Askmoses-A Jews Resource
What is the blessing for hearing/seeing thunder and lightning?
Browse our archives

The Scholar is ready to answer your question. Click the button below to chat now.


Scholar Online:

Type in your question here:

Click the button below to either CHAT LIVE with an AskMoses Scholar now - or - leave a message if no Scholar is currently online.

CHAT or LEAVE A MESSAGE

Why do we have three matzot on the Seder plate?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

Library » Holidays » Passover » Seder » The Matzah | Subscribe | What is RSS?


PRINT EMAIL COMMENT

Here are some of the reasons that are given:

1. It is an allusion to the three measures of flour that Abraham asked Sarah to prepare for the angels that visited him after his circumcision. According to the Midrash1, the angels visited Abraham on Passover. (It is a tradition that Abraham kept the entire Torah even though it had not yet been given. So he would have celebrated Passover even before the Jews had entered Egypt!) The biblical commentator Alshich says that Abraham wanted Sarah to knead the dough herself (and not delegate the job to a servant) so that she could make sure that it did not become Chametz.

It is a tradition that Abraham kept the entire Torah even though it had not yet been given. So he would have celebrated Passover even before the Jews had entered Egypt!
2. It is a remembrance for our Patriarchs, Abraham Isaac and Jacob.

3. Every Shabbat and holiday you need two whole loaves of Challah. [This commemorates the double portion of manna we received in the desert on the day before Shabbat or a holiday.]

On Passover we need two whole Matzot for the blessing. So we start out with three because at the beginning of the Seder we break the middle Matzah and we’re left with two whole ones for the blessing.

4. The three Matzot represent the Jewish people who are divided into three groups: Kohanim, Levites, and Israelites -- all of whom were saved by the miraculous Passover Redemption.2

Footnotes

  • 1. Breishit Rabba Vayeira 48:12. See also Rashi Genesis 18:10.
  • 2. Sources: Rav Shrira Gaon and Maaseh Rokeach 16:58, cited in the Rebbe’s Haggadah, and explained in Migdal Ohr by Rabbi Ezra Schochet, vol. 7.
TAGS: matzoh

ADD A COMMENT

Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).

RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Passover » Seder » The Seder Plate
Jewish Identity » Kohains and Levites » The Holy Tribe

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chametz
Any leavened product which is produced from wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats. This includes bread, cake, cereals, crackers, biscuits, yeast, pasta and whisky. It is forbidden for a Jew to possess or consume Chametz throughout Passover.
Matzah
(pl. Matzot). Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Kohanim
Plural form of Kohain. Priests of G-d. This title belongs to the male descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses. The primary function of the Kohain was to serve in the Holy Temple. Today the Kohain is still revered and it is his function to recite the Priestly Blessings on certain occasions.
Seder
Festive meal eaten on the first two nights of the holiday of Passover (In Israel, the Seder is observed only the first night of the holiday). Seder highlights include: reading the story of the Exodus, eating Matzah and bitter herbs, and drinking four cups of wine.
Matzot
(Pl.: Matzot) Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
Abraham
First Jew, and first of our three Patriarchs. Born into a pagan society in Mesepotamia in 1812 BCE, he discovered monethieism on his own. He was told by G-d to journey to the Land of Canaan where he and his wife Sarah would give birth to the Jewish People.
Midrash
(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
Sarah
First Jewess, first of the four Jewish Matriarchs, wife of Abraham--the first Jew. Lived in Mesopotamia, and then Canaan, in the 19th century BCE.
Jacob
Third of the three Patriarchs and father of the Twelve Tribes. Lived most his life in Canaan and died in Egypt in 1505 BCE. Also known by the name of "Israel."
Challah
A loaf of bread. Usually refers to: 1) The section of dough separated and given to the priest (today that section is burnt). 2) The sweetened, soft bread customarily consumed at the Sabbath meals.
Isaac
Second of the three Jewish Patriarchs, son of Abraham and Sarah. Lived in Canaan (Israel); b. 1712 BCE, d. 1532 BCE.