The Passover Seder in the Talmud 2

In a previous blog, we looked at the structure of the Pesach seder in the gemara discussing the mishnah (Pesachim 114-116) that discusses the kiddush. We continue our discussion looking at the second mishnah and the gemara’s discussion on it ( The William Davidson digital edition of the Koren Noe Talmud Bavli):

There are many things we can see int he gemara’s discussions. First, we do see a reference to “reciting the hagaddah” and a reference about doing the normal rituals differently for the sake of the wondering of the children. Shmuel’s reference to matza being lechem oni (poor bread) and the “bread over which one answers many questions”.

Although the precise text of the haggadah being recited is not mentioned, we can see the beginnings of our modern haggadah and seder rituals. Alternatively, we can look at matza (mem-tzadi-hei) as “matz-hei” , where the word matz means “to oppress” and the letter hei alludes to Hashem. Thus, the matza is a reminder that the Egyptian bondage brought the Jewish people to the lowest depths of losing faith in Hashem (literally it was beaten out of them). The plural matzot is spelled the same way as mitzvot in Hebrew. Thus, through faith in Hashem, we can take a poor, dried out bread, and turn it into a mitzvah to glorify the name of Hashem.  We will continue our discussions in another blog.

About the Author
Jonathan Wolf is a retired high school physics teacher. He retired to NJ with his wife. He is an adjunct professor of physics at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He has published professional papers and has been the author of AP Physics review books as well as general HS and college physics review books. He is a past President and ritual chairman at a conservative synagogue on Long Island, NY before he retired to NJ.
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