The last three of the Ten Plagues are visited on Egypt: a swarm of locusts devours all the crops and greenery; a thick, palpable darkness envelops the land; and all the firstborn of Egypt are killed at the stroke of midnight of the 15th of the month of Nissan.
Hashem commands the first mitzvah to be given to the people of Israel: to establish a calendar based on the monthly rebirth of the moon. They are also instructed to bring a “Passover offering” to Hashem: a lamb or kid goat is to be slaughtered, and its blood sprinkled on the doorposts and lintel of every Israelite home, so that Hashem should pass over these homes when He comes to kill the Egyptian firstborn. The roasted meat of the offering is to be eaten that night together with matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs.
The death of the firstborn finally breaks Pharaoh’s resistance, and he literally drives the children of Israel from his land. So hastily do they depart that there is no time for their dough to rise, and the only provisions they take along are unleavened. Before they go, they ask their Egyptian neighbors for gold, silver and garments—fulfilling the promise made to Avraham that his descendants would leave Egypt with great wealth.
The children of Israel are commanded to consecrate all firstborn, and to observe the anniversary of the Exodus each year by removing all leaven from their possession for seven days, eating matzah, and telling the story of their redemption to their children. They are also commanded to wear tefillin on the arm and head as a reminder of the Exodus and their resultant commitment to Hashem.
When the nation of Israel was leaving Egypt, the Torah testifies, “And to all the children of Israel no dog barked” (Shemos 11:7).
What is the big deal about the dogs' not barking? What if they did? What harm does that cause us as we’re leaving toward freedom? Rav Pliskin says, we learn from here that when somebody is experiencing a joyful moment, one should be very careful not to say anything negative to mar the occasion.
Before somebody, for example, purchases an item, and asks for your opinion, feel free to give it. You’re helping them make a decision. But after they buy it? Don’t. Don’t say one negative thing about it. Just praise it and tell them that it looks great. Because, at this point, the purchase is made, and all a person wants to hear right now is that he made a nice purchase. Does it cause them any real, physical harm if you said something negative? No. But, you will certainly spoil their good mood.
We should always be careful to keep our negative comments to ourselves (unless there is a real need for them), even if it’s “only” to keep a person in a good mood.
(They say that if you pass by a dog that is barking and say this pasuk, the dog will stop barking. My neighbors father once told me that he and a friend were walking and a dog approached them and started to bark. My neighbors father said to his friend, “Don’t worry, we’ll say the pasuk and he’ll go away." His friend responded, “I know that the pasuk works, and you know the pasuk works…but DOES THE DOG KNOW????” )
Have a great Shabbos!