This week’s Parsha, Parshat Bo, describes how the Jewish people needed to put blood on their doorposts so Hashem would pass over their houses when He was killing the Egyptians’ firstborn sons; "והיה הדם לכם לאת על הבתים אשר אתם שם" -“The blood shall be a sign for you upon the houses where you are.”
When looking at the words that Hashem chose, it can seem peculiar. Shouldn’t the pasuk have said “לי” (“for me”) instead of “לכם” (“for you”)? Why did the Jewish people need a sign? Wasn’t the blood on their doorposts supposed to be a sign for Hashem?
A prophet had a prophecy that said, “גָּד֣וֹל יִֽהְיֶ֡ה כְּבוֹד֩ הַבַּ֨יִת הַזֶּ֚ה הָאַֽחֲרוֹן֙ מִן־הָ֣רִאשׁ֔וֹן” which means “Greater shall be the glory of the latter house than the former”. The Talmud explains that this prophecy is talking about how the second Beit Hamikdash would physically be taller than the first. It would also be standing for a longer period of time. A non-Jew once approached the Rashba and asked him the following question, “Since the prophet referred to the second Beit Hamikdash as “acharon” (last), how do the Jews believe that when Mashiach will come there will be a third Beit Hamikdash?”
The Rashba answered that “acharon” doesn’t just mean “last”; it also has another meaning which is “second”. In order to prove this to the non-Jew, he brought up Hashem’s conversation with Moshe. When Hashem asked Moshe to go down to Egypt and tell the Jewish people that He would free them, Moshe responded by asking what he should do if the Jews doubted him? Therefore, Hashem gave Moshe three signs with which to prove his truthfulness to the Jewish people. The first sign was the staff turning into a snake, and the second was his hand having leprosy. Then, before showing him the third sign, Hashem said to Moshe, “It shall be that if they don’t believe you and don’t listen to the voice of “ha’ot harishon” (“the first sign”), they will believe the voice of “ha’ot ha’acharon” (“the latter sign”). Although there was a third sign, He referred to the second sign as “acharon”. From this, we can understand that the word “acharon” doesn’t always translate to “last” but it can also mean “second”.
Hashem told the Jewish people that the third sign, which was the blood, would be “a sign for them” that there would be a third Beit Hamikdash, even though the prophet referred to the second one as “acharon”. This is why Hashem specifically said a “sign for you”; He himself did not need a sign to be able to locate the Egyptians’ firstborn sons. We should strive to learn Torah as well as do many mitzvot so one day Moshiach will come and build the third Beit Hamikdash.
By: Dominique Behar (12th Grade)