Rabbi Cliff Maynard
Torah – Exodus 10:1-13:16 Haftarah – Jeremiah 46:13-28 Brit Chadashah – Luke 22:7-30; 1 Corinthians 11:20-34
At the time of the writing of this week’s parasha, we are in the midst of quite the winter cold snap here in North Carolina. Springtime may seem far off. Many of you are likely dreaming about the warmer weather and joy of not having to stoke the fire or bundle up in layers of clothing to fight off the chilly temperatures. You are not alone! Even this parasha (portion) calls to us to look forward to the Spring Feasts of ADONAI.
The Torah portion takes us through the final 3 plagues in Egypt and then takes us to the observance of the first Pesach (Passover.)
Even as I write this, I am still a bit overwhelmed at the staggering importance of the lessons contained in the above listed verses. As always, there is plenty of meat to chew upon that is timely and Divinely inspired.
First, let’s take a look at a few verses that speak about the Pesach.
Exodus 12:11-14, “This is how you shall eat it: with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is the L-RD’s Pesach. 12 For I will go through the land of Mitzrayim in that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Mitzrayim, both man and animal. Against all the gods of Mitzrayim I will execute judgments: I am the L-RD. 13 The blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be on you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Mitzrayim. 14 This day shall be to you for a memorial, and you shall keep it a feast to the L-RD: throughout your generations you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.” (HNV)
The HNV (Hebrew Names Version) uses the word “Pesach.” While the meaning on the pashat (surface) level is indeed true that the Pesach is a passover in the sense that the houses of those who followed the Mitzvah (Command) concerning the Passover and displayed the blood of the Lamb on the door posts and lentils were spared during that awful plague. There is something just below the surface that begs to be investigated.
The sages tell an interesting story that may or not be true in its details, but the midrash (parable or story) teaches a lesson that certainly is applicable in our lives today and is essential to our growth as followers of Yeshua (Jesus).
Pesach can be literally translated as “speaking mouth” or “mouth that speaks.” As the story goes, the angels protested to G-d when it came to sparing the lives of the Hebrews. After all, they stated the Hebrews had given themselves to idolatry, just like the Egyptians had and therefore were guilty and should be put to death.
In the spiritual realm, at least, there could not be seen any difference between the Hebrews or their Egyptian captors. The sages say that the one thing that set the Hebrews apart was that their speech was different. They spoke softly and gently. They spoke with kindness and without malice. The lack of l’shon Harra (evil tongue) set them apart from the rest who were destined to be destroyed.
During this time, you may find yourself tempted to speak out in anger against a brother or sister in the L-RD. You may be tempted to engage in idle speech or gossip. These things bring judgement upon ourselves. Of course, l’shon harra is never acceptable to be part of our
lives in any way. This time of year we ought to pay particular attention to realigning ourselves with ADONAI and His Mitzvah in order to connect with Him in a deeper and more meaningful way. Especially now as we move toward the Blessed Spring Feast Days, which were so perfectly fulfilled by Yeshua. We should be preparing ourselves for this spiritual journey, if you will.
Our Brit Chadashah (New Covenant) verses we will look at below illustrate the importance of entering into the Pesach/Passover in a right, or proper manner. We ought to examine ourselves and again, align ourselves that we may be found worthy.
1 Corinthians 11:26-31, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the L-rd’s death until he comes. 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the L-rd’s cup in a manner unworthy of the L-rd will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he doesn’t discern the L-rd’s body. 30 For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. 31 For if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged.”
In the above verses, you can see that it is critical to our health even, that we approach this time and observe these days in a proper manner.
It is far better that we examine our hearts daily and ask the Father to reveal to us areas where we need to forgive and areas we need to be forgiven. We ought to ask for Him to show us areas we need to grow and petition Him for the strength to change and grow. We all like to quote the benefits to being heirs of Abraham. That is easy and pleasant. But, we need to be mindful that if we fail to live according to His way that we run the risk of suffering the plagues and punishments found in this book as well.
May you be strengthened as you continue to walk in Him! Shalom!