By: Rabbi Amiram Markel
The Torah states; (Shemos 12:18) In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening, you shall eat matzos, until the twenty first day of the month in the evening. From this verse the commandment to eat matzos during Pesach is derived
The Holy Zohar calls matzah “The food of faith.”The implication is that through eating matzah on Pesach, somehow our faith in HaShem is “fed” and strengthened, giving us the spiritual vitality for the year to accomplish our mission as Jews in establishing HaShem’s kingdom in this world by fulfilling his commandments and being aware of Him in everything we see and everything we do.
But how can this simple act of eating accomplish such a profound effect? What special quality does matzah have that it is able to nurture faith?
The answer can be found in the mitzvah of eating matzah itself, which is a very unique mitzvah. HaShem commanded us in His holy Torah, “For seven days matzot shall be eaten”.
Now, Lashon Hakodesh—the holy language, is not a language like any other. Whereas in other languages the names and words of the language are merely arbitrary, in Lashon HaKodesh they are the actual divine energy and life force for the object. When two words share the same letters, they are sharing the same spiritual energy.
The word “matzot” (מצות) has the exact same spelling as the word “mitzvot” (מצות). It is therefore understood that when we eat the matzot, we are literally consuming, digesting and assimilating HaShem’s mitzvot. What is different in the mitzvah of eating matzos compared to most mitzvot is that while they are done externally this one is internalized and eaten. While in other mitzvot we are surrounded by divine energy, in this mitzvah the divine energy becomes one with us.
Herein lies the unique quality of the mitzvah of matzah. When we eat matzah on Pesach, we very literally are internalizing, digesting and assimilating a Divine mitzvah and as the popular saying goes, “You are what you eat”. Our physical sustenance is literally coming from a mitzvah!
This binds us to HaShem in the most profound way possible. As known, the word “mitzvah” has the same root as the word “tzavta” which means “a bond”. Mitzvot in general bind us to HaShem, but by fulfilling the mitzvah of matzah in particular, we literally assimilate G-dliness physically into our physical being and receive the vitality of faith to be totally sublimated to Him, not only in the spiritual sense, but especially in the physical sense!!
When we eat matzos we become people that are more in tune with G-dliness. We become people that are permeated with faith. This teaches us a profound idea; eating matzos is not only to commemorate leaving Mitzrayim as a past event, but through eating matzos we are able to leave our own personal exiles, boundaries and Mitzrayim. When we eat matzos it helps in our “ultimate” mission of leaving the final exile and transforming this physical world into a dwelling place for HaShem.
With over 35 years of experience in teaching and studying Kabbalah, Chassidus, and Jewish philosophies, Rabbi Amiram Markel is known for his expertise and erudition of Chassidic and Kabbalistic thought. Acclaimed author of many books on Jewish mysticism and philosophy, such as “The Knowledge of G-d”, “The Gate of Unity”, “On Divine Inspiration”, and “The Beginning of Wisdom”, as well as a work on Jewish Theology called “The Principles of Religion” he is a leading expert in the field. Not only is he proficient in the esoteric secrets of the Torah but having authored a scholarly book on the laws of kashrut called, “Going Kosher” he is well versed in the exoteric and practical laws as well. He currently serves as chief administrator of KCA-Kosher (Kosher Certification of America).