Leaving Egypt

Jan 18, 2015

וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה וַיהֹוָה הִכָּה כָל־בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבְּכֹר פַּרְעֹה הַיֹּשֵׁב עַל־כִּסְאוֹ עַד בְּכוֹר הַשְּׁבִי אֲשֶׁר בְּבֵית הַבּוֹר וְכֹל בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָה׃

In the middle of the night Hashem struck down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who sat on the throne to the first-born of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of the cattle.

Exodus 12:29

וַיְהִי בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה הוֹצִיא יְהֹוָה אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם עַל־צִבְאֹתָם׃

That very day Hashem freed the Israelites from the land of Egypt, troop by troop.

Exodus 12:51

At midnight, God moves across Egypt, smiting their firstborn children and animals as promised. In despair, Pharaoh calls to Moses and Aaron, telling them to take the Hebrews out from among his people and go serve God in any manner they wish. As God had told them to do earlier, the Israelites ask their Egyptian neighbors for gold, silver and garments, and their requests are granted.

 

The Children of Israel, freed from the spectre of Egypt after 430 years, travel en masse from Rameses to Succoth. They number 600,000 men alone, not counting women, children or Egyptians who were moved to join them after witnessing the miracles of the plagues. There, they baked leftover dough from the night before into matza.

 

At this point, God adds details regarding future sacrifices: every male is obligated to participate, but no stranger may eat from it; males must be circumcised to partake; and it must be eaten in one place.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

Why do you think God takes this opportunity, as they are leaving Egypt, to add more details about eating the Passover lamb? What do you think is the significance of these particular requirements, especially the one that all participants must be circumcised?

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