Matzah And The Holiday Of Passover

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Eating matzah, the unleavened bread, on Passover was one of the first commandments that the Israelites were commanded while still in Egypt. “You will not eat anything made with yeast; in all the places where you live you must eat bread made without yeast.'” (Exodus 12:20)
Yet later we see that there actually wasn’t a choice about what to eat. “They baked cakes of bread without yeast using the dough they had brought from Egypt, for it was made without yeast–because they were thrust out of Egypt and were not able to delay, they could not prepare food for themselves either.” (Exodus, 12:39)
It’s funny that there had to be a command about something that happened spontaneously. Did the Children of Israel eat matzah because God commanded them to eat matzah, or was it because there was simply no time to prepare anything else?
Perhaps it isn’t so puzzling if we look at verse 38. “A rabble of non-Israelites went with them, along with great flocks and herds of livestock.” There were masses of people who left Egypt together with the Children of Israel. They had not been commanded to make matzah. They joined at the last minute and by chance also prepared matzah to eat. There was no choice. The Children of Israel were leaving and in order to join them, they had no time to make bread. Incidentally, they also left Egypt with matzah.
The matzah is the same, however the purpose and the motives behind the matzah is, in reality, very different. The Israelites baked matzah as God commanded, as part of the process of redemption. The matzah they baked had a spiritual dimension to it. It symbolized freedom. Freedom from the servitude of men. Freedom to serve God. Unlike matzah made unexpectedly that meant nothing to those who ate it, this matzah inspired appreciation of what had transpired.
The matzah has an inner message. If you want what you do to be infused with meaning and inspiration, the intent behind your actions is far more significant than what you’ve actually done.

Published: April 1, 2015
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