Reimagining Exodus: A Story of Freedom

Reimagining Exodus: A Story of Freedom

by David Zaslow


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In an age where politics and ideologies divide us, Rabbi David is a voice in the wilderness calling people of faith to come together.
"A tremendous gift to anyone who is taking a journey of the soul, seeking to escape internal slavery and make it to the promised place where suffering is no more."— Marianne Williamson
The biblical Exodus is the most influential freedom story ever told. It has served as both an inspiration for Puritans, American revolutionaries, abolitionists, Mormons, the modern civil rights movement, and revolutionaries the world over. In Jewish tradition, the Exodus is also applied to every person’s life journey with its struggles, liberations, and revelations. This groundbreaking interfaith book explores the Exodus as the foundational story that links Judaism and Christianity together, and looks at ways that each of us can free ourselves from the “egypts” and “pharaohs” in our own lives. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781612617800
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Publication date: 03/01/2017
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 875,105
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Rabbi David Zaslow’s book, Jesus: First-Century Rabbi, was awarded the 2015 Book of the Year by the Church-Synagogue Library Association. He has been the spiritual leader of the Havurah Synagogue in Ashland, Oregon since 1996. Currently he travels around the country leading interfaith workshops for Christians and Jews on the Jewish roots of Christianity. Rabbi David won the American Book Award for Educational Materials in 1998.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

A Word About Language xxiii

Part 1 Exodus-A Way Out

The Exodus from Egypt in Hebrew: Yetziat Mitzrayim 3

Correcting Our Image of the Exodus 6

The Centrality of the Exodus 9

Interpretative Differences: Exodus and Law 13

Where Does the Exodus Begin? 16

Passover: A Leap of Faith 20

Developmental Models Applied to the Exodus 26

Part 2 Reimagining Exodus

Forty-Two Journeys and Campsites-Numbers 33:1-49 40

Shiphrah and Puah: Brightness and Brilliancy-Exodus 1:15-16 49

The Bush Was Not Consumed-Exodus 3:2-3 51

Moses, Moses! Here I Am.-Exodus 3:4 54

What's Your Name?-Exodus 3:13-14 56

Pharaoh's Heart Condition-Exodus 4:21 59

Brother from Another Mother-Exodus 5:1-2 62

Redemption for Egypt-Exodus 7:5 65

Pharaoh's National Repentance Movement-Exodus 9:27-28 68

The Ten Plagues-Exodus 11:1 70

Four Opinions at the Shoreline-Exodus 14:9 75

Grief and Joy at the Seashore-Exodus 14:30 77

The Top Ten-Exodus 20:1-17 79

God Spoke?-Exodus 20:1-2 83

They Saw Sounds-Exodus 20:18 85

A Calf of Gold-Exodus 32:1 86

Spies, Heroes, and Grasshoppers-Numbers 13:1-2 88

In a Wilderness of Words and Things-Deuteronomy 2:7 91

Entering the Land: Blessings and Curses-Deuteronomy 27:12-13 93

A Prophet in Israel Like Moses-Deuteronomy 34:10-11 95

Part 3 A Matrix-Exodus and the Cross

Springtime Festivals: Passover and Easter 101

The Afterlife of Events 103

The Rhythm of Life 109

Broad Way, Narrow Way 114

Tohubohu: Creation, Passover, and Easter 116

Redemption: The Spiritual Cost of Freedom 120

The Suffering Servant-Isaiah 53:4-11 126

Learning from Suffering 135

Part 4 Appropriation or Misappropriation

The Complexity of the Question 140

Exodus and the Christian Church 144

Will the Real Israel Please Stand? 146

Exodus and the Puritans 148

Exodus in Colonial American History 150

Exodus and African Americans 152

In Liberation Theology 160

In Every Generation: Reappropriation within Judaism 163

Exodus Rivals-Conclusion and Summary 166

Part 5 Personal Stories

The Answer Is Always the Exodus 171

A Good Friday Miracle 173

The Seder as a Template 179

A Seder for Tibet 183

Pentecost: A Poem 186

A Catholic Seder 188

Reimagining Exodus-A Conclusion 191


Some Names of God 197

What's in a Name? 200

The Reason for the Season 202

Theodicy: Divine Providence and the Existence of Evil 204

God's Anthropology of Humanity 216

Bibliography 217

Notes 221

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Deftly and brilliantly, Rabbi David Zaslow shows us how the ancient biblical account of the Exodus from Egypt dances and echoes through the centuries as the paradigm of the quest for equality and independence for people of all faiths and communities. His cogent and compelling vision of our yearning as children of God who strive for equality, autonomy, and self-determination enflames our souls and gives hope to all humankind. Redemption! Liberation! Freedom! Then and Now! – Rabbi Wayne Dosick, Ph.D., author, Living Judaism and The Real Name of God

In an age where politics and ideologies work to divide us, Rabbi David is a voice in the wilderness calling people of faith to come together by honoring each other and exploring our common roots, stories, and connections. This book offers excellent scholarship and personal insights that will inspire us to dig deeper into the richness of the Exodus event by applying its historical, cultural, personal and religious significance to ourselves. Thank you for this invitation to share in your journey of faith. —Fr. Mike Walker, Pastor, St. James Catholic Church, McMinnville, Oregon

With the mind of a scholar, the heart of a poet and the should of a Hasidic teacher, Rabbi David Zaslow explains the Biblical exodus as more than an epic event. The ancient story is presented as a contemporary compass – one which can guide our lives toward greater meaning, regardless of the faith we follow. —Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, President, Clal - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

A deeply thoughtful yet accessible treatment of a theme that binds Judaism and Christianity together, though it has too often been used to divide them.  A crucial read for understanding the legacy of the Exodus story throughout the history of the Western world. Bravo! —Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector, Rabbinical School, Hebrew College, Newton, MA

Rabbi David Zaslow’s Reimagining Exodus is a most perfect representation of Vatican 2.  He has captured the text and context of how both Jews and Christians read and interpret Exodus and in doing so adds to our joint understanding of each other’s religious vision.  This is an important text for Christian-Jewish dialogue. —Dr. Sam Edelman, emeritus professor, CSU Chico and adjunct professor and Academic Fellow of the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies at the University of Miami

With his trademark accessibility, sensitivity and good humor, Rabbi David offers Jews and Christians a deeper understanding of their own faith’s foundational story as well that of the other.  This book a perfect choice for a Lenten group or – God willing! – for a shared study group between Jewish and Christian congregations. —Rev. Anne K. Bartlett, Rector Emerita, Trinity Episcopal Church, Ashland, OR

Rabbi David Zaslow brings deep knowledge and spiritual sensitivity to his reimagining of the Exodus. With clarity and insight, he shows us what the Torah's central story has meant over the centuries to people of faith struggling for liberation – and what it can mean to us today. —Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan, Ph.D., creator of

Rabbi David Zaslow is doing what theologians could not do, or have refused to do for two millennia, reconnect Christianity to its Jewish Foundation, and fit the stories of both traditions tightly back together where they belong. This study tackles the core faith of each tradition in a new way that will enlighten all of us. —Rev. Dr. Barbara J. Campbell, St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR

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