In his commentary on the Book of Genesis, Dennis Prager notes:

* Every nation has a derogatory way of referring to other nations, and the ancient Israelites were no exception: To them, the term “uncircumcised” signified a man who was on a lower level—certainly not an appropriate match for one of their daughters.

* The Egyptians regarded themselves as a superior race. Foreigners were viewed as unclean, and therefore Egyptians ate only with fellow Egyptians.

* Had the Egyptians lived and dined alongside the Hebrews, they might have seen these foreigners as equal human beings and might not have later enslaved them. Arguably, the most unique commandment in the Torah is to love the stranger (for example, Leviticus 19:34), which involves learning to see ourselves in people who are different. Perceiving others as real people—as “real” as we are—makes it very difficult to mistreat them.

The Egyptians’ belief in their racial and religious superiority was not unique. Almost every people in history, including the Jews, has considered itself in some way exalted.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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