Monday, April 15, 2019


V'haya lachem lmishmeres... (Shmos 12:6)

Rashi asks why it is that the korban pesach  in Mitzrayim, unlike all future korbanos pesach, had to be taken 4 days in advance, on shabbos hagadol.  

Rashi quotes the Midrash that Hashem saw that Klal Yisrael was bereft of mitzvos and here it was time for Him to fulfill His promise to bring them geulah.  He therefore gave them the mitzvos of dam pesach and dam milah so they could earn redemption.

How does that answer the question?  Dam pesach and dam milah happened when the korban was supposed to be brought.  How does that explain why the korban had to be taken in advance?

Sefas Emes answers that there is something even greater than the dam of the korban and the dam of milah that Hashem was giving them  -- what he was giving them was the anticipation for and preparation for those mitzvos. 

The mitzvah is just one single act with a defined shiur.  The hachana and anticipation for a mitzvah can last for hours and days and consume a person's whole mind and heart.

There is so much work to do to get ready for the chag. It shouldnt just be viewed as a necessary evil.  The hachana, the anticipation, is part of the gift of the chag as well.


  1. Very nice.

    We should also note the classic answer of Da'as Z'keinim mi-Ba'alei ha-Tosafos (on Shmos 12:3) that a total of 4 extra days were necessary to allow for 1 day of milah plus 3 days of recovery before hitting the road. (I learned this from Nechama Leibowitz's book many years ago.)

  2. "consume a person's whole mind and heart"

    a father with a firstborn still a minor would ponder at length: 'if I eagerly spread lamb's blood on the lintel, yet hide me from dam milah, my son will die from kares* just as surely as dies paro's bechor...'

    *had fathers to circumcise their minor sons too, to avoid kares?

  3. the Egyptian masses too, were full of anticipation, when they saw sheep gods* carefully taken one-by-one to Hebrew houses; these throngs excitedly** waited to see, any day, lamb-worship taken to a whole new level (tamim! 12:5) under the admittedly superior Israelite god

    *their's were destroyed in plague 5; the replenished tzone (of 8:3) at plague 7 consisted only of goats [acquired from the Hebrews, who would not sell to Egypt sheep]

    **usurpation (or alien resurrection) of their deity was preferable to its consumption, or its sacrifice