Friday, March 26, 2010

What is Matza (Jewish bread)?

It's coming up for the Jewish Festival of Passover (Pesach), which is celebrated by Jews worldwide as a remembrance to their exodus from slavery in Egypt. The Matzo or 'Jewish Bread' was baked and eaten in haste i.e. quickly- as they were driven out of Egypt by the nation that had suffered 10 plagues, the last being the death of the firstborn at the hand of G-d at midnight. They had no time to bake bread an therefore baked an unleavened bread which could be finished quickly - some say the dough was baked by the sun as they exited in the scorching heat, although it's clear that they did in fact keep the Passover that year and had no leaven anyhow. They had eaten the pascal lamb the night before the exodus together with the Matzo. This is stated in the Bible (beginning of Exodus) which commands Jews to eat no leavened bread i.e. bread baked with yeast or leavening agents (e.g. baking powder) during the week of Passover
Over the centuries many nations who didn't understand the Jewish customs, and their differences from the local population, persecuted the Jews and many, out of hate for this G-d fearing nation - portrayed them as evil people and there were many terrible 'blood libels'. The blood libel was a false rumor circulated saying that the Jews used human blood from non-Jewish children to make the matzos. These rumors were often circulated by evil people who themselves had abused and killed Christian children and used the Jews as the cover for their violent crimes. Jews are forbidden to eat or drink any blood and therefore to even entertain the idea that Jews would use blood in the Passover bread was preposterous to the extreme.
For those who have never heard of, or don't know how Matzo is made - here is a humorous video clip on the subject. Note Matzo has exactly 2 ingredients - flour and water.

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