Posted on | March 22, 2013 | By Guest Contributor | 4 Comments
The significance of matzah is related to the Exodus from Egypt.
Until the Exodus, Israel was assimilated among other peoples, one nation in the midst of another. With the Exodus, they were redeemed and separated.
Until that time, every aspect of the human being was darkened by the spiritual opaqueness and pollution that overcame it. With the Exodus, the Jews were set aside so that they would have the opportunity to purify their bodies and prepare themselves for the Torah and for dedication to God. In order for this to be possible, they were commanded to rid themselves of leaven (chametz) and eat matzah.
Bread which is designated as man’s primary food, is appropriate to the state that God desired for man in this world. Leaven is a natural element of bread, making it more digestible and flavorous, thus adding an element of pleasure and desire to its primary purpose of nourishment. This element feeds the Evil Urge (yetzer ha-ra) which is a necessary component of man in this world.
At a particular determined time, however, Israel was required to abstain from leaven, and be nourished by matzah, which is unleavened bread. This reduced the strength of each individual’s Evil Urge and inclination toward the physical, thus enhancing his closeness to the spiritual.
It would be impossible, however, for man to constantly nourish himself in this manner, since this is not the state desired for him in this world. This practice is therefore observed only on certain designated days, when he must be on an appropriately higher level. This is the main concept of Pesach as the Festival of Matzos.
The other rituals of the Seder night are also all details paralleling various particular aspects of the redemption from Egypt.