Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky
Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky

Korban Pesach and Tefillin: The Sanctity of the Jewish Home

"V'shamarta es hachuka hazos - You should observe this law." There is a dispute whether this pasuk is referring to the law of the korban Pesach or the law of Tefillin, since the previous pesukim speak of both of these mitzvos and therefore it is unclear which this pasuk is addressing. There is are strong links between the Mitzvos of korban Pesach and Tefillin. They are both remembrances of yetzias Mitzrayim. The primary theme of the first two parshios of Tefillin is yetzias Mitzrayim, with a description of korban Pesach playing a prominent role. Tefillin are not only a way to remember yetzias Mitzrayim, but also reinforce a primary theme of korban Pesach.

One's home is a theme that permeates the observance of korban Pesach, particularly the first one that was brought in Mitzrayim. The halachos of korban Pesach revolve around the home. The blood is placed on the doorpost, the meat is eaten inside the house, and nobody may leave the house until morning. The offering of the korban Pesach is consumed by family units and neighbors. Even in subsequent generations the preparation for Pesach focuses on removing chometz from one's home.

The significance of the Jewish home connects the beginning and the end of Sefer Sehmos. The Jewish People are described as the "beis Yaakov - the house of Yaakov" in the opening pasuk of Sefer Shemos. The sefer concludes with "beis Yisroel - the house of Israel" seeing Hashem's Glory resting on the Mishkan. The goal of Sefer Shemos is to transform the Jewish home into a place worthy of the Divine Presence. Hashem's presence is not relegated to the Mishkan, rather the Mishkan serves as a model for sanctity in every home. The celebration of Pesach involves not only visiting the Beis HaMikdash but also the preparation of our homes as smaller Mishkans. Just as the flour offerings in the Beis HaMikdash are free of chometz the entire year, during the week of Pesach our homes are elevated to the status of a mikdash and all of the chometz must be removed. Similarly, the first korban Pesach didn't require an actual mizbeach since the doorpost to every home served that purpose.

In addition to our actual homes serving as places for the Shechina to dwell, we carry with us two smaller "houses" that embody the same ideals as the Beis HaMikdash. The Tefillin are referred to as "batim - houses." These "houses" must be square similar to the mizbeach of the Beis HaMikdash. Just as the Mishkan, and later the Beis HaMikdash, housed the words of Torah found in the Luchos, so too the batim of the Tefillin house the parshiyos that speak of our commitment to the words of the Torah. Chazal teach us that all parts of Tefillin must be made from Kosher animal products just as the Mishkan had to meet this requirement. The batim of the Tefillin and our homes on Pesach remind us that Hashem can rest his presence anywhere. The Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash inspire us to find Hashem in our own homes and family life. As we look at our miniature Mishkan tied to our arms and placed on our heads we remember the message of the korban Pesach. We must find Hashem everywhere and at all times. We can transform the "house of Yaakov" into a "house of Israel" in which we can always see the Divine Presence resting.

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