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GENESIS — 1:28 fruitful

GEN150 Be fruitful and multiply. Hashem desires that the world be populated. The fulfillment of all of the other mitzvos depends on this, because commandments are for human beings, not for angels. Those who deliberately neglect this mitzvah are severely punished because they indicate that they do not want to fulfill Hashem’s will that the world be populated.


GENESIS — 17:10 circumcised

GEN878 Circumcision. Hashem wants a permanent sign on the bodies of Jewish males in order to set our nation apart from all other nations. He wants us to be physically distinguishable from the other nations, just as we differ from them spiritually. Why are males not born circumcised? Why does the Torah require Jews to perform circumcision on Jewish males? Through this commandment, the Creator alludes to a deep spiritual truth: Just as it is for us to perfect the male body through circumcision, it is possible for us to perfect our souls through our actions.


GENESIS — 32:33 thigh-vein

GEN1400 Do not eat the sinew of the thigh-vein. During a fearsome nighttime struggle, Esav’s angel sought to eliminate Yaakov and his descendants, but succeeded only in wounding Yaakov (in the thigh, Ed.). The sun, however, cast its rays on Yaakov’s wound, curing him. This event is a metaphor for the Jewish People's existence in Exile. Widely scattered throughout the world, the Jewish nation will suffer many types of hardships and ordeals at the hands of the peoples amongst whom they are dispersed. Each Jew should know that even so, the Jewish nation will survive and the redemption will come. By keeping this mitzvah and internalizing its message, Jews gain reassurance. Thus strengthened, the nation is better able to retain its faith, righteousness and trust in Hashem.


EXODUS — 12:9 roasted

EXOD148 Do not eat meat of the Pesach offering raw or cooked. The Torah specifies that the meat of the Pesach offering must be roasted in order to help the People of Israel remember the miraculous Exodus from Egypt. At that time, the Jewish people went from slavery to freedom. It is the way of kings and their courtiers (who are free, not enslaved) to eat roasted meat, for roasting seals in the juices and imparts a very tasty flavor. Usually, the little meat that commoners eat is cooked. On the Seder night, we conduct ourselves like princes enjoying their freedom and eat the meat of the Pesach offering roasted, in the manner of royalty. [We eat the roasted meat of the Pesach offering only when the beis HaMikdash is standing in Jerusalem. Current practice is to avoid eating any roasted meat on the Seder night so that no one will think the meat dish is a Pesach offering, which we cannot bring in the interim. Ed.] Another reason for eating the meat roasted is to recall that the Children of Israel left Egypt in haste. There was no time to cook the meat in a pot.


EXODUS — 12:10 leave

EXOD149 Do not leave over any meat of the Pesach offering. Our nation must recall the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt, and it must be fixed in our hearts that Hashem redeemed us, freed us and elevated us to greatness. We became like kings, and a king has no need to leave over food from one day to the next. If any meat of the Pesach offering remains on the morning of the 15th of Nisan, it must be burned, as kings do to dispose of what it is no longer of any use to them.


EXODUS — 12:43 apostate

EXOD165 Do not give the meat of the Pesach offering to an apostate Jew. As explained earlier (Mitzvah 5 [i.e., Exodus 12:6]-AJL), we bring the Pesach offering to recall the miracles in Egypt. The offering reminds us that at Pesach time we took shelter under the wings of the Divine Presence and entered the covenant of the Torah and emunah (faith). It is therefore not fitting for us to join in this meal with a person who has disconnected himself from the Torah and whose actions contradict the beliefs of the Jewish nation.


EXODUS — 12:45 settler

EXOD167 Do not give the meat of the Pesach offering to non-Jews, even those who accept some of the mitzvos or have begun the process of conversion. Do not give of the Pesach offering to any non-Jew, even to a תושב (toshav) or a שוכר (sochir). [A toshav is a non-Jew who accepted upon himself not to serve idols (but does not abstain from eating the meat of animals that died without ritual slaughter). A sochir is a non-Jew who has undergone circumcision for the sake of converting to Judaism but still lacks ritual immersion in a kosher mikveh under the supervision of a beis din.] To recall the Exodus from Egypt. Because the Pesach offering commemorates our emancipation from slavery, as well as our entering a covenant with Hashem, it is fitting that only full-fledged Jews partake of the offering. Non-Jews, even those who are in the process of converting but have not yet entered the covenant completely, are excluded.


EXODUS — 12:46 break

EXOD168 Do not break any bone of the Pesach offering. Like many of the other commandments listed above, this one signifies that at the time of the Exodus, we became like royalty. Dogs break bones and suck on them, and so do starving and impoverished people, but such behavior is inappropriate for royalty. At the time of the Exodus, Hashem chose us from all of the other peoples of the world. He selected us to become a nation of priests and a holy people. Every year on the night of the 15th of Nisan it is fitting for us to behave in ways that recall that on this night we received this special, elevated status. Due to our actions, this idea becomes permanently imprinted upon our hearts. It should not puzzle you that Hashem gave us so many commandments to remind us of the miracles that we experienced in Egypt. One such reminder is not enough, because people are influenced by their actions. Always, whatever deed a person does, his thoughts and emotions are drawn into it, whether the deed is good or bad. If a nasty, malicious person learns Torah studiously and does mitzvos on a steady basis, his personality will improve, even if initially his learning and good deeds are not performed for the sake of Heaven. In the same way, if a great tzaddik is forced to regularly do evil, he will abandon his honorable ways and will become totally wicked. Due to this principle of human behavior, Hashem gave us a vast Torah containing a great number of mitzvos. He wants us to be constantly involved in Torah and mitzvos, so that our hearts and thoughts always are occupied in acts of virtue. Performance of mitzvos will influence us to steadily become better people and earn for ourselves eternal life in the World to Come. The events of the Exodus from Egypt are the basis for many fundamental principles of Judaism. The One Above intentionally gave us many commandments that remind us of this key episode in world history. He deliberately makes these mitzvos a mainstay of our Torah, because frequent involvement in performing these mitzvos make a deep and important impression upon us. It greatly helps us to think and behave in line with the fundamental principles of the Jewish faith, at all times.


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