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D10. Observing the Feast of Unleavened Bread by Eating Matzah on Each of Its Seven Days.    [Make a Comment]

We are to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread by eating matzah on each of its seven days.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed is He):

Exodus 12:15-20
For seven days you are to eat matzah - on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. For whoever eats hametz [leavened bread] from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Isra'el. On the first and seventh days, you are to have an assembly set aside for God. On these days no work is to be done, except what each must do to prepare his food; you may do only that. You are to observe the festival of matzah, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you are to observe this day from generation to generation by a perpetual regulation. From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day, you are to eat matzah. During those seven days, no leaven is to be found in your houses. Whoever eats food with hametz in it is to be cut off from the community of Isra'el - it doesn't matter whether he is a foreigner or a citizen of the land. Eat nothing with hametz in it. Wherever you live, eat matzah.

Exodus 13:5-7
When ADONAI brings you into the land of the Kena'ani, Hitti, Emori, Hivi and Y'vusi, which he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you are to observe this ceremony in this month. For seven days you are to eat matzah, and the seventh day is to be a festival for ADONAI. Matzah is to be eaten throughout the seven days; neither hametz nor leavening agents are to be seen with you throughout your territory.

Exodus 23:15
Keep the festival of matzah: for seven days, as I ordered you, you are to eat matzah at the time determined in the month of Aviv; for it was in that month that you left Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed.

Leviticus 23:5-6 (In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach for ADONAI. On the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of matzah; for seven days you are to eat matzah.)

Numbers 28:17
On the fifteenth day of the month is to be a feast. Matzah is to be eaten for seven days.

Deuteronomy 16:2-3
You are to sacrifice the Pesach offering from flock and herd to ADONAI your God in the place where ADONAI will choose to have his name live. You are not to eat any hametz with it; for seven days you are to eat with it matzah, the bread of affliction; for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste. Thus you will remember the day you left the land of Egypt as long as you live.

Deuteronomy 16:8
For six days you are to eat matzah; on the seventh day there is to be a festive assembly for ADONAI your God; do not do any kind of work.

The Scriptures cited herein are unambiguous that God commanded the Israelites to eat matzah on each of the seven days of the Feast of unleavened bread that begins on the 15th day of Nisan. The rationale for it appears to be to remember the Israelites' hasty departure from Egypt by eating bread similar to the kind they carried with them - bread that did not have time to rise during their travel. This translates to being a mandate today for Jews and k'rov Yisrael Gentiles, but not for other Gentiles, although they may do so (if they are so moved) in identification with the Jewish people.

Maimonides and HaChinuch state that we must eat matzah on the evening of the 15th of Nisan, and Maimonides states that doing so after that is optional. On this latter point, Meir and HaChinuch are silent, and they offer no mitzvah to support eating matzah during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Pesachim 120a in the Talmud appears to be the source of the commentators' apparent belief that there is no commandment to eat matzah after Passover. Perhaps they understand the Scriptures to be saying that if one chooses to eat bread from the 15th to the 21sti of Nisan, then the bread must be unleavened. I do not know their rationale, but I am of opinion that Scripture commands eating matzah on each of the seven days of Unleavened Bread as a daily reminder of God's deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt.


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