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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Upbin-Weizman

Reliving the Exodus: A Modern Midrash

Updated: Jan 27

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Moses said to Pharaoh: “Let my people go.”

It took courage. It took time. A hardened heart is hard to work with. The Egyptian death toll was extraordinary. Pharaoh’s courtiers saw it coming. They warned Pharaoh: Time’s up, Egypt is lost. You were there. I saw Your name in the narrative. You, and Your miracles. You, and Your plagues. You, and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm.

The Moses within me says to Hamas: “Let my people go.”

It’s taking time. The heart of the enemy is hardened. The death toll is extraordinary. Gaza is lost. But where are the courtiers pleading to end the war and release the captives? They must have a different script.

The Moses within me is unhinged, crying, pleading, negotiating: “Let my people go — NOW!” The war is weighing us down, raging on. Yelling into the wind, the abyss, the call to return our snatched children, parents and grandparents falls on deaf ears. Let them out. Bring them home. We have been here before. Echoes of generations past.

Counting the days has become a mental exercise, like multiplying plagues at the Passover Seder. Numbers pile up like nonsense. Days have turned into weeks, then into months, as the plague of war takes a toll on lives and livelihoods. The plague of war spawns more plagues, new plagues that the biblical narrative never knew: the plague of silence, the plague of lies, the plague of hardened hearts, settling in like a hereditary disease.

I call out to Eheyeh – “I Will Be” – Your Exodus name. You clarified, “I will be with you.” Be with us now in the darkness, where hope flickers like fireflies. Make a stunning re-entrance, ushering victory, bringing healing, bringing them home. Eheyeh – Who raised Joseph from the pit, freed the Israelites from slavery, and parted the sea. Eheyeh – Who makes peace on High and sometimes around here. Eheyeh – Who has the power to release captives and revive the dead. Eheyeh – Who creates darkness and light, and brings order from chaos. Eheyeh – Who knows the secret path straight out of the narrows and into the wide open space – Eheyeh – I don’t know how to say this, but… You’re up.

In every generation, we must see ourselves as if we personally came out of Egypt. Well, if this isn’t that kind of Egypt, I don’t know what is. This is the part of the story where You dazzle, and we run. Bring on a strong hand and an outstretched arm. Lift us up on eagle’s wings. We are nearly there. If only we weren’t stuck between the raging sea and Pharaoh’s army. We can’t stay here for much longer. Our story must continue on.

Listen – the musicians are tuning up for the Song of the Sea. The singers are awaiting their cue, timbrels in hand, ready to celebrate the next great miracle.


Rabbi Danielle Upbin is a Congregational rabbi and spiritual leader in Clearwater, FL. She is also a community educator for She writes and teaches about topics related to Jewish spirituality, mindfulness, and personal development.

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