Before we can enjoy our meal, we should attend the fourth question that we set out for ourselves a little earlier, namely what is the symbolic significance of matzah in the seder celebration. Let's begin with the Let's now extend our reflections on the bread of affliction by reading the following blessing over the meal and matzah:
בְָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.
We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.
In order to stimulate our reflection on the significance of matzah in the seder, let's take turns reading the next few passages.
This is matzah, the bread of oppression and rebellion that our mothers baked and ate at a time when they had to be organizing and preparing and resisting and running. There was no time for the bread to rise. Each year we eat matzah to remind ourselves of their struggle, and that our struggle continues. We eat matzah to remind ourselves that only when we we turn from mere survival toward the attempt to find meaning in our actions do we become free.
This is matzah, the bread of affliction and oppression. Let all people who hunger to know and express their nature and strength, all people who seek to find their meanings and place in tradition—come and join our celebration. For the sake of liberation we say these ancient words together: This is the bread of affliction, let all who are hungry come and eat.
These words join us with our people and with all who are in need, with those imprisoned, those under occupation, and those forced to live in the streets. For our liberation is bound up with the deliverance from bondage of people everywhere.
This year we are here seeking a path towards freedom and dignity. Next year, may we live in a world made whole and free, part of a larger community which strengthens and sustains us.
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