- Origin of Pesach
- Four generations
Origin of Pesach:
Pesach points back to the historical origin of the festival in the exodus from Egypt.
Rabbinical teaching distinguishes between the Egyptian Passover and the Permanent Passover. On its first institution Pesach required that the head of every house on Nisan 10 should select either a lamb or a kid of the goats, without blemish, of less than twelve months of life. Later, Jewish ordinances dating after the return from Babylon required that the Nisan 10 selection be limited to an unblemished lamb, less than twelve months old. In ancient times, and in some parts of the world even today, the first year of life of the child is completed at birth; therefore, a mere twelve months after the little one’s birth he or she is considered two years old, not one. Therefore, this is what is meant by the sacrifice being no more than one year old:
The little lamb must be innocent and harmless, like an infant; less than twelve months old.
It has been further explained that the four days previous to the slaying of the lamb on Nisan 14 refer to the “four generations” (four hundred years) that passed after the children of Israel (our ancestors) went down into Egypt.