Beit Midrash

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It’s In The Bloods


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Adar II 29 5776
This Shabbat – a rare three-Torah special! – includes the reading of Parshat Ha-Chodesh, when we commemorate Nisan as our 1st month. Included in this reading are the instructions given to Bnei Yisrael to prepare for Pesach. They are told to select a lamb & safeguard it ("V’haya lachem l’mishmeret") for 4 days, until it will be slaughtered on 14 Nisan, with some of its blood placed on the doorposts, & then eaten together with Matza & Maror in an elaborate feast.

Rashi asks why it was necessary for the lamb to be held for 4 full days! One approach: This was an act of great courage, an "in-your-face" act of faith; as we boldly took the Egyptian god & openly slaughtered it, without fear of the Egyptians.

Rashi also quotes the navi Yechezkel: "I (G-d) passed over you. I saw that this was a time of loving; yet you were bare & naked." Hashem wanted to liberate us, but we lacked the Mitzvot that would give us sufficient merit. And so He gave us two "bloody" commandments:
the blood of Brit Mila & the blood of the Korban Pesach. With those "bloods" to our credit, we merited redemption.

Over the last few months – or is it the last many years?! – the Jewish People, particularly in Israel, has been confronted with fearsome challenges. Hardly a day goes by when we do not read about – or personally witness or even experience, G-d forbid – some outrage perpetrated upon us, simply because we are Jews. The latest "knife intifada," where barbaric Palestinians look to stab whoever they
may encounter, has been particularly unnerving.

Through it all, we have shown amazing bravery & steadfastness. Though there is blood - our blood – upon many of our door-posts, we do not capitulate or collapse; we go forward. Though we eat our sumptuous meals at times with "poor bread" or bitter herbs, we do not despair.

I suggest that we, at this juncture of our history, are within those very "four days of safeguarding." We are stockpiling Mitzvot in huge amounts, maintaining our morality, our dignity, our perseverance in the face of an immoral world that sees everything upside-down. A world, alas, that is not far removed from the depraved Egyptians.

But the moment of deliverance is near at hand; the banquet is coming, its aroma already fills the air like that lamb-roast of old. Soon there will be fulfilled the pasuk from Zecharya: "By virtue of the blood of your covenant I freed you from the pit." Our destiny will not be denied; we
have paid dearly for it. And so, as we declare at every Brit: "B’damayich chayi’i;" in our bloods we shall live. Eternally.
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