Matzah – Poor Man’s Bread or Free Man’s bread?

March 26, 2018
by Alan Contino

Matzah plays a central role during Passover. There seem to be conflicting rationales about why we eat the Matzah. Early in the Hagadah, we pick up a broken piece of Matzah and say that this is the poor man’s bread that we ate in Egypt. It was food fed to slaves, cheap and easy to make, plus it was filling.

Later in the Hagadah, we say that we are eating the Matzah to show how fast we left Egypt. The morning after the plague of the firstborn, the Egyptians rushed us out of their country and didn’t even give us time for our dough to rise.

So, which one is it? When we are sitting at our Seder reciting the Hagadah, we are actually accomplishing two things. First, we are telling our children (and ourselves) that at one time we were slaves. That’s the “poor man’s bread.” Then we need to understand what we are celebrating on Passover; that G-d took us out of Egypt and the speed with which He took us out. This is also symbolized when we eat Matzah.

When you are crunching on your Matzah remember these lessons: we were once slaves and G-d freed us, so that we could serve Him. Something to think about when you eat your Matzah.

Think about it!

About the Author

Rabbi Tzvi Jacobson, Host of Let’s Talk Torah on the NRM Streamcast Community Channel

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Let's Talk Torah on NRM Streamcast

I am the Director of Development and the 3rd Grade Judaic studies teacher for Yeshivas Darchei Torah located in Southfield, Michigan. In these roles, I am able to pursue both my passions; teaching children and meeting people from all walks of life who share an interest in the education of children.

I love to be challenged; whether in the classroom helping a child with learning or behavior difficulties, or helping Yeshivas Darchei Torah meet its financial obligation.

As a teacher, I like to keep my students guessing what’s next. Whether it’s puppet shows, stories, trips or programs, my classroom is always warm and exciting. I enjoy studying Torah, and I love to share.