“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:
“ 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].
- H:172-173; JN1:315-316.
- Cf. M. Pes. 5:2.
- Cf. the translation of `asita at Pisqa’ 129.1
- 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).
- 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.
- Cf. Sifre Nu. 143.
- BDB renders kosharot as “prosperity.” My translation attempts to capture in English the assonance with kasher, which the midrashist surely has intended to exploit.
- //Mechilta Ishmael, paskha’, 16.