#PesachPrep: T minus 18 days: What it’s all about

The farmer who takes some of his first fruits to the Beis Hamikdash declares
הִגַּדְתִּי הַיּוֹם
“I declare today.”
The Hebrew word is Hagada. There is a word-to-word connection between Bikkurim and Pesach. That is nice as a pseudo “Gezeira Shava”. But what lies beneath it?
The simplest, and truest answer, is that Mikra Bikkurim is about the farmer expressing gratitude to God not for giving him good produce, or a good harvest, but for giving the Jewish People the Land of Israel.

And the farmer doesn’t just say “Thank you for the Land of Israel.” He thanks God for the entire flow of history that led to that gift of the land, going all the way back to his first Aramean ancestor. According to the Hagada, that is a reference to Yaakov, who almost lost the promise to Lavan. Lavan could have destroyed it all by killing Yaakov before he even returned to the land with his family. But Yaakov survived that assault, and proceeded to continue the story of God’s promise to Avraham that his descendants would inherit the Land of Cnaan.

It’s all about that promise to Avraham Avinu that his descendants would permanently inherit Eretz Yisrael.

Avraham asked “How will I know?” i.e. What is the down payment on that IOU?
He is told, “The experience of foreignness and slavery, and the redemption from those things, is the down payment.”

This is the whole meaning of Pesach. The Exodus is the Down Payment, of the full promissory note, which is bringing us to Eretz Yisrael and having a Beis Hamikdash.

Hence, the first-fruits declaration.
Hence, Yehoshua’s farewell speech, which is at the settlement of the Land.
Hence, the full meaning in Dayeinu.
Hence, “next year in the land of Israel.”

It’s not about the Exodus as Exodus. It’s about what the Exodus means in the context of all of Jewish history.


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