The Mitzvah of Eating Matzah

In the beginning of the Haggadah, when we read K’ha Lahma ‘Anya, we highlight the aspect of the Misvah of eating Massah that is connected with the fact that it is called Lehem ‘Oni (Bread of Poverty). Towards the end of the Magid section we read the paragraph that begins Massah Zo (This Massah). In this paragraph we focus on another aspect of the Misvah of eating Massah, which is the sudden and unexpected nature of Divine intervention. The redemption from slavery in Egypt occurred at a Sha’at Hippazon, a time of hurrying, and the Massah came about because we were chased out of Egypt and had no time to delay ( Ki Ghor’shu Mimmissrayim V’Lo Yakh’lu L’Hitmahmeah-Shemot 12:39).

Which means that they baked their dough as Massot instead of Hamess because they didn’t have time to wait for it to rise. Therefore we remember the day that we hurriedly left Egypt  by eating Massah that was prepared quickly, as the Pasuq states, “Because you went from the land of Egypt in a hurry, so that you should remember the day that you went from Egypt all the days of your life” (Debarim 16:3)

Eating Massah every year  highlights the sudden and unexpected nature of Divine intervention which occurs on both a personal and national level. On a personal level we should always hope and pray for Divine assistance even when the situation seems extremely bleak. The Rabbis taught, T’shu’at Hashem K’Heref ‘Ayin (salvation from G-d comes in the blink of an eye). They also taught that when reciting the ‘Amidah we may intend a request even for our personal lives when we say “Ki LiShu’at’kha  Kivvinu V’Sippinu Kol HaYom” (because we hoped and looked forward to your salvation all day)  [see Pele’ Yo’ess-T’shu’at].

Similarly, on a national level we received Divine salvation with the redemption from slavery in Egypt, and we will receive Divine salvation on a national level again with the final redemption, as the Pasuq promised “As in the days that you went out from the land of Egypt, I will show you wonders” (Mikhah 7:15). Therfore the Rabbis taught, “we were redeemed in the month of Nisan, and in the month of Nisan we will be redeemed in the future.”  When we eat Massah every year, which is a symbol of the sudden and unexpected nature of Divine intervention and salvation, we renew our hope for  Divine intervention in both our personal lives as well as in the life of our nation as a whole, most importantly with the final redemption occurring imminently in our times!!

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Mr. Morris Arking teaches Halachot and classes in the community for the past 15 years, including a daily Halachah class in Bnei Yosef in Brooklyn, NY.