And Pharoh told that he, being asleep, had seen in his dream, and, behold, all the land of Mizraim was placed in one scale of a balance, and a lamb, the young of a sheep, was ill the other scale; and the scale with the lamb in it overweighed. Forthwith he sent and called all the magicians of Mizraim, and imparted to them his dream. Immediately Jannis and Jambres, the chief of the magicians, opened their mouth and answered Pharoh, A certain child is about to be born in the congregation of Israel, by whose hand will be destruction to all the land of Mizraim. Therefore did Pharoh, king of Mizraim, give counsel to the Jehudith midwives, the name of one of whom was Shifra, who is Jokeved, and the name of the other Puvah, who is Miriam her daughter. And he said, When you attend Jehudith women, and see them bear, if it be a male child, you shall kill him; but if a daughter, you may let her live.
§ The mishna states: And all meal offerings come only from the optimal produce. One of the places the mishna mentions as having good-quality produce is Aforayim. The superior quality of its produce was so well known that Aforayim was used as an example in colloquial aphorisms. In Moses and Aaron’s first meeting with Pharaoh, Aaron cast his staff to the ground, whereupon it turned into a serpent. Pharaoh’s necromancers then duplicated the feat using their incantations, only to then be confounded when Aaron’s staff swallowed up all of theirs (see Exodus 7:10–12). The Gemara relates the conversation that took place: Pharaoh’s two leading necromancers, Yoḥana and Mamre, said to Moses: Are you are bringing straw to Afarayim? Performing necromancy in Egypt, the world leader in sorcery, is like bringing straw to Afarayim, which is rich in the finest grains. Moses said to them: It is as people say: To a city rich in herbs, take herbs. If you want to guarantee that people will appreciate your merchandise, bring it to a place where they are familiar with it.