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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



The Torah refers to matzah as “lechem oni” – the bread of affliction or bread of poverty (Deuteronomy 16:3). We are told that our ancestors were fed matzah by their Egyptian taskmasters. If that’s the case, why is matzah used as a symbol of our liberation and freedom from Egypt?

The Maharal from Prague explained that ironically, poverty is the foundation of freedom! Redemption and gaining independence means that, unlike a slave, we are tied to no one. A rich man is only wealthy because he is connected to his money. He is bound to it and not truly free. However, a poor man who has nothing, is not bound to anything and in a sense is absolutely free.

Matzah, which is made of flour and water with no enriching ingredients is the bread of poverty – and is therefore the perfect symbol of freedom and independence.

The Maharal explained that this is why Passover takes place in the first month of the year. Freedom means not being attached or bound to any outside force or influence. The first month is not linked to anything preceding it. Therefore, the first month, Nissan is the ideal month to symbolize freedom and deliverance.

By Rabbi Michael Skobac

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