To schedule Mr. Ben-Mordecai for a book signing, model seder or speaking engagement, please contact Shoshana Harper at 317.414.1480 or e-mail. He is available to speak on the following topics:
Rigteous Women in the Book of Exodus: Midwives of Our Freedom. The Talmud states, “Through the merit of the righteous women of that generation, Israel was redeemed from Egypt.” To us, the statement seems surprisingly egalitarian. To Greeks and Romans, the statement seemed foolish, granting women an active role in the workings of history. This talk compares and contrasts seven women of the Book of Exodus with their male contemporaries, to shed light on the Rabbis’ bold assertion.
Song of the Sea: Exodus 15:1-18. The Book of Exodus relates that when the Red Sea closed over Pharaoh and his army, Moses and the Israelites sang the Song of the Sea. This talk examines linguistic features of song that suggest it was contemporaneous with the events it describes, and shows how changes in the Hebrew language have obscured the song’s splendor and ingenuity.
Context, Honor, and the Name of God: Translation Errors and the Exodus Narrative The scholars King James appointed to translate the Book of Exodus into English came to the task with preconceived notions about what the text meant. This talk examines several translation errors found in Exodus, the translators’ misunderstanding of grammar that led to the errors, and the excitement a correct translation brings to the narrative.
Dragonflies in Amber: Forgotten Hebrew Words, Preserved in Sister Languages, Enrich Our Understanding of the Exodus. The meanings of many Hebrew words have changed greatly since the Book of Exodus was first put to parchment. Some words became vague or acquired new meanings, obscuring the original sense of the text, or creating seeming inconsistencies with the archaeological record. Yet, many “lost” meanings are preserved, like a Jurassic dragonfly in a chunk of amber, in Hebrew’s sister Semitic languages. This talk examines several dragonflies and the light they shed on the ancient narrative.
Judgments Against the Gods of Egypt: Comparative Semitics Resolves the Riddle of the Plagues. On the eve of the Departure from Egypt, God said: “I will execute judgments on all the gods of Egypt.” (Ex. 12:12) The passage evokes images of epic destruction, but the text does not seem to mention a single god of Egypt. This talk uses linguistic tools like an archaeologist’s brush to reveal how ancient Egyptians and Jews saw the plagues.