12:6י״ב:ו׳
1 א

והיה לכם למשמרת. זֶהוּ לְשׁוֹן בִּקּוּר, שֶׁטָּעוּן בִּקּוּר מִמּוּם אַרְבָּעָה יָמִים קֹדֶם שְׁחִיטָה (פסחים צ"ו). וּמִפְּנֵי מָה הִקְדִּים לְקִיחָתוֹ לִשְׁחִיטָתוֹ אַרְבָּעָה יָמִים, מַה שֶּׁלֹּא צִוָּה כֵן בְּפֶסַח דּוֹרוֹת? הָיָה רַ' מַתְיָא בֶּן חָרָשׁ אוֹמֵר, הֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר "וָאֶעֱבֹר עָלַיִךְ וָאֶרְאֵךְ וְהִנֵּה עִתֵּךְ עֵת דּוֹדִים" (יחזקאל ט"ז) – הִגִּיעָה שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם שֶׁאֶגְאַל אֶת בָּנָיו, וְלֹא הָיוּ בְיָדָם מִצְווֹת לְהִתְעַסֵּק בָּהֶם כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּגָּאֲלוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "וְאַתְּ עֵרוֹם וְעֶרְיָה" (שם), וְנָתַן לָהֶם שְׁתֵּי מִצְווֹת, דַּם פֶּסַח וְדַם מִילָה, שֶׁמָּלוּ בְאוֹתוֹ הַלַּיְלָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר "מִתְבּוֹסֶסֶת בְּדָמָיִךְ" (שם) – בִּשְׁנֵי דָּמִים, וְאוֹמֵר "גַּם אַתְּ בְּדַם בְּרִיתֵךְ שִׁלַּחְתִּי אֲסִירַיִךְ מִבּוֹר אֵין מַיִם בּוֹ" (זכריה ט'); וּלְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ שְׁטוּפִין בֶּאֱלִילִים אָמַר לָהֶם משכו וקחו לכם, מִשְׁכוּ יְדֵיכֶם מֵאֱלִילִים, וּקְחוּ לָכֶם צֹאן שֶׁל מִצְוָה (מכילתא):

והיה לכם למשמרת AND IT SHALL BE IN YOUR KEEPING (or watching) — This expresses the idea of examining, and the text therefore implies that it requires examination against any blemish during the four days before slaughter (Pesachim 96a). And why did He order that it should be taken from the flock four days before its slaughter, something which He did not command in respect to the paschal-lamb that was offered by succeeding generations? Rabbi Mathia, the son of Cheresh, said, in answer: Behold, it (Scripture) says, (Ezekiel 16:8) “And I passed over thee (an allusion to God’s passing over the Israelites in Egypt) and looked upon thee, and behold, thy time was the time of love” — there had arrived the time to fulfil the oath which I had sworn to Abraham to redeem his children. They, however, possessed no divine commands in which to engage in order that they should merit to be redeemed — as it is said (Ezekiel 16:7) “thou wast naked and bare” (i. e. bare of all merit earned through the fulfilment of God’s commands). He therefore gave them two commands, relating respectively to the blood of the paschal-lamb and the blood of the circumcision — for that night they circumcised themselves, as it is said (Ezekiel 16:6) “[When I passed over thee] I saw thee wallowing in thy bloods (בְּדָמַיִךְ is plural)” i. e. in two kinds of blood. Further it states, (Zechariah 9:11) “As for thee, also, because of the blood of the covenant I released thy prisoners out of the pit wherin there is no water”. And yet another reply to this question is, that because they were sunk in idolatry and had no merit gained by the practice of a divine command, He said unto them, (v. 21) משכו “Draw” — withdraw your hands from idols; וקחו לכם צאן “and take unto yourselves a lamb” to fulfil a divine command (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 12:2:1).

2 ב

ושחטו אתו וגו'. וְכִי כֻּלָּן שׁוֹחֲטִין? אֶלָּא מִכָּאן שֶׁשְּׁלוּחוֹ שֶׁל אָדָם כְּמוֹתוֹ (קידושין מלכים א):

ושחטו אתו וגו׳ AND THEY SHALL SLAUGHTER IT etc. — But did they all slaughter it (one alone did this on behalf of the company formed to eat that particular lamb; cf. Chullin 29b)? But we derive from this statement the legal principle that a man’s agent is as himself (this is derived from the fact that although one alone slaughtered the lamb on behalf of many, Scripture still states: they shall slaughter it) (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 12:6:2; Kiddushin 41b).

3 ג

קהל עדת ישראל. קָהָל וְעֵדָה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל; מִכָּאן אָמְרוּ, פִּסְחֵי צִבּוּר נִשְׁחָטִין בְּשָׁלוֹשׁ כִּתּוֹת זוֹ אַחַר זוֹ, נִכְנְסָה כַת רִאשׁוֹנָה נִנְעֲלוּ דַּלְתוֹת הָעֲזָרָה וְכוּ'. כִּדְאִיתָא בִּפְסָחִים (דף ס"ד):

קהל עדת ישראל it speaks here of קהל assembly, עדה congregation, ישראל Israel, whilst one of these terms alone would have sufficed; hence they (the Rabbis) said: the paschal-lambs of the congregation (a term used in contrast to that which was sacrificed by an individual on the 14th of the second month; cf. Numbers 9:9—14) are to be slaughtered in three groups, one after the other — the first group entered and the doors of the court were closed, etc. as is to be found in the Talmud, Treatise Pesachim (64a).

4 ד

בין הערבים. מִשֵּׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת וּלְמַעְלָה קָרוּי בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם, שֶׁהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ נוֹטֶה לְבֵית מְבוֹאוֹ לַעֲרֹב; וּלְשׁוֹן בין הערבים נִרְאֶה בְעֵינַי אוֹתָן שָׁעוֹת שֶׁבֵּין עֲרִיבַת הַיּוֹם לַעֲרִיבַת הַלַּיְלָה, עֲרִיבַת הַיּוֹם בִּתְחִלַּת ז' שָׁעוֹת מִכִּי יִנָּטוּ צִלְלֵי עֶרֶב, וַעֲרִיבַת הַלַּיְלָה בִּתְחִלַּת הַלַּיְלָה. ערב לְשׁוֹן נֶשֶׁף וְחֹשֶׁךְ, כְּמוֹ "עָרְבָה כָּל שִׂמְחָה" (ישעיהו כ"ד):

בין הערבים AT EVENTIDE — The period beginning at six hours (reckoning from six o’clock in the morning) and hence forward is called בין הערבים (Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael 12:6:5), because the sun then inclines in the direction of the place of its setting to become darkened. The expression בין הערבים appears to me to denote those hours which are between the darkening of the day and the darkening of the night. The darkening of the day is at the beginning of the seventh hour in the day, from when the shadows of evening decline; and the darkening of the night is at the commencement of the night (this period is therefore from noon until the beginning of night). The word ערב is an expression for gloom and darkness, as in (Isaiah 24:11). “All joy is darkened".