“And Egypt imposed itself upon the people, to QUICKLY send them out of the land”.(Shemot 12:39)
“They shall inherit the Land for ever, they shall be the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified… and I the Lord will HASTEN it (redemption) in it’s time”. (Isaiah 60:22)
Each year as we focus on the matzah at the Seder table, we have to observe the inner essence of what the matzah means- in its relevance to time. This is not normal bread but bread that was baked in haste. Chazal tell us that Hashem imposed the exodus on Bnei Yisrael in order to fulfill his promise to our Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As the redemption came closer with each plague, the mental, emotional and practical preparations to leave Egypt should have been in the making. Then why was the matzoh baked suddenly with the deliverance so promptly timed? They should have had bread and pastries in storage knowing that they are leaving soon.
We also know that the story of Egypt will repeat itself at the end of days.
Now we can also ask ourselves, how many of us are ready to grab something, anything from home and quick as the wind make provisions and get out of Egypt? We know that only one fifth of the Bnei Yisrael really did survive on the night of the 10th plague. Hashem controls the ebb and flow of time and He does this in His greatness through nature. There is a volume of time, a day, a year, a month, an era, an hour, a minute. Time passes along and we hardly feel progress – aside from in our very generation! The technological advances felt in only the last decade have far surpassed any other period in the history of the world. We had 2,000 years of exile in which most of it was spent in darkness, therefore called “The Dark Ages”. Only a Renaissance began 500 years ago, the industrial revolution a little over 150 years ago. These were the first signs, the first rays of light of the redemptive process. How many took the hint? HaRav Yosef Karo, the author of the Shulchan Aruch (1400’s) did not wait for El Al to take him to Israel on Aliyah. The students of the Grah (the Gaon of Vilna) who came to a desolate uncultivated wasteland in the early 1800’s did not wait for the Jewish Agency to sign them up as new immigrants. With the tide of Ethiopians, South Americans, Americans, Canadians and French immigrants, and the list goes on as the internet simultaneously gives us all the information we need to know about to live in the State of Israel- there is no reason to bake matzot. It doesn’t have to be done in a frantic moment. But then there are those who look at the matzah on the seder night and say plainly, “Next Year in Jerusalem!” They just don’t get it.
We know of the countless examples of doing mitzvoth in haste in the Tanach. “And Abraham hastened into the tent of Sarah and said, make QUICKLY the cakes…” for the messengers that would eventually proclaim that indeed his seed, the promise of the ultimate redemption would be coming soon. The time in their lives lagged on for so many years until they were actually withered with age but boom- they ran, they prepared and a child was born, Yitzchak! This is the secret of the redemption. Time lags on but there will come a day when you will have to run. Be ready. That’s what the matzah says to us.
Shabbat Shalom Leah Goldsmith