Bearing Eternal Witness Rabbinic Legends about Serach Bat Asher
The Family Goes Down Into Egypt
1א
וַיִּקְח֣וּ אֶת־מִקְנֵיהֶ֗ם וְאֶת־רְכוּשָׁם֙ אֲשֶׁ֤ר רָֽכְשׁוּ֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ מִצְרָ֑יְמָה יַעֲקֹ֖ב וְכׇל־זַרְע֥וֹ אִתּֽוֹ׃ בָּנָ֞יו וּבְנֵ֤י בָנָיו֙ אִתּ֔וֹ בְּנֹתָ֛יו וּבְנ֥וֹת בָּנָ֖יו וְכׇל־זַרְע֑וֹ הֵבִ֥יא אִתּ֖וֹ מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃ {ס}
and they took along their livestock and the wealth that they had amassed in the land of Canaan. Thus Jacob and all his offspring with him came to Egypt: he brought with him to Egypt his sons and grandsons, his daughters and granddaughters—all his offspring.
First mention of Sister Serach in Torah
2ב
וּבְנֵ֣י אָשֵׁ֗ר יִמְנָ֧ה וְיִשְׁוָ֛ה וְיִשְׁוִ֥י וּבְרִיעָ֖ה וְשֶׂ֣רַח אֲחֹתָ֑ם וּבְנֵ֣י בְרִיעָ֔ה חֶ֖בֶר וּמַלְכִּיאֵֽל׃
Asher’s sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, and their sister Serah. Beriah’s sons: Heber and Malchiel.
Introduction to a Census
3ג
וַיְהִ֖י אַחֲרֵ֣י הַמַּגֵּפָ֑ה {פ}
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהֹוָה֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה וְאֶ֧ל אֶלְעָזָ֛ר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹ֥ן הַכֹּהֵ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃ שְׂא֞וּ אֶת־רֹ֣אשׁ ׀ כׇּל־עֲדַ֣ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל מִבֶּ֨ן עֶשְׂרִ֥ים שָׁנָ֛ה וָמַ֖עְלָה לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם כׇּל־יֹצֵ֥א צָבָ֖א בְּיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
When the plague was over, the LORD said to Moses and to Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, “Take a census of the whole Israelite community from the age of twenty years up, by their ancestral houses, all Israelites able to bear arms.”
Second Mention of Serach inTorah
4ד
בְּנֵ֣י אָשֵׁר֮ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם֒ לְיִמְנָ֗ה מִשְׁפַּ֙חַת֙ הַיִּמְנָ֔ה לְיִשְׁוִ֕י מִשְׁפַּ֖חַת הַיִּשְׁוִ֑י לִבְרִיעָ֕ה מִשְׁפַּ֖חַת הַבְּרִיעִֽי׃ לִבְנֵ֣י בְרִיעָ֔ה לְחֶ֕בֶר מִשְׁפַּ֖חַת הַֽחֶבְרִ֑י לְמַ֨לְכִּיאֵ֔ל מִשְׁפַּ֖חַת הַמַּלְכִּיאֵלִֽי׃ וְשֵׁ֥ם בַּת־אָשֵׁ֖ר שָֽׂרַח׃ אֵ֛לֶּה מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת בְּנֵי־אָשֵׁ֖ר לִפְקֻדֵיהֶ֑ם שְׁלֹשָׁ֧ה וַחֲמִשִּׁ֛ים אֶ֖לֶף וְאַרְבַּ֥ע מֵאֽוֹת׃ {ס}
Descendants of Asher by their clans: Of Imnah, the clan of the Imnites; of Ishvi, the clan of the Ishvites; of Beriah, the clan of the Beriites. Of the descendants of Beriah: Of Heber, the clan of the Heberites; of Malchiel, the clan of the Malchielites.— The name of Asher’s daughter was Serah.— These are the clans of Asher’s descendants; persons enrolled: 53,400.
Third mention of Sister Serach in Torah
5ה
(ל) בְּנֵ֣י אָשֵׁ֗ר יִמְנָ֧ה וְיִשְׁוָ֛ה וְיִשְׁוִ֥י וּבְרִיעָ֖ה וְשֶׂ֥רַח אֲחוֹתָֽם׃
(30) The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah.
6ו
(ג) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יוֹסֵ֤ף אֶל־אֶחָיו֙ אֲנִ֣י יוֹסֵ֔ף הַע֥וֹד אָבִ֖י חָ֑י וְלֹֽא־יָכְל֤וּ אֶחָיו֙ לַעֲנ֣וֹת אֹת֔וֹ כִּ֥י נִבְהֲל֖וּ מִפָּנָֽיו׃ (ד) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יוֹסֵ֧ף אֶל־אֶחָ֛יו גְּשׁוּ־נָ֥א אֵלַ֖י וַיִּגָּ֑שׁוּ וַיֹּ֗אמֶר אֲנִי֙ יוֹסֵ֣ף אֲחִיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־מְכַרְתֶּ֥ם אֹתִ֖י מִצְרָֽיְמָה׃ (ה) וְעַתָּ֣ה ׀ אַל־תֵּעָ֣צְב֗וּ וְאַל־יִ֙חַר֙ בְּעֵ֣ינֵיכֶ֔ם כִּֽי־מְכַרְתֶּ֥ם אֹתִ֖י הֵ֑נָּה כִּ֣י לְמִֽחְיָ֔ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֱלֹהִ֖ים לִפְנֵיכֶֽם׃ (ו) כִּי־זֶ֛ה שְׁנָתַ֥יִם הָרָעָ֖ב בְּקֶ֣רֶב הָאָ֑רֶץ וְעוֹד֙ חָמֵ֣שׁ שָׁנִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר אֵין־חָרִ֖ישׁ וְקָצִֽיר׃ (ז) וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֤נִי אֱלֹהִים֙ לִפְנֵיכֶ֔ם לָשׂ֥וּם לָכֶ֛ם שְׁאֵרִ֖ית בָּאָ֑רֶץ וּלְהַחֲי֣וֹת לָכֶ֔ם לִפְלֵיטָ֖ה גְּדֹלָֽה׃ (ח) וְעַתָּ֗ה לֹֽא־אַתֶּ֞ם שְׁלַחְתֶּ֤ם אֹתִי֙ הֵ֔נָּה כִּ֖י הָאֱלֹהִ֑ים וַיְשִׂימֵ֨נִֽי לְאָ֜ב לְפַרְעֹ֗ה וּלְאָדוֹן֙ לְכׇל־בֵּית֔וֹ וּמֹשֵׁ֖ל בְּכׇל־אֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (ט) מַהֲרוּ֮ וַעֲל֣וּ אֶל־אָבִי֒ וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֣ם אֵלָ֗יו כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ בִּנְךָ֣ יוֹסֵ֔ף שָׂמַ֧נִי אֱלֹהִ֛ים לְאָד֖וֹן לְכׇל־מִצְרָ֑יִם רְדָ֥ה אֵלַ֖י אַֽל־תַּעֲמֹֽד׃ (י) וְיָשַׁבְתָּ֣ בְאֶֽרֶץ־גֹּ֗שֶׁן וְהָיִ֤יתָ קָרוֹב֙ אֵלַ֔י אַתָּ֕ה וּבָנֶ֖יךָ וּבְנֵ֣י בָנֶ֑יךָ וְצֹאנְךָ֥ וּבְקָרְךָ֖ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁר־לָֽךְ׃ (יא) וְכִלְכַּלְתִּ֤י אֹֽתְךָ֙ שָׁ֔ם כִּי־ע֛וֹד חָמֵ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים רָעָ֑ב פֶּן־תִּוָּרֵ֛שׁ אַתָּ֥ה וּבֵֽיתְךָ֖ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁר־לָֽךְ׃
(3) Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still well?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dumfounded were they on account of him. (4) Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come forward to me.” And when they came forward, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, he whom you sold into Egypt. (5) Now, do not be distressed or reproach yourselves because you sold me hither; it was to save life that God sent me ahead of you. (6) It is now two years that there has been famine in the land, and there are still five years to come in which there shall be no yield from tilling. (7) God has sent me ahead of you to ensure your survival on earth, and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. (8) So, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt. (9) “Now, hurry back to my father and say to him: Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me without delay. (10) You will dwell in the region of Goshen, where you will be near me—you and your children and your grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all that is yours. (11) There I will provide for you—for there are yet five years of famine to come—that you and your household and all that is yours may not suffer want.’
7ז
(כה) וַֽיַּעֲל֖וּ מִמִּצְרָ֑יִם וַיָּבֹ֙אוּ֙ אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֖ב אֲבִיהֶֽם׃ (כו) וַיַּגִּ֨דוּ ל֜וֹ לֵאמֹ֗ר ע֚וֹד יוֹסֵ֣ף חַ֔י וְכִֽי־ה֥וּא מֹשֵׁ֖ל בְּכׇל־אֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וַיָּ֣פׇג לִבּ֔וֹ כִּ֥י לֹא־הֶאֱמִ֖ין לָהֶֽם׃ (כז) וַיְדַבְּר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו אֵ֣ת כׇּל־דִּבְרֵ֤י יוֹסֵף֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר דִּבֶּ֣ר אֲלֵהֶ֔ם וַיַּרְא֙ אֶת־הָ֣עֲגָל֔וֹת אֲשֶׁר־שָׁלַ֥ח יוֹסֵ֖ף לָשֵׂ֣את אֹת֑וֹ וַתְּחִ֕י ר֖וּחַ יַעֲקֹ֥ב אֲבִיהֶֽם׃ (כח) וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל רַ֛ב עוֹד־יוֹסֵ֥ף בְּנִ֖י חָ֑י אֵֽלְכָ֥ה וְאֶרְאֶ֖נּוּ בְּטֶ֥רֶם אָמֽוּת׃
(25) They went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. (26) And they told him, “Joseph is still alive; yes, he is ruler over the whole land of Egypt.” His heart went numb, for he did not believe them. (27) But when they recounted all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. (28) “Enough!” said Israel. “My son Joseph is still alive! I must go and see him before I die.”
8ח

מדרש הגדול, בראשית מ"ה:כ"ו


"ויגדו לו לאמר 'עוד יוסף חי' " רבנן אמרו אם אנו אומרים לו תחלה יוסף קים שמא תפרח נשמתו. מה עשו? אמרו לשרח בת אשר, "אמרי לאבינו יעקב שיוסף קים והוא במצרים. מה עשתה? המתינה לא עד שהוא עומד בתפלה ואמרה בלשון תימה:

- יוסף במצרים

- יולדו לו על ברכים

- מנשה ואפרים

פג לבו כשהוא עומד בתפלה. כיון שהשלים ראה העגלות, מיד "ותחי רוח יעקב אבינו" (שם).

Midrash HaGadol, Genesis 45:26


[The brothers said:]If we tell him right away, "Joseph is alive!" perhaps he will have a stroke [lit., his soul will fly away]. What did they do? They said to Serah, daughter of Asher, "Tell our father Jacob that Joseph is alive, and he is in Egypt." What did she do? She waited till he was standing in prayer, and then said in a tone of wonder, "Joseph is in Egypt/ There have been born on his knees/ Menasseh and Ephraim" [three rhyming lines]. His heart failed, while he was standing in prayer. When he finished his prayer, he saw the wagons: immediately the spirit of Jacob came back to life.(Translated by Avivah Zornberg in Genesis, the Beginning of Desire, p.281).

9ט

The Book of Jasher, p. 167, v. 92-98

A Hebrew midrash (Sefer HaYashar), named after the lost Book of Jasher mentioned in Samuel II 1:18


...they said to each other: "What shall we do in this matter before our father, for if we come suddenly to him and tell him the matter, he will be greatly alarmed at our words and will not believe us...and they found Serach, daughter of Asher, going forth to meet them, and the damsel was very good and subtle and knew how to play upon the harp...they took her and gave her a harp, saying: "Go now before our father, and sit before him and strike upon the harp, and speak these words...and she came and sat near Jacob. And she played well and sang, and uttered in the sweetness of her words, "Joseph my uncle is living, and he rules throughout the land of Egypt, and is not dead". And she continued to repeat and utter these words, and Jacob heard her words and they were agreeable to him. He listened whilst she repeated them twice and thrice, and joy entered the heart of Jacob at the sweetness of her words and the spirit of G-d was upon him, and he knew all her words to be true.

And Jacob blessed Serach when she spoke these words before him, and he said to her, My daughter, may death never prevail over you, for you have revived my spirit..."

10י

אוצר המדרשים (אייזנשטיין) בראשית מ"ו:י"ז


...סרח בת אשר בעבור שאמרה ליעקוב "יוסף חי" אמר לה יעקב "זה הפה שבשרני על יוסף שהוא חי לא יטעם טעם מות."

Otzar HaMidrashim (Eisenstein Gen. 46:17)


Serach Bat Asher: Because she told Yaakov "Yosef is alive", Yaakov said to her: "The mouth that told me about Yosef being alive will not taste the taste of death."

11יא
(כב) וַיָּבֹ֧אוּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל בְּת֥וֹךְ הַיָּ֖ם בַּיַּבָּשָׁ֑ה וְהַמַּ֤יִם לָהֶם֙ חוֹמָ֔ה מִֽימִינָ֖ם וּמִשְּׂמֹאלָֽם׃
(22) and the Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
12יב

(יג) [יג] ר' יוחנן הוה יתיב דרש כיצד היו המים עשויין לישר' כחומה. דרש ר' יוחנן כאילין קנקילייא. אדיקת שרח בת אשר ואמרת תמן הוינא ולא הוון אלא כאילין אמפומטא.

Rabbi Yochanan (a third-century Talmudic sage) was sitting and seeking to explain how the waters of the Red Sea became a wall for Israel. ''The waters[of the Red Sea] became a wall to their right and to their left.” Rabbi Yochanan darash, interpreted – like a lattice (with well-sealed walls). Serach, the daughter of Asher, said in response to Rabbi Yochanan, “I was there, and the walls were transparent and let light through, (another translation: transparent windows or shining windows [like glass]), ke’alin aputama.
​(Pesikta de-Rav Kahana 11:13, translations sourced from Sefaria community translations)

13יג
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יוֹסֵף֙ אֶל־אֶחָ֔יו אָנֹכִ֖י מֵ֑ת וֵֽאלֹהִ֞ים פָּקֹ֧ד יִפְקֹ֣ד אֶתְכֶ֗ם וְהֶעֱלָ֤ה אֶתְכֶם֙ מִן־הָאָ֣רֶץ הַזֹּ֔את אֶל־הָאָ֕רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נִשְׁבַּ֛ע לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּֽלְיַעֲקֹֽב׃ וַיַּשְׁבַּ֣ע יוֹסֵ֔ף אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר פָּקֹ֨ד יִפְקֹ֤ד אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְהַעֲלִתֶ֥ם אֶת־עַצְמֹתַ֖י מִזֶּֽה׃ וַיָּ֣מׇת יוֹסֵ֔ף בֶּן־מֵאָ֥ה וָעֶ֖שֶׂר שָׁנִ֑ים וַיַּחַנְט֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ וַיִּ֥ישֶׂם בָּאָר֖וֹן בְּמִצְרָֽיִם׃
At length, Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. God will surely take notice of you and bring you up from this land to the land that He promised on oath to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” So Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “When God has taken notice of you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” Joseph died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
14יד
וַיִּקַּ֥ח מֹשֶׁ֛ה אֶת־עַצְמ֥וֹת יוֹסֵ֖ף עִמּ֑וֹ כִּי֩ הַשְׁבֵּ֨עַ הִשְׁבִּ֜יעַ אֶת־בְּנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר פָּקֹ֨ד יִפְקֹ֤ד אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְהַעֲלִיתֶ֧ם אֶת־עַצְמֹתַ֛י מִזֶּ֖ה אִתְּכֶֽם׃
And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph, who had exacted an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “God will be sure to take notice of you: then you shall carry up my bones from here with you.”
15טו

תלמוד בבלי מסכת סוטה דף יג עמוד א


ומנין היה יודע משה רבינו היכן יוסף קבור? אמרו: סרח בת אשר נשתיירה מאותו הדור, הלך משה אצלה, אמר לה: כלום את יודעת היכן יוסף קבור? אמרה לו: ארון של מתכת עשו לו מצרים וקבעוהו בנילוס הנהר, כדי שיתברכו מימיו. הלך משה ועמד על שפת נילוס, אמר לו: יוסף, יוסף, הגיע העת שנשבע הקדוש ברוך הוא שאני גואל אתכם, והגיעה השבועה שהשבעת את ישראל, אם אתה מראה עצמך - מוטב, אם לאו - הרי אנו מנוקין משבועתך, מיד צף ארונו של יוסף.

Talmud Bavli, Sotah, 13a


How did Moshe know where Yosef was buried? They said: “Serach bat Asher remains from that generation.” Moshe went to her and said: “Do you know where Yosef is buried?” She said: “The Egyptians buried him in an iron casket and placed it in the Nile so that its waters become blessed.” Moshe went and stood at the banks of the Nile. He said: “Yosef, Yosef, the time has come that the Holy One, blessed be He, swore that He would redeem them. The time has also come for the oath that Israel swore (to bury Yosef in the land of Israel). If you show yourself, well and good. If not, we are free from your oath.” Immediately, Yosef’s casket floated to the surface.

16טז
(כח) וַיַּגֵּ֤ד מֹשֶׁה֙ לְאַֽהֲרֹ֔ן אֵ֛ת כׇּל־דִּבְרֵ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר שְׁלָח֑וֹ וְאֵ֥ת כׇּל־הָאֹתֹ֖ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוָּֽהוּ׃ (כט) וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ מֹשֶׁ֖ה וְאַהֲרֹ֑ן וַיַּ֣אַסְפ֔וּ אֶת־כׇּל־זִקְנֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (ל) וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר אַהֲרֹ֔ן אֵ֚ת כׇּל־הַדְּבָרִ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֑ה וַיַּ֥עַשׂ הָאֹתֹ֖ת לְעֵינֵ֥י הָעָֽם׃ (לא) וַֽיַּאֲמֵ֖ן הָעָ֑ם וַֽיִּשְׁמְע֡וּ כִּֽי־פָקַ֨ד יְהֹוָ֜ה אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְכִ֤י רָאָה֙ אֶת־עׇנְיָ֔ם וַֽיִּקְּד֖וּ וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֽוּ׃
(28) Moses told Aaron about all the things that the LORD had committed to him and all the signs about which He had instructed him. (29) Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. (30) Aaron repeated all the words that the LORD had spoken to Moses, and he performed the signs in the sight of the people, (31) and the people were convinced. When they heard that the LORD had taken note of the Israelites and that He had seen their plight, they bowed low in homage.
17יז

פרקי דרבי אליעזר (היגר) - "חורב" פרק מז


וכשבאו משה ואהרן אצל זקני ישראל ועשו האותות לעיניהם הלכו אצל סרח בת אשר אמרו לה בא אדם אחד אצלנו ועשה אותות לעינינו כך וכך, אמרה להם אין באותו ממש, אמרו לה והרי אמ' פקוד יפקוד אלהים אתכם, אמרה להם הוא האיש העתיד לגאול את ישראל ממצרים, שכן שמעתי מאבא פ"א פ"א פקוד יפקוד, מיד האמינו העם באלהיהם ובשלוחו,

שנ' ויאמן העם וישמעו כי פקד ה' את עמו (שמות ד,ל"א)


Pirkei D'Rabbi Eliezer (Higer) - "Horev" Ch. 47


And when Moshe and Aharon came to the Elders of Israel and made the signs before their eyes, they went to Serach bat Asher and said to her: "A man has come before us with these signs"

She said: "There is nothing to that man".
They said: "He said: G-d will remember you"
She said: "He is the the man who will bring Yisrael out of Egypt, for I heard from my father 'Peh Peh' 'Pakod Yifkod' [are the magic words]

They immediately believed in their G-d and His emissary as it says: "The nation believed and listened because G-d remembered His people". (Shmot 4:31)


18יח
לֵ֣ךְ וְאָֽסַפְתָּ֞ אֶת־זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְאָמַרְתָּ֤ אֲלֵהֶם֙ יְהֹוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֤י אֲבֹֽתֵיכֶם֙ נִרְאָ֣ה אֵלַ֔י אֱלֹהֵ֧י אַבְרָהָ֛ם יִצְחָ֥ק וְיַעֲקֹ֖ב לֵאמֹ֑ר פָּקֹ֤ד פָּקַ֙דְתִּי֙ אֶתְכֶ֔ם וְאֶת־הֶעָשׂ֥וּי לָכֶ֖ם בְּמִצְרָֽיִם׃
“Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: the LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said, ‘I have taken note of you and of what is being done to you in Egypt,
19יט

Hevrutah: Moments of Bearing Witness

  • Which Matriarch inspired you the most?
  • What narrative/textual moments have stayed with you?
  • Which Matriarch would you like to carry around inside you to help you get through your life? And how do you imagine they might would they help you?
20כ

פרקי דרבי אליעזר פרק מח (דפוס)


ר' אליעזר אומר: חמש אותיות שנכפלו בתורה באותיות, כלם בסוד הגאולה. כ"ך, בו נגאל אברהם אבינו מאור כשדים, שנ' "לך לך מארצך" (בר' יב:א). מ"ם, בו נגאל יצחק אבינו מיד פלשתים, שנ' "לך מעמנו כי עצמת ממנו מאד" (בר' כו:טז). נ"ן, בו נגאל יעקב אבינו מיד עשו, שנ' "הצילני נא מיד אחי מיד עשו" (בר' לב:יב). פ"ף, בו נגאלו אבותינו ממצרים שנ' "פקוד פקדתי אתכם" (שמות ג:טז). צ"ץ, בו עתיד הקב"ה לגאול את ישראל [משעבוד ארבע מלכיות בסוף מלכות רביעית ולומר להם 'צמח הצמחתי לכם', שנ' "הנה-איש צמח שמו ומתחתיו יצמח ובנה היכל ה'" (זכריה ו:יב).

ולא נמסרו האותיות אלא לאברהם אבינו, ואברהם אבינו מסרן ליצחק, ויצחק מסרן ליעקב, ויעקב מסרן ליוסף, ויוסף מסרן לאחיו, [ואמר להם "פקוד יפקוד אלהים אתכם" (בר' נ:כד] ואשר בן יעקב מסר סוד הגאולה לסרח בת אשר.

Pirkei d'Rabi Eliezer Ch. 48


Rabbi Eliezer says there are five letters that are doubled in the Torah, and all of them contain the secret of redemption...kaf-kaf...mem-mem...nun-nun...peh-peh…and tzadi-tzadi… through which our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt, as it says, "pakod pakadeti etkhem" (I have taken note of you, Ex.3:16)... ….These letters (peh-peh) were delivered solely to our father Abraham. Our father Abraham delivered them to Isaac, and Isaac [delivered them] to Jacob, and Jacob delivered the mystery of the Redemption to Joseph, as it is said, “But God will surely take notice of you (Pakod yiphkod etkhem)” (Gen. 50:24). Joseph his son delivered the secret of the Redemption to his brothers. Asher, the son of Jacob, delivered the mystery of the Redemption to Serah, his daughter.


Note: In this Midrash, all the "redemptive" letters, including "peh", differ in form when at the end of a word (kaf, tzadik, mem, nun, and peh sofi(t), suggesting the telos,the ultimate end they are meant to signify