Pisqa’ 128

Pisqa’ 1281


“To celebrate the Passover (pesakh) for HASHEM your God” (Dt.16:1)—

so that its preparations should be entirely

for the sake of [slaughtering and eating] the Paschal lamb (pesakh).

For if he slaughtered it

under a different name [e.g, as a Communion-offering]

it is disqualified.


I might infer only that

one who [intended to] slaughter it under a different name

[disqualifies the Paschal lamb from being eaten].

On what basis do I know to include

[a change of intention while]

receiving its blood and sprinkling its blood?2

The Teaching states:

“To celebrate” (`asita;3 Dt.16:1)—

[to perform the rite with full mindfulness].

Is it possible that I should include [as disqualifications]

roasting it and rinsing its innards [under a different name]?

The Teaching states:

“And you shall slaughter” (Dt.16:2)—

[only acts intrinsic to sacrifice4 disqualify the offering

if they are performed under a different name].

Now, slaughtering [the lamb] could have been incorporated

[under the rule of other sacrificial rites].

So why is it singled out for special mention?

To use it for comparison:

Seeing that slaughter is distinctive,

in that it must be done for the sake of the correct service—

these other acts [like rinsing the meat] are excluded,

for they need not be done for the sake of the correct service.5


“For HASHEM your God” (Dt.16:1)—

[only the acts intrinsic to slaughter must be performed]

for the sake of the Unique Name!6


“Since in the month of Aviv” (Dt.16:1)—

an appropriate (kasher) month,

neither too hot nor too cold!

And so He says:

“God houses the lonesome in a home, and liberates prisoners at the right moment (kosharot;7 Ps.68:7).8

“ HASHEM your God delivered you from Egypt at night” (Dt.16:1).

Now, did they go out of Egypt at night?

Didn’t they actually go out during the day?

For it is said:

“On the day following the Passover the Israelites left.” (Nu.33:3)

This teaches that they were liberated at night

[but left the next day].

  1. H:172-173; JN1:315-316.
  2. Cf. M. Pes. 5:2.
  3. Cf. the translation of `asita at Pisqa’ 129.1
  4. There are four sacrificial procedures which must be properly executed for a sacrifice to be valid: slaughtering, collecting the blood, conveying the blood to the altar, and sprinkling the blood on the altar. During any of these, a change of intention regarding the purpose of the sacrifice disqualifies the animal (M. Zev:2:3).
  5. Cf. Mechilta Ishmael, paskha’, 11. F:186, n.4 offers a list of tannaitic passages that share the form and substance of M. Pes. 5:2. See also Pisqa’ 129.1, which is virtually identical to 128.1 but for key shifts in the focus on sacrificial rites.
  6. Cf. Sifre Nu. 143.
  7. BDB renders kosharot as “prosperity.” My translation attempts to capture in English the assonance with kasher, which the midrashist surely has intended to exploit.
  8. //Mechilta Ishmael, paskha’, 16.