In Shmot 12:41, we are told that the people left Egypt on that very day

בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה

with Etzem referring to the specific and exact day.

Later, 12:46, in the laws of Pesach, we are commanded not to break any bones (the meforshim seem to indicate that doing so would indicate a level of hunger not appropriate for the Paschal sacrifice -- Chizkuni, that this is not the way free people eat -- Shadal, or a slowing down not appropriate when one is hurrying out of Egypt -- Bechor Shor).

וְעֶצֶם לֹא תִשְׁבְּרוּ בוֹ

Are there any commentaries or discussions which connect the word Etzem used in the two contexts? I can intuit that etymologically, they both relate to the essence of something, but is their use here purely a coincidence or is there any (even homiletic) connection made?

  • I could definitely hear someone saying that they left בעצם היום הזה because of the Karban Pesach, whose laws include עצם לא תשברו בו. Chazal do darshen ואומר לך בדמיך חיי ואומר לך בדמיך חיי as referring to the blood of Pesach and Bris.
    – DonielF
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


The intuitive etymological connection is made by Radak. I'm sure that there are others who make the same point as well...

I did manage to find a source for this connection here, although it still requires understanding as to what the connection (other than the words themselves) might be.

To summarize the content: Rabbi Jonathan Ziring (the author of this blogpost) notes a strange comment found in Sefer Imrei Noam, written by the Rishon ר‘ יעקב דילישקייאש מוינא, who lived in the 14th Century. The Imrei Noam writes:

ועצם לא תשברו בו- פירוש כשם שאני לא שברתי עצם, דכתיב בעצם היום הזה וגו’, גם אתם לא תשברו עצם.

Rabbi Ziring asks for help in understanding what exactly the Imrei Noam means. The comments on the blogpost contain a number of answers (summarized):

  1. The Ibn Ezra says that the bones must remain intact so that the Egyptians would recognize that their animals (and gods) were being eaten. Therefore, the connection is that we are openly eating their gods just as our God took us out openly.
  2. This Etzem law is an oddity intended to inspire and facilitate discussion about Yetzias Mitzrayim, so that we will discuss that we were taken out "B'Etzem Hayom" (similar to other Seder foods).
  3. God did not break his promise to take us out on that exact day, so too we may not break the bones of the Korban which reminds us of this.
  4. It is simply literary symbolism.
  5. Just as Hashem did not allow us to be broken by the Egyptians, so too we may not break the bones of the Korban which reminds us of this.

I think that 3 and 5 (regarding answer 5, see Rashi Bereishis 7:13) fit in best with the wording of the Imrei Noam, while 2 and 4 will serve as some sort of connection of the words that you were looking for.

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