Don't miss

Matzah – “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Dat!”

By on April 2, 2015

Yes, it is that time of year again! Matzah Time! I can begin to feel the flat, dry, tasteless ‘bread’ in my mouth already. Besides for allowing us to entertain ourselves with social media posts of our creative Matzah Pizza dishes, why does the Torah require us to eat this thing?

As the story goes, the Jews left Egypt in such haste that they could not wait for their dough to rise, and thus the commemoration of Matzah. “They could not wait!” Sound familiar? I feel like I hear that sentiment several times a week. With our rushed and busy lives, it seems like when it comes down to the most important things in our life … simply put, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

As former Egyptian slaves, we did not have any control of our time. We had to do what our masters commanded us, when our masters commanded. They were in a constant ‘rat race’ to stay alive and constantly escaping their pursuers until the very end. When escaping a reality and in the rush of it all we also don’t have control of our time. As we celebrate our freedom from slavery, we also have to celebrate our ability to control our own time.

How are we using this time? And who is controlling it? If we are busy chasing a dream made by our society, if we are spending the majority of our time acquiring possessions to impress others, or if we have an uncontrollable urge to check status updates on social media, then the answer is obvious: we are living a flat, dry, tasteless Matzah-like life.

So if Matzah is such a negative thing, is the opposite, Chametz (leavened bread) then a good thing? And why are we not eating it and driving ourselves crazy to get it out of our homes? I believe the answer to this is quite simple. Although the “character traits” usually prescribed to Chametz (luxury, free time, and pride) are usually thought of as spiritually negative sources, when put in perspective with the messages of Matzah, it can be transformed into something positive. It reminds us to prioritize the fundamental things like values, family and spirituality, over mundane things like materialism and status. With the message of Pessah and it’s ‘Bread of Affliction’, we are reminding ourselves what really matters in our life.  Were it not for the week of slave-like Matzah, one might forget the purpose of the freedom-like Chametz.

Although the messages of Passover and Matzah are plenty, how wonderful it would be if we walked away feeling like a genuinely free person, one that takes control of their free time and actively prioritizes it for its ultimate potential.


About Eman Esmailzadeh

Eman Esmailzadeh is a graduate of UC Irvine where he studied mechanical Engineering and Business Management. After college, he advanced his Judaic studies at various seminaries in New York and Jerusalem. He currently is the Brand Director at Coloronix, a manufacturer of themed lighting products.