Concordance Module #1
The Name and Meaning of the Passover Holiday
Concordance Module #1
The First Passover
Welcome to the
"Using a Concordance"
interactive learning module,
Unit #1: פסח
לגרסה של מודול זה בעברית, לחצו
To navigate, press the
buttons at the bottom of this pane.
If this pane is preventing you from using the concordance in the background, press the "−" in the top right corner of the pane to minimize it. To open it again, press the "+".
2. Benefits of Using a Concordance
A Biblical concordance is the greatest and most indispensable tool ever invented for studying Tanakh.
While it can be used simply for finding the location of a particular verse, its primary purpose is to
facilitate the analysis and comparison
of the various verses in which a word appears.
This enables one to arrive at a
better and more precise definition of a word
and/or to appreciate the
full range of its possible meanings
3. Purpose of this Lesson
The following exercises will explore particular words related to the
story of Pesach and the Exodus narratives
and allow us to see the importance of using a concordance.
They will also enable us to see how the greatly enhanced access and utility of the
e-concordance and One-Click Concordance
can transform the experience of learning Torah.
In a subsequent module, we will also learn about the history of how concordances developed.
4. חג הפסח and חג המצות
Let's start by looking at the various appearances of the word פֶּסַח.
Type פסח in the input box
in the concordance. [If AlHaTorah's concordance is not displaying in the main pane click
A dropdown menu will list various options for the combination of these three letters, including nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
Let's select the
5. חג הפסח and חג המצות
Examine the various verses which speak about celebrating פֶּסַח.
To what do they refer? Are they speaking of a week long holiday or one of a shorter duration?
To view any verse in fuller context, click on the full chapter-verse link next to it. This will open a pop-up showing the entire chapter.
For further discussion of this issue, see
Pesach and Chag HaMatzot
6. Multiple Meanings of the Verb פסח
Why are the sacrifice and holiday called Pesach? What does the root פסח mean?
For the first verse (Shemot 12:11) in the Concordance list,
click on the "מקראות גדולות" link
to go to the
This verse states that the sacrifice is called פסח but it does not tell us why. See R. D"Z Hoffmann's commentary which notes that the answer will be found in the subsequent verses.
in the Mikraot Gedolot to
to find the reason for the name.
7. "וּפָסַחְתִּי עֲלֵכֶם"
, we see an explanation of the holiday's name in the phrase "וּפָסַחְתִּי עֲלֵכֶם". What does this verb mean?
Click on the word "וּפָסַחְתִּי"
to view the verb's entry in the
The first three occurrences of the verb are in our chapter and their meaning is the very subject of our question. Thus, they will be less helpful for our inquiry.
in the concordance to look at the other occurrences in Tanakh. Can any of these verses shed light on our issue?
8. Other Occurrences in Tanakh
When we are unsure of the definition of a word, we can glean clues from its context.
What words form the context of the
verb "פָּסֹחַ" in Yeshayahu 31:5
(#7 in the concordance), and what meaning of the verb might they support?
Can such a meaning be sustained also in our verses in Shemot 12 or in the two verses in Melakhim I 18?
Conversely, what meaning of the verb might we derive from
"פֹּסְחִים" in the verse in Melakhim I 18:21
Can this definition be an appropriate fit also in all of the other verses?
9. Concordance and Commentators: Rashi
Let's now see how our commentators understand the verb פסח.
To return to the
Mikraot Gedolot on Shemot 12:13
click the x
in the corner of the concordance pop-up.
What options does Rashi offer for the meaning of "וּפָסַחְתִּי"?
What basis does he provide for them?
10. Concordance and Commentators: Ibn Ezra
(or click on this
) to see how
understands the word פסח in his second commentary.
Which option does he seem to favor?
Afterwards, return to the
Mikraot Gedolot on Shemot 12:13
to compare several more sources.
11. Concordance and Commentators: Mekhilta
Use the gear icon
in the middle of the top red bar to select which commentaries to display.
Check "Midreshei Halakhah"
so that the
will now appear, and then click outside the dialog overlay to return to the Mikraot Gedolot. How many opinions can be found in the Mekhilta regarding this issue?
What do you think forms the foundation of the dispute between R. Yoshiyah and R. Yonatan?
For English translation, press the E button at the top of the Mekhilta.
12. Concordance and Commentators: HaKetav VeHaKabbalah
Use the gear button again
(or press the "Show Additional Commentaries" button at the bottom of the verse) to display the commentary of
Whose side does R. Mecklenburg support? What is his main motivation?
For more information about these commentators, press the
buttons next to their names.
13. Broader Implications
What was Pesach all about?
Was it simply Hashem punishing the Egyptians and passing over the houses of the Children of Israel?
Or did Hashem send an indiscriminate plague (virus?) which would have killed also the Israelites if not for a special display of Divine mercy?
Were the Children of Israel deserving of special Divine protection? For more, see:
Religious Identity in Egypt
14. Additional Reading
For a more general discussion of the meaning of the Pesach Sacrifice, see:
Purpose of the Pesach
For additional Pesach and Haggadah resources, see:
Haggadah Home Page
15. Further Options
Return to the beginning of this module
Go to Module #2: שאילת כלים
Go to Module #3: ויעש להם בתים
Return to the Concordance Home Page