The True Meaning of Matzah By Tzvi Motechin ('21)


Everyone knows that the heart of the Seder is always revolved around Matzah. In fact, a great portion of the steps in the Seder are devoted to Matzah: Yachatz, Motzi Matzah, Koreich, Shulchan Oreich, and Tzafun. Many explain that the reason Matzah is so vital is because of its intrinsic duality of both good and bad. Matzah is the poor man’s bread that we ate as slaves, and it is the bread we ate when leaving in haste for our redemption. It makes sense that one would eat poor man’s bread to commemorate the slavery, but what is so significant about leaving in haste?

In the context of the Brit Bein HaBetarim, Hashem decreed that we would be slaves for 400 years. However, we were only slaves in Egypt for 210 years! What happened to the other 190 years!? After the passage MiTechilah Ovdei Avodah Zarah Haya Avoteinu in the Haggadah, we praise Hashem for always remaining by our side throughout our history. We say “Baruch Shomeir Havtachato LeYisrael, Baruch Hu. SheHaKadosh Baruch Hu Chishav Et HaKeitz,” “Blessed is the One who keeps his promises, blessed is He. That HaKadosh Baruch Hu foresaw the end.” What did Hashem foresee that he decided to change the future? Many explain that Hashem understood that the Egyptians were having a drastic effect on us. We were beginning to assimilate and die out. When the Torah states “VaYimareru Et Chayeiyhem,” “And [the Egyptians] embittered the lives of [Bnei Yisrael],” it uses the notes Kadma and Azla. The Gematria of those two notes is 190. Hashem realized that the Egyptians labor was so vicious and harsh that is was as if the Jews were enslaved for 190 years. Furthermore the Gematria of Keitz is 190. Hashem understood that Bnei Yisrael would not be able to last another 190 of slavery so he took us out in haste. That is the significance of Matzah. It represents that Hashem is always by our side no matter what life throws at us. From slavery to redemption back then, and slavery (Holocaust) to redemption today (Medinat Yisrael), may we appreciate the unhindered relationship we have with Hashem and ultimately experience the final Ge’ulah. Chag Same’ach!

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