Nisan 13 5778
PESACH: BLOOD AND GUTS
Written by the rabbi
The beginning of the Exodus process can be traced from that moment, on 10 Nisan, when each family of Bnei Yisrael took a lamb, held it for 4 days, & then slaughtered it & smeared the blood on their door posts. The Hagada indicates this was the sign which allowed Hashem to "pass-over" those homes when administering the final plague, the killing of the first-born.
But did the all-seeing G-d really need a "sign" in order to know who had or had not kept his command to offer up the lamb?
Fast-forward now to near the end of the Hagada. There, in a dramatic gesture, we fill Eliyahu’s cup, open the door for the prophet of Moshiach, & rise to recite a short but controversial prayer ("Sh’foch Chamotcha"), in which we
bid Hashem to destroy the nations that have rejected G-d & brutalized the Jewish People. Fittingly, the Psalm in the Hagada which immediately follows this prayer (115) ridicules the idolaters, who "should become deaf, dumb & blind, just like their idols."
Is this not somewhat of a harsh way to conclude the Pesach Seder, which, in it’s closing section, speaks of our longing for the glorious Messianic Age & Israel’s revival, as in "L’Shana Haba’a B’Yerushalayim?"
I suggest that the message being sent to us is that, while we surely need Hashem’s help & guiding hand, we also need to step up & play our own part in the Redemption. And a crucial component of that participation is having the guts, the courage to stand up to the immoral & oppressive forces that abuse us & all that we stand for.
By taking the blood of the Egyptian deity – no small act of courage - our ancestors showed Hashem that we had more faith in Him than we had fear of Pharoah. The blood, Rashi says – contrary to popular opinion - was placed on the INSIDE of the doors & not the outside. Thus, while it sent a clear message to G-d that we were willing to risk our lives to show our allegiance to Him, it also reminded us that we had returned to our former status as a proud, defiant People. Our slavery of the spirit was over.
So, too, our willingness to stand up – with the door wide open - & demand justice on the nations that "consumed us" is a similar sign that we are no longer helpless, hapless victims, forbidden from expressing our opinion & forced to take whatever the Diaspora dishes out to us.
The ultimate expression of our freedom? It is confidently standing up to the world & unabashedly claiming our rightful place in the State of Israel. That door, too, is wide open, waiting for all of Jewry to get up & walk right in.
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