And he went down into Egypt and soujourned there


"And he went down to Egypt, and he sojourned there with but a few persons and there became a nation, great and mighty and numerous."

"He sojourned there:" This tells us that our father Jacob did not go down to Egypt to settle, but only to live there temporarily. Thus it is said, "They said to Pharaoh, We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants' flocks because the hunger is severe in the land of Canaan; and now, please, let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen."

"Few in number:" As it is said: "Our ancestors went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now, the Lord, your G‑d, has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven."

"And he became there a nation:" This teaches that Israel was a distinctive people, even in Egypt.

"Great and mighty:" As it is said: "And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, and multiplied and became very, very mighty, and the land became filled with them."

"And numerous:" As it is said: "I have caused you to multiply like the growth of the field, and you have increased and become great and adorned with ornaments. Your breast is fashioned, and your hair is grown whereas you were naked and bare."

haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story
Source: Joseph and His Brethren Welcomed by Pharaoh, watercolor by James Tissot (c. 1900)