In this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Bo, the Israelites are given precise directions for how to prepare and eat the Passover sacrifice. The text describes what kind of animal to bring (a yearling lamb or baby goat without blemish) and who should eat it (each family, gathered together as a household). The Torah explains how the sacrifice should be prepared (roasted over an open fire, cooked or served with unleavened bread and bitter herbs). And it gives instructions for when the Israelites should eat the sacrifice (at night, leaving nothing behind until morning). The text not only describes how the Israelites should prepare the meat of the sacrifice, but also how they were to prepare themselves:
“This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly: it is a passover offering to the Eternal” (Ex.12:11). Why is tonight different from all other nights? This question that is brought forward during our Passover seder is central to this week’s parashah, Bo. ... Parashat Bo concludes with the commandment to “remember this day, on which you went free from Egypt, the house of bondage, how the Eternal freed you from it with a mighty hand; no leavened bread shall be eaten” (Ex.13:3).