Matzah: From Affliction to Redemption

| Pesah By :  Noah Bickart Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University, and JTS Fellow Posted On Apr 13, 2016 / 5776 | Sound Bytes for Pesah | Holidays

Deuteronomy 16:3-4

You shall not eat anything leavened with it; for seven days thereafter you shall eat unleavened bread, bread of distress—for you departed from the land of Egypt hurriedly—so that you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt as long as you live. For seven days no leaven shall be found with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh of what you slaughter on the evening of the first day shall be left until morning.

ג לֹא-תֹאכַל עָלָיו חָמֵץ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תֹּאכַל-עָלָיו מַצּוֹת לֶחֶם עֹנִי  כִּי בְחִפָּזוֹן יָצָאתָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לְמַעַן תִּזְכֹּר אֶת-יוֹם צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם כֹּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ.  ד וְלֹא-יֵרָאֶה לְךָ שְׂאֹר בְּכָל-גְּבֻלְךָ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְלֹא-יָלִין מִן-הַבָּשָׂר אֲשֶׁר תִּזְבַּח בָּעֶרֶב בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן לַבֹּקֶר.

Exodus 12:39

And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had taken out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, since they had been driven out of Egypt and could not delay; nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

וַיֹּאפוּ אֶת-הַבָּצֵק אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיאוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם עֻגֹת מַצּוֹת כִּי לֹא חָמֵץ  כִּי-גֹרְשׁוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהִתְמַהְמֵהַּ וְגַם-צֵדָה לֹא-עָשׂוּ לָהֶם.

From the beginning of the Haggadah

This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat!

הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִּי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָׇּל דִּכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵכֻל.

From later in the Haggadah

This matzah: why do we eat it?
Becasue our ancestors’ dough did not have time to rise before the Sovereign of sovereigns of sovereigns, the Holy Blessed One, was revealed to them and redeemed them.

מַצָּה זוּ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים עַל שׁוּם מָה?
עַל שׁוּם שֶׁלֹּא הִסְפִּיק בְּצֵקָם שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהַחֲמִיץ עַד שֶׁנִּגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּגְאָלָם.