In Parshat Bo we are introduced to the mitzvah of the Paschal Lamb. Unfortunately, like most mitzvot in the Torah, many Jews do not grasp the concept that stands behind this mitzvah. We must always remember that generally speaking, the mitzvah is a manifestation of a particular idea that G-d wants us to internalize. So let us examine this very special mitzvah so that next Passover when we partake in the eating of the “Afikoman” which commemorates the Paschal Lamb, we will hopefully be doing more than just practicing sterile ritual.
First of all, we must comprehend that the entire purpose of the plagues was to bring the nonbelieving Pharo, who upon Moses’ arrival arrogantly proclaimed, “I do not know Hashem”, to the recognition that Hashem, is indeed, the Almighty. When the gentile states that the Jewish God does not exist and that he does not know Him, and thus he can enslave and torture the people of this seemingly non-existent G-d, this creates the greatest “Hillul Hashem” (desecration of God’s Name) that can possibly be. The devastation of Egypt via the plagues was to show the awesome power of Hashem – to prove that the God of Israel indeed exists. The plagues were, in effect, the process by which the desecration of God’s Name, which was reflected through the weakness of His People, was turned into a sanctification of G-d’s Name. After the heavy pounding the Egyptians suffered, it was impossible to deny the omnipotence of the Hebrew God. This is Kiddush Hashem.
But for the sanctification to be complete, something else must be done – the offering of the Paschal Lamb. This was the nail in the coffin. In Parshat Bo, chapter 12, we see that each Jewish house was commanded to take a lamb, bring it home for four days, and then slaughter it. The lamb, which was the deity of the Egyptians is taken, prepared and slaughtered before the horrified eyes of the Egyptians, who were helplessly forced to watch all this. As if this wasn’t enough, the lamb had to be roasted whole – “eat not of it raw, nor broiled in water, but roast with fire; its head with its legs and with its entrails”. The humiliation was now complete. The Hebrews, slaves for 210 years, had degraded their Egyptian masters, making a mockery out of their “religion”. For the sanctification of God’s Name to be complete, there is no room for “tolerance” of other deities. If Hashem is One, there can be no other! This is the Jewish idea of the Paschal Lamb.
The pity of the Jew today (including the religious practitioner of ritual) is his inability to perceive the Middle East crisis as a religious war — a battle between Judaism versus Islam. While the Arab has always understood this and thus is ready to go to great lengths in the name of his religion (and for this reason they have the upper hand today), the Jew perceives events only through secular and pragmatic considerations. He does not realize that a stone thrown at a Jew is a stone thrown at the Jewish God, and a concession of any part of the Land of Israel is a declaration to the Muslims that our God is weak, God forbid. He cannot grasp that the lack of Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount and the presence of Arab mosques is a “Hillul Hashem” of outrageous proportions. It is only when the Jewish People comprehend that the “humiliation of Israel is a desecration of His Name” (Ezekiel 39:7 – Rashi) and that we are in a religious struggle with the Arabs, will we begin to get real help from Hashem, since only then will He have a reason to take action to defend his Holy Name.
News and Commentary
We watch in horror as the government of Israel puts into effect the plans which only the cruelest of enemies could ever contemplate. The heart of Israel is already cut into ribbons, and time bombs in the form of sovereign Arab rule are already ticking. The best of activists stand bewildered, without an alternative or clear direction. Therefore, we must understand: There is no way that the State of Israel can on one hand decide to abandon the territories, yet at the same time continue to rule over the Jews who live there, issuing them restriction orders, trying them for retaliating against Arabs, arresting Jews on administrative detention, etc. If they want to pull out, let them – but they should at least get off our backs!
There are so many Jews who are still naive enough to think that the government has good intentions since it continues to worry, so to speak, about the security of the stopped judging evil people so favorably, which incidentally, is against the “halacha”. We must begin to understand that it is only political considerations which prevent them from completely pulling out of Judea, Samaria, and Azza. If they at all felt that the political climate was ripe enough, they would abandon the settlers tomorrow. Therefore it is imperative upon the settlers to immediately declare: We are not interested in your solutions!! Let the settlers worry about their future and their long term needs. Let them take their destiny in their own hands, and in God’s hands.
Obviously we would prefer united Jewish sovereignty over all parts of the Land of Israel, but if that is not possible at the moment, then let there rise another sovereign Jewish body in the territories – one composed of Jews who have faith in God and the Jewish destiny, and deal with problems, including the Arab one, in a responsible way and in a Jewish way. Only then, will something sweet come out of all the bitterness.