Matzah: A Sign of Equality or Slavery?

Soon, Jews from all over the world will assemble to celebrate Passover. Jews have been getting ready for a while now. What we don’t do, like consume or even have any leaven items in our houses, is a big part of the event.

The idea of getting rid of leaven has biblical roots because the Torah commands that you consume yeast-free bread for seven days. Remove the yeast from your homes on the first day because anyone found eating anything containing yeast from the first day through the seventh day will be expelled from Israel. (Exodus 12:15)

You can see that that is a severe matter. But what message does the elimination of the leaven convey? Well, consider it like this. Matzah is a flat cracker, whereas bread is a puffy product as a result of the ingredients that cause it to rise. The puffed-up bread, which seems to have an inflated ego, depicts arrogance, whereas the flat matzah stands for humility.

Arrogance and haughtiness are metaphorically eliminated from our lives when we remove the leaven/bread from our houses. By consuming the matzah, we are exchanging our arrogance for humility. A type of spiritual medicine is matzah.

The matzah is also referred to in the Bible as the bread of suffering. Because you left Egypt quickly, you should not eat it with bread prepared with yeast for seven days. Instead, consume unleavened bread, often known as “bread of affliction,” so that you can always recall the moment you fled Egypt. (Deuteronomy 16:3)

Why is it referred to as the bread of suffering? The simple explanation is that this was all the Israelites were given to eat while they were slaves in Egypt, therefore for them, this cracker symbolized those harsh years.

A physical example of what one group of people can do to another is matzah. The matzah serves as a reminder that the Egyptians were brutal taskmasters and baby killers.

Matzah, however, has two meanings. It also stands for liberation. In their haste, the Jews were only able to bake matzah since they did not have enough time to bake bread before they had to leave Egypt. The actual Exodus is also commemorated by the matzah.

This has a lot of power. The same thing conveying what appear to be two completely opposite messages—freedom and servitude. They may seem to be diametrically opposed concepts. Not at all. The Israelites had to remember slavery in order to appreciate freedom.

The matzah’s two emblems impart a profound lesson in gratitude. We only truly enjoy light when it is dark. We value food more when we are hungry, and we value heat more when we are cold.

For those of you who will be participating in a Seder this year, consider all the difficulties you have faced and the lessons they have taught you while you crunch your matzah. Because we have experienced sadness, we may now feel joy.

This is especially true for Israel, where residents have endured excruciating agony for over 2000 years while waiting to return home. Due to our extensive suffering, the delight of being an Israelite in the Land of Israel is incredible.

I send you the matzah’s blessings to you all! May you experience the greatest joy in all of your sorrow.