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Why Did God Allow Israel To Be Enslaved?
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This night, we celebrate Passover, we celebrate Pesach. But the name itself is a strange name, isn’t it? Pesach, what does it really mean, are you so sure it means ‘Passover’? The name comes from a verse that says that on the night when the Egyptian first born died, God was pasach on our homes and given the context, it seems to mean, God passed over our homes but the word pasach never appears earlier in the Torah. It is a made up word, God made up the word right now. There are words that God could have used here. Kafatz means to jump over, dalag means to skip over, why create the word pasach right now? The answer to this mystery, can be found by looking back to the Pesach offering, one last time.
Here are few clues.
The animal needs to be roasted, bunched up head over knees, on the spit, blood needs to be painted on the door, on both door posts and the lintel and the threshold. Lo tetzu ish mipetach beito ad boker. Then the original Pesach offering, everyone has to stay back all night long and then in the morning, rush through the door, as God was pasach over our homes. What does these all add up to? What tradition is that? All curled up, head over knees, it is the fetal position. All night long, you wait and you wait and you wait and in the morning, you rush through the door. Which door – the door painted with blood on all four sides. It’s birth, it is the moment of national birth. We were born that night, became a nation that night and when it happens, God is pasach over us. Doesn’t just mean ‘Passover’, there is another meaning there. Peh samach, what does peh samach reminds you of? In ‘Goats and Coats,’ pasim, it is the stripes of Joseph’s coat. Those strips of his beautiful coat indicated the special status that father had given him, indicated that father considered him his first born.
When we are born this night, God will stripe us with the pass. He will be pasach over us and grant us our new designation, the designation of his first born child. Beni bechor Yisrael, ‘My first born child is Israel’.
This part about being born, about becoming the bechor, about becoming the bechor the right way without deception, without lying, without cheating, about swearing our fidelity to father, as we embrace brothers, this is the core of the holiday, it’s why we call it Pesach. It is how we get that stripe and you know what, it helps explain one last thing. The strange introduction of the laws of the Pesach offering. The laws of the Pesach offering begin with a strange calendrical note. Begin counting your months from now. Nisan is the first month for you, for all the other nations, it is not but for you, time starts now. Nisan is your first month, why? The answer is, it is our birthday. This is when you were born, first born, this is when you got your mission.
Hey everybody, if you like this course on Haggadah, there are two places I want to point you to. For even deeper analysis of the Pesach offering and its larger meaning, please take a look at our Parshat video, on Metzhorah and listen to it along with its two audio epilogues. You can find them just by clicking on the top of your screen, over here. If you are interested how these themes, concerning the Haggadah and the Pesach offering fit into the larger exodus from Egypt story, please go back and listen to the series that we created last year, ‘Passover, what does it mean to be chosen’ and you can find it just by clicking over here at the top of your screen.
Enjoy and let me know what you think, on the comments.
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