Most Jews are faithfully, if somewhat resentfully, purchasing square “Matzos”; hard, crispy, crunchy stuff that plays havoc with many people's digestion after a couple of days. But they are misled.
An article, “The Inner Meaning of Matzah” reads, “We bake flat, crisp Matzah in order to re-enact the Exodus, when the Children of Israel fled Egypt in a hurry.” There is only one word wrong in that statement - crisp. Eating Matzah may be, as the article suggests, “an act of defying the laws of nature, time and history,” but if has nothing to do with it being crisp and hard. Our ancestors, you see, never ate “flat, crisp matzah” until the 19th century.
They ate Massa (a more historically accurate transliteration than “Matzah”) which is very similar in texture to a pita.
We know this to be true for several reasons, the first being the “Korech” component of the Seder. “Korech” means to roll up, it is what we are supposed to do when remembering Hillel and making the famous, if improperly and misleadingly named “Hillel Sandwich". Not even Houdini could roll up a hard crisp Matza. What we are supposed to be doing is making a wrap, a true Korech, by rolling up the foods inside the Matza.
Second, the Babylonian Talmud Pesahim 7a suggests that bread and Massa could be easily confused: “Rabbah the son of R. Huna said in the name of Rab: If a mouldy loaf [is found during Pesah in a bread bin and we are uncertain whether it is bread or Massa] ...... With todays hard Matza this Gemara makes no sense, Matza and bread are very easily distingiushed from one another.
Besides, hard Matza never grows mouldy.
The Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserlis - the patron of documenting Minhag of Ahkenaz) writes that Massa should be made thinner than the tefah (around 3 inches) recommended in the Babylonian Talmud, while the Chafetz Chaim advised that Massa can be made “soft as a sponge” (Mishna Berura, Orach Haim 486).
Rabbi Hershel Schachter, rabbinic dean at Yeshiva University and Halachic advisor for the Kashrus division of the Orthodox Union, stated clearly that there is no custom that prohibits Ashkenazi Jews from eating soft massa. And that suggesting there is such a custom is as absurd as suggesting that the curtain for the Holy Ark must be blue or red because it has been so for the past 200 years.
Matza is now manufactured into a dry product simply to prevent it becoming mouldy, which never was a problem in days of old because everyone baked Matza fresh daily. Yes, even during Pesach.
These days when it is baked months in advance, it must be dry to prevent it going bad in storage.
Those who subscribe to the philosophy and belief that our ancestors who escaped Egypt ate crispy Massoth pervert history to fit a new fangled version of our modern day Massa and then crown it with the status of having Halachic value as a custom. Shame.
We have lost our link to our history and our traditions if they can be so successfully re-engineered. It means that we are no longer thinking just following on auto-pilot and never verifying our navigation. We are certainly headed in the wrong direction, because serving Gd is a matter not of obedience but of engagement.
When the brain is shut down, there is no engagement. It's as romantic as receiving an anniversary gift by remote whilst the giver is partying elsewhere.
Read more: Why your ancestors never ate matzos | Shayna Zamkanei | Ops & Blogs | The Times of Israel http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/why-your-ancestors-never-ate-matzos/#ixzz30uPNX4Bx
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