פֶּסַח שֶׁהָָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מָה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁפָּסַח הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, עַל בָּתֵּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח הוּא לַיָּי, אֲשֶׁר פָּסַח עַל בָּתֵּי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמִצְרַיִם, בְּנָגְפּוֹ אֶת־מִצְרַיִם וְאֶת־בָּתֵּינוּ הִצִּיל.
This Pesach that our ancestors used to eat, what's the reason? It's because the Holy One, blessed be He, passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is said: "It is the Passover offering for the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he defeated Egypt and saved our houses."
The Pesach here, of course, is the lamb, because of the whole blood on the doorposts thing and God passing over us and all that. But more likely, we probably chose the lamb because for the Egyptians the lamb was a pretty sacred animal. Not "cat sacred," but enough so that we probably offended them enough to rile them up.
And another interesting fact: vegetarians often use beets instead of shankbones. They look "bloody" from all of the juice and there's precedent in the Talmud that they were used even back then.
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