Print This Post Print This Post

Freedom: Matzah or bagels?

Written by Jonathan Caller

Q: It’s true that when we were taken out of Egypt we only had time to bake Matzah, and therefore on seder night the eating of the matzah symbolizes freedom. However, surely matzah also symbolizes slavery as well, since maztah (which took very little time to bake) is what the Egyptians fed us in order to maximise our working hours, so how does it symbolize freedom? Shouldn’t we have bagels and bread, which would surely really symbolize freedom! A: I heard the following in the name of Rav Grunfeld . Freedom is being able to serve Hashem. Freedom is not where we are released from all obligations and free to serve ourselves. Freedom is being able to serve Hashem, rather than being forced to serve finite beings in Egypt. This is exactly the Exodus. Hashem took us out from serving Egypt and allowed us to dedicate our lives to serving Hashem. Therefore, bagels do not remind us of freedom, they do not help us internalise that Hashem freed us; if anything they would let us think that we are free from all obligations. But we are not. It’s only matzah, where the baker is bound by something, time, that reminds us of our freedom, since the matzah reminds us to serve Hashem rather than anything else.

Leave a Comment