Jewish Journal

Matzah, the Bread of Sufficiency

Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller

Posted on Apr. 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, my revered teacher, suggests in his Haggadah commentary that we view the Passover matza as a type of manna, this simple desert food eaten by the freed slaves during their forty years of wandering.  Living on manna required discipline, the discipline of not gathering too much – for if you took too much it rotted, the discipline of the sharing limited resources, the discipline of restraint.  One learned to gather each morning only that which was necessary for survival.

What a wonderful and poignant message for our world at this time of economic crisis as we endeavor to curb our obsessive drive to acquire and accumulate more.  Perhaps we will learn to conceive of the matza not merely as the bread of affliction (lechem oni) but also as the bread of sufficiency. Thus, we will transform the matza that symbolizes oppression into the matza that symbolizes freedom from subjugation to desire. 

Can we strive together to embrace a standard of sufficiency that will reduce competition, jealousy, enmity, and violence?  Can we attempt to change our habits and values and affirm the goal of being ‘satisfied with our portion’?  If so, Elijah beckons, challenging us to cross the threshold into the world blessed by enough – dayneu. 

Chag Semaech.

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