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

"The L-rd will pass to smite the Egyptians, and He will see the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, and the L-rd will pass over the entrance, and He will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses to smite [you]" (Ex. 12:23)

Peshat (basic meaning):

Rashi:"will pass over ('pesach' in Hebrew)"
He will have pity. This may also be rendered: and He will skip over. (See also Rashi on verses 11 and 13.)

Rashi:"and He will not permit the destroyer"
lit., and will not give. [i.e.] He will not grant him the ability to enter, as in "but G‑d did not give/permit him to harm me". (Gen. 31:7)

Remez (hinted meaning): was in merit of the righteous women that they went out of Egypt...

Baal HaTurim:The phrase "He will not give/permit" appears 3 times in Scriptures: (1) here, (2) "He shall not give/place frankincense on it," (Levit. 5:11) showing that it was in the merit of the altar that they were saved from Egypt, and (3) "He shall not give/place frankincense on it ", (Num. 5:15) indicating that it was in merit of the righteous women that they went out of Egypt, and because the Sota did not emulate their conduct, her offering can't be adorned with frankincense.

Derash (interpretive meaning):

Ramban: This means the angel that brings destruction in the world at the time of a plague, similar to that which it says, "And He said to the angel that destroyed the people: It is enough, hold back your hand." (II Samuel 24:16)

Ohr HaChayim: What is meant that the destroying angel will have not excuse to attack you rather than his natural targets; he will notice the blood on the doorposts of your homes as if it were the seal of the Almighty, and be afraid to approach and to inflict harm. This was the reason why G‑d commanded Israel to use the blood as a sign. Should you say that in any case an Egyptian was hiding in the house of a Jew which bore the sign of that blood that could escape the plague, the Torah wrote, "There will not be any deadly plague among you", (12:13) that the restrictions of the angel applied only to you. The light of doing the mitzvah applies only to Israel. We find confirmation of this in Isaiah (60:2), "but upon you G‑d will shine and His glory will be seen over you."

Maggid Mesharim: What is the difficulty about G‑d seeing the blood and then passing over? Why did the One before whom everything is revealed require a sign? One might say that the mark and sign were necessary for the angels who accompanied Him. Also one might say that there is a difficulty with regard to the sign being blood that signifies death for was not that the opposite of what was desired? Also the sign should have been placed on the other side, so why was it put indoors?
...blood, which is a sign of death, will be for you a sign of life...
But the secret of the matter is that the Holy One Blessed be He wished for Israel to trust Him and place the blood indoors, as it was written, "And the blood will be for you as a sign." where they could have been afraid, when they saw the blood at the opening, they could trust their Master and perform the deed that would result in their rescue. The merit of that trust would shield them as it is written, "And the blood will be to you for a sign...when I see the blood, I will pass over you." (12:13) This means that I will see the merit of your trust, and the blood, which is a sign of death, will be for you a sign of life with the trust of the word of your Master. Consequently, "when I see the blood, I will pass over you."

Sod (esoteric, mystical meaning):

Zohar Bo 35:
Rabbi Aba said: The Holy One, blessed be He had compassion for His children on many occasions. A man made a house and the Holy One, blessed be He, said to him: 'Write My Name and place it on your door so when you sit in your house, I will sit outside by your door to guard you.' Here He said: 'Mark on your entrance the secret of Faith in Me,'. 'Sit in your house and I will guard you from outside,' as it is written: "And none of you shall go out at the door entrance of his house until the morning...and when He sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two side posts, G‑d will pass over the door, and will not allow the Destroyer to come into your house to smite you."

BeRahamim LeHayyim:
The above Zohar notes that G‑d had compassion on His children. The following (from the Salant Center - Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Zvi Miller and The Salant Foundation) includes the Egyptians as those children:

Our Sages reveal that the mercy and kindness of G‑d is manifest even when He brings judgments against those who rebel against Him. For instance, G‑d brought the Ten Plagues on the Egyptians who ruthlessly enslaved the Children of Israel. The purpose of the plagues was to influence the Egyptians to free the Nation of Israel.
...G‑d mercifully delivered the plagues in incremental degrees of severity.
Despite the cruelty of the Egyptians, G‑d mercifully delivered the plagues in incremental degrees of severity. Compassionately, He hoped that the Egyptians would repent from the distress of the lighter plague so that they would be spared the anguish of the later afflictions.

During the plague of darkness, the Egyptians were swallowed up in a thick black fog, while "to all the Children of Israel there was light." The Torah foretells (Isaiah 60:2) that at the time of our final redemption, "darkness will cover the land and fog will cover the nations; But G‑d will shine upon Israel, and His honor will be seen upon you."

If G‑d shows mercy to those who rebel against Him during the time of judgment, how much more so will He bestow abundant and endless mercy upon Israel at our final redemption! We will experience magnificent splendor because from the time of Abraham we have declared our faith in G‑d and dedicated ourselves to follow His path. May we merit seeing the light and glory of G‑d illuminate upon all of Israel.

[Based on the commentary of Rabenu Yona]

TODAY: Emulate G‑d and show compassion even to those who are less deserving of compassion.

Copyright 2003 by, a project of Ascent of Safed (// All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this work or portions thereof, in any form, unless with permission, in writing, from Kabbala Online.