As we prepare our shmurah matzah for the seder, let us contemplate the implications of this unique mitzvah. If we examine the wording of the pesukim in Parshas Bo, we can clearly see that the Torah draws a distinction between the first day of Pesach and the remainder of the holiday. In Shemos 12:17, the posuk is discussing only one day - the day of the actual Exodus, the first day of Pesach. This is the posuk that requires us to guard the matzos, to eat shmurah matzah. This is in contrast to posuk 18, which delineates the seven-day period of Pesach, and mandates that any matzah be eaten. There is no obligation for us to guard the matzos for the seven days of Pesach, only for tonight, the leil haseder. What is this special obligation we find to guard our matzah and what are we to learn from this?
Perhaps we can explain the underlying ideas of these requirements in the following way. Tonight is celebrated as the anniversary of the evening we ate the Korban Pesach in Mitzrayim, and the day we were redeemed and were taken out. This was the day of the actual geulah, and the commandment of this day reflects the attitude we needed to have at that auspicious time. The requirement of guarding the matzos represents an added level of vigilance — a positive process, by which we actively look over the entire production of the matzah and carry out each and every step for the sake of the mitzvah of eating matzah.
The Torah is commanding us to eat matzah on the first day of Pesach that has been actively prepared for the sake of the mitzvah. This is representative of the way we were obligated to calibrate our minds when we were on the precipice of leaving Mitzrayim. At the time we were being redeemed and becoming Hashem’s people, He wanted us to focus our minds so that all that we do is l’shem Shamayim. It is not enough, during this sensitive time, merely that our actions be correct. We must be actively engaged with our thoughts, so that the actions we carry out are in fact being done for the sake of the service of Hashem. This focus is necessary at the time of Redemption, because it is at this time that we dedicate ourselves to Hashem; and a dedication involving action without thought is simply not a true dedication.
This is the message of our shmurah matzah. Hashem wants us to take an active role in our avodas Hashem. In all of our avodas hakodesh, not just our matzah, there should be present an element of purposeful and relentless dedication. The matzah we partake of tonight on the night of geulah should symbolize how our approach to all of the mitzvos will be. We check and watch this matzah, and we must be equally cognizant of all other facets of our Divine Service. This is the type of dedication that we accepted upon ourselves at the time of our redemption, and when we work to achieve this dedication in our times, Hashem will come and redeem us as well.
A Gut Yom Tov!
A Project of the YSI Alumni Association
Written by R’ Moshe Weiss