“Remember this day that you left from Egypt” [Shemot 13:3]
The culmination of the plagues with which Hashem devastated the land
and the economy of Egypt took place on the 15th of the month of Nissan.
Hashem commanded His people to remember this day. In his work, “Shem Olam”
the Hafetz Haim explains why it is so important that we not only remember
the events of the Exodus but also keep the date of those miraculous events
on our minds.
The Gemara explains that Hashem appointed a force called a “mazal” for
everything in creation. Our sages say, “There is no blade of grass below
that does not have a Mazal above.” Even so, warns the Hafetz Haim, one
should not mistakenly believe that G-d has turned over the power and the
control to the mazal; there is no power other than G-d and there is no will
other than His. All forces are merely messengers of G-d created to do His
bidding and should He decide that the “natural” functioning of a creation
would not serve His purposes then He will change nature to bring about His
The Egyptians worshipped the mazal of the sheep or ram. The power of
that sign --Aries -- is at its peak every year in Nissan and the height of
its potency is on the 15th day of the lunar cycle, when the moon is full --
at midnight. What did Hashem do in order to show that He alone is the power
that controls all creation? He struck down the firstborn of the people of
Egypt at the time when the power that they worshipped was at its peak --
the 15th at midnight. Therefore the verse reads “remember THIS day…” that
even though it is the day for their god to have the most influence
possible on that day specifically Hashem hit with His fury to bring them
to submission. Remembering the DATE of the Exodus is an enhancement of our
appreciation of the power of Hashem and His demonstration of love for us.
TABLE TALK Question from the Parasha
Why did Hashem command Moshe to instruct the Jewish people to borrow
valuable jewelry and expensive clothing from the Egyptians? It would all
come into Jewish possession after the splitting of the sea and the drowning
of the Egyptians in any event.
Answer 1: If the Jews did not leave with the valuables then the Egyptians
might not pursue them and the miracle at the sea would not take place as
planned. This ploy brought about the spoils recovered at the sea. [Maor Va-
Answer 2: Since the Jews had run off with the possessions of the Egyptians
they would be reluctant to return to Egypt out of fear of reprisals by
their creditors. [Otsar Haim]
DID YOU KNOW THAT Squeezing fruit in order to extract the juice is in general forbidden both on Shabbat and Yom Tob. No fruit may be squeezed into an empty vessel or
into a liquid, regardless of whether it is squeezed by hand or with an
instrument. [E.g. squeezing lemons, oranges, or the juice out of shredded
carrots or chopping fruit to such an extent that it becomes liquefied].
On the other hand a lemon may be sliced and put into a drink, such as tea
or cold water, even though some of the juice may come out by itself.
It is permissible to squeeze fruit --by hand-- onto non-liquid food on
Shabbat and Yom Tob if the food will absorb most of the juice OR if the
juice will enhance the flavor of the food. [Source Shemirat Shabbat
K’Hilkheta, Chapter 5; 1-3]