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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Be The Matzah

By Rabbi Sender Haber

Dough is one of the most unwieldy and uncooperative items in the kitchen. I’ve seen dough rise back out of the Garbage can, push open the door of the refrigerator and jump out of the bread machine and onto the floor. It has a life of its own. Wine ferments in a staid and mature fashion. Dough can be all over the place.

The Torah describes Matzah as Lechem Oni - a poor man’s bread but the way it is actually written in the Torah is Lechem Ani - Poor bread. Is it the bread that is poor or the person that is poor? The Gemara brings an argument as to which is the proper translation and the Shulchan Aruch quotes both.

The Bnei Yissaschar explains that in truth both explanations are the same. Our Mitzvah is not just to eat the Lechem Oni, it is to be the Lechem Oni. We need to be like that bread.

Creativity is great. There is nothing wrong with growing unpredictably and spontaneously, but every once in a while we need to put that dough back in its place we bang it down and pat it down and rush it into a two thousand degree oven to ensure that it doesn’t rise. We need to get back to the basics.

Take things down to their simplest level. This is how Hashem made me. This is what Hashem wants me to do. It is good to build on that, but once in a while we need to just take ourselves out of it.

Sometimes we have a little kid who is so excited about going outside or going to shul. We tell him or to stand still for a minute while we button his shirt or tie his shoes.

We are that little kid. We are so excited about life and G-d and fly off in ten different directions. Today we need to just pause and give Hashem a moment to tie our shoes. We need to make sure that we have the basics.

Matzah is called Nahma D’meihemnusa. It is the bread of Emunah.  Even if we lose everything else, we will still have our Emunah. On Pesach we get back to the basics.

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