The Eighth Day of Pesach


Deut 14:22 - 16:17; Numbers 28:19-25; 2 Sam21:1-51; John 20:1-14

The Bread of Affliction

You shall eat no leavened bread with it. Seven days you shall eat it with unleavened bread (matza), the bread of affliction - for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste - that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 16:3)

If you attended a Pesach (English: Passover) Seder the other day, or any other time for that matter, you most likely heard the following words when the matza (English: unleavened bread) was uncovered near the beginning of the evening: "This is the bread of affliction that our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt." But perhaps you didn't know that calling the matza "the bread of affliction" is taken directly from the Torah.

The word for "affliction" in Hebrew is "a'-nee," and refers to being in an oppressive state, such as hardship or poverty. Matza as a key symbol of Pesach would always serve as a reminder of the great suffering in Egypt with or without referring to it as the bread of affliction. But the verse I quoted at the beginning makes it sound as if the matza is not a reminder of the slavery experience but of freedom: "eat it with matza, the bread of affliction - for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste - that all the days of your life you may remember the day when you came out of the land of Egypt."

Indeed it was the rush to leave Egypt following the tenth and final plague that is the reason for the eating of matzah. We read: