Tzav (Pesach)

Matza represents. What, what does it represent? At the start of the seder it is lechem oni, the bread of poverty eaten by slaves; by the middle it’s a hurriedly-made food for a newly-free people. Matza is a central ingredient in the Thanks-offering, Isaac Luria calls it “great, great minds”, Rebbe Nachman sees it as blinding humility. Matza represents! The Talmud calls it “a bread with many answers (onin alav dvarim harbeh)”. A floating signifier, it becomes a focal point around which we can create answers, create questions, tell our stories, find meaning and meanings in ancient symbols. As always, on Pesach we are again challenged to question symbols, honour them, destroy and recreate them. This is the Pesach tradition.

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[Inspired by: Leviticus 3:12; Pesachim 115b; Haamek Davar on Exodus 12:8; Likkutei Halachot YD Giluach 3; Slavoj Žižek on Why does a Letter Always Arrive at its Destination; and Dragonfly by René Lalique.]

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