Friday, December 18, 2009

Working late on a derashah

[This week's Toronto Torah is here!]

I'll be giving a derashah this Shabbos, and I'm up late working on it. Just came across an old derashah of mine, and a line and concept I really like:

In truth, both the pauper’s Maror and the prince’s Korban Pesach belong at the Seder, and we even eat them together; as the Torah instructs, צלי אש ומצות על מרורים יאכלוהו, the Jew must eat the Korban Pesach and the Maror together. The cry of long-suffering experience and the pledge of indefatigable hope are equal collaborators to Jewish identity.

But when it came time to leave Egypt, the Korban Pesach’s remains were burnt and left behind, and the last shreds of bitter herbs were likewise abandoned. The only item that remained was the entity that owned portions of both - the Matzah.

Matzah is לחם עוני, the bread of suffering, poor man’s bread, a spare combination of flour and water that sates but offers no pleasure. Matzah, like Maror, reflects our dark past and the bleak outlook it generates.

But Matzah is also bread of redemption, barely-baked dough borne on our shoulders in haste as we broke out of the world’s largest prison, associated with the thrill of our sudden liberation and with it our expropriation of Egypt’s golden wealth.


  1. hmmm - come live the vida dialectic.

    Joel Rich

  2. As always, Joel. And it makes for good derashos, too.