Korban Pesach: Blood of the Offering
The Jewish people partook of the korbon pesach, paschal sacrifice on the
eve of their Exodus. Upon entering the Holy Land, this would be offered up
in the Temple in Jerusalem on the afternoon of 14th of Nissan and eaten
after nightfall on first night of Passover. Today, we commemorate the
korbon pesach by eating the afikomen after the meal on Seder night.
The korbon pesach was consumed in Egypt within the safety of their houses
as G-d passed through the land inflicting the Tenth Plague, Death of the
Firstborns onto their Egyptian oppressors. Seeing the blood of this
offering placed around the doorpost and lentil, G-d passed over their
houses saving the occupants from the destroyer (Exodus 12:22-23).
Evidently, the korban pesach marks the transformation from Golus, “exile”
to Geulah, “redemption”. But what symbolism does blood play at this
precise junction in Jewish history?
Exile is where the Jewish people are dispersed in all four directions. But
exile is more than just a physical state – it is reflective of sin, of
separation and of spiritual distance from G-d, where one is unfortunately
distant from man’s One and Only Master.
Redemption is the physical ingathering of the chosen nation from
all “four” corners of the world to return as “one” unit. And symbolically,
this reflects the Jewish nation’s “coming home” – unifying and becoming
one with G-d. Thus, the Jewish national hopes and aspirations in our
current climate of exile anticipate the final “redemption” – when the
diverse “four” of the physical world becomes subordinate to the “oneness”
of the soul and of the spiritual world.
The transition from “Golus” to “Geulah” found in the korbon pesach
reflects the passage from Da’am, “blood” to Adam, “man”.
Circulating through man’s veins, blood is the life force within a person
(Deuteronomy 12:23). The letters of the word Da’am is Dalet and Mem whose
respective numerical values are 4 and 40 symbolize the concepts of
diversification into four directions. Accordingly, blood is the fluid
whereby life spreads out into all directions of man’s body but which must
remain within the body and not “spilled” outside. And if it must be
spilled, it must be for G-d’s sake.
The Jewish epithet “Adam” (Aleph, Dalet, Mem) requires that their
spiritual element, the “oneness of man’s G-dly soul” (the value of aleph
is one) reigns over the diverging “Da’am” of his physical body. This was
specifically accomplished in the korban pesach whose theme is that
Consider some of its laws: a one-year old animal eaten in one group within
one house; consumed as a whole entity without breaking any bone, and
roasted that kept the meat as one entity rather than cooked where the meat
disintegrates. Performed by Israel just prior to the Exodus, the unity
within korban pesach unequivocally attests to G-d’s Oneness (Maharal,
Gevuos Hashem Ch.36 & Ch.60).
Here blood, by its very nature a product of “four”, of diversity, was used
in this offering to become “one” with G-d. Indeed, the blood spilled in
obedience to G-d’s command was painted upon the doorposts, itself the
symbol of multiplicity where the person goes from the private domain of
the individual (“one”) to the public domain (“four”); even this was
directed in an effort to become one with G-d.
The objective to ensure our spirituality is always the driving force
behind one’s physical actions calls for the mobilizing all man’s physical
faculties in an undivided approach to divine service where his very life
force as contained in his blood is subservient to the soul.
Jewish blood has been spilled over the millennia in their exiles.
But just as the redemption in the aftermath of the Korbon Pesach, they
left Egypt as one unified nation, so too the future and final redemption
from the “four” Empires (Babylon, Persia & Media, Greece and Rome), the
epoch when the entire human civilisation will unanimously proclaim and
accept G-d’s Oneness. “On that day, G-d will be One and His Name, One”
(Zechariah 14:9). Then G-d “will gather us together from the four corners
of the earth” (Isaiah 11:12) to the focal point, the Holy Land.
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene and Torah.org.