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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Bo

Accepting an Appikoras?

One of the Korban Pesach laws is that apostate Jews may not eat the Korban. Why on other holidays we accept even Jewish criminals, but on Pesach the Torah forbade those people who cut themselves off from the nation from eating the Pesach lamb?
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Zot Hukat HaPesach: Kol ben nechar lo yochal bo" - This is the ordinance of the passover: let no alien (non-Jew) eat thereof. Onkelos, who lived during the time of the Tanaim (early Jewish sages, circa 20-120 CE), adds that also apostate Jews may not eat the Korban Pesach.
On the Yom Kippur fast all Jewish people pray together. In the famous Kol Nidre liturgy mention is made that "we allow to pray with the transgressors". Our Sages taught us to pray on this fast day even with Jewish criminals! Why then on Pesach, does the Torah forbade those people who cut themselves off from the nation from eating the Pesach lamb?
All holidays, but especially Pesach and Yom Kippur, express the belonging of each individual to the Jewish nation. On Yom Kippur, the Kohen Gadol (high priest) has special duties relating to sacrifices and other commandments related to all of the nation. One of the ideas of Yom Kipur is that we are one nation. which means accepting everyone who wants to be part of the nation. Pesach has a similar idea. Everyone who was connected to the Jewish nation came out of Egypt. At the Seder night we mention four sons. The wicked son views himself as being disconnected from the nation and our response to him is "If you were in Egypt, you would not have come out".
Despite the similarities between these holidays, there is a difference in practise. When an apostate joins the public on the day of fasting and prayer, he shows that he is serious. Although he is a criminal, he really wants to be a part of the Jewish people, and so as such he can join the prayer. In contrast, one who shows up only during Passover, when the smell of barbecued lamb is carried in the air, shows he does not want to be a part of the nation, but part of a meal.
There is a place for all Jews who wants to be part of the Jewish nation, but a person who wants to eat the Korban Pesach, that sacrificial lamb which expresses so strongly the belonging to the Jewish nation, has to want to be a part of it.

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