The Mekhilta

Halakhic Midrash on Exodus.

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Another Interpretation: When Thou Hast Circumcised Him, Then Shall He Eat Thereof. Why is this said? To include one upon whom circumcision had been performed though without permanent effect. Even though the flesh has again covered the corona, he is not debarred from partaking of the paschal lamb or of terumah (the portion of the crop given to the priest). On this question our teachers in Lud took a vote and decided that such a regrowth does not constitute an interposition in regard to uncleanness (that is, since the regrown foreskin doesn't prevent the removal of uncleanness through immersion in the ritual bath, it is therefore acceptable in this context as well).

 A Sojourner and a Hired Servant Shall Not Eat Thereof. (12:45)

"Sojourner" means a resident alien (who is not yet a proselyte, but has given up idolatry). "Hired servant" here means a Gentile. R. Eliezer says: "A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof." Why is this said? So that we may be able to prove from the law about the paschal lamb that an uncircumcised person is disqualified from eating terumah.

But even if Scripture had not said this, I could have reasoned: If in the case of the paschal lamb, the less weighty, an uncircumcised person is disqualified from partaking of it, is it not a logical inference that in the case of terumah, the more weighty, an uncircumcised person should be disqualified from eating it? No! If you cite the case of the paschal lamb, Scripture limits the time of eating it even for those who are to eat it, and therefore it disqualifies the uncircumcised person from eating it.

But will you argue the same about terumah, in the case of which Scripture does not limit the time of eating it for those who may eat it? Since Scripture does not put any limit to the time in which it may be eaten, it is but logical to assume that we should not disqualify the uncircumcised from eating it. However, Scripture uses the expression "a sojourner and a hired servant," in the case of the paschal lamb and in the case of terumah.

Hence, just as the expression "a sojourner and a hired servant," used in the case of the paschal lamb, disqualifies an uncircumcised person, so also the expression "a sojourner and a hired servant," used in the case of the terumah disqualifies an uncircumcised person.

R. Isaac says: "A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof." Why is this said? Has it not already been said: "There shall no alien eat thereof?" Answer: From the latter I might understand that a circumcised  Arabian or a circumcised Gibeonite is qualified to partake of the paschal lamb. Therefore Scripture says: "A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof."

In One House Shall lt Be Eaten. (12:46)

Scripture here means in one group. You interpret it to mean in one group, perhaps "in one house" is to be taken literally? When it says: "Upon the houses wherein ye shall eat it" (v. 12), we learn that it may be eaten in more than one house. Hence, what does Scripture mean by saying here "in one house shall it be eaten?" Scripture here means in one group.

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Jacob Zallel Lauterbach (1873-1942) was an American Judaica scholar and author who served on the faculty of Hebrew Union College and composed responsa for the Reform movement in America. He specialized in Midrashic and Talmudical literature, and is best known for his landmark critical edition and English translation of the Mekilta de-Rabbi Ishmael.