What can we learn from the Jews being commanded to put blood on the doorposts of their homes in Egypt?

The Torah is nitzchis (eternal) but here we have a mitzvah which was specifically given for one time and place.

What can we learn from this which applies to our lives today since clearly we don't put blood on our doors?

  • "The Torah is nitzchis (eternal) but"... care to clarify what you mean by this?
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 3, 2015 at 14:12
  • 1
    A few things we learn (assuming we accept the story) are that God exists, he knows of the goings on Earth, there is reward and punishment (those who smeared the blood were spared while the Egyptian oppressors were killed). See the Ramban at the end of parshas Bo.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 3, 2015 at 14:15
  • 1
    Hishtadlus? To teach us that we have to do our part, even when we know that Hashem is running the show. See Ibn Ezra on that Pasuk. toratemetfreeware.com/online/f_01614.html#HtmpReportNum0011_L2 רק הטעם להיות הדם על המשקוף להיותו כופר בעד כל האוכל בבית ויהיה סימן למשחית שיראנו Nov 3, 2015 at 14:37
  • @mevaqesh, it sounds as though you have an answer. Why not post it as such, especially if you can source it?
    – msh210
    Nov 3, 2015 at 15:47
  • @mevaqesh everything in the Torah is written there for a purpose to teach us something which can be applicable for all times. so even when a story says something specific about a certain time or generation b/c it is is the Torah there is a lesson for us to apply to our own lives right now.
    – Dude
    Nov 4, 2015 at 5:25

2 Answers 2


(No sources; this is my own thinking.)

We learn that we must take positive action to affirm our relationship with God and k'lal Yisrael. Yisraelites who merited being spared from this affliction were nonetheless affected if they did not take action.

We learn that we sometimes must take public action to affirm our status as Yisraelim. The blood was placed on the doorposts and lintel, not on the inside of the door or on the floor just inside (where the destroyer would still see it in time). Publicly identifying ourselves as Jewish sometimes brings challenges, but if commanded by God to do something public we must nonetheless do so, whether we're talking about blood on doorposts in Egypt or covering one's head today (or refraining from work on Shabbat even if it causes loss, or keeping kosher even if it means subsisting on salad on business trips).

(I'm not sure what point you're raising about eternal torah versus specific-time commandments. We have other incidents where God commanded specific people to do specific things, ranging from journeys to military conquests to the akeidah. That doesn't necessarily mean there's a direct parallel today. But in the specific case of the last plague in Mitzrayim, which is what you asked about, I think there is.)

  • 1
    Rabbi Eli Mansour echoes many of your points in one of his derashot on Yeẓi'at Miẓrayim. B"N I'll find it.
    – Lee
    Nov 4, 2015 at 21:35
  • @Lee did you have a chance to look for R' Mansour's drash? I'd be interested in seeing it if you're able to find it. Thanks. Jan 26, 2016 at 14:21
  • Thanks for the reminder, @Monica Cellio. The derashah is "Parashat Bo: The Lesson of the Moon" from 2014 and the segment I recalled when reading your answer is 11:25-30:25. R' Mansour basis this segment of his derashah on the Be'er Yosef (R' Yosef Salant).
    – Lee
    Jan 26, 2016 at 15:14

What can we learn from the Jews being commanded to put blood on the doorposts of their homes in Egypt?

There is life in the blood.

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

This blood allowed death to pass by.

Exodus 12:13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

There is atonement in a sacrifice of blood that allows us to pass out of death into life.

It is both an act of faith and trusting in the promises of God as well as an act of declaration that separates us from the world which is contaminated with sin.

We should “paint” our lives with the “blood” of sacrifice to God so that he may see it and take our declaration as a statement of faith in him and grant us eternal life.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .