Parashas HaChodesh

This week we read the special maftir of parashas HaChodesh (Shemos 12:1-20). Here, the Torah states that we are to count the month of Nisan – the month of the Exodus – as the first of the months of the year, and presents the laws of the Korban Pesach, the mitzvah of eating matzah on the first night of Pesach, and the mitzvah of avoiding chametz during Pesach.
Among the laws of the Korban Pesach, we find the law that it is to be eaten in haste. The Midrash indicates that this law is meant as a remembrance of the haste with which we left Egypt. The Maggid asks why it is so important to remember this haste. Seemingly, the fact that the Jews left Egypt a few hours prior to daybreak is not significant. Why does the Torah stress the haste?
The Maggid answers that when the Torah mentions the haste of the Exodus, it is, in truth, not referring to the fact that the Jews left Egypt a few hours prior to daybreak. Rather, it is referring to the fact that the Jews left Egypt before the originally alloted 400 years of exile had been reached. The Jews had to be taken out because they could no longer bear the suffering of slavery and the evil influences of the decadent Egyptian culture: “they could not tarry.” Nonetheless, the Jewish People’s obligation to suffer in exile had to be made up for, which Hashem did by sending us into a succession of further exiles under the rule of the four great gentile kingdoms: Babylonia, Persia/Media, Greece, and Rome. The law of eating the Korban Pesach in haste serves as an indication of why Hashem subjected us to these other exiles.
In the end of days, however, it will be different. As it is written (Yeshayah 60:20): “Your days of mourning will reach their completion.” The exile will run its full course. And thus (Yeshayah 52:12): “You shall not go out in haste.” We will go out in the proper time, not before. Yet Hashem has the power to stir us to repent and purify ourselves, so that the proper time will come earlier. Thus it is written (Yeshayah 60:22): “I am Hashem; in its time I will hasten it.”
David Zucker, Site Administrator

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