Pesach and Milah

The first of the Aseres HaDibros, when we are commanded to believe in God, begin not with ‘because I created the world’; but instead”I am the Lord your God, who took you out of Egypt”. Why is this so? It seems that our belief in HaShem goes beyond the fact that He created the world, but a new and deeper understanding unique to the Jewish people as a result of the Mitzrayim experience. What is this?
At the Seder we are to tell over the events of Yetzias Mitzrayim. What is the point of doing this? On one level it is to feel gratitude towards HaShem for our redemption. But it would seem that there is more to be learnt. It seems that we are to learn a lesson about our unique relationship with HaShem as a result of those events and apply it to ourselves. Let us examine one part of the Hagadah and see what this is.
In the Hagadah we learn the following Pasuk:
ורב – כמה שנאמר, רבבה כצמח השדה נתתיך ותרבי ותגדלי ותבואי בעדי עדיים שדים נכונו ושערך צמח ואת ערום ועריה: ואעבור עליך ואראך מתבוססת בדמיך, ואומר לך בדמיך חיי ואומר לך בדמיך חיי:
I passed by you and saw you kicking around helplessly in your blood. I said to you as you lay there in your blood, “Live!” I said to you as you lay there in your blood, “Live!” I made you plentiful like sprouts in a field; you grew tall and came of age so that you could wear jewelry. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, but you were still naked and bare
The Midrash explains that we remind ourselves that before Yetzias Mitzrayim we were naked and unclothed from any Mitzvos, and then in order to redeem us, HaShem gave us two Mitzvos of blood; Bris Milah and Korbon Pesach . These are not two random Mitzvos. The connection between these two Mitzvos is so powerful that there is special Halacha that someone who does not have a Bris Milah cannot eat from the Pesach. This extends even to the extent that someone whose children do not have Milah also cannot bring a Pesach. This connection between Pesach and Milah needs to be clarified.
This connection appears also in one of the pivotal events in Jewish history. This is when Avrahom changes from being an individual person who believes in HaShem to Avrahom Avinu, the progenitor of a nation that will be unique in the history of the world in its relationship with HaShem. This takes place while he is recovering from his Bris Milah. He is visited by the three angels, and is told about the imminent birth of his son Yitzchak. Interestingly this takes place on Pesach . What is the connection between Pesach and Milah, that we find these two Mitzvos together again? In order to understand this let us examine an idea of RYI (Rav Yitzchak Isaac) Chaver .
The Gemarra tells us that Bris Milah is special in that thirteen Brisim- covenants- are made through it between HaShem and the Jewish people. However, there is a previous Bris which was made between HaShem and the world in general. This was made between HaShem and Noach after the Mabul. If we examine the Pesukim we find that there are seven Brisim made there. What is the significance of these two different types Brisim and their number?
Explains RYI Chaver that there are two levels of interaction between HaShem and the world. The Bris of Noach is described in the Pasuk as being, “All the days of the world, winter and summer, day and night, and sowing and reaping will not change.“ This is the Bris of Noach that guarantees that Bereishis, the ‘natural’ order of the world as established by HaShem at creation, will continue. This is the way of the Seven Days of Creation, and the seven covenants are to re-establish that order after the Mabul. The Seven Commandments of the sons of Noach are the spiritual source for the continuation of the world in this manner through these seven Brisim of Noach.
However, these seven Brisim are all connected to only negative Mitzvos. A negative commandment does not instill new spiritual energy into the world. All it can do is to make sure that the world will not be harmed. This interaction changed when HaShem gave the Jews the Torah, and a new level of Mitzvah was revealed. These are the positive Mitzvos of Klal Yisroel which can change the world by lifting it to higher spiritual level. This change was not only in the addition of positive Mitzvos, but even in the negative Mitzvos themselves. They also now contain the spiritual energy to enhance the world. As it says in the Mechilta , even the acceptance of the negative commandments at Matan Torah was in a positive way; “Even on the negative statements the Jews responded with an affirmation. “ This is also the meaning of the Halacha that one who refrains from a negative commandment is as if they fulfilled a positive mitzvah . However is seems that this is uniquely for Klal Yisroel . When Avrohom Avinu began the Jewish people this change took place.
The first Mitzvah which Avrohom Avinu accepted was Bris Milah. Bris Milah is almost subversive. It says that now a Jew can take the raw material of the world that God created and fashion it into something even more Holy and spiritual. This Mitzvah exemplifies this idea and these are the Thirteen Brisim of Bris Milah. They uplift the Seven Days of Creation and form them into something greater and more spiritual. This is a covenant between us and HaShem that we can be ‘partners’ in the formation of a spiritual world.
The foundation of this power is found in the study and performance of the Torah. But the concentration of this connection is not in the Written Torah, but in the Oral Law. This is the ability to create new Chidushim in Torah. This ability is found first and foremost in the thirteen methods to Darshan the Torah. From our ability to create Torah comes our ability to create from the raw material of creation something even more Godly. This is the source of Bris Milah, and the thirteen Brisim that it contains.
This level of interaction between the Jews and God was clarified at the time of Yetzias Mitzrayim. At that time God changed the usual actions of the natural order of the Seven Days of Creation. The Makos and Krias Yam Suf were to teach us that HaShem and the Jewish people have this unique relationship. All of the natural order was subverted for the deliverance of Klal Yisroel. Therefore to properly remember Yetzias Mitzrayim, one needs to first do Bris Milah. One needs to create the relationship with HaShem that is over and above that of the Sons of Noach, a positive relationship that influences the world to a new and higher level of spirituality.
This is the deeper lesson of the Hagadah. We need to learn from those actions that HaShem did for us, that we exist on a different level from the rest of the world. Our obligation is to forge that relationship with HaShem that shows that there is a direct connection between us and Him. That is why the basis of our Emunah, the first of the Aseres HaDibros, refers not to the creation of the world, but to Yetzias Mitzrayim; which is our unique connection with HaShem. This is to realize that our Mitzvos create a new world, lifted to a higher Godly level connecting us with HaShem, who allows us to lift ourselves and the world with us, to higher and higher levels of spirituality.


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