Jumping for Passover: Part 2
We mentioned in Part 1 that the Hebrew name for the holiday of Passover is Pesach and the sacrifice associated with that holiday is likewise known as the Korban Pesach (Pesach Sacrifice). We cited Rashi’s explanation (to Exodus 12:11; 12:13; and Isaiah 31:5) that the word pesach is an expression of dilug and kefitzah, both of which are words for jumping. Indeed, the Paschal Sacrifice is called the Korban Pesach because it commemorates
In Part 1 we explained the major difference between the two words for “jumping” by noting that the word dilug focuses on one who “jumps” as a means of skipping over something, and the word kefitzah focuses on one who “jumps” as a means of travelling faster. Rashi’s comment that the word Pesach is an expression of both dilug and kefitzah means that the word Pesach has both of these elements, especially in regard to
Rabbi Avigdor Neventzhal (Chief Rabbi Emeritus of the Old City of Jerusalem) points out the obvious: when we speak of
In a similar vein, Rabbi Nachshon Schiller focuses on the haste with which the Exodus from Egypt occurred. Kabbalistic sources assert that during their stay in Egypt, the Jews had alarmingly fallen to the forty-ninth level of impurity and seriously required the Divine intervention of the Exodus. The urgency of the matter is highlighted by the Jews’ descent to the depths of impurity. Had the Jews remained in that land for an extra moment they would have plunged to the fiftieth level of impurity, from whence it would be impossible to recover. Therefore,
To summarize, the Exodus from Egypt has both an element of “skipping” and an element of “speed”, concepts which shed light on Rashi’s comment that Pesach is related to dilug and kefitzah. In redeeming the Jews,
Before concluding I would like to point out another insight related to the Hebrew word pesach — and its verb form poseach. Those wordsshare their etymological root with the Hebrew word piseach (lame or immobile). The root of both words is the letter combination peh-samech-chet. This occurrence is a poignant example of a common phenomenon in the Hebrew language whereby words whose meanings are conceptually diametric opposite are sometimes phonetically/orthographically similar (i.e. they are spelled or pronounced the same). This phenomenon illustrates the notion that words in the Hebrew language are not mere happenstance based on human whims, but possess inherent meanings and follow a Divine intuition not found in other languages. Therefore, a paralyzed person or an amputee who has been rendered immobile is known as a piseach, a word which resembles the very mobile act of “jumping” (poseach).
- Author’s note: Le’Zechut Refuah Shleimah for Bracha bat Chaya Rachel