“And when Pharoah obdurately refused to let us go, the Lord slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt, the first- born of both man and beast. Therefore, I will sacrifice to the Lord every male that first opens the womb, and redeem all my firstborn sons.”
SO Pharoah’s obdurance forced G-d’s hand to destroy Egypt. To destroy it’s economy, infrastructure, environment as well as it’s ‘gods’ and religion. To kill thousands of animals, wipe out crops, and immobilize daily life for hundreds of thousands. And finally killed boy children, brothers, fathers and uncles simply because they were first-born?
THEREFORE, B’nei Yisroel must sacrifice, bring sacrifices of redemption? And to keep these commandments throughout all future generations. “Therefore, I will sacrifice…” There’s a direct connection between the Egyptian catastrophes and subsequent Jewish practices. But what is it? A kind of penitence because the Jews were one of the links that led to the massive loss of life in the final plague? Or are we to identify with it, and own our part, by our eternal sacrifices to balance the divine scale of justice?
On one level it’s like a simple scenario: Our sacrifices of the firstborn, which are done by transferring the judgments placed on us to our first-born fruits, or animals prevent our own death. The first-born (Chachmah) is therefore reduced rather than eliminated. Our collective potency is reduced at the outset of the
birth of the firstborn, who is destined to be returned to his source without passing through the worldly digestion of our collective bodies. The utility is entirely spiritual and remember the link to the Egyptian’s demise, that was both physical and spiritual.
The equation remains: ‘Pharaoh refused the Jews—G-d slew every firstborn—now the Jews must sacrifice—the firstborn are redeemed. If A=B=C=D, then A=D (Pharaoh refuses=firstborn are redeemed. B=C (G-d slew—Jews sacrifice). B—D (Egyptians firstborn dies— Jewish firstborn are redeemed). All the variations can seem to equate but we have no proofs,
and we know there is more beyond our consciousness, a flowing river, a child playing, the movement of the spheres and the breath passing as we inhale again.
Last thought, Shana Tova L’chem