What was the purpose of each household "keeping" the Paschal lamb for four days, from Nissan 10-14, before it was sacrificed?


Moses instructed the Jewish people about the details of the first Passover offering: "On the tenth of this1 month, let each one take a lamb for each parental home, a lamb for each household... And you shall keep it for inspection until the fourteenth day of this month, and the entire congregation of the community of Israel shall slaughter it in the afternoon."2

Why was this lengthy inspection required?

The ancient Egyptians worshipped lambs. Taking a lamb, the Egyptians' deity, into their homes for four days, with the intention of slaughtering and eating it, was an act that was sure to be noticed by the Egyptians. It was extremely likely that they would be infuriated by this disrespect of their god. This act of courage, standing up for their beliefs and following G‑d's command in the face of possible danger, was a merit for the Jews, one that made them worthy of being redeemed.

Nowadays, for the most part, standing up for our beliefs doesn't put us in physical danger. But we should still use the example set by our ancestors to inspire us to have courage in living according to our principles.

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All the best,

Rochel Chein for