Hit the Road, Mo, and Don't You Come Back No MoreBy Rabbi Jack Abramowitz
At midnight, G-d struck all the first-borns of Egypt, as He had said. Cries went up from all over the land, since there was a casualty in every household. Pharaoh sent for Moshe and Aharon; He told them to just take their people and go. The Egyptians were likewise urging the Jews to depart with all due haste.
Since the people were being rushed out, they wrapped up their dough before it could rise, which caused it to later bake as matzah. They followed the instructions they had been given and asked the Egyptians for gold and silver.
The Jews beat a hasty retreat. There were 600,000 men over the age of 20 (with women and children, there were probably about two million people, plus all their herds and flocks). There was also a “mixed multitude” of people from other nations that joined with them. It was 430 years from the time G-d had foretold the Exodus to Avraham until it was fulfilled. The Jews left Egypt in broad daylight, with their heads held high, rather than skulking out like thieves in the night. The anniversary of the night before the Exodus remains a special period of G-d’s protection for all time.
G-d had given Moshe and Aharon further instructions about the Passover sacrifice: no outsider may eat from it. If a Jew purchases a non-Jewish slave and circumcises him, that slave may eat of the sacrifice, but visitors and hired hands may not. The sacrifice must be eaten only by its designated group and its bones may not be broken. (This is a commandment for the korban Pesach, the Passover sacrifice; it is not a Messianic prophecy.) No uncircumcised male may eat from the Passover offering; male converts must be circumcised, after which they are like native-born Jews.
The Jews followed G-d’s instructions to the letter. And in the morning, G-d took them out of Egypt.