Pesach: reliving our deliverance

by Elze Erwteman

It is the time of preparation for Passover. A time of reflection and calibrate our faith. The rabbis describe the midwives in the days of Israel in Egypt in an interesting and engaging way. They explain the text and give us an fresh interpretation, “the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them: Why have you done this and let the boys live?” (Exodus1: 18-19). Rabbi Ohr haChayim is very surprised that the king asks: why have you done this, instead of why you have not slain the babies, as I have commanded.

Rabbis say that the king tried to find out why the midwives had deceived him. The babies are not slain, and the people are increasing in numbers. The king must have been surprised that the women dare to disobey him. The women get the chance to defend themselves. According to rabbi Netziv, Pharaoh had a certain feeling about the righteousness of the women and the knowledge that life is very sacred to Israel, to the point that they would rather die, than that they would spill blood of a fellow human being.

The King appreciates the midwives because they dare to risk their own lives. The midwives replied, “The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women, they are strong; before the midwife comes to them, they have already given birth “(Exodus 1:19). According to this rabbi is it so that the king of Egypt only wanted to speak to the women to work with him and motivate them for his murderous mission and indeed kill the children.

Rabbi Ezra explains that the Hebrew women are: ‘kie-chajot’. This means in Hebrew as wildlife. Rashi interprets this text so that the Hebrew women are as the beasts of the field, and their children are born without the help of midwives. The word “çhajot” has the word “chai” in it and that means life. The Hebrew women bring forth life out of their wombs, their uterus. The word womb is “racham ‘related’ to “rachoem” and means: merciful. The Lord makes Himself known in Exodus 34:6 as a compassionate G’d.

The Lord brings us so to speak in His womb, to give us new life. Passover is the time to celebrate new life that extends beyond death: eternal life. The Lord calls us to have a relationship with our Creator by laying down our old nature, “Yetzer hara” in ourselves. We have to acknowledge that we are sinners and need forgiveness from the Lord, Who is our Maker.

Before Pesach we take the leaven, chamets from our homes to show and feel that we all need deep cleansing and this can only come from the Lord, our Creator. Passover is a time of reliving our redemption and deliverance and we need our whole life to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Elohiem. Yeshua is our Pesach Lamb and we will rejoice because of His redemption. LeChajiem! Chag Pesach Sameach!