The Zohar states that matzah is both the “bread of faith” as well as the “bread of healing.”1

The “bread of faith” seems clear. Matzah embodies the faith our ancestors displayed when they followed G‑d out into the desert with few provisions. In that sense, when we eat the matzah, we are internalizing their faith.

But why is matzah the “bread of healing”?

The Zohar tells a parable of a king whose son wasn’t well. After days of eating nothing, the prince finally mustered up a bit of an appetite. The doctors said, “He must eat only this curative food, and don’t let any other food be found in the house.” They did so, and once he ate that healing food, he was able to eat other foods without being harmed.

So, too, when the Jewish people left Egypt, they were like the sick prince. G‑d told them to first eat matzah (the bread of healing), and only later could they eat chametz, leavened foods.

In Hayom Yom the Lubavitcher Rebbe quotes the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745–1812):

“On the first night, matzah is ‘the bread of faith.’ On the second night, it is ‘the bread of healing.’ When healing leads to faith, in that a person says, ‘I thank You, G‑d, for my recovery,’ he was, nevertheless, sick. But when faith generates healing, a person is not sick in the first place.” 2

Both Nights Are the “Bread of Healing”

The Rebbe had the practice of giving Dr. Avraham Seligson a matzah before Passover. One year he told him to come back again on the second night as well. When Dr. Seligson commented (based on the above Hayom Yom) that on the first night matzah is the bread of faith and the second night it is the bread of healing, the Rebbe replied, “In truth, the matzah on both nights is the bread of healing.”3

As we prepare for the upcoming holiday of Passover, let us hope that the matzah will give us the faith to carry through these trying times and provide healing to all who need it.