08. Baking Matza and Reciting Seder Korban Pesaḥ

Some beautify the mitzva by baking the matzot to be used for the Seder after midday on the 14th, when the Paschal sacrifice would be offered (SA 458:1). Many do not do so because it is labor intensive, and this is the time when people are usually busy preparing the house for the Seder. Some poskim say that the possibility of the dough becoming ḥametz also makes it preferable to bake the matza beforehand, because some authorities are of the opinion that, at this time of day, even a drop of ḥametz renders everything forbidden, whereas if a drop of dough becomes ḥametz before midday, it is batel be-shishim and it will not “reawaken” later with the onset of Pesaḥ (MB 458:3; see above ch. 7 n. 1). Indeed, Rav Kook’s custom was not to bake matza on Erev Pesaḥ after midday (Mo’adei Ha-Re’aya p. 284).

After the minḥa prayer on Erev Pesaḥ, people customarily recite the seder korban Pesaḥ, a description of the procedure of offering the Paschal sacrifice, including relevant biblical verses. The Sages teach (Megilla 31b) that after the destruction of the Temple, reciting and studying the sacrificial procedures are considered a substitute for the korban itself.

Maharal of Prague (Gevurot Hashem chs. 36, 37) explains that the significance of the Paschal sacrifice lies in the expression it gives to the unity of the Creator, and consequently the unity of Israel, whose purpose it is to reveal His name in the world. It is therefore eaten in groups, whose membership is predetermined, so that the korban is offered by a group of people who have united for this purpose. It is also forbidden to go from one group to another during the Seder, because this would disrupt the unity of the group. The offering is eaten with matza and maror in order to express the inner unity of all of the values alluded to by Paschal sacrifice, matza, and maror. We are commanded to roast the Paschal sacrifice because roasting solidifies and unifies the meat. It is forbidden to break any of its bones, because breaking is an expression of division.

When the Paschal sacrifice cannot be offered, the unity of the Creator is not revealed in the world, and the people of Israel are scattered and divided. May it be God’s will that the Temple be rebuilt speedily in our days, so we may all offer the Paschal sacrifice together, as in the days of yore.

O Purest One, Who dwells on high:

Raise up the uncountable assembly of Your community

Soon guide the saplings You planted

Redeemed, to Zion in joy!

Chapter Contents