Mutual Expressions of Love

Friday, 18 April, 2014 - 1:14 pm


I hope you're enjoying your 'Festival of Matzos' a.k.a 'Pesach' (translated as 'Passover'), which lasts through the 22nd (21st in Israel).
Did you know that the Scripture doesn't actually refer to this Holiday as 'Pesach'? In the Torah, it's called 'Chag Hamatzos', the Festival of Matzos.
The word Pesach does appear in the Torah. Pesach is the name of the lamb-offering which the Jews brought on the day BEFORE this Festival of Matzos; and to the offering’s meat, which they would eat at the Festival’s Seder.

The offering was called a 'Pesach' offering because - in the unfolding of the Jews' liberation from Egypt - G-d told the Jews to smear some blood from this offering on their doorposts, so that G-d could ensure to spare them from the plague afflicting the Egyptians on that final night of the Jews' stay in the country.
In Hebrew, the word 'Pesach' means to 'pass over', referring to the fact that the plague 'passed over' the Jews' homes.

That’s why Jews began to call the Holiday Pesach, and it’s indeed the Festival’s name as it appears in the Talmud and Jewish tradition over the millennia.

So now we have it straight. G-d – the Torah – calls it the Festival of Matzos. But we have chosen to call Pesach (Passover).

Why the difference?

The Rebbe once explained it this way: We and G-d have such a loving relationship, that we’re always trying to highlight the other’s affection, loyalty and commitment.

G-d, in the Torah, calls this a Holiday of Matzos, referring to the not-fully-baked breads that the Jews took out of Egypt. Matzos imply the Jews’ hasty departure, their blind foray into the wilderness with pretty much nothing but…faith. They didn’t have proper travel plans and they didn’t know where they were going. But they trusted G-d. So they left.

Out into the desert. In haste. With barely baked bread. They had very little in the way of normal emotional security, but it was enough for a people with faith in G-d.

The Torah wants to underscore our great loyalty, our deep faith in the Divine, so it calls this Holiday ‘Festival of Matzos’.

Conversely, we have always wanted to emphasize G-d’s care and protection, so we point to the fact G-d had the plague ‘pass over’ over our homes. We chose to call it ‘Pesach’ (Passover’).

G-d believes in you. Pesach is our turn.

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