Bamidbar Nine: Passover Sacrifice

In the second year that the Israelites were in the desert, God reminded them about the Passover sacrifice that they must make every year. “On the afternoon of the fourteenth of this month, you shall make it in its appointed time; in accordance with all its statutes and all its ordinances you shall make it (Numbers 9:3).” As with most things in Torah, there are numerous rules that must be followed and standards that have to be met in order to properly make the sacrifice. For example, men who are ritually unclean from interacting with dead bodies are forbidden from participating in the sacrifice. However, because of the importance of the Passover offering, men in this category still wanted to be able to participate. “Those men said to him, ‘We are ritually unclean with a dead person; why should we be excluded so as not to bring the offering of the Lord in its appointed time with all the children of Israel (Numbers 9:7)?'” Moses understands and asks God what to do under these circumstances. God also understands, and an exception is made for this situation, allowing those who are unclean from interacting with the dead to participate in Passover. “In the second month, on the fourteenth day, in the afternoon, they shall make it; they shall eat it with unleavened cakes and bitter herbs. They shall not leave over anything from it until the next morning, and they shall not break any of its bones. They shall make it in accordance with all the statutes connected with the Passover sacrifice. But the man who was ritually clean and was not on a journey, yet refrained from making the Passover sacrifice, his soul shall be cut off from his people, for he did not bring the offering of the Lord in its appointed time; that person shall bear his sin (Numbers 9:11-13).”

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