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PARASHAT HASHAVUA:

Parshat Metzorah
 
This week is Parshat Metzorah
Candelighting 4/11/08 - 7:13 PM (DST New York City)

Rabbi Chaim Lobel
Inspiration from the Korban Pesach
Young Israel of Aberdeen - Cong. Bet Tefilah
 
(Exodus; Chapter 12, Verse 3 & 6) “Speak to the entire assembly of Israel , saying: On the tenth of the month (Month of Nissan) they shall take for themselves, each individual, a lamb… one lamb per each household… It shall be for you for safekeeping until the fourteenth day of this month; the entire congregation of Israel shall slaughter it in the afternoon.”
 
As the Jewish nation prepares for the exodus, G-d commands the Israelites to care for the lambs that will be used for the Passover sacrifice.
 
Rashi (12:6), a commentary on the Torah, explains that the Jewish nation needed to watch their sacrificial lambs for four days to ensure the lambs remained unblemished prior to the Passover offering. The obligation to watch over the lambs for four days was a one-time commandment; in future years, the Jews could select unblemished lambs on the day of the sacrifice.
 
Why were the Jewish people given a one-time special commandment? As Rashi explains, prior to the Exodus, the Jewish people only had one mitzvah (commandment) - circumcision. They were so immersed in Egyptian culture that G-d provided the Children of Israel a special commandment to inspire and lift them from the spiritual depths.
 
But Rashi's answer leads us to another question. The Israelites had witnessed the ten plagues, the “finger of G-d”. They witnessed G-d's “strong hand and outstretched arm” at the splitting of the Sea of Reeds . The Jewish nation was led through the desert by a pillar of flame and the Clouds of Glory. Yet, not only were these miracles not enough, the mitzvah of caring for a sacrificial lamb was sufficient to inspire them?
 
Yes. Inspiration without action is a fleeting emotion that withers in time. Despite all the Israelites witnessed, they would not have been able to sustain their spiritual achievements unless they could channel that spirituality through positive action. Through mitvahs, the Torah gives us a means to reach spiritual heights and stay there.
Shabbat Shalom

***

Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html


 
   
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