From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths & Legends

By Avigdor Shinan; Yair Zakovitch et al. | Go to book overview

10
Some More Reasons for Eating Matzah

Why do Jews eat matzah — unleavened bread — during Passover? The Passover haggadah both poses and answers that question: “This unleavened bread that we eat — what is its reason? Because the dough of our ancestors had not time to become leavened before the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them as it is said: And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had taken out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, since they had been driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves” (Exodus 12:39). A previous verse in the story of the Exodus has already prepared us for this explanation, which revolves around the limited time the Israelites had for their bread to rise: “So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls wrapped in their cloaks upon their shoulders” (12:34).

The book of Deuteronomy treads the same path left by the writers of the book of Exodus when it proposes an identical explanation for eating matzah: “You shall slaughter the passover sacrifice for the LORD your God…. You shall not eat anything leavened with it; for seven days thereafter you shall eat unleavened bread…. for you departed from the land of Egypt hurriedly so that you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt as long as you live. For seven days no leaven shall be found with you in all your territory” (16:2–4; see also the sources for Deuteronomy in Exodus 12:15, 13:3, 6, 7). Deuteronomy, which firmly establishes the connection between the passover sacrifice and the holiday of unleavened bread, uses the

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