By Staks Rosch | 6 April 2012
HUFFINGTON POST — Shortly after I started to question my belief in God, I remember talking to my rabbi about Passover and the Exodus from Egypt. My rabbi knew that I was starting to doubt the supernatural and ridiculous aspects of the story. He told me in confidence that while the basic story is historical fact, the supernatural elements might have been an exaggeration or might not have actually happened at all. He assured me, however, that even though there might not have been plagues of frogs and Moses might not have parted the Red Sea, the Jews were slaves in Egypt, and the important thing is that there was an Exodus and that this is the core of what Passover is about. Except, in reality, there wasn’t actually an Exodus. I have since learned that the Jews were never slaves in Egypt and that the entire story of Exodus is fiction.
When I first heard that there was not a shred of evidence discovered in the Sinai Desert that a large number of Jews had wandered for 40 years, I thought that wasn’t such a big deal. I mean, it’s a desert, right? Sand storms probably just swallowed up all the evidence. The more I looked into the story, however, the more I realized that the lack of evidence was actually a pretty big problem. According to the book of Exodus, a lot of Jews were wandering this desert, and it seems extremely unlikely (bordering on impossible) for this many people to leave absolutely no trace, especially when traces have been found for smaller groups of people which predated the Exodus in that same desert.
Just like the lack of evidence is itself strong evidence against the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites in the Americas as told in the Book of Mormon, the same is true with the Exodus story in the Torah.
Still, I didn’t think all that much about it until years later, when I stumbled upon the article called, “Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?“ by Brian Dunning. This article really got me thinking about the Exodus story again. Dunning’s article reinforced my skepticism about the Exodus story and fueled my feelings of betrayal. I was taught for most of my life that it was a historical fact that the Jews were slaves in Egypt. This “history” was part of my cultural identity as a Jew. Even when I gave up the ridiculous, superstitious beliefs associated with Judaism, I could still proudly feel connected to the Jewish culture, which was grounded in a deep history of liberation from slavery. […]