Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states in the leining of משכו וקחו, “ואמרתם זבח פסח הוא לה’ אשר פסח על בתי בני ישראל במצרים בנגפו את מצרים ואת בתינו הציל, and you shall say, ‘it is a pesach slaughtering, that Hashem was פסח over the houses of Bnei Yisrael when He smote the Mitzri’im and our houses He saved.’” What does it mean that Hashem was פסח over the houses of Bnei Yisrael? Rashi explains the word פסח means skip and jump. Hashem skipped over the houses of Yisrael from between the houses of Mitzrayim, from Mitzri to Mitzri, and the Yisrael who lived in the middle was saved. This is hinted in the name Pesach which means to skip, step, and jump. Also it states “וראיתי את הדם ופסחתי עליכם” which Rashi explains, פסיחה means skip and jump as it states “פסחים על שתי הסעפם, jumping over the two thoughts.” Hashem will see the blood and jump over the houses of Yisrael who lived between them. So too a lame person is called פסח since he goes as jumping, up and down. Rashi explains the words “ועברתי בארץ מצרים, and I will pass over in the land of Mitzrayim” as a king who passes over from place to place, with one passing, Hashem passed over and smote all the first-borns.

Onkelos translates the lashon פסיחה in both pessukim above differently. He translates אשר פסח, as “that He had mercy,” and וראיתי אם הדם ופסחתי עליכם, as “and I will see the blood and I will have mercy upon you.” Rashi explains Onkelos understands as it states “פסוח והמליט” which refers to saving by skipping and jumping. The Nefesh HaGer says Onkelos translates פסיחה as mercy, and not skipping over since he always distances any physicality about Hashem.

What does it mean that Hashem had mercy on Bnei Yisrael? Simply, Hashem had mercy and pity on us and He did not smite us together with the first-borns and He saved us. HaRav Hutner zatzal added there are two middos, middas ha’chesed and middas ha’din. Hashem exercised His strong Hand against Mitzrayim which was middas ha’din. And Hashem’s mercy exercised the middas ha’chesed over the middas hadin to save Yisrael. The main purpose of Hashem being merciful was to annul the middas hadin and save us.

The Mishnah asks: “what is the difference between the Pesach in Mitzrayim and the Pesach for future generations? The Pesach of Mitzrayim needed to be purchased on the 10th of Nissan and required sprinkling with a bundle of hyssop upon the lintel and the doorposts.” Rashi is bothered, why was there a special command in Mitzrayim to purchase the pesach-offering on the 10th of Nissan which is not needed for future generations?” Rebbi Masia Ben Charash explained: Hashem said “the time has come which I swore to Avraham that I will redeem his sons, however they are bare without mitzvos and not deserving. They don’t have any mitzvos to do in order to merit being taken out.” Therefore, Hashem gave them two mitzvos, the blood of the pesach-offering and blood of circumcision. That evening they slaughtered the pesach-offering and sprinkled the blood, and they circumcised themselves. The Mi’at Tzuri explains, Onkelos hints to the mercy which Hashem had in order to give us the opportunity to be fitting to be saved.

The Seforno brings, the slaughtering that was done for the פסיחה which was going to take place at midnight. Korbanos are not slaughtered at night, therefore they needed to offer the korban-pesach during the day. Each person needed to bring his own korban since the miracle happened to each and every individual. It is a fascinating thing that we slaughtered and ate the korban-pesach before Hashem actually performed makkas bechoros, we believed and trusted in Hashem that it would happen. HaRav Yerucham Levavitz zatzal explained that our emuna was necessary to be able to have the zechus to go out of Mitzrayim. By celebrating makkos bechoros before it actually happened it pronounced our complete trust and belief in Hashem. I’d like to explain, פסיחה hints to Hashem’s mercy to give us the zechus of emuna in order to be saved.

May we put our complete faith and trust in Hashem, and may we always merit His mercy.

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