For an explanation of the methodology of this series, see the introduction.

"Speak to the entire community of Israel, saying, "On the tenth of this month, let each one take a lamb for each parental home, a lamb for each household." (Ex. 12:3)

Peshat (basic meaning):

[Moses and Aaron] would show respect to each other...

Rashi: "Speak to the entire community"
"Dabru"-"speak" is in the plural form. Now did Aaron speak? Was it not already stated [to Moses]: "You shall speak" [singular] (Ex. 7:2); "and you speak [singular] to the children of Israel, saying" (Ex. 31:13)? But they [Moses and Aaron] would show respect to each other and say to each other, "Teach me [what to say]," and the speech would emanate from between them [and it would sound] as if they both were speaking."

"to the entire community of Israel, saying, On the tenth of the month" : Speak today on Rosh Chodesh [the New Moon] that they should take it [the lamb] on the tenth of the month.

"this": The Passover sacrifice of Egypt had to be taken on the tenth, but not the Passover sacrifice of later generations.

"draw out" refers to lambs that one owns; "take" implies the requirement that one who has no lamb must purchase one.

"a lamb for each parental home": i.e. a lamb] for one family. If [the family members] were numerous, I would think that one lamb would suffice for all of them. Therefore, the Torah says: "a lamb for a household."

Targum Onkelos adds the phrase: "Draw out and take for yourselves from among the lambs." to the biblical text to clarify that not all the lambs were slaughtered.

Remez (hinted meaning):

Baal HaTurim: The word for "lamb/kid" appears six times in this passage, hinting to the law: We keep no less than six inspected lambs in the Chamber of the Lambs (Arachin 13a)

Derash (interpretive meaning):

G‑d told us that He subdued their gods...

Ramban: The commandment's reason is that Aries is at its power in Nissan, so we were commanded to slaughter the lamb and eat it, demonstrating that it was not in the power of Aries that we left Egypt but rather by G‑d's decree. Aries was worshipped as a god, so G‑d told us that He subdued their gods and their powers at the height of their ascendancy.

"...and slaughter..." (Ex. 12:6)

the gods of Egypt

Ohr HaChayim: These [Pesach-related commands] were the first commandments to the Jews as a whole, so G‑d may have suggested that the performance of these commandments would ensure His Presence among the Israelites and that even the gentiles would become aware of His presence. The Tikunei HaZohar 29 says that the word Mitzvah mem-tzadi-vav-hei, contains half of the Ineffable Name at the end, and the other half at the beginning if one applies the method known as AtBash [substituting the last letter of the alef-bet for the first, and the reverse;. Next-to-last for the second; etc.], so Tzadi would be Hei and Mem would be Yud. The Torah hints that by means of this mitzvah the Jewish people would make a great acquisition, they would establish a claim on G‑d.

Maggid Mesharim: Sheep/lambs are mentioned also at the end of the parasha where it says, "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them: 'Draw out, and take you lambs according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.'" (12:21)

This hints at attachment to G‑d, for the Israelites are directed to draw abundance from above. That is the meaning of "draw". The sheep refer to Tiferet. "Kill the Passover lamb" refers to the force of dinim/judgment. "Kechu lachem/You shall take" is part of the secret of "Ki lekach tov natati lechem", and "I gave you good lessons." (Prov. 4:2; Avot 3:7)

In a later verse, "And you shall dip it [the bunch of hyssop] into the blood that is in the basin" (Ex. 12:22), the word "bunch" here means three and refers to the "three flocks of sheep." In the word "Azov/hyssop", the first letter — Alef, hints at the upper aspect of Keter. The second letter — the Zayin (7 in gematria), hints at the 7 sefirot of building (see Tanya ch. 3). The final letter — Beit (2 in gematria) hints to the two general appearances of the Hei,both chochma and bina. Three also refers to the lintel and the two door posts and hints at bina and gevura and hod, which are the sefirot linked to judgment.

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

G‑d said: 'Perform an action below and I will break their power above...'

Zohar Bo 39:
G‑d said: 'Perform an action below and I will break their power above. As you prepare them by burning them by fire, as it is written, "but roast with fire" (Ex. 12:9) I also will pass him through fire, through the River of Fire [in Aramaic, Nahar Dinur]."

Why was it drawn on the tenth day and not slaughtered until the fourteenth? Rabbi Abba said: through it [the power of the Egyptian god Aries], Israel were bound by slavery for 400 years. Even though they were not actually enslaved 400 years, they were designated to be bound to them for 400 years. It would have been as if they were enslaved all 400 years. Therefore, they detained the lamb four days, tied in the property of Israel, and afterwards: "and the whole assembly of the Congregation of Israel shall kill it towards evening". (Ex. 12:6)

Why at twilight? That is when Judgment is impending, and the time when this decree was given through Abraham, as is written: "And when the sun was going down, a sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him" (Gen. 15:12). "Horror" is one crown, "darkness" is another crown and "great" is greater than all. Even though we explained this passage as referring to other kinds of bondage of Israel - it refers to all slaveries and exiles. In the same way "I will utterly blot out". (Ex. 17:14) You below and I above.

We learned that Israel did not leave Egypt until the dominion of all the Egyptian ministers above was broken. They left their domain, came under the authority of the Holiness above of the Holy One, blessed be He, and were bound to Him. This is the meaning of: "For to Me the children of Israel are servants; they are My servants". (Levit. 25:55) What is the reason "they are My servants"? "whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt". I took them out of another domain and brought them unto My authority.

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
Spiritual alchemy. Every minute detail of G‑d's command was designed to "take out" the power of the Egyptian gods, and yes, they were mighty powerful. Powerful enough to put the seed of Jacob/Israel in abject bondage. Powerful enough to require not a messenger angel, nor a fiery angel, but rather G‑d Himself-— His Self! — to take us out. (Haggadah) The Zohar gives over the secrets as to the major league supernal effect cause by our actions below. That by following His will starting on the 10th day of Nissan, the Egyptian gods would be rendered harmless, nullified of their grasp on us. The Kedushat Levi said that the greatest miracle of all was that on this 10th day, the Egyptians did not kill us for tying their lamb god to our bedpost and saying in 4 days, it's "lambburger time." (R. Yehuda Albin's term). Now we know why, thanks to the above Zohar.

G‑d's Name is concealed in the word Mitzvah.

Now if this is true for the beginning of our leaving of Egypt, how much more so in every step we take, every move we make, all we do below has an effect above, may it all be for the good. The Ohr HaChayim above reveals that G‑d's Name is concealed in the word Mitzvah. That means that His will is done by the doing of mitzvahs: eating Kosher, observing Shabbat, giving Tzedakah, studying Torah, etc., especially with the proper intention. Not only through the Torah commandments but also through those developed by the Sages. Mindful living is living with the understanding that all has an effect, for if a Butterfly's flapping its wings in China influences air currents here in Chicago, all the more so for sacred acts done with sacred intent.

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