The literal translation of “makat bechorot” is “plague of the firstborn”. After the Egyptians had already suffered from nine plagues, Pharaoh kept refusing to let the Jewish people go by hardening his heart. This eventually led to the ultimate punishment: the slaying of the firstborn son of every family in Egypt. The Jewish people were told to paint their doors with lamb's blood so that Hashem would know not to kill their firstborn. Why is it that Hashem required us to use lamb blood to identify a Jewish household? The lamb is used throughout the Torah to represent an atonement of sorts. Using the lamb for Passover shows us that we have to earn our freedom through atonement and forgiveness.
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