Proof of Worthiness

D'var Torah by Rabbi Jay Spero


Proof of Worthiness

Contact Rabbi Spero at 862-9546 or


This week’s parsha marks the end of the Jewish presence in Egypt . The final three plagues take place: locusts, darkness, and the death of the first born. After the plague of darkness, before the final plague was yet to take place, Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aron saying: “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel saying: On the tenth day of this month shall they take for themselves, each man a lamb for a family, a lamb for a household.” This was the commandment of the Pesach (Passover) offering. This was a commandment which was fullfilled continously from the time the Jews entered the land of Israel , until several years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. This comandment was fullfilled the night of the seder along with the eating of the matza and the bitter herbs (during their forty year sojurn in the desert, the Korban Pesach was not offered). 

Besides the actual sacrifice, this commandment entailed keeping the lamb for three days prior to the offering, to ensure it did not have a blemish (which would invalidate the animal as an offering; this commandment only applied that first year). Meanwhile, Hashem was on the verge of releasing the plague of the firstborn, and the Jews would subsequently be forced to leave in haste. Why did Hashem give the Jewish people this commandment at such a seemingly inopportune time? 

While the Jewish people were in Egypt , they had sunk to the low level of worshipping false gods. On the other hand, to a certain degree they still kept an aspect of kedusha —degree of separation. They retained their mode of dress, their language, and their names. Although these are all external factors, these outward manifestations bespoke an understanding that due to the Jewish people’s eventual role as a light amongst the nations, a separation was necessary. So although the Jewish people were not completely wicked, they were on a very low spiritual level. Why did they deserve to be redeemed? The Jewish people were essentially redeemed for two reasons: 1.Because Hashem’s promise to their forefathers. 2. Because of their future potential. To prove they were worthy of this “investment”, the Jewish people were required to show their commitment. Like everything else in life, anything good requires hard work and commitment. The commitment required of the Jewish people at this time was a serious one.

This commandment of offering the Pesach sacrifice is a microcosm of all the mitzvos in the Torah. Just as this mitzva might have seemed to come at an inopportune time—yet in reality came exactly when it was needed—so do all the commandments. This is an important idea: that our fullfilling of the comandments fills a certain need, at that precise time. This is how by doing mitzvos the Jewish people bring themselves closer to Hashem and ultimately to the final redemption.   

By offering up this sacrifice, the Jews proved they were ready for the tremendous undertaking—the receiving of the Torah—which awaited them.   

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