Haggadah Section: Motzi-Matzah

Why do we eat matzah?   Because during the Exodus, our ancestors had no time to waitfor dough to rise.  So they improvised flat cakes without yeast, which could be bakedand consumed in haste.  The matzah reminds us that when the chance for liberationcomes, we must seize it even if we do not feel ready—indeed, if we wait until we feel fully ready, we may never act at all

 ברוך אתה יי אלהינו העולם, המוציא לחם מן הארץ

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על אכילת מצה

Baruch atah, Adonai eloheinu,melech ha’olam, hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz. Baruch atah, Adonai eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

Blessed are you, Adonai, Breath of Life, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Blessed are you, Adonai, Breath of Life, who sanctifies us with the commandment to eat matzah.

Everyone eats a piece of matzah. 


Why do we eat maror? Maror represents the bitterness of bondage. Why do we eat haroset? It symbolizes the mortar for the bricks our ancestors laid in Egypt. Though it represents slave labor, haroset is sweet, reminding us that sometimes constriction or enslavement can be masked in familiar sweetness

Eating the two together, we remind ourselves to be mindful of life with all its sweetness and bitterness, and to seek balance between the two 

ברוץ אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על אכילת מרור

Baruch atah, Adonai, eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.

Blessed are you, Adonai, sovereign of all worlds, who sanctifies us with the commandment to eat the bitter herb. 


When the Temple still stood, the sage Hillel originated the tradition of eating matzah and maror together, combining the bread of liberation with a remembrance of the bitterness of slavery. In following his example, we create a physical representation of the holiday’s central dialectical tension.

Everyone eats a Hillel Sandwich: maror between two pieces of matzah.

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