Friday, March 26, 2010

Making Haste

"And this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste, it is a Passover offering to HaShem." (Exodus 12:11)

Nisan 11, 5770/March 26, 2010

"Haste makes waste." That's what they tell us. And we tend to accept this as axiomatic. But is it necessarily true? Torah tells us otherwise. Torah tells us that haste is an essential ingredient of the redemptive process. Our forefathers seized the opportunity which G-d created for them and left Egypt in great haste. This need for haste was eternalized by the Torah commandment for all generations for each family of Israel to prepare a lamb for a korban Pesach - Passover offering - make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, slaughter the lamb within the Holy Temple courtyard, roast the lamb in Jerusalem, and eat the lamb in its entirety before midnight. This process of haste could, in many cases, extend over two weeks time, beginning with the pilgrimage preparations, and concluding, in an ever greater sense of haste, with the eating of the lamb. Since the destruction of the Holy Temple, from which point in time the korban Pesach has not been offered, this sense of urgency has been embodied by the intense Passover preparations made in each individual home, often exhausting, often conducted right to the last minute, and concluding with the Passover Seder, again, which must be concluded by midnight.

Why did G-d insist that the children of Israel eat the Passover offering in haste? After all, G-d planned and carried out every detail of the exodus from Egypt, beginning with His first call to Moshe, continuing throughout the ten plagues, and concluding with the korban Pesach and the midnight escape. Nothing was left to chance. Why the last-minute rush?

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