"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

By Sophiee

The Paschal Lamb is not an atonement, it is an act of defiance!

Exodus 8:22 (so much for Jesus as “the paschal lamb”).

“’What we will sacrifice to HaShem our L-rd is sacred to the Egyptians. Could we sacrifice the sacred animal of the Egyptians before their very eyes and not have them stone us?”

Moses clearly tells Pharaoh (and us) that the animal to be sacrificed by the Jews is sacred (e.g. a G-d) to the Egyptians. The paschal lamb (or sheep) has nothing whatsoever to do with atoning for sins.

We know that the Egyptian Kevatim would worship the Zodiac sign of the sheep (Aries). To this end, they banned the slaughter of sheep and despised sheep traders and shepherds (Ex.8:22,Bereshit 46:34 ) …. It was for this very reason that we were commanded to slaughter the Paschal lamb, daubing its blood – in Egypt – on the doorways, in full view. This was to cleanse ourselves of those (idolatrous) views and to publicise the very opposite; in order to internalize the notion that the very act that they (Egypt) expect to bring our destruction ( ie. the slaughter of the gods) will save us from destruction; ‘And HaShem will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter and smite your home.'(12:23)” [Moreh Nevuchim 3:46]

Rambam (circa 12th century in the “Guide to the Perplexed) said:

Scripture tells us, according to the Version of Onkelos, that the Egyptians worshipped Aries, and therefore abstained from killing sheep, and held shepherds in contempt. Comp.” Behold we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians,” etc. (Exod. viii. 26):”

For every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians” (Gen. Avi. 34). Some sects among the Sabeans worshipped demons, and imagined that these assumed the form of goats, and called them therefore” goats” This worship was widespread. Comp.” And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto demons, after whom they have gone a whoring” (Lev. xvii. 7).

For this reason those sects abstained from eating goats’ flesh. Most idolaters objected to killing cattle, holding this species of animals in great estimation. Therefore the people of Hodu [Indians] up to this day do not slaughter cattle even in those countries where other animals are slaughtered. In order to eradicate these false principles, the Law commands us to offer sacrifices only of these three kinds :” Ye shall bring your offering of the cattle [viz.], of the herd and of the flock” (Lev. i. 2). Thus the very act which is considered by the heathen as the greatest crime, is the means of approaching G-d, and obtaining His pardon for our sins. In this manner, evil principles, the diseases of the human soul, are cured by other principles which are diametrically opposite.

This is also the reason why we were commanded to kill a lamb on Passover, and to sprinkle the blood thereof outside on the gates. We Ghad to free ourselves of evil doctrines and to proclaim the opposite, viz., that the very act which was then considered as being the cause of death would be the cause of deliverance from death. Comp.” And HaShem will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come unto your houses to suite you” (Exod. idi. 23). Thus they were rewarded for performing openly a service every part of which was objected to by the idolaters.

The Egyptians worshipped sheep / lambs and ergo the sacrifice of the lamb was an “in your face” to them (while showing a believe in HaShem that the Egyptians wouldn’t kill them for slaughtering the Egyptian “G-d.). . An interesting bit of trivia about Passover:

The astrological symbol of the month of Nisan (the month of Passover) is Aries, the ram (male sheep).

Additional thoughts are found in Midrash Rabba, too.

“You will find that when Israel were in Egypt, they served idols, which they were reluctant to abandon, for it says: “They did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes” (Ezekiel 20:8). G-d then said to Moses: ‘As long as Israel worship Egyptian G-ds, they will not be redeemed; go and tell them to abandon their evil ways and to reject idolatry.’ This is what is meant by: “Draw out and take your lambs”(12:21), that is to say: Draw away your hands from idolatry and take for yourselves lambs, thereby slaying the gof Egypt and preparing the Passover. Only through this will the L-rd pass over you.”

Gee what a coincidence. And the very day for Passover, 15th of Nissan, is the apex of a lunar month. The ram-G-d of the Egyptians was to be slaughtered on the evening of the full-moon of its very own month. How is that for HaShem having a great sense of humor?

Rambam goes on to say that by slaughtering an Egyptian G-d (the lamb / sheep) the Israelites accomplished 3 things:

1. They showed faith in HaShem – that HaShem was more powerful than the Egyptian G-ds and the Egyptians themselves (who would normally kill anyone who hurt their “G-ds.”).

2. The Israelites proved themselves not to be idolaters.

3. They (and HaShem) showed the Egyptians that their G-ds were false and powerless in the face of HaShem. The Talmud tells us that Torah decrees we select our sheep or ram (cf. Shemot 12:5 which treats them identically) four days in before the sacrifice to re-enforce to the Egyptians just how powerless they were in the presence of HaShem. It was most definitely “in your face.” As was smearing the blood of the sacrificed animals on the doorposts. This was an outright affront no Egyptian could miss.

Why would G-d command that we smear it on the OUTSIDE of the houses if the purpose were just for G-d to “see” it? (Shemot 12:13; ve-ra’iti et ha-dam). Nope, Rebecca it HAD to be outside so the Egyptians would see it!

It gets even better. Ibn Ezra tells us G-d commanded we roast the animal rather than cooking it in a pot or eating it raw, so the Egyptians would SMELL their G-d being cooked. You see, in a pot you can cover it with a lid – but by roasting the smell would be unmistakable.

IN YOUR FACE, not meek and mild. Most definitely. Not meek. Not an atonement – a DARE. A defiant act. And an act of infinite trust in G-d’s saving power. Also see Genesis 46:34

34. You shall say, ‘Your servants have been owners of livestock from our youth until now, both we and our ancestors,’ so that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, because all shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians.”

(Rashi: shepherds are abhorrent to the Egyptians Because they (the sheep) are their gods).

” We know that the Egyptian Kevatim would worship the Zodiac sign of the sheep (Aries). To this end, they banned the slaughter of sheep and despised sheep traders and shepherds (Ex.8:22,Bereshit 46:34 ) …. It was for this very reason that we were commanded to slaughter the Paschal lamb, daubing its blood – in Mitzrayin (Egypt)- on the doorways, in full view. This was to cleanse ourselves of those (idolatrous) views and to publicize the very opposite; in order to internalize the notion that the very act that they (Egypt) expect to bring our destruction ( ie. the slaughter of the G-ds) will save us from destruction; ‘And the L-rd will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter and smite your home.'(12:23)” [Moreh Nevuchim 3:46]

 

Want to share or print this? Choose how below:
  • Print
  • email
  • Add to favorites
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us

{ 4 comments… read them below or add your own }

Terry Hayes April 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I would like to add another thought as well.

So many christians want to use the Passover to show power of the blood. But the power of salvation in the Pesach story was not in the blood of the lamb but in the obedience of the Israelite – The blood on the door was a sign that those inside obeyed the commandment of G-d – those who did not obey suffered the consequences of disobedience

  Quote this in your comment

Reply

Sophiee Saguy June 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Terry Hayes: So many christians want to use the Passover to show power of the blood. But the power of salvation in the Pesach story was not in the blood of the lamb but in the obedience of the Israelite – The blood on the door was a sign that those inside obeyed the commandment of G-d – those who did not obey suffered the consequences of disobedience
 

A beautiful synopsis — and the entire point!

  Quote this in your comment

Reply

Ma April 14, 2014 at 4:01 am

Please re-check your references,

The sheep/ram was FIRST used as a sacrifice by Abraham.Genesis 22:7 KJV

And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said , My father: and he said , Here am I, my son. And he said , Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

Genesis 22:8 KJV

And Abraham said , My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together

 
Genesis 22:13 KJVAnd Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked , and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. Sort results by: Book of the Bible | Most relevant search result
Genesis 15:9 KJV

And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old , and a she goat of three years old , and a ram of three years old , and a turtledove, and a young pigeon

 
 
 

  Quote this in your comment

Reply

Sophiee Saguy March 25, 2015 at 1:11 pm

B’reshit / Genesis 22:8 doesn’t speak about a lamb!  It says that G-d will provide the seh (השה).  A seh could be a young sheep or a young goat.  I suppose saying Jesus was the goat of G-d wouldn’t quite have the same ring to it!  We know it can be a goat or a lamb because Sh’mot / Exodus 12:5 says that it (the sacrifice) can be “from the lambs or from the goats.”
But the real “kicker” is that the animal sacrificed in B’reshit / Genesis 22 isn’t even a seh.  It is an אַֽיִל ayil, which means a “ram” (i.e. an adult male sheep). NOT a “lamb.”    In a nutshell:
אַיִל (ayil)  — 13 – 24 month fully grown male ram with horns is sacrificed by Abraham to thank G-d (Akeida);
שֶׂה (seh)  —  Less than one year old male lamb or goat.
The Passover sacrifice had to be a שֶׂה (seh)  —  Less than one year old male lamb or goat.  
Also, the offer in B’reshit / Genesis 22 was an olah — an elevation offer.  This is not an atonement.  It has nothing to do with sin.  An olah (elevation offer / burnt offer) is not the same as a chatat (sin offer). 
The Passover offer was not a sacrifice — it was a celebratory offering.   
So — while you have similar animals there is a distinction in the bible between a seh and an ayil.  There was also quite a difference between an elevation offer which was a sacrifice and the Passover offer which was to celebrate G-d’s redeeming of the Jews from slavery.
One last thing — don’t forget that Abraham had spent considerable time in Egypt (B’reshit / Genesis 12).  He knew that the Egyptians worshiped the ram.   The offering of kosher animals which were worshped as gods by the pagans dates very far back in the Torah.  Noah brought only kosher animals (go back and re-read about the two pairs of unclean animals and seven pairs of clean animals he took with him.  Why so many clean (kosher) pairs?  To offer as sacrifices.
Hopefully that helps “Ma” understand the process a bit more.

  Quote this in your comment

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: