This print of Leha’ir sees the “pillar of fire” that guided the Israelites in their exit from Egypt, as if from the perspective of one of the exiters. As the multitude lovingly follows the pillar that seems to split the night sky in half, the giant decapitated head of Sekhmet or Bastet (“… and I will bring judgments on all the gods of Egypt”; Exodus 12:12) lies in the sand, blankly starring at the exodus. The title of the print means: “to illuminate.” It comes from the verse:
“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to illuminate their advance by day and by night.” (Exodus 13:21)
A detail. In the foreground, at the bottom, one of the women walking together with her tribal sisters wears a shawl on which a pattern has been embroidered: a shepherdess with her sheep. The pattern foreshadows the woman’s pastoral joy in the Promised Land.