What is one of the lessons that we can learn from the korban pesach?
In the hagaddah we read בדמייך חיי – “With the blood of the korban pesach you will live.” What does that mean? Listen to me because this is of utmost importance. Just because we were willing to throw away the ideas of the environment around us and to demonstrate that we are the servants of Hashem – that alone gave us the right to live forever. By slaughtering the god of the Egyptians, we were demonstrating that we disregard completely all of the ideals of the gentiles; and because of that blood of the korban pesach, Hashem said, “You will live.” בדמייך חיי.
We shouldn’t lose sight of this great significance of the korban pesach. It’s two ideas but they are really one. Number one is that Hashem skipped over us. And why did he skip over us? Because we slaughtered the god of the Egyptians in their presence. Moshe Rabeinu said: הן נזבח את תועבת מצרים לעיניהם ולא יסקלונו – “Won’t the Egyptians stone us if we slaughter their avodah zarah?!” But we did it anyhow. And that’s why Hashem skipped over the Am Yisroel and that’s why we’re going to live forever.
The navi says, בדמייך חיי – “You will live forever because of the blood that you shed.” Now, the dam milah was there too, but the dam of the korban Pesach was a much more perilous thing to do. And it’s a symbol actually, of what is expected of us. We are expected to slaughter all of the ideals of the umos ha’olam. You have to slaughter the ideal of literature. Literature is false. The literature of the gentile world is all false literature. It never happened. It’s fiction. People today have accustomed themselves to fiction, to drama and it’s all false! People are being paid to act in a certain way. It’s all false. You have to slaughter their movies. You have to slaughter their music. You have to slaughter all their sports. A Jew is not interested in sports. No interest at all, unless he’s exercising for himself, for his health. Otherwise, it’s nothing.
When I was in Slabodka, somebody needed a visa to be able to come to America. Today he is one of the gedolei ha’dor (The Rav was referring to Rav Elya Svei זצ”ל). I was an American boy and I spoke a good English, so I went to the Consul to ask for the visa. So I spoke with the Consul and then he says, “Oh, you come from America? What’s the score?” There were big baseball games going on in America so he asks me, “What’s the score?” The first thing you ask when you see a landsman is, “What’s the score?” A meshugas! Meshuganehs!
When I came back from Europe, I was walking in Baltimore on the street minding my own business and somebody shouts out at me from across the street, “Mister, what’s the score?” He’s asking me for the score! People live with the idea that that is what’s important. A man with a stick and he’s hitting a ball. That’s important. That’s the big news. Newspapers have whole sections devoted to that.
So the Am Yisroel slaughtered this avodah zarah of all the things that are important to the gentiles. And they were demonstrating that it’s a sin to be gentilized. It’s a sin to be Americanized. You can be a good, loyal citizen, but don’t Americanize! As much as possible you must rid yourself of the all these gentile ideas. There’s so much that you have to slaughter. There are many worse things than sports. And when the Am Yisroel is able to slaughter all the avodah zarah – all the ideals and ideas and attitudes of the goyim – then Hashem says, “If that’s the case, then I’m going to skip over you. The destroyer will destroy everybody else, but will skip over you.” And that’s one of the most important lessons that you can learn from the korban Pesach.
TAPE # E-126 (April 2000)