Pearls of Rashi – Acharei and the Last Days of Pesach

This Shabbos we will celebrate the last days of Pesach. We will now explain a Rashi which discusses the holiday of Pesach.

The Torah tells us how the Jews finally left Egypt. First, we are told of the nation’s dramatic descent to Egypt, then its enslavement, and finally of Moshe Rabbeinu’s mission from Hashem to redeem the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Finally, we are told how the entire Jewish nation leaves Egypt under Moshe’s leadership.

Hashem gives the Jews very detailed instructions for their departure. Among them is to bring a Korbon Pesach, a Paschal lamb, the night before they leave. This is why throughout the generations, when there was a Bais Hamikdosh, the Jews brought a Pesach sacrifice the day before the holiday, which they ate that evening. The years that there was no Temple (may it speedily be rebuilt) the Jewish Nation has a Seder with a remembrance of the offering.

Specifically, Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu to[1] “Speak to the entire community of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month, let everyone take one lamb for each home, a lamb for each household … You shall have a perfect male lamb in its first year; you may take it either from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it for inspection until the fourteenth day of this month, and the entire congregation of the community of Israel shall slaughter it in the afternoon.’”

There is something here that requires explanation. We said that throughout the generations, Jews would offer the sacrifice the day before Pesach, i.e. the 14th of Nissan, and eat it that night. There is no mention of taking the animal earlier. Yet on the very first Pesach when the Jews were actually leaving Egypt, the commandment was to take it “on the tenth of this month.” In other words, they had to keep the animal in their homes for four days. Why?

Rashi asks this question. “Why was the designated animal taken four days before its slaughter? This was not required in the Passover sacrifice of later generations.”

One answer to this question is as follows. One can make a decision to do something radical on the spur of the moment, without really considering the facts. Sheep were one of the deities of the Egyptians. It could be very dangerous for the Jews to slaughter these animals in front of the Egyptians who worshipped them.

Four days allows enough time for rational consideration; for one to make a rational, calm decision. The fact that they did wait four days, demonstrated that they sincerely followed Hashem.

May we see the fulfillment of the prophet’s words[2]; “As in the days of your exodus from Egypt, I will show wonders (with the coming of Moshiach).”

Wishing one and all a good Shabbos and a happy and Kosher Pesach!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 16, Page 114

Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
* * *
לעילוי נשמת
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י בני משפחתו שיחיו

[1]. Parshas, Shemos 12:3-6.

[2]. Micha 7:15.

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