The name of the holiday “Passover,” is an allusion to God’s passing over the Israelite households during the plague of the firstborn, a critical element in the events of the Exodus. The name “Passover,” however, may be derived from an English convolution of the Hebrew word Pesach, the Torah’s term for the Paschal lamb sacrificed on the holiday.
The Torah refers to Chag Ha’pesach, the Holiday of the Paschal Lamb, only as the actual seder feast. In almost all other cases,* the Torah refers to this springtime holiday as Chag Ha’matzot, the Holiday of the Unleavened Bread: “The feast of unleavened bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread” (Exodus 34:18).
In honor of Chag Ha’matzot, Jewish Treats presents a little bit of information on matzah:
To guarantee that matzah is Kosher for Passover, no more than 18 minutes may pass from the moment the water and flour come in contact with each other, until it is removed, fully baked, from the oven. The entire working area (and the workers’ hands) is scrubbed between each 18 minute process.
Many Jews will only eat shmura matzah (especially during the Seder). Literally “guarded matzah,” shmura matzah has been carefully supervised from the time the wheat was cut until it was baked so that it remained perfectly dry until being deliberately mixed with water (lest it become chametz). This practice is based on the verse in Exodus 12:17, “And you shall guard the matzot…”
Egg matzah is “enriched matzah.” Since it is more extravagant, it fails to fulfill the requirement of “lechem oh’nee,” bread of affliction (poverty). According to Ashkenazi custom, egg matzah may only be eaten on Passover by someone who is physically infirm, very young or very old, and has difficulty digesting regular matzah.
Depending on how they are prepared, flavored matzot (such as garlic and onion or grape) may or may not be Kosher for Passover. Please check the box for proper Kosher for Passover supervision.
*It is also referred to as Chag Ha’aviv, the Holiday of the Spring.
This Treat was last posted on April 17, 2014.
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