Should We Take The Korban Pesach With A Grain Of SALT? (Seuda Shlishit, Green Road Synagogue, Parashat Bo 5778)
  1. Introduction:

    1. Two things to know about me before I start

      1. I'm a vegetarian who likes the smell of roasted brings out my inner caveman to smell the first BBQ's of the season

      2. I like books with one word titles.

    2. This week's Parsha, Parshat Bo, gives us the opportunity to talk about roasted meat and a one-word-title book that I first read about 10 years ago. I want to try to bring them together to explain some issues surrounding the description of the Karban Pesach as we have it in the Parsha, and give you some insights to think about and share when you are celebrating your seder in a few short months.

  2. Salt on your matzah?

    1. Think with me for a second about how you started your Friday night dinner last night: Someone made kiddush, you got up, washed your hands, said Al N'Tilat Yadaim, came back to the table, picked up the knife, made that little scoring motion on one of the Chalot, said HaMotzi, cut the Challah, and then what? How many of you sprinkled salt on the Challah before eating it? How many of you didn't? (P.S. The Bar-Shains use honey on our Challah instead of salt b/c Rebecca heard that for the first year of marriage you should honey instead of salt so that you'll have a sweet first year. When we got to the end of the first year, I asked, "Why shouldn't every year be sweet?")

    2. Now imagine sitting at your seder. You are following the order of the Simanim, and doing the actions/eating the foods that are called for. You'll go through Yachatz and Magid, and just when everyone is famished, you'll get to Rachtza, Motzi and Matzah.

    3. What do you do immediately after you say Al Achilat Matzah?

      1. You lean!

      2. You eat the matza!

    4. What did you likely not do that you probably do every Friday night?

      1. Sprinkle/dip in salt!

      2. Actually, this is a matter of custom and your practice may depend on whether you are Ashkenazi or Sefardi.

        1. The Shulchan Aruch (SOURCE #2) paskins yes

        2. The Rema (SOURCE #2) says no

    5. Why would you NOT put salt on your matzah?

      1. You are Ashkenazi

      2. Nothing should change the taste

      3. Something else?

    6. Let me put that question in abeyance and turn to the description of the korban pesach found in the this week's parsha

  1. The Korban Pesach is full of critical symbolism

    1. The name of the holiday we use is Pesach (and it's nickname is Chag HaMatzot)

    2. THESIS: (R.Menachem Liebtag)

      1. the Korban Pesach is brought as a rejection of Egyptian culture.

      2. the meal is an anti-Egyptian meal.


      1. Show the Egyptians they're being rejected:

        1. (SOURCE #6) Shmot Raba 16:3 is a dialogue between Moshe and HaShem

          1. Moshe: they'll kill us if we bring their god

          2. HaShem: they need to know that their gods are nothing!

        2. (SOURCE #9) Pesikta Rabbati 15:1 explains why they were to take the lamb into their houses 3 full days before the main event

          1. To give the Egyptians time to absorb what was going to happen

      2. Show the Jews that they need to reject something

        1. (SOURCE #10) The Torah Temima explains the Mechilta

          1. This is in line with what the RAMBAM writes in the Moreh Nevuchim.

          2. Bnai Yisrael were inclined to worship like the Egyptians

          3. The Korban was intended as a practicum for them to learn not to do that


      1. (SOURCE #11) MAHARAL

        1. as quoted by

          1. HaRav Yaakov Ariel in M'OHALI (?M'Ohaley?) TORAH

          2. HaRav Moshe Weinberger on YU TORAH

        2. Monotheism vs. Polytheism is reinforced by 10+ laws which emphasize unity and one-ness.

      2. Deep dive on צלי אש

        1. (SOURCE #12) Zohar: roasting leads to aroma spreading far and wide

        2. R. Moshe Weinberger on the Maharal:

          1. cooking in pots will lead to meat becoming softer and falling apart

          2. cooking over fire is the only way to keep the form of the meat b/c it becomes harder

        3. (SOURCE #13) R. Yehuda Rack

          1. cooking in pots means you have to cut it up and can't recognize what animal it came from

          2. whole animal BBQ means that when you are done, you can still see the form of the original animal

  1. How does Matzah fit in?

    1. Eat it b/c it's historical? Yes for last 6 days

    2. Eat it b/c it's rejection of Egypt? YES! With the Korban Pesach.

      1. R. Liebtag: Egypt was the first culture to raise bread. By not eating bread, we are rejecting their culture.

  2. What does SALT represent?

    1. (SOURCES #14-21) Mark Kurlansky

    2. What if your minhag is to use SALT on your Matzah?

    3. There are good ways to think about this based on other places where SALT is used/legislated

    4. (SOURCE #22) On every Korban!

      1. (SOURCE #23) Rashi: weird midrash

        1. The entire natural world is involved in worshiping HaShem

      2. (SOURCE #24) Ibn Ezra: the use of SALT improves the taste and indicates that we attach importance to the details (even if the expense is high).

      3. (SOURCE #25) Ramban: all aspects of HaShem are included in the Korban

        1. SALT comes from the action of fire (sun) on water (ocean)

        2. Water is life giving

        3. Salt can be destructive

        4. The covenant includes SALT b/c it is a covenant that includes all of the aspects -- destructive and creative -- of HaShem

      4. (SOURCE #26) Kli Yakar: SALT implies something and its opposite.

        1. on the one hand (good):

          1. life giving water

          2. tasty food

        2. on the other hand (bad):

          1. destructive to farmland

        3. The covenant is given with both names of HaShem b/c HaShem can be both destructive and life sustaining.

  3. What's so bad about polytheism?

    1. Hillel Chiel taught me that it's about taking personal responsibility. Can't claim that I did evil in the worship of a particular deity that demands it.

NOTE: this material is largely derived from a Shiur I gave at Beachwood Kehilla, "Should the recipe for Matzah include Salt? (A.K.A. Salt and its Meanings for Monotheism)" (Shavuot 5764)

(א) יתר דיני הסדר. ובו ז סעיפים:
יטול ידיו ויברך על נטילת ידים ויקח המצות כסדר שהניחן הפרוסה בין שתי השלימות ויאחזם בידו ויברך המוציא ועל אכילת מצה ואח"כ יבצע מהשלימה העליונה ומהפרוסה משתיהן ביחד ויטבלם במלח: הגה ואין המנהג לטבלה במלח בלילה ראשונה דפת נקי אין צריך מלח ויאכלם בהסיבה ביחד כזית מכל אחד ...

He should wash his hands and make the blessing, "On the washing of the hands," and take the Matzot in the order in their original order-- the broken piece between the two un-broken pieces. He should pick them up and make the blessings, "HaMotzi," and "On the commandment of eating the Matza." Afterwards he should take pieces of the top full one and the middle broken one and dip them in salt. /* Gloss: The custom on the first night is NOT to dip them in salt because "Plain Bread" does not need salt." */ Then, he should eat an olive's portion of each one while leaning... (DBS translation)

(ד) (ד) ואין המנהג לטבלם וכו' - ר"ל אף שבכל ימות הפסח מטבילין במלח אע"פ שהיא נקיה ואינה צריכה טיבול מן הדין וכדמבואר לעיל סימן קס"ז ס"ה מ"מ בלילות ראשונות של פסח אין נוהגין כן דטפי הוא נראה לחם עוני כשאינו טבול במלח:

The custom is not to dip them: This comment refers to our practice on the first night(s). In contrast, during the remainder of the holiday, he would dip them in salt. Plain bread doesn't need salt, but on the first night, even more so, the lack of salt emphasizes that it is Lechem Oni. (DBS translation)

(א) וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יקוק אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ב) הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים רִאשׁ֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם לְחָדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה׃ (ג) דַּבְּר֗וּ אֶֽל־כָּל־עֲדַ֤ת יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר בֶּעָשֹׂ֖ר לַחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֑ה וְיִקְח֣וּ לָהֶ֗ם אִ֛ישׁ שֶׂ֥ה לְבֵית־אָבֹ֖ת שֶׂ֥ה לַבָּֽיִת׃ (ד) וְאִם־יִמְעַ֣ט הַבַּיִת֮ מִהְיֹ֣ת מִשֶּׂה֒ וְלָקַ֣ח ה֗וּא וּשְׁכֵנ֛וֹ הַקָּרֹ֥ב אֶל־בֵּית֖וֹ בְּמִכְסַ֣ת נְפָשֹׁ֑ת אִ֚ישׁ לְפִ֣י אָכְל֔וֹ תָּכֹ֖סּוּ עַל־הַשֶּֽׂה׃ (ה) שֶׂ֥ה תָמִ֛ים זָכָ֥ר בֶּן־שָׁנָ֖ה יִהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם מִן־הַכְּבָשִׂ֥ים וּמִן־הָעִזִּ֖ים תִּקָּֽחוּ׃ (ו) וְהָיָ֤ה לָכֶם֙ לְמִשְׁמֶ֔רֶת עַ֣ד אַרְבָּעָ֥ה עָשָׂ֛ר י֖וֹם לַחֹ֣דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֑ה וְשָׁחֲט֣וּ אֹת֗וֹ כֹּ֛ל קְהַ֥ל עֲדַֽת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בֵּ֥ין הָעַרְבָּֽיִם׃ (ז) וְלָֽקְחוּ֙ מִן־הַדָּ֔ם וְנָֽתְנ֛וּ עַל־שְׁתֵּ֥י הַמְּזוּזֹ֖ת וְעַל־הַמַּשְׁק֑וֹף עַ֚ל הַבָּ֣תִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־יֹאכְל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ בָּהֶֽם׃ (ח) וְאָכְל֥וּ אֶת־הַבָּשָׂ֖ר בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַזֶּ֑ה צְלִי־אֵ֣שׁ וּמַצּ֔וֹת עַל־מְרֹרִ֖ים יֹאכְלֻֽהוּ׃ (ט) אַל־תֹּאכְל֤וּ מִמֶּ֙נּוּ֙ נָ֔א וּבָשֵׁ֥ל מְבֻשָּׁ֖ל בַּמָּ֑יִם כִּ֣י אִם־צְלִי־אֵ֔שׁ רֹאשׁ֥וֹ עַל־כְּרָעָ֖יו וְעַל־קִרְבּֽוֹ׃ (י) וְלֹא־תוֹתִ֥ירוּ מִמֶּ֖נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֑קֶר וְהַנֹּתָ֥ר מִמֶּ֛נּוּ עַד־בֹּ֖קֶר בָּאֵ֥שׁ תִּשְׂרֹֽפוּ׃ (יא) וְכָכָה֮ תֹּאכְל֣וּ אֹתוֹ֒ מָתְנֵיכֶ֣ם חֲגֻרִ֔ים נַֽעֲלֵיכֶם֙ בְּרַגְלֵיכֶ֔ם וּמַקֶּלְכֶ֖ם בְּיֶדְכֶ֑ם וַאֲכַלְתֶּ֤ם אֹתוֹ֙ בְּחִפָּז֔וֹן פֶּ֥סַח ה֖וּא לַיקוק (יב) וְעָבַרְתִּ֣י בְאֶֽרֶץ־מִצְרַיִם֮ בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַזֶּה֒ וְהִכֵּיתִ֤י כָל־בְּכוֹר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם מֵאָדָ֖ם וְעַד־בְּהֵמָ֑ה וּבְכָל־אֱלֹקֵ֥י מִצְרַ֛יִם אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה שְׁפָטִ֖ים אֲנִ֥י יקוק (יג) וְהָיָה֩ הַדָּ֨ם לָכֶ֜ם לְאֹ֗ת עַ֤ל הַבָּתִּים֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אַתֶּ֣ם שָׁ֔ם וְרָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־הַדָּ֔ם וּפָסַחְתִּ֖י עֲלֵכֶ֑ם וְלֹֽא־יִֽהְיֶ֨ה בָכֶ֥ם נֶ֙גֶף֙ לְמַשְׁחִ֔ית בְּהַכֹּתִ֖י בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ (יד) וְהָיָה֩ הַיּ֨וֹם הַזֶּ֤ה לָכֶם֙ לְזִכָּר֔וֹן וְחַגֹּתֶ֥ם אֹת֖וֹ חַ֣ג לַֽיקוק לְדֹרֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם חֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֖ם תְּחָגֻּֽהוּ׃ (טו) שִׁבְעַ֤ת יָמִים֙ מַצּ֣וֹת תֹּאכֵ֔לוּ אַ֚ךְ בַּיּ֣וֹם הָרִאשׁ֔וֹן תַּשְׁבִּ֥יתוּ שְּׂאֹ֖ר מִבָּתֵּיכֶ֑ם כִּ֣י ׀ כָּל־אֹכֵ֣ל חָמֵ֗ץ וְנִכְרְתָ֞ה הַנֶּ֤פֶשׁ הַהִוא֙ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מִיּ֥וֹם הָרִאשֹׁ֖ן עַד־י֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִעִֽי׃ (טז) וּבַיּ֤וֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן֙ מִקְרָא־קֹ֔דֶשׁ וּבַיּוֹם֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י מִקְרָא־קֹ֖דֶשׁ יִהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם כָּל־מְלָאכָה֙ לֹא־יֵעָשֶׂ֣ה בָהֶ֔ם אַ֚ךְ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יֵאָכֵ֣ל לְכָל־נֶ֔פֶשׁ ה֥וּא לְבַדּ֖וֹ יֵעָשֶׂ֥ה לָכֶֽם׃ (יז) וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם֮ אֶת־הַמַּצּוֹת֒ כִּ֗י בְּעֶ֙צֶם֙ הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אֶת־צִבְאוֹתֵיכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֞ם אֶת־הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֛ה לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶ֖ם חֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָֽם׃ (יח) בָּרִאשֹׁ֡ן בְּאַרְבָּעָה֩ עָשָׂ֨ר י֤וֹם לַחֹ֙דֶשׁ֙ בָּעֶ֔רֶב תֹּאכְל֖וּ מַצֹּ֑ת עַ֠ד י֣וֹם הָאֶחָ֧ד וְעֶשְׂרִ֛ים לַחֹ֖דֶשׁ בָּעָֽרֶב׃ (יט) שִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֔ים שְׂאֹ֕ר לֹ֥א יִמָּצֵ֖א בְּבָתֵּיכֶ֑ם כִּ֣י ׀ כָּל־אֹכֵ֣ל מַחְמֶ֗צֶת וְנִכְרְתָ֞ה הַנֶּ֤פֶשׁ הַהִוא֙ מֵעֲדַ֣ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בַּגֵּ֖ר וּבְאֶזְרַ֥ח הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (כ) כָּל־מַחְמֶ֖צֶת לֹ֣א תֹאכֵ֑לוּ בְּכֹל֙ מוֹשְׁבֹ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם תֹּאכְל֖וּ מַצּֽוֹת׃ (פ)

(1) The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: (2) This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you. (3) Speak to the whole community of Israel and say that on the tenth of this month each of them shall take a lamb to a family, a lamb to a household. (4) But if the household is too small for a lamb, let him share one with a neighbor who dwells nearby, in proportion to the number of persons: you shall contribute for the lamb according to what each household will eat. (5) Your lamb shall be without blemish, a yearling male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. (6) You shall keep watch over it until the fourteenth day of this month; and all the assembled congregation of the Israelites shall slaughter it at twilight. (7) They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they are to eat it. (8) They shall eat the flesh that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs. (9) Do not eat any of it raw, or cooked in any way with water, but roasted—head, legs, and entrails—over the fire. (10) You shall not leave any of it over until morning; if any of it is left until morning, you shall burn it. (11) This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly: it is a passover offering to the LORD. (12) For that night I will go through the land of Egypt and strike down every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and I will mete out punishments to all the gods of Egypt, I the LORD. (13) And the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you: when I see the blood I will pass over you, so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (14) This day shall be to you one of remembrance: you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD throughout the ages; you shall celebrate it as an institution for all time. (15) Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the very first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day to the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. (16) You shall celebrate a sacred occasion on the first day, and a sacred occasion on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them; only what every person is to eat, that alone may be prepared for you. (17) You shall observe the [Feast of] Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day throughout the ages as an institution for all time. (18) In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. (19) No leaven shall be found in your houses for seven days. For whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a citizen of the country. (20) You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.

(כא) וַיִּקְרָ֥א מֹשֶׁ֛ה לְכָל־זִקְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵקֶ֑ם מִֽשְׁכ֗וּ וּקְח֨וּ לָכֶ֥ם צֹ֛אן לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתֵיכֶ֖ם וְשַׁחֲט֥וּ הַפָּֽסַח׃ (כב) וּלְקַחְתֶּ֞ם אֲגֻדַּ֣ת אֵז֗וֹב וּטְבַלְתֶּם֮ בַּדָּ֣ם אֲשֶׁר־בַּסַּף֒ וְהִגַּעְתֶּ֤ם אֶל־הַמַּשְׁקוֹף֙ וְאֶל־שְׁתֵּ֣י הַמְּזוּזֹ֔ת מִן־הַדָּ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּסָּ֑ף וְאַתֶּ֗ם לֹ֥א תֵצְא֛וּ אִ֥ישׁ מִפֶּֽתַח־בֵּית֖וֹ עַד־בֹּֽקֶר׃ (כג) וְעָבַ֣ר יקוק לִנְגֹּ֣ף אֶת־מִצְרַיִם֒ וְרָאָ֤ה אֶת־הַדָּם֙ עַל־הַמַּשְׁק֔וֹף וְעַ֖ל שְׁתֵּ֣י הַמְּזוּזֹ֑ת וּפָסַ֤ח יקוק עַל־הַפֶּ֔תַח וְלֹ֤א יִתֵּן֙ הַמַּשְׁחִ֔ית לָבֹ֥א אֶל־בָּתֵּיכֶ֖ם לִנְגֹּֽף׃ (כד) וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֑ה לְחָק־לְךָ֥ וּלְבָנֶ֖יךָ עַד־עוֹלָֽם׃ (כה) וְהָיָ֞ה כִּֽי־תָבֹ֣אוּ אֶל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִתֵּ֧ן יקוק לָכֶ֖ם כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר דִּבֵּ֑ר וּשְׁמַרְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־הָעֲבֹדָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ (כו) וְהָיָ֕ה כִּֽי־יֹאמְר֥וּ אֲלֵיכֶ֖ם בְּנֵיכֶ֑ם מָ֛ה הָעֲבֹדָ֥ה הַזֹּ֖את לָכֶֽם׃ (כז) וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֡ם זֶֽבַח־פֶּ֨סַח ה֜וּא לַֽיקוק אֲשֶׁ֣ר פָּ֠סַח עַל־בָּתֵּ֤י בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּמִצְרַ֔יִם בְּנָגְפּ֥וֹ אֶת־מִצְרַ֖יִם וְאֶת־בָּתֵּ֣ינוּ הִצִּ֑יל וַיִּקֹּ֥ד הָעָ֖ם וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוּֽוּ׃ (כח) וַיֵּלְכ֥וּ וַיַּֽעֲשׂ֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר צִוָּ֧ה יקוק אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאַהֲרֹ֖ן כֵּ֥ן עָשֽׂוּ׃ (ס)

(21) Moses then summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go, pick out lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover offering. (22) Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and to the two doorposts. None of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. (23) For when the LORD goes through to smite the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, and the LORD will pass over the door and not let the Destroyer enter and smite your home. (24) “You shall observe this as an institution for all time, for you and for your descendants. (25) And when you enter the land that the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite. (26) And when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this rite?’ (27) you shall say, ‘It is the passover sacrifice to the LORD, because He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but saved our houses.’” The people then bowed low in homage. (28) And the Israelites went and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

(ג) דָּבָר אַחֵר, מִשְׁכוּ וּקְחוּ לָכֶם צֹאן, הֲדָא הוּא דִּכְתִיב (תהלים צז, ז): יֵבשׁוּ כָּל עֹבְדֵי פֶסֶל, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה לִשְׁחֹט הַפֶּסַח, אָמַר לוֹ משֶׁה רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָם הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה הֵיאַךְ אֲנִי יָכוֹל לַעֲשׂוֹת, אִי אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהַצֹּאן אֱלֹהֵיהֶן שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם הֵן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ח, כב): הֵן נִזְבַּח אֶת תּוֹעֲבַת מִצְרַיִם לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְלֹא יִסְקְלֻנוּ. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חַיֶּיךָ אֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל יוֹצְאִין מִכָּאן עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁחֲטוּ אֶת אֱלֹקֵי מִצְרַיִם לְעֵינֵיהֶם, שֶׁאוֹדִיעַ לָהֶם שֶׁאֵין אֱלֹהֵיהֶם כְּלוּם. וְכֵן מָצִינוּ שֶׁעָשָׂה, שֶׁבְּאוֹתָהּ הַלַּיְלָה הִכָּה בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם וּבוֹ בַּלַּיְלָה שָׁחֲטוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל פִּסְחֵיהֶן וְאָכְלוּ, וְהָיוּ הַמִּצְרִים רוֹאִים בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם הֲרוּגִים וֵאלֹהֵיהֶן שְׁחוּטִין וְלֹא הָיוּ יְכוֹלִין לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּלוּם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר לג, ד): וּמִצְרַיִם מְקַבְּרִים אֵת אֲשֶׁר הִכָּה יקוק בָּהֶם כָּל בְּכוֹר וּבֵאלֹהֵיהֶם עָשָׂה יקוק שְׁפָטִים, הֱוֵי: יֵבשׁוּ כָּל עֹבְדֵי פֶסֶל.

Another explanation: "Choose sheep for yourselves." This is spoken of in the verse (Psalms 97:7), "All who worship images, who vaunt their idols, are dismayed; all divine beings bow down to Him." -- when God told Moshe to slaughter the Paschal lamb, Moshe said to Him, "Master of the universe, how can I possible do this action that you command? Don't You realize that the lambs are worshipped as gods by the Egyptians?" For it says in the verse (Shmot 8:22), “It would not be right to do this, for what we sacrifice to the LORD our God is untouchable to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice that which is untouchable to the Egyptians before their very eyes, will they not stone us!" God responded, "By your life, Bnai Yisrael will not leave Egypt until they slaughter the gods of the Egyptians right in front of their eyes, so that I can make known to them that their gods are nothing." We find that this is what He did, for on that night he struck all of the Egyptian firstborns and on that night, Bnai Yisrael slaughtered their Paschal lambs and ate them. The Egyptians saw their firstborns killed and their gods slaughtered and they did not do anything in response. This is in accordance with the verse, (Bamidbar 33:4) "The Egyptians meanwhile were burying those among them whom the LORD had struck down, every first-born—whereby the LORD executed judgment on their gods." (DBS translation)

(כב) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר מֹשֶׁ֗ה לֹ֤א נָכוֹן֙ לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת כֵּ֔ן כִּ֚י תּוֹעֲבַ֣ת מִצְרַ֔יִם נִזְבַּ֖ח לַיקוק אֱלֹקֵ֑ינוּ הֵ֣ן נִזְבַּ֞ח אֶת־תּוֹעֲבַ֥ת מִצְרַ֛יִם לְעֵינֵיהֶ֖ם וְלֹ֥א יִסְקְלֻֽנוּ׃
(22) But Moses replied, “It would not be right to do this, for what we sacrifice to the LORD our God is untouchable to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice that which is untouchable to the Egyptians before their very eyes, will they not stone us!
(ד) וּמִצְרַ֣יִם מְקַבְּרִ֗ים אֵת֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִכָּ֧ה יקוק בָּהֶ֖ם כָּל־בְּכ֑וֹר וּבֵאלֹ֣הֵיהֶ֔ם עָשָׂ֥ה יקוק שְׁפָטִֽים׃
(4) The Egyptians meanwhile were burying those among them whom the LORD had struck down, every first-born—whereby the LORD executed judgment on their gods.

דברו אל כל עדת בני ישראל לאמור בעשור לחודש הזה (שם י"ב ב') והלא אינו יפה אלא מדירות ואתה אומר מבעשור אלא מלמד שהיו קשורים לכרעי מטותיהם של ישראל מבעשור והיו המצריים נכנסים ורואים אותם ונפשם פורחות מעליהם

רבי חייא בריה דרבי אחא דיפו משכו וקחו לכם צאן למשפחותיכם (שם שם כ"א) שיהא כל אחד מכם מושך אלוהות של מצרים ושוחטו לפניו ודרגש (לא) [ליה] ימלל.

Talk to the congregation of Israel and say (Shmot 12:1-2), "On the tenth day of this month." Would it not have been better to take the lamb directly from its pen? Yet the command was to select it on the tenth of the month. This teaches us that on the tenth of the month Bnai Yisrael tied the lambs to their bedsteads. When the Egyptians entered the houses and saw the tied up animals, their souls would flee from them.

Rabbi Hiya the son of Rabbi Acha of Yafo taught about the verse (Shmot 12:21), "Select and take a lamp for your families," that each of the Jews was to take the god of the Egyptians and [cause it] to be slaughtered in front of the Egyptians so that ?it would cause him to feel turmoil and he would mutter? (Translation by DBS)

(ג) משכו וקחו. ר' יוסי הגלילי אומר משכו מעבודת כוכבים והדבקו במצוה קפחנראה הבאור ע"פ מש"כ הרמב"ם במורה פ"ל משלישי דתכלית מצות הקרבנות היתה מפני שקשה היה לישראל להפרד ממנהגי האומות בזביחתם והקטרתם לאלהיהם, ולכן נצטוו להתרגל בעבודה זו בקודש לשם יקוק. ואע"פ שהרבו לטעון נגד הרמב"ם בענין זה, אבל האמת הוא, כי יש לו להרמב"ם על מי להשען, ודבריו ממקום קדוש יהלכון, שכן מבואר במ"ר פ' אחרי, איש איש וגו' אשר ישחט, משל לבן מלך שלבו היה גס עליו והוא למוד לאכול נבילות וטריפות, אמר המלך, יאכל על שלחן זה תדיר ומעצמו הוא נוזר [פורש], כך לפי שהיו ישראל להוטים אחר ע"ז והיו מביאים קרבנותיהם לשעירים באיסור ופורעניות בא עליהם, אמר הקב"ה, יהיו מקריבים קרבנותיהם לפני באהל מועד והם נפרשים מע"ז, ע"כ. ...

Chose [lambs] for yourselves:

Rabbi Yosi HaGlili explained the verse to say, "Take from that which is worshiped by pagans and attach it to a Mitzvah."

/* Comment: It seems that this agrees with the teachings of the RAMBAM in the Guide to the Perplexed: The underlying purpose of the command to the Jewish people to bring sacrifices was to cause them to separate themselves from the practices of the other nations who would slaughter and bring incense to their gods. Thus, the Jewish people were commanded to direct this holy worship towards God. And despite the fact that there were many who argued with the RAMBAM on this matter, the truth is that the RAMBAM has good support, and his words derive from a holy place. This is explained further in the Midrash on Parashat Achari Mot (Vayikra 17:3-4): "If anyone of the house of Israel slaughters an ox or sheep or goat in the camp, or does so outside the camp; and does not bring it to the Tent of Meeting to present it as an offering to the LORD," is similar to a prince whose heart was full with himself and regularly ate animals that were found dead or torn up. His father, the king, said to the prince, "You shall always eat from my table." In this way, the prince desisted from his practice. The Jewish people enthusiastically worshiped the pagan gods by sacrificing goats. In consequence, bad things would happen to them. God said to them, "You should bring your sacrifices to Me at the Tent of Meeting, and thus they ceased from worshiping the pagan gods. This explanation from the Midrash accords with the teaching in the Guide to the Perplexed. */

The Maharal M'Prague

(As quoted by הרב יעקב אריאל in מאהלי תורה)

The details of the Korban emphasize unity: The unity of the Jewish people, the unity of the Jewish people with HaShem, and the unity of HaShem. The Korban can be seen as a Monotheistic rebellion against the Polytheism of Egypt.

איש שה לבית אבות שה לבית (Shmot 12:3) Each man a lamb for the house of his father, each house a lamb.

שה תמים זכר בן שנה (Shmot 12:5) An unblemished lamb, one year old.

אל תאכלו ממנו נא ובשל מבושל במים (Shmot 12:9) Don't eat it boiled in water.

כי אם צלי אש (Shmot 12:9) Eat it fire-roasted.

ראשו על כרעיו ועל קרבו (Shmot 12:9) Its head with it legs and entrails.

ולא תותירו ממנו עד בוקר (Shmot 12:10) Don't save any for morning.

כל בן נכר לא יאכל בו (Shmot 12:43) Non-Jews cannot eat it.

בבית אחד יאכל (Shmot 12:45) Eat it in one house.

לא תוציא מן הבית מן הבשר החוצה (Shmot 12:45) Don't take any of the meat out of the house.

ועצם לא תשברו בו (Shmot 12:5) Don't break any of its bones.

אָמַר רִבִּי אֶלְעָזָר, אֱלוֹקַּ שֶׁל מִצְרַיִם שֶׂה הָיָה, וְצִוָּה הַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לַעֲשׂוֹת בּוֹ שְׁפָטִים, לִשְׂרוֹף אוֹתוֹ בָּאֵשׁ, כְּמָה דְּאַתְּ אָמֵר, (דברים ז') פְּסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ. כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא רֵיחוֹ נוֹדֶף. וְעוֹד, (שמות י''ב) רֹאשׁוֹ עַל כְּרָעָיו וְעַל קִרְבּוֹ. וְעוֹד, שֶׁעַצְמוֹתָיו מוּשְׁלָכִים בַּשּׁוּק. וְזֹאת הָיְתָה לְמִצְרַיִם קָשֶׁה מִכּוּלָּן, הֲדָא הוּא דִּכְתִּיב, שְׁפָטִים.

Rabbi Elazar taught: The god of the Egyptians was a sheep, and God commanded to do acts of justice to it, which included burning it in the fire, as it says (Devarim 7:25), "You shal consign the images of their gots to the fire." This was done in order for the aroma to spread far and wide. Further (Shmot 12), "Its head with its legs with its entrails." Further, its bones were scattered in the market. And these actions were the harshest ones the Egyptians had to endure, as it says (Bamidbar 33:4), "acts of reckoning." (DBS translation)

פרשת בא - הפסח וסיפור יציאת מצרים

הרב יהודה ראק

לדעת מפרשים אחרים, פשטות הלשון 'תועבת מצרים' מורה שהצאן לא היה אלוקי מצרים, אלא שהתרבות המצרית סלדה מצאן ומאכילת צאן, מן הסתם ממניעים דתיים. בין כך ובין כך, שחיטת הצאן לפסח מהווה מעשה אקטיבי המבטא דחייה ושלילה של התרבות והדת המצרית.

לפי זה מובן מדוע הפסח צריך להיות צלי-אש: כדי לבשל את הבשר יש לחתכו לחתיכות קטנות, שכבר אינן ניכרות כבעל החיים ממנו באו. רק בצליה נשאר בעל החיים שלם, באופן שהוא ניכר ככזה. מצוות הפסח, לפי זה, היא לשחוט את התרבות המצרית לשם עבודת יקוק, ולהעלות על השולחן ולאכול: לא בשר שבא מן הצאן, אלא את השה עצמו השלם והניכר. כך, מהווה מעשה הפסח ביטוי מודע ושלם לשלילת התרבות המצרית לשם כניסה לברית עם יקוק.

Rav Yehuda Rack, "The Korban Pesach and The Exodus from Egypt"

According to a few commentators, the simple meaning of the term, "The abomination of the Egyptians," teaches that the Egyptians did not exactly worship the sheep, but rather that the Egyptian culture withdrew from the sheep and from eating it for religious motivations. Whichever is correct, the slaughtering of the Paschal lamp was definitely an act which expressed a rejection and negation of the Egyptian culture and religion.

In accordance with this, we can understand why there was a requirement for the Paschal lamb to be roasted on the fire: In order to boil/braise the meat, you would need to be cut it into small pieces, and the exact source of the meat would no longer be recognizable as coming from a sheep. Only by roasting the entire carcass over the fire would it remain recognizable as an entire, cooked sheep. The command to bring the Paschal lamb was to slaughter the Egyptian culture in the name of worship of God, and to bring it to the table and eat it. This was accomplished not by bringing lamb meat, but rather by bringing to the table the entire lamb-- complete and recognizable. In this way, the bringing of the Paschal as a known, complete form represented the rejection of the Egyptian culture in the name of bringing the Jewish people into a covenantal relationship with HaShem.

(יג) וְכָל־קָרְבַּ֣ן מִנְחָתְךָ֮ בַּמֶּ֣לַח תִּמְלָח֒ וְלֹ֣א תַשְׁבִּ֗ית מֶ֚לַח בְּרִ֣ית אֱלֹקֶ֔יךָ מֵעַ֖ל מִנְחָתֶ֑ךָ עַ֥ל כָּל־קָרְבָּנְךָ֖ תַּקְרִ֥יב מֶֽלַח׃ (ס)

(13) You shall season your every offering of meal with salt; you shall not omit from your meal offering the salt of your covenant with God; with all your offerings you must offer salt.

(א) מלח ברית. שֶׁהַבְּרִית כְּרוּתָה לַמֶּלַח מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי בְרֵאשִׁית, שֶׁהָבְטְחוּ הַמַּיִם הַתַּחְתּוֹנִים לִקָּרֵב בַּמִּזְבֵּחַ בַּמֶּלַח וְנִסּוּךְ הַמַּיִם בֶּחָג:
(1) מלח ברית [NEITHER SHALT THOU SUFFER] THE SALT OF THE COVENANT [… TO BE LACKING FROM MY MEAL OFFERING], because a covenant was established with the salt as far back as the six days of Creation when the lower waters (those of the oceans) received an assurance that they would be offered on the altar in the form of salt and also as water in the ceremony of “the libation of water” on the Feast of Tabernacles).‎
(א) ברית אלהיך. הכנסתיך בברית והשבעתיך שלא תקריב תפל ולא יאכל כי הוא דרך בזיון:
(1) your God’s covenant I have made you party to a covenant, and I have bound you not to offer a worthless sacrifice. Nor may such a sacrifice be eaten: it would be disrespectful.

(א) ולא תשבית מלח ברית אלהיך שהברית כרותה למלח מששת ימי בראשית שהובטחו המים התחתונים ליקרב במזבח במלח ונסוך המים בחג לשון רש"י ומדרש חכמים הוא ור"א אמר על דרך הפשט הכנסתיך בברית והשבעתיך שלא תקריב תפל ולא יאכל כי הוא דרך בזיון ובעבור שהוא ברית בקרבנות יעשה הכתוב זאת הברית אב לכל הבריתות ויאמר במתנות כהונה (במדבר יח יט) ובמלכות דוד (דהי"ב יג ה) ברית מלח כי הוא קיים כברית המלח בקרבנות אבל ר' אברהם פירש שם ברית כרותה מגזרת ארץ מלחה (ירמיהו יז ו) ומקום המלח נכרת ואין טעם לדבריו ומפני שאמר בכאן ברית אלקיך ולא אמר ברית יקוק כלשון הפרשה וכדרך כל הקרבנות או שיאמר ברית יקוק אלקיך אני סובר בו ענין שהמלח מים ובכח השמש הבא בהם יעשה מלח והמים בתולדותם ירוו הארץ ויולידו ויצמיחו ואחרי היותם מלח יכריתו כל מקום וישרפו לא תזרע ולא תצמיח והנה הברית כלולה מכל המדות והמים והאש באים בה ועדיה תאתה ובאה הממשלה הראשונה ממלכת השם כמלח שיתן טעם בכל המאכלים ותקיים ותכרית במליחותה והנה המלח כברית ולכן אמר הכתוב (דהי"ב יג ה) הלא לכם לדעת כי יקוק אלקי ישראל נתן ממלכה לדוד על ישראל לעולם לו ולבניו ברית מלח עולם כי הוא גם כן מדתו של דוד ולכן אמר בקרבנות (במדבר שם) ברית מלח עולם היא כי הברית מלח העולם בו יתקיים ויכרת וכבר הוריתיך (שמות לא יג) להתבונן מדברינו במקומות אחרים פירוש שלש תיבות הללו ברית עולם היא

Don't spare salt - it is a Covenant with your Lor]. The covenant was extablished with salt during the six days of creation when the lower waters were promised that they would be brought as part of the sacrifices on the altar, and with the water libation on Sukot (Rashi and the Midrash). The Ibn Ezra says that the simple meaning is that He brought you into a covenant and made you swear that you wouldn't bring and eat insipid sacrifices for that would be disgraceful. Because this covenant of sacrifices is archetypical, other covenants (Bamidbar 18:19 and Chronicles 13:5) are similarly referred to as "Covenants of salt" which would be everlasting like the salt covenant of sacrifices. But the Ibn Ezra [is inconsistent] and explains that the covenant (in Bamidbar) is called a salt covenant in accordance with the verse (Jeremiah 17:6) a salt barren land. But there is no truth to his explanation. Rather, because the Torah uses the name Elokim (the covenant with your Lord) and the Torah does not use the name HaShem here (the covenant with your God, or the covenant with your Lord your God) like it does in the rest of the text about the sacrifices, I understand it as follows: Salt water is heated by the strength of the sun and leaves a deposit of salt, and the freshwater waters the earth which sprouts and brings forth plant life. If the salt is put upon the land it will burn it and the land will not sprout and bring forth plant life. Behold, in this same way, the Covenant contains all of the measures: The Water and the Salt and the Fire. ["And you, O Migdal-eder, Outpost of Fair Zion, It shall come to you: The former monarchy shall return— The kingship of Fair Jerusalem." (Micah 4:8)] The first kingdom belongs to HaShem is like salt which gives flavor to all foods and can sustain and also destroy in its saltiness. This is how salt is like the covenant. (DBS translation)

(א) וכל קרבן מנחתך במלח תמלח. כדי להמליך את הקב"ה על כל ההפכים הנראין בעולם וגרמו לרבים לצאת למינות לומר מהתחלה אחת לא יצאו ב' הפכים, והנה מלח יש בטבעו דבר והפכו כי יש בו כח האש והחמימות ותולדות המים עד שאמרו חכמי הקבלה שהוא כנגד מדה"ד ומדת הרחמים, ע"כ נקרא ברית אלקיך כי בהקרבה זו כורתים ברית עם יקוק להשליטו על כל ההפכים, וכל המנחות חוץ משל כהן היו נאכלים לכהנים וזה הוא כמו צדקה שנמשלה למלח המעמיד ומקיים את הבשר כך מלח ממון חסר (כתובות סו:) והצדקה שבקרבן גדולה מן הקרבן עצמו כמ"ש (משלי כא ג) עשה צדקה ומשפט נבחר ליקוק מזבח. עז"א על כל קרבנך תקריב מלח שהמלח הוא העולה על כל הקרבנות ונבחר ליקוק מזבח, ופשוטו על כל קרבנך קאי גם על הבשר.

You shall surely salt all of your sacrifices. In order to coronate God as master of all opposites which are found in the world and which have caused many to utter the heresy that one divinity cannot be the source of two opposites. Behold, salt holds in its very nature a thing and its opposite, for it has the power of fire and warmth, and it also has the derivative of water. The Kabbalists say that these are akin to God's attribute of Justice and Mercy. Thus, it is called the Covenant of your Lord because when you bring salt on the alter, you are coming into a covenantal relationship with God and giving him reign over all opposites. All Mincha offerings (?) except that of the Kohen (?) were given to the Kohen to eat. Thus, the Mincha is a kind of Tzedaka which itself is compared to salt on account of its ability to preserve and sustain meat. If you lack salt, you lack money. The Tzedaka of the sacrifice is greater than the sacrifice itself as it says (Proverbs 21:3), "To do what is right and just is more desired by God than sacrifice." When the verse says, "With all of your sacrifices bring salt," it means that the Tzedaka (salt) which is brought with every sacrifice is more dear to God than the sacrifice itself. The simple understanding of "All your sacrifices" includes even meat sacrifices (and not just Mincha offereings). (DBS translation)

גופא אמר שמואל אין מעברין את השנה ביום שלשים של אדר הואיל וראוי לקובעו ניסן עיברוה מאי אמר עולא אין מקדשין את החדש קידשו מאי אמר רבא בטל העיבור רב נחמן אמר מעובר ומקודש
§ With regard to the question of intercalating the year on the thirtieth of Adar, the Gemara discusses the matter itself. Shmuel says: The court may not intercalate the year on the thirtieth day of Adar, although it is part of Adar, since it is fit to establish the day as the first of Nisan. If they intercalated the year on that day, after the fact, what is the halakha? Ulla says: The intercalation is effective and the court does not sanctify the month on that day, so that the intercalation will have been performed in Adar. The Gemara asks: If another court sanctified the month, what is the halakha? Rava says: The intercalation is void, as it turns out that the intercalation was performed in Nisan. Rav Naḥman disagrees and says: The year is intercalated and the month is also sanctified, because each court has performed an independently valid function.