web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Why A Bread Blessing On The festival Of Matzahs?

For days and weeks before Pesach, we meticulously clean our homes, making sure that not a crumb of bread might, God forbid, be found when we begin the festival of matzahs.

Some women even go to the extent of “kashering” their doorknobs, as was said about the wife of Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin, zt”l, rav of Jerusalem and founder of Kollel America.

After burning our last bits of chametz on Erev Pesach, we sit down at a Seder table adorned with the three matzahs, a Seder plate, wine and guests. The silver goblets and candelabra are shining brightly. After the first two cups of wine and the reading and singing of the Haggadah, the time has come: the big moment. We wash and direct our eyes and thoughts to the leader of the Seder. He lifts the matzahs and recites the blessing with emphasis on the word lechem (bread): “Hamotzi lechem – He brings forth bread from the land.”

But now that we have cleaned our homes for Pesach and are free of all bread, can’t the blessing be “He brings forth matzah from the land”?

Many years ago I did a radio show on the sixth day of Passover and told my audience that the 16th Avenue Pizza Shop would be open on the night after the chag with delicious fresh pizza. Did I get complaints! “Dov, how dare you mention chametz on Pesach?”

I answered with a question: “Don’t we mention bread when we make a blessing on our matzah brei?”

I left the listeners scratching their heads. I’ll bet many readers are also thinking, “Yeah, really, why? Why not mention matzah in the blessing and not bread? There may even be a few activists reading this who are thinking of organizing a large protest in front of Heaven’s Gates!

But let me put you at ease with a Dov Shurin original dvar Torah. In the Haggadah, before the eating of the matzah there is a discourse that concludes with the admonition that we are obligated to remember our exodus from ancient Egypt day and night, all the days of our life.

I will show you the hint to “leaving Egypt” in the blessing for bread, which is the most essential food in our three daily meals.

Let’s analyze the blessing. “He brings forth bread is not really true – Hashem brings forth wheat; we turn it into flour and bake it into bread.

So bread proves our world was not created perfectly.

The holy Rabbi Akiva had a debate with a non-Jew who claimed that “if man was created uncircumcised, then that is the way God wanted him to be. Therefore, circumcision is wrong.”

Rabbi Akiva wisely answered, “Look at bread. God created wheat, and wanted humans to bring it to perfection in the form of bread. So, too, God created man uncircumcised and only through a bris milah does man reach perfection!!”

And so in the blessing we make, the word bread is a hint to the Jew: We are, so to speak, the bread of all nations.

In the Torah God tells Moshe to announce, “I am God that brings you forth from the burdens of Egypt.” The word “hamotzi” is used.

The Jews are the hamotzi lechem (bread) while the min ha’aretz symbolizes ancient Egypt. How?

Ancient Egypt was the epitome of earthiness (artziut), lust, and vulgar desires. When our forefather Abraham went down to Egypt, he carried Sarah in a case so that the Egyptians would not see her and lust for her.

Then Abraham told her, “Please say you are my sister, so that they will not kill me and take you.” Hebrew grammar tells us that ha’aretz has a hei hayidiah, which is a hint concerning ancient Egypt and its extreme earthiness.

So it is this blessing that helps us remember our exodus from Egypt all year long, both day and night. Certainly we should make this blessing at the Seder table, on the night of the anniversary of the Jews leaving Egypt. The blessing “Hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz” is equivalent to saying “Hamotzi Am Yisrael miMitzrayim.

I am reminded of the two large challahs I held up high this past Friday night as I blessed Hashem when making the motzi.

About the Author: Dov Shurin is a popular radio personality and the composer and producer of several albums. He lives with his family in Israel and can be contacted at dovshurin@yahoo.com. His Jewish Press column appears the third issue of each month.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Why A Bread Blessing On The festival Of Matzahs?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Indepth Stories
Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

Eller-013015

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

IRAN-US-POLITICS-MILITARY

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

More Articles from Dov Shurin
Dov Shurin

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Dov Shurin

Israel feebly begged Hamas to end the barrage, promising that “quiet will be met with quiet.”

Isn’t it comforting to know that our God loves life, grants life, and promises eternal life?

While the phrase “Let It Be” implies doing nothing, “Lu Yehi” implies working toward a goal.

An Israeli company should make “Arafat’s Dead Sea Tonic” with this warning: “may cause severe vomiting or even death.”

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

Boundless love was something Rav Kook had for the nation of Israel. Just as one cannot question the boundless love of Hashem for Israel, one cannot question the boundless love of a Torah giant for his people.

I hollered over and over again, waving a clinched fist toward the heavens.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/dov-shurin-columns/why-a-bread-blessing-on-the-festival-of-matzahs/2013/03/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: