Remembering the Exodus

Jan 18, 2015

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃

Hashem spoke further to Moshe, saying,

Exodus 13:1

וְהָיָה לְאוֹת עַל־יָדְכָה וּלְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ כִּי בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יְהֹוָה מִמִּצְרָיִם׃

“And so it shall be as a sign upon your hand and as a symbol on your forehead that with a mighty hand Hashem freed us from Egypt.”

Exodus 13:16

In the closing verses of the portion, God instructs Moses on various ways the Children of Israel are to commemorate the Exodus on an annual basis. In addition to celebrating Passover each year, the people are to dedicate their firstborn children and animals to God’s service, in appreciation for being saved from the Death of the Firstborn in Egypt; and males are to place phylacteries between their eyes and upon their arms each day as a sign of God’s strong arm in taking them out of Egypt.


God states that the people are to remember the day they left Egypt, saying it is in the month of Aviv, which means ‘springtime’. The Israel Bible asks why He makes a point of saying that it is the spring month. The answer: this shows us that God is compassionate, taking the Israelites out of slavery and on a desert journey at a time of year when the weather is most pleasant. It is also a time of rebirth, and what better time to establish the birth of a nation than spring!


Virtual Classroom Discussion

The commandments mentioned here, along with many others throughout the Torah, are specifically said to be to “remember this day in which ye came out of Egypt.” In fact, when it comes to giving a reason for a command, to remember leaving Egypt is the most popular one! Why do you think this is so fundamental?

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