Pesach (Passover)

This week we interrupt our regular passage through the Torah to go back to the departure from Egypt as we celebrate Pesach(Passover) and read from Exodus 12:21-51 which has been previously covered in Parshat Bo

The Israelite elders instructed each family to dip the blood of the sacrificed lamb in a herb called ‘hyssop’ and daub the blood on the lintel and doorposts of the house. The family then was not to leave the house. When the angel of death passed over the house during the night, he would see the blood on the lintel and doorposts of that house and spare the people inside.

This was to be a lasting ordnance taught to the children from generation to generation.

At midnight Adonai – The LORD, struck down all the firstborn of Egypt from Pharaoh’s son to the son of the prisoner in the dungeon. There was not a household in Egypt without someone dead.

In the middle of the night Pharoah summons Moses and tells him to leave with all his little ones and flocks and herds, just as Moses had requested from the word go. Pharoah could have saved himself a whole bunch of trouble if he had listened to Moses from the beginning.

Apart from women and children there were six hundred thousand men who left Egypt. They took dough and kneading troughs with them but there was no time to prepare bread with yeast, so they baked cakes of matza – unleavened bread.

They had been in Egypt for four hundred and thirty years to the day.

The regulations for Passover were that everyone had to eat it except for foreigners living among our ancestors. If a foreign-born slave or servant became circumcised, they could eat the Pesach/Passover meal. The meal had to be eaten inside the house.

Haftarat Pesach               הפטרת פסח

The Haftarah portion comprises three passages from the book of Joshua – that is to say Joshua 3:5-7Joshua 5:2 to 6:1 and 6:27 .

The connection between the Torah and Haftarah is the celebration of Pesach forty years after leaving Egypt.

For the first time in forty years, they were able to eat the produce of the Promised Land. They made matzo from the grain they found there. The day they were able to eat the fruit of the land the manna ceased. They celebrated their firstPesach in the land of Israel.

Joshua is affirmed as leader of the people.

The men who had their brit milah – circumcision – done before they left Egypt had all died and the generation who were born in the wilderness had not been circumcised so Joshua made some knives out of flint and all the men received their brit. The place where it was done was called Gilgal which means ‘roll away’ because the reproach of Egypt had been rolled away.

Before Joshua mounted the attack on Jericho, he met a man with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua asks whose side he is on, and he replies that he is not on any side but is the captain of the Lord’s army.

Realizing he is in the presence of an Angel of God Joshua bows down and worships.

Messianic Message

On the night that the angel of death passed over the Egyptians the Israelites were safe in their houses protected by the blood of the Pesach offering.

Likewise we are protected from the wrath of God when he comes to judge the earth by the blood of Yeshua. It is the most important time of the year and is celebrated widely as we remember the body and blood in the last Pesach he enjoyed with his disciples.

For what I received from the Lord is just what I passed on to you — that the Lord Yeshua, on the night he was betrayed, took bread; and after he had made the b’rakhah (blessing) he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this as a memorial to me”; likewise also the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant effected by my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, as a memorial to me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes1 Corinthians 11:23 – 26 CJB.

Just as Moses could only bring our ancestors to the borders of the land, so traditional Judaism can only bring us to the entrance of God’s wonderful promises.  Just as Joshua led Israel into the land, so Yeshua brings us into his kingdom, The Judaism we grew up with promises a Messiah, but he is always someone yet to come. Our orthodox relations shout “We want Moshiach (Messiah) now” when he is there right among us.

After the appearance to the disciples on the Emmaus Road Yeshua revealed himself to his disciples in the braking of matzah

As he was reclining with them at the table, he took the matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it and handed it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him (Luke 24:30,31 CJB)

Pray that Yeshua reveals himself to many of our people this Pesach while breaking the matza.

This article originally appeared on the BMJA website and is reposted with permission.