If we want to maximize our Passover experience, we need to connect with the soul of matzah, our well-known brittle bread.

For that, we need to first establish the narrative's basics:

The Jews were enduring slavery in Egypt. G‑d told Moses that it was time to liberate the Jews and then presented the Exodus Plan:

  1. On the eve of the 15th of the Jewish month of Nissan, the Jews would have a special meal, consisting of a Passover offering, matzah and bitter herbs.
  2. Later, at midnight, G‑d would inflict a final plague on the Egyptians.
  3. The Jews would then leave Egypt in the early morning hours.

As things turned out, they needed to rush when they left, and the bread they were preparing for their travel provisions didn't have time to rise. So they made them into matzah instead.

Those are the basics.

The shallow ego represents the greatest threat to our internal freedomNote that the Jews actually had two matzah experiences. There was matzah on the planned-in-advance Passover evening menu. And then they had a second matzah experience, which seemed to be happenstance (because they needed to rush).

Now to the subtext:

Self-absorption and self-indulgence breed deafness to one's need for spiritual growth, creating a daunting "personal Egypt." The shallow ego represents the greatest threat to our internal freedom.

This puffed-up sense of self is represented by the bloated, risen dough, the loaf of bread.

By contrast, the matzah's dough hasn't been allowed to rise. In chassidic thought, matzah represents humility: the antidote to ego. The matzah is simple, made of only flour and water, representing humility and openness to self-improvement.

Matzah also represents faith, because to have faith takes recognition that one can't control everything. It's okay to let go.

So, G‑d told the Jews to find a matzah mentality, in order to leave their personal Egypt.

It wasn't easy.

But they did it, and had a spiritually successful Passover meal.

This opened the way for a second level of matzah, a deeper dimension of surrender.

The first level was the Jews' internally-generated submission to the Divine; the second experience was Divinely-generated.

What would happen if G‑d revealed Himself to you? Could any vestige of shallow self-interest possibly remain?

The intensity would sweep away your ego.

And that's what happened when the Jews left Egypt.

Once they had worked within themselves to find humility and faith, G‑d granted the Divine coup de grace to their ego struggle.

G‑d granted the Divine coup de grace In the words of the Haggadah: "The dough of our ancestors didn't have time to rise [as] the King of king of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them."

The second matzah wasn't planned, and it wasn't in our hands to create.

It was a Divine gift.

This year, at the Seder, we can experience both matzah levels.

And the preparation begins beforehand.

A mitzvah we do in advance – with consciousness – primes us for the Gift of Faith.

The gift of matzah.