One of the differences between the Paschal offerings brought in Egypt and subsequent Paschal offerings is that those brought in Egypt were sacrificed by each family within their homes, while the later Paschal offerings had to be sacrificed in the Mishkan or Beis HaMikdash. [ 1 ]
That the offerings in Egypt were brought by each family in its own home
was not only permissible, but obligatory; each domicile had to have its
own offering. Only when the number of individuals within one dwelling
was not enough to consume the entire offering in one night was it
permitted to join another family that lived nearby. [ 2 ]
Why did the Egyptian Paschal offering differ from all subsequent Paschal
The prophet Yechezkiel speaks of the Exodus from Egypt as the time of
the Jewish nation's birth. [ 3 ] It
follows that the offering brought in association with this exodus is
related to the birth of the Jewish people and their subsequent function.
The Midrash informs us [ 4 ] that
"G-d earnestly desired a dwelling in the nethermost level," i.e., in
this physical world. This was primarily accomplished, according to the
Midrash, when the Mishkan was built, as the verse states: [ 5 ] "And you shall make for Me a
Sanctuary and I shall reside among them." [ 6 ]
Our Sages comment: [ 7 ] "It does
not state ['I shall reside] in it,' rather, 'in them,' that is to say,
within each and every Jew."
Since all verses are first and foremost to be understood in their simple
sense, [ 8 ] it follows that our
Sages are telling us that in addition to the primary Mishkan and Beis
HaMikdash, each Jew should seek to make his own personal Mishkan and
Beis HaMikdash, so that G-d will reside within him.
Since the verse states "in them" and not "in it," it follows that the
personal Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash is of great importance.
The reason is as follows: Although the degree of holiness that resided
in the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash far surpassed the holiness that could
be contained by any individual Jew as a result of his service, the
physical Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash alone could not fulfill G-d's desire
for "a dwelling in the nethermost level."
For the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash were confined to specific sites, with
most of creation existing outside these areas. It was thus necessary for
the G-dliness within the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash to reach beyond
their boundaries and emanate to the outside world. [ 9 ]
It is by drawing down the sanctity of the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash
within his own home, thus causing his own dwelling to become a domicile
of holiness, that a Jew fulfills G-d's intent - the transformation of
the entire world into a dwelling fit for Him.
This is why the Jews were to bring offerings within their own homes in
Egypt, for since those offerings took place at the time of the nation's
birth, the purpose of that nationhood had to be stressed - that, through
their personal spiritual service, they would have G-d dwelling within
each one of them, transforming their individual homes into a dwelling
place for G-d.
Once the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash were built, however, the Paschal
offering had to be brought there, for it was there that the highest
degree of holiness resided.
Thus, the order of things changed: G-d dwelled in those edifices, and as
a result of that indwelling, He came to reside - through the Jews'
service "in them" - within each and every Jew, and within the world as a
Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXVI, pp. 77-84
- Back to text Tosefta, Pesachim 8:7.
- Back to text Shmos 12:3-4.
- Back to text See Yechezkel 16 and commentaries.
- Back to text Midrash Tanchuma, Naso 16.
- Back to text Shmos 25:8.
- Back to text See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXI, p. 150 and places cited there.
- Back to text See Likkutei Torah, Naso 20b.
- Back to text See Shabbos 63a.
- Back to text See Midrash Tanchuma, Tetzaveh 6; Vayikra Rabbah 31:7.