Parshas Bo - Out of the Frying Pan and Onto the Fire
by Rabbi Dovid Green
In Exodus, Chapter 12, the Torah elaborates on the observance of Passover
and the Passover Sacrifice. There are many laws regarding Passover in
general, as well as how its sacrifice should be brought, and how it should
be eaten. There are at least 11 laws mentioned. One should not own or eat
chametz (leavened bread); one should eat matzah; one should not break the
bones of the sacrifice; the sacrifice must be roasted whole on an open fire,
and others. All of these are in order to remember the miracles which G-d
performed on our behalf in Egypt.
The Sefer HaChinuch (a medieval work enumerating the 613 commandments of the
Torah) asks the following question about the laws of Passover. Couldn't we
just observe one law which would remind us of the miracles of Egypt, and
that would be enough? The answer he gives really underlies much more than
the laws of Passover. It applies to our lives on a daily basis. "People are
influenced by their actions, and one's heart and thoughts always follow
after the deeds one involves oneself in whether they are positive or
negative." This means to say that our character traits are strongly
influenced by the things we do. Bad people can change for the good, and good
people can become evil, depending on what they regularly involve themselves
in. This is a far-reaching statement for our day and age.
One of the aforementioned laws of the Passover Sacrifice is that it should
be roasted whole on an open fire. One reason for this is that the sheep was
the god of the Egyptians. The Jews may have chosen to cook the sacrifice in
a pot of water to avoid flaunting it in the faces of the Egyptians. To this
the Torah states that it should be roasted whole on an open fire. Make it
obvious. Perhaps this is to teach us an important lesson at the time of our
initiation as a nation of servants of G-d. Don't be embarrassed to be
Jewish. Don't hide the fact. Serve G-d proudly and openly. We should let our
children and coreligionists see what really matters to us.
Our actions speak louder than our words. They make an impression on us as
well as those around us. The Torah teaches us that they require discretion
and care. They have the potential to be an effective tool for personal
growth. Let us always remember. "People are influenced by their actions."
Text Copyright © 1998 Rabbi Dovid Green and
Project Genesis, Inc.