Double Edged Symbols by Yehuda Kravetz



    Why do we eat Matzoh and Maror on Pesach?  The common answer would seem to be in order to remember our hardships in Mitzrayim.  By eating "the bread of affliction," as Matzoh is often referred to, we remember our affliction in Mitzrayim, and by eating Maror, bitter herbs, we remember our own bitter times there.
    Some of our Meforshim, however, present opinions entirely to the contrary, stating that Matzoh and Maror are actually signs of our redemption, celebrating our freedom and casting off the yoke of our former Egyptian oppressors.  How is this so?  First, let us examine the Matzoh.  Often, the prohibitions relating to Chometz and the Mitzvah to eat Matzoh are seen as reflecting something negative, reminding us how we had no time for our bread to rise and thus had to eat Matzoh in Egypt.  Chazal, however, present the idea that Matzoh is the food of spiritual purity, while Chometz is representative of the Yeitzer Hora, the evil inclination.  This is because Chometz by its nature rises and swells, and thus reminds us of our own pompousness and arrogance, which swell under the influence of the Yeitzer Hora.  Matzoh, however, which remains flat and does not swell, is representative of the spiritually pure.  It is for this reason, Chazal say, that Hashem allowed our ancestors to eat only Matzoh on that first Pesach, so that they could be spiritually pure as they left Mitzrayim and prepared for Mattan Torah.  Eating Matzoh on Pesach now becomes a celebration of Hashem's care for our ancestors as we left Mitzrayim.
    Another way in which Matzoh celebrates our freedom from Mitzrayim lies in the very origin of bread itself.  Some say that it was in Mitzrayim, meaning ancient Egypt, the greatest, most advanced country of its time, that the process of baking bread was developed and perfected.  By eating only Matzoh on Pesach, we are spurning our former masters and saying that we do not need anything of theirs or any of their innovations if Hashem commands us otherwise.
    Similarly, Maror can also be seen as a sign of freedom.  Normally, we see Maror as a reminder of bitter times, but if we find its source in the Torah, we may see it in a different light.  The only time Maror is mentioned in the Torah is in connection with the Korban Pesach, and thus the only obligation from the Torah to eat Maror is along with the Korban Pesach. (Our eating of Maror today, consequently, is only MideRabbanan, according to most authorities.)  Why should the Korban Pesach be eaten together with Maror?  If we look at some other aspects of the preparation of the Korban Pesach, we may find the solution.  The Korban Pesach, which had to be eaten at every Jew's Seder, was cooked over the flames of an open fire, meaning that it was roasted.  Why do we have to eat roasted meat on Pesach?  Roasting a piece of meat tends to make it shrivel into a smaller but tastier portion, which is something only a rich person would prefer; one who is poor would probably cook the meat differently in order to swell it into a greater, but less tasty portion.  A rich person can always get more meat and therefore does not mind losing some of it to the preparation, especially if the taste will be enhanced.  Therefore, eating the meat from this Korban is a celebration of our wealth and freedom.  Moreover, a wealthy person will often wish to compliment the flavor of his meat with something sharp or bitter.  For this reason, some Meforshim say that Maror was required along with the Korban Pesach in order to enhance its taste, and Maror too thus constitutes a celebration of our wealth. brought about by our redemption.

What About The Leviim? by Zev Prince

Inspiring Bnei Yisrael by Rabbi Yosef Grossman