|The Profundities of Torah-Haggadah-In Lamb’s Clothing|
|Written by HaRav Yochanan Zweig|
The Baal Haggadah cites the prophet Yechezkel to describe Bnei Yisroel’s state of spiritual bankruptcy in Egypt as “eirom ve’erya” - “naked and bare”.1 What is being emphasized by stating that Bnei Yisroel were both naked and bare, an apparent redundancy? According to most texts, the Baal Haggadah continues to quote Yechezkel, saying that when Hashem found Bnei Yisroel in such a downtrodden state, He said to them “You shall live through your blood, live through your blood.”2 The Midrash explains that the two mentions of blood refer to the blood of circumcision and the blood of the Korban Pesach. These two mitzvos gave Bnei Yisroel the merit necessary to depart from Egypt.3 How are circumcision and Korban Pesach the antidote for “naked and bare”?
“Eirom” - “naked” refers to a level of nakedness in which the person feels the embarrassment and humiliation of being naked. When Adam and Chava ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware of their nakedness and hid. Hashem asked Adam “Who told you ‘that you are naked’” - “ki eirom atah?”.4 Hashem was asking Adam who told him that his nakedness should cause him embarrassment. “Erya” is derived from the word “erva” which alludes to licentiousness and immorality. This is a level at which a person loses his G- dly image and no longer senses shame or humiliation when he is naked. This type of person is no different than an animal. The desensitization of a human being’s basic sense of shame comes about through consistent involvement in immoral behavior. In a similar fashion, man can desist from following Hashem’s directives, yet still sense the shame in not fulfilling the word of G-d. However, if man becomes completely comfortable with his actions and desensitized to this shame, he can lose touch with what is required of him as a human being.
Prior to the Exodus, Bnei Yisroel had fallen to the forty-ninth gate of impurity. The Navi Yechezkel is teaching us that they did not even feel the shame of being “naked”, devoid of any spirituality, for their servitude to Pharaoh coupled with their involvement in idol worship had so dehumanized them that they were unable to feel the shame of their condition.
The Talmud teaches that idol worship is the medium a person uses to indulge in licentiousness.5 As long as a person feels the shame and embarrassment of immoral behavior he cannot fully enjoy the licentiousness. Therefore, such a person has to divest himself of his Divine image and his responsibility to his Creator.
Idol worship is the manner by which he accomplishes both.
as such is also involved in licentious behavior.6 These two mitzvos were given to undo the process which led from idol worship to licentiousness. The Rambam explains that circumcision is a symbol of morality and is specifically performed on the organ for procreation to teach us to sublimate our desires and energies for the service of our Creator.7 This counteracts the animal-like behavior which caused Bnei Yisroel to lose touch with their spirituality.
The sacrificing of the Pascal lamb is explained by the Ramban as being the ultimate rejection of idol worship. The lamb was an Egyptian deity and therefore, slaughtering the lamb signified Bnei Yisroel’s proclamation of their loyalty to Hashem.8 Consequently, these two mitzvos are designed to counteract the process which landed Bnei Yisroel at the forty-ninth level of impurity.
1.Yechezkel 16:6 2.Ibid 16:7 3.Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 129 4.Bereishis 3:11 5.Sanhedrin 62b 6.Gittin 13a 7. Moreh Chelek 3 8.Parshas Bo
Question of the Week:
We begin the Magid portion of the Haggadah with the recital of “Ha Lachma Anya” in which we invite whoever is hungry to come and eat. This invitation appears to be at the wrong time for Kiddush has already been recited, in the wrong place for it is issued in theprivacy of our own homes, and in a language which most people no longer understand. What purpose does this invitation serve?