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First Day Pesach

“You shall observe this as an institution for all time, for you and for your descendants. And when you enter the land that the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite” Exodus 12:24-25

    Do you not sometimes wish that someone would tell you that the event you are about to experience is life-altering? That the guy you are about to bump into is your future? That the interview is going to change your life? That a seemingly benign moment is far more important than you would have imagined? 

    Wouldn’t that be nice? A moment to collect your thoughts and focus on what is about to happen. 

    In the verse above, the Torah informs the people they will have to observe Passover once they are in the Land of Israel for evermore. What is surprising here is not that the Israelites are being commanded to observe yet another mitzvah; but rather the timing of the commandment. 

    The Bible has just told them to paint their door lintels with blood, in anticipation of the plague of the death of the firstborn. They haven’t yet packed their unleavened bread or even put one foot outside of their houses. So why command them to celebrate the escape from Egypt, before it has even happened?

    The escape from Egypt is the moment that changed the course of our history and united us into a distinct people. At that moment, God gave us a religion and a theology that would forever unite us in a singular purpose in history.

    It is the Torah’s way of telling us and our forebears to pay attention. What is about to happen is big; in fact, it is the biggest thing that will ever happen to us and if we don’t pay attention, we may miss it. 

    And just in case we do forget? For evermore, one (or two) nights a year, we will recall and retell the story of the night we became a people. The night We became Us. 


     

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