Matzah: The Bread of Freedom

Image of matzah

“In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.” — Exodus 12:18

More than 3,300 years ago, God miraculously brought the children of Israel out of bondage in Egypt, granting them freedom and redemption. This year, on the eve of April 3, the 14th day of the Hebrew month Nissan, we will commemorate this pivotal event in the history of the Jewish people with the week-long holiday of Passover. The greatest symbol of this momentous holiday is the unleavened bread prescribed by the Bible that today we call matzah.

Even before the holiday of Passover begins, we are occupied with getting rid of leavened products, known aschametz in Hebrew. We clean, we search, we scour, and we eliminate all chametz from our homes. When the holiday arrives, we embrace matzah, the symbol of our slavery, our freedom, and our faith.

In this edition of Limmud, we will explore the rich symbolism and meaning of matzah and the rituals surrounding it. You will discover its many names and how each reveals a different aspect of the Passover observance. Together we will learn how this simple cracker-like bread encapsulates the most profound elements of the Passover story and how its timeless messages are relevant to us all today.

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