Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Mitzvot of Pesach - Eating Matzah


Mitzvah 10, as counted by the Sefer haChinuch, instructs us to eat matzah on Pesach night. The gemara (Pesachim 116b) explains that we do this because we left Egypt in a rush, and our dough did not have time to rise, as recorded in Shemot 12:39.

This explanation is difficult, though; Gd had already instructed us not to have chametz for seven days (Shemot 12:19)! The dough didn’t rise because we could not let permit it to rise, and not because of our haste!

Among many who have approached this problem, the 13th century sage R’ Yeshayah diTrani (Tosafot Rid to Pesachim 116b) suggested a simple answer. He noted that when the Jews left Egypt, the prohibition against possessing chametz applied only for the first day of Pesach; the instruction regarding a seven-day holiday was for future generations (as indicated in Shemot 12:14). If so, then the dough the Jews took from Egypt could have been permitted to rise were it not for their haste, and this haste is what we have commemorated every year since.

Have a great day,

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