Hametz and matzah
April 01, 2004
I spent this evening at my shul with our rabbi and two other congregants (coincidentally, the current president and the past president, both of whom are lovely men) making matzah. It's surprisingly easy. Here's what you do:
1) Preheat your oven to 400.
2) Mix 2 cups flour with roughly 3/4 cup water (halakhah dictates that it should sit for 24 hours in a cool, dark place to purify; we decided our well qualifies) in a food processor. From the moment water hits flour, you have eighteen minutes to get the matzah into the oven; otherwise it is considered at-risk for natural leavening, and is no longer kosher!
3) Separate the dough into six little balls, and roll each out with some flour until it's about eight inches in diameter.
4) Prick each matzah with a matzah perforator (ours was made of a large dowel with picture nails spaced evenly around the middle).
5) Bake for roughly 12 minutes, until they start to brown. Ta-da!
While we made matzah (and laughed at each other's attempts to get them round -- my advice is, accept their misshapen nature as proof that they were home-made by loving hands), we told jokes and talked about Passover. I shared a drash on matzah which came across my Torah e-mail list recently:
In Hebrew, matzah is spelled mem-tzaddik-heh. Hametz (leaven) is spelled khet-mem-tzaddik. The difference between the two words is the difference between H and Kh, between heh and khet. Those two letters look very alike; the difference between them is the little open space in the upper left of the heh. Just so, the difference between matzah and hametz is the little open space through which holiness can flow.
Whether you make your own matzah, or buy it off the shelf in a Manischevitz box; whether you observe the negative commandment to avoid leaven for the duration of the festival, or run out for a bagel the morning after seder; may your Pesach be full of little holy open spaces.