Friday, March 26, 2010

PESACH and Matza

11th of Nisan, 5770

We ate Matza upon our sudden departure from Egypt. We had no time to prepare anything for the journey, not even bread - so Matza brings the good memories of “rushing to freedom”.

On the other hand, when we were slaves in Egypt we ate every single day only Matza! (Ha lachma anyia di akhalu abahatana beara demisraim). Matza was conceived by the cruel Egyptians as the ideal food for their Jewish slaves. It was cheap, easy to prepare and lasted longer than regular bread in the slave’s stomachs. In our collective memory Matza also brings sad memories… to make bread you let the dough rest for approximately 10 minutes and only then you put it in the oven. In Egyptian captivity, the resting of the dough was skipped. Why? Because the Jewish slaves had to work without a pause. The Egyptians were not willing to concede the Jewish slaves the time that would allow the dough to raise and to be made into bread, because the Jews were not allowed to have even ten minutes to rest from work....

During the Pesach Seder we revive and literally "taste" the bitter experience of slavery and the sweetness of freedom. There are two types of symbols in the Seder: Maror (bitter leaves), Charoset (or Haligh), and vinegar, all reminders of a cruel slavery. On the other hand, four cups of wine, seating reclined –slaves use to seat on the floor – are symbols of freedom and liberty.

The Matza is unique because it represents both: slavery and freedom.

We celebrate our freedom, but without forgetting our suffering.