AkhenatenWe have been discussing the ideas of the family from different angles; philosophical, metaphysical, ethical. But there is one angle that I have been trying to wrap my head around, and have been failing to do.

Monotheism is often traced back to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten. The life of the sun, as his name means. He, singlehandedly got rid of all the many gods of Egypt, and made his religion a religion of one G-d. I must admit, at some point, I was a little disappointed. I could not find any reference to the metaphysical discussion that Anaxagoras is the origin of, but who knows perhaps he had a deep metaphysical philosophy. We only have fragments, his tomb and his city to tell us anything about his whereabouts.

There is, however, two things that are very obvious from the engravings of his tomb. One thing is the prominence of the sun, the other thing is the very peaceful nature of his life. There is no warfare depicted, no smiting of enemies, no heraldrics, just Akhenaten and his family. There is even an engraving where he looses his daughter, and he is obviously shattered by that happening.

When we make a fast forward to Moses, who is the other great Egyptian/Jew who had a lot to say about the family. It is really the same. Moses had other projects than just the family, he was at war with polytheism as well. But he stood very firm on the principles of the family. You can read the ten commandments, and you will find many important principles there. Like you shall honor your mother and father, you shall not covet your neighbors wife, you shall not commit adultery.

In other words, the family as an idea, and an institution is at the very heart of all the monotheistic religions. It is what we can deduce from Akhenaten, from Moses. And it is a peaceful thing. Family is not about guts and glory, it is about love and caring. About helping each other out, about loss, when that happens. But it is a vehicle for peace. Because if we are satisfied, we are less prone to take up the sword.

G-d bless the family as an ancient institution.

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