[Matsah held up for all to see.]
MATSAH - Why do we eat matsah?
Matsah is the symbol of our affliction and our freedom. Legend has it that when Moses and his followers fled Egypt, they moved so quickly that the bread they baked did not have time to rise.
However, scholars have noted that long before the Jews celebrated Passover, Middle Eastern farmers celebrated a spring festival of unleavened bread. This was a festival where unleavened bread was made from the fresh barley grain newly harvested at this time of the year.
The old fermented dough was thrown out so that last year's grain would not be mixed with this year's. Therefore, the new season began with the eating of unleavened bread - matsah. Later on, the Jewish people incorporated this agricultural festival into the celebration of freedom and renewal we now call Passover.
Let us now say a blessing for the matsah.
A BLESSING FOR THE UNLEAVENED BREAD
NOTSI` MATSAH- LET US BRING FORTH MATSAH
Notsi`matsah-lehem min ha-`arets
- k'dei she-nistapeq v'-nit-kalkelkula-nu.
Let us bring forth matsah - food from the land -
so we all may be satisfied and sustained.
Let us all now eat a piece of matsah.
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