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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS BO 5775 BS"D

Ch. 12, v. 21: "Mish'chu ukchu lochem tzone" - Pull and take for your selves - Here where Moshe told the bnei Yisroel to acquire sheep for the sacrifice he told them to do two things, to draw the sheep and to acquire them. When Hashem told him to tell this to the bnei Yisroel He only said "k'chu" (verse 3). This is because the bnei Yisroel were at that time still Noachides and only drawing, pulling is an act of acquisition, not by purchasing. Thus, Moshe said to pull them and thus acquire them. Hashem spoke to Moshe in a manner of telling him the law for all later generations, where even only paying is sufficient. (It was only later Rabbinically instituted to not use money as a means of acquiring.) (Tzofnas Paanei'ach)

Ch. 12, v. 21: "Mish'chu ukchu lochem tzone l'mish'p'choseichem" - Pull and take for yourselves sheep for your families - From these words we learn that one is responsible to draw his distanced family to him to join in Yom Tov rejoicing. (Rabbeinu Bachyei)

Ch. 12, v. 22: "V'atem lo seitzu ish mipesach beiso ad boker" - And you a man shall not leave the doorway of his home until the morning - The simple flow of the verses seems to indicate that this prohibition is a result of the destructive atmosphere that was present on the night of the 15th of Nison. However, the Gri"z says that it was a halacha connected to the Paschal sacrifice ritual, a sort of law akin to "linoh." He bases this on the Tosefta P'sochim 8:7, which lists differences between the Paschal sacrifice of Egypt and that of later generations. One of the differences is that in Egypt there was a prohibition to leave the houses at night, which is not so for later generations. If this was based on safety it should not be a sacrificial difference.

Ch. 12, v. 23: "V'ovar Hashem lingofe es Mitzrayim v'ro'oh es hadom ufosach al ha'pesach" - And Hashem will pass over to smite Egypt and He will see the blood and He will have mercy/will spring over the doorway - "V'ovar" means that Hashem will act with great anger, as in the word "evroh." What need is there for Hashem to see blood on the bnei Yisroel's doorposts? He knows all. The need for placing the blood is for the bnei Yisroel to act and carry out Hashem's wish. This merit saves them. The verse says that Hashem will not allow the destructive force to hurt the bnei Yisroel. "V'ovar" also means that Hashem will contravene His normal behavior. Although the bnei Yisroel have sunk into a low level of defilement, Hashem nonetheless will not smite them. Thus "v'ovar" here carries two connotations, that Hashem will punish the Egyptians with great anger and that He will disregard the normal response to the expected reaction to the bnei Yisroel's sinking to a low level. (Holy Zohar)

Ch. 12, v. 26: "Moh ho'avodoh hazose lochem" - What is this service for you - The gemara Yerushalmi P'sochim explains that the wicked son is asking, "What is the need for working so hard to prepare Pesach year after year."

Ch. 12, v. 29: "VaShem hikoh chol b'chor" - And Hashem smote every firstborn - The M.R. 17:5 says that if an Egyptian woman was pregnant with her first child she miscarried it. This is derived from the commonality of the word "lingofe" of verse 23 and "v'nogfu ishoh horoh" of Shmos 21:22. At the end of our parsha 13:12 it says "v'chol petter sheger b'heimoh takdish." The gemara B'choros 3a says that a miscarried firstborn animal has firstborn sanctity. The medrash is bolstered by this as well as what we find in Bmidbar 8:17, "Ki li chol b'chor b'yom hakosi chol b'chor." Every firstborn, could mean including a miscarried one has sanctity. The explanation isthen given in the verse, because Hashem had likewise killed firstborn by having them miscarried. (Meshech Chochmoh)

Ch. 12, v. 30: "Ki ein bayis asher ein shom meis" - Because there is no house that does not have a dead person - At the stroke of midnight all the firstborn were killed. There were obviously houses where no firstborn was present. Nevertheless, the most prominent member of the house was then killed. This however, took place from midnight on and not in one go. The need for this is because Paroh had changed his mind so many times when the plague ended. As devastating as the death of all firstborn was, it only took place in a fleeting moment and Paroh would have rescinded. The ongoing death of others deterred him from changing his mind. (Eitz Hadaas Hatov Rabbi Chaim Vi'tal)

Ch. 12, v. 33: "Ki omru kulonu meisim" - Because they said we are all dying - They did not say that they were all dead. "Meisim" is not a description of their condition, as obviously those who hurried the bnei Yisroel to leave hastily were still alive. Rather, they were saying that THEY WERE DYING. "Meisim" here is a present tense verb. (Rabbi Yoseif Bchor Shor)

Ch. 12, v. 36: "Va'yinatzlu es Mitzrayim" - And they emptied Egypt - They emptied Egypt of any "sparks of holiness" that the country contained and there was no need to stay there any longer. As well, they emptied the country of its possessions, as there were sparks of holiness in the objects as well. (Arvei Nachal)

The reason there might have been "sparks of holiness" in the Egyptians' possessions is that the bnei Yisroel slaved for them for eighty-six years. Their work translated into funds for the Egyptians to purchase vessels, etc. this is why their belongings contained some aspect of holiness, which in turn required them to be taken by the bnei Yisroel. (n.l.)

Ch. 12, v. 42: "Shmurim l'chol bnei Yisroel" - Guarded for all bnei Yisroel - The Ram"o in Sh.O. O.Ch. #480 writes that the custom is to recite "shfoch chamos'cho" before continuing with "Hallel" from "lo lonu" and to open the door before "shfoch" as an indication that we feel safe even with the door wide open as the night of Pesach is a "leil shimurim" and with the merit of this belief Moshiach will come and Hashem will spill His wrath upon all the nations that deny His powers.

Although he mentions a connection to "shfoch chamos'cho" since the open door policy is based on the night being a "leil shimurim," why wouldn't we open the door at the beginning of the seder? Perhaps there is another explanation. When the Beis Hamikdosh was extant when there was a very large group joined for eating the Paschal sacrifice, they would lock the doors of the homes in which they were eating, notwithstanding the crowdedness because there was a fear that people would wander to the roofs, which were both roomier and airier. The roofs were not sanctified as part of Yerusholayim. It was only when the eating was finished and they recited Hallel that people went onto the roofs, where they assembled and sang the praises (gemara P'sochim 82).

To deter people from taking sacrificial parts that they were eating outside of the permitted area, if they did the Rabbis instituted that they were defiled by the sacrifice. This deterrent was not necessary for the Paschal sacrifice because it was eaten with a crowd and people watched over each other to not do so (gemara P'sochim 85).

This might be why they kept the doors of their homes locked, as the deterrent mentioned in the gemara. The doors were open when the sacrifice was finished and many went onto the roofs for Hallel recital.

This behavior is replicated today even when we no longer have the sacrifice. When we finish consuming the "afikomon," according to many the symbolic replacement for the Paschal sacrifice, we then open the door of our home and proceed with Hallel from "lo lonu." (B'eir Yoseif)

Ch. 12, v. 44: "Umalto oso oz yochal bo" - And you will circumcise him them he will partake of it - "OZ" can be understood as Alef-Zayin, "Achar zayin," after seven. When the slave is circumcised he still has to wait seven days, "haporeish min ho'orloh k'foreish min ha'kever," which requires sprinkling of the special waters on the first and seventh days. "OZ yoshir Moshe," similarly means after the seventh day since leaving Egypt the splitting of the sea took place. (This likely means that by singing "shiroh" into the morning we are in the eighth day.) "OZ omroh chasna domim lamulos," means that after seven days since his birth Tziporoh had him circumcised. "OZ yavdil Moshe," means that after seven parshios in Dvorim Moshe said this parsha. "OZ yivneh Yehoshua mizbei'ach," after seven people were recorded in the Torah who built an altar Yehoshua built his. They were Odom, Hevel, Noach, Avrohom, Yitzchok, Yaakov, and Moshe. (Taama Dikra)

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See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a


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