Moses was a “Jew”!

In this week’s Torah Portion (Exodus), there a quite a few references to “Hebrews.”

Moses is called a Hebrew child by Pharoah’s daughter (Ex. 2:6)
God of the Hebrews (Ex. 5:3)

It’s obvious that the text is referring to the enslaved Tribes of Israel when it uses the term Hebrew.

Aramaic Translation

What’s fascinating is that Onkelos translates the word ‘Hebrew’ into Aramaic as Jew (יהודאי).

I always tell people that when I speak in English, I refer to the Jewish People, and translate that into Hebrew as Am Yisrael – The Nation of Israel. I almost never use “Jew” when I am talking about the Jewish People in Hebrew.

Onkelos lived in the first century of the common era and came from a Noble Roman Family. He converted to Judaism and created the first translation/commentary of the Torah into Aramaic which was the language of the marketplace at the time. (In addition to Greek).

The Nations of the World Call Us Jews – We call ourselves Israel

When speaking the language of the Romans in his translation, he called the Nation of Israel what the Romans called them…. Judeans. (Jude.. Jew)

This obviously was not a description of tribal affiliation (the Tribe of Judah) but a name used to describe the Nation.

(Note: Moses is described as a “Jew” even though he came from the Tribe of Levi)

Moses was a “Jew”!

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