During a Brit, last week, Rabbi Pesach Krohn mentioned how special it is when someone has a brit during Pesach as there is a close connection of these two events.

Indeed, I found these connections:

  • An uncircumcised person may not eat Korban Pesach (See Shmot 12:48)
  • Both mitzvoth seem to be the only two positive commandments for which there is the punishment of karet if one does not perform them. (Mishna, Kereitot 1:1) (Although, there is a Pesach Sheini allowed for certain circumstances.) Refer to Breishit 17:14 regarding milah and Bemidbar 9:13 regarding Pesach.
  • The Haggada quotes the 2 Mitzvos as being a zechus (merit) for our nation to enable us to leave Egypt as we lacked Positive Mitzvos (Yechezkel 16,6: “vo'e'evor alayich vo'er'eich misboseses bedamayich va'omar loch 'bedomayich chayi' va'omar loch 'bedomayich chayi,)

(I know that there are others mentioned in Tanac"h, so feel free to edit in, if desired.)

Why does the Torah place such a strong connection of these two items. I'm esp. interested in the 2nd connection that I mentioned, as to why these two mitzvoth are the only positive ones for which failure to perform gets karet.

  • To add to the point about Kareis, Kereisos 7a notes that while in general Kareis is given when done on purpose and Karban Chatas is given when done by accident, there’s no Karban for Pesach and Milah. – DonielF May 9 at 21:18

As a simple answer, these two mitzvos are two ways of disassociating from the Egyptians:

  • Milah is a permanent, irreversible change to your body.
  • The Pesach is a permanent social change. Once you sacrifice the Egyptians' god, they won't accept you anymore.

Once these mitzvot formed the basis of Jewish identity in Egypt, not doing them is like removing yourself from the Jewish people, and so the penalty is stricter than other mitzvot asei.

For your first point, I can suggest that milah has to come first because the primary purpose of leaving Egypt is to become the nation of Hashem, not to just disassociate from the Egyptians and join Amon (as a random example).

  • 1
    Credible answer. Please provide sources when you can. – DanF Apr 9 at 19:41
  • @DanF Unfortunately I don't have them. This is a general impression that I get. I'm sure I've seen sources that have pieces of what I've written here, but I don't remember what they are, and I don't remember seeing anyone put the pieces together in this way. I'll edit if I find something. – Heshy Apr 9 at 19:46
  • When we're Jews accepted in Egypt? Rashi bereshis 43:32 they considered it a toeva to eat at the same tables as Jews – Dude Jul 9 at 12:22

Toledot Yitzchak tells us something about one of the meanings behind the reason for circumcision:

“Man has been created for the sole purpose of serving his Creator. Thus having created man, "the Lord G-d took the man, and put him in the Garden of Eden...And the Lord commanded the man …" (Gen. 2:15-16). Likewise in the command to circumcise our sons, after stating, "… and born a man child," the Torah states: "on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised," for he was born to fulfill G-d's commandments – the Brit Milah is the first and foremost mitzvah, without which he is not a Jew. Through circumcision he accepts the yoke of the kingdom of Heaven, having been marked to serve the Lord and fulfill all His commandments.

Circumcision is a sign of our Covenant with G-d.

So what’s the link with Pesach? See Vayikra 25:42, 25:55 and Shemot 20:2 (start of the Aseret HaDevarim); HaShem took us out of Egypt so that we could become His servants. Besides that Yisrael is compared to a child (Hosea 11:1).

I can’t remember from where I got it, but I once heard that the Yetziat Mitzrayim is compared with the birth of the Jewish Nation, that it’s the beginning of the process that led us to receive the Torah, the covenant we made with HaShem.

So we have ‘birth, the comparing with a child and entering the Covenant’ in order to become His servants [Circumcision comes with the covenant]. The brit milah is also connected to these exact same themes.

The passuk in Yecheskel 16:6 says:

וָאֶֽעֱבֹ֚ר עָלַ֙יִךְ֙ וָֽאֶרְאֵ֔ךְ מִתְבּוֹסֶ֖סֶת בְּדָמָ֑יִךְ וָאֹ֚מַר לָךְ֙ בְּדָמַ֣יִךְ חֲיִ֔י וָאֹ֥מַר לָ֖ךְ בְּדָמַ֥יִךְ חֲיִֽי:

"And I passed by you and saw you downtrodden with your blood, and I said to you, 'With your blood, live,' and I said to you, 'With your blood, live.'"

Rashi on this passuk says this:

"With your blood, live: ....He repeats this a second time because they were redeemed with the blood of the Passover sacrifice and the blood of circumcision (Pirke d’Rabbi Eliezer, chapter 29).

  • I think this is more suited as something edited into my question. It's not an answer to my question. This is basically an explanation of another verse. – DanF Apr 9 at 17:17
  • 2
    U seem to have 3 answers to your own question, I think your question needs to be made much clearer – sam Apr 9 at 17:22
  • The 3 items (one was edited by someone else) are illustrations, not answers to my own question. The title of my question asks why. – DanF Apr 9 at 23:06

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