of such knowledge. Thus, the new Mubarak City for Scientists, which contains one institute for information technology and another for genetics, caters to the demands of industry.

The need for research and development is accepted but the realization is more difficult. The main university subjects took shape at Cairo University in the s. Economics is probably the best developed of the social sciences, and political science and psychology are making progress. Sociology was founded at Cairo in and is now found in most universities.

The main centers for anthropology are Alexandria and the American University in Cairo. Anthropology is dominated by efforts to come to grips with contemporary patterns of change, often under the heading of development. The main thrust of anthropology in Egypt is not to improve cross-cultural understanding but instead to foster Egyptian development. There are few positions in anthropology, so most trained anthropologists gradually become generalists in development.

Abu Lughod, Lila. Abu-Zahra, Nadia. Ammar, Hamed. Armbrust, Walter. Mass Culture and Modernism in Egypt , Berger, Morroe. Biegman, Nicolaas H. Egypt: Moulids, Saints, Sufis , Blackman, Winifred S. Cole, Donald P. Danielson, Virginia. El-Guindi, Fadwai. Veil: Modesty, Privacy and Resistance , El-Hamamsy, Laila Shukry.

Ethnic Identity: Cultural Communities and Change, pp.

Fahim, Hussein M. Egyptian Nubians: Resettlement and Years of Coping , Fakhouri, Hani.

Fernea, Robert A. Nubians in Egypt: Peaceful People , Gaffney, Patrick D. Gilsenan, Michael. Hoodfar, Homa. Hopkins, Nicholas S. Directions of Change in Rural Egypt , Ibrahim, Barbara, et al. Ibrahim, Saad Eddin. Egypt, Islam, and Democracy , Inhorn, Marcia C. Jennings, Anne M. Johansen, Julian.

Kennedy, John G. MacLeod, Arlene Elowe. Morsy, Soheir A. Gender, Sickness, and Healing in Rural Egypt , Nelson, Cynthia. Doria Shafik: Egyptian Feminist , Reeves, Edward B. Reynolds, Dwight F. Saad, Reem. Singerman, Diane. Starrett, Gregory. Sullivan, Denis J. Weyland, Petra. Inside the Third World Village , Wikan, Unni. Toggle navigation. Before The Egyptian Kingdom. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation. Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space Villages and cities are the two major settlement types.

Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Social Stratification Classes and Castes. Political Life Government. Social Welfare and Change Programs Egyptian citizens are entitled to free education and health care, in addition to employment guarantees for graduates.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations Egypt has a long tradition of voluntary associations. Marriage, Family, and Kinship Marriage. Socialization Child Rearing and Education. Etiquette Public modesty in dress and deportment is highly valued in Egypt. Religion Religious Beliefs. Medicine and Health Care Health care in Egypt occupies a central place both in people's concerns and in state priorities.

Secular Celebrations The main public holidays are: 25 April, Sinai Liberation Day, which marks the recovery of the Sinai Peninsula in ; 1 May, International Labor Day; 23 July, which commemorates the revolution of ; and 6 October, Armed Forces Day, which marks the day in when the Egyptian army crossed the Suez Canal, surprising the Israeli army and scoring a minor military victory that, through later diplomacy, would lead to the return of Sinai to Egypt. The Arts and Humanities Literature.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences There are thirteen government universities, some of which have multiple branches, enrolling about one million students.