Kenneth Cohen

Egyptians Admired Moses

Parshat Bo is the culmination of the devastation of Egypt, when the final three plagues, were administered by G-d.

It is interesting that before the final plague of the killing of the first born, the Torah makes an observation. After the Egyptians gave the Jews great wealth of gold and silver, the following is said about Moshe Rabbeinu:

“This man, Moshe, was very great in the land of Egypt; both in the eyes of the servants of Pharoah, and the Jewish nation.”

Despite a year filled with destruction that was clearly by way of Moshe, the messenger of G-d, he was greatly admired by the entire Egyptian population. (All of its citizens were referred to as the servants of Pharoah, thanks to Yosef. This was one of his conditions in supplying food during the famine. They all needed to be seen as עבדי פרעה, the servants of Pharoah.)

It is pretty surprising that he was so respected by the Egyptians. But maybe it isn’t when we understand the nature of truth. When one stands up for what is right, and is unafraid to fight for his beliefs, ultimately, he will be respected.

The people can figure things out soon enough, if this individual is truthful and sincere. The Egyptians realized that the treatment and humiliation of the Jews was wrong. They knew that they deserved what they got. They were taught that the G-d of Israel, was the One true Ruler of the world.

In the end, truth, ideals, and sincerity wins. Moshe was but one of our leaders who led without fear. Such leaders are the reason that we have managed to survive as a people, during our most difficult exile. We must remember that truth wins!

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at