by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The First Korban Pesach In The Land We Love
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Love of the Land
Selections from classical Torah sources
which express the special relationship between
the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael


Although you will find nothing on the map or in geography books about this place, it was the most important site in the first years of the Nation of Israel in Eretz Yisrael. Here is where the Israelites under Yehoshua camped after their miraculous crossing of the Jordan River, and here is where they placed the twelve large stones which they had removed from the river bed to serve as a remembrance for generations of that miracle. (Yehoshua 4:20-24)

The name Gilgal comes from the Hebrew word for "removing." Gilgal became the name for this site because here is where Yehoshua carried out a mass circumcision for all those who had been born during the 40 years in the wilderness, whose climate made such an operation too dangerous to life. "Today I have removed from you the shame of Egypt," said Hashem, "and the place shall be called Gilgal." (Yehoshua 5:9)

This removal of the foreskin which distinguished them from their former masters made the entire nation eligible to offer a korban Pesach, the first one in forty years.

The Mishkan (Sanctuary) which the Israelites had carried with them throughout their wandering in the wilderness stood in Gilgal for 14 years, until the land was conquered and divided amongst the tribes, after which it was transferred to Shiloh.

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