We celebrate our Exodus from Egypt primarily by eating matzah at the Seder. Many go to great lengths to specifically use handmade shmurah matzah. But why make such a fuss about handmade round matzah? What's wrong with machine-made matzah? Do we have something against modern technology? Are we Amish?

Then again, why eat matzah altogether? Ditto for bitter herbs. Why, when marking an event, do we always have to do things? Can't we just get together and tell over the story like intelligent people? Aren't we more civilized and sophisticated than this; to be going through superficial motions to commemorate events?

The year was 1812, and Napoleon Bonaparte was retreating through Russia with his armies. One day, after a heavy battle that ended in defeat, Napoleon was forced to run for his life. Looking for somewhere to hide, he ran into the first store that he set his eyes upon. The sympathetic French-born bed-shop owner hid him under a pile of mattresses. Moments later, some Russian soldiers came charging in demanding to know the whereabouts of Bonaparte. "He is not here, you can check all you want," replied Pierre. One soldier looking around spotted the pile of mattresses, and dug his sword right in. "If he's hiding under there he's surely dead," he said.

Napoleon was livid. "Do you know who you're talking to?! I am Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French empire!"Unsuccessful in their search they walk out.

But the sword narrowly missed Napoleon. After the danger has passed and Napoleon was regrouping in his camp, he summoned the store owner. "Pierre," he affectionately said, "you saved my life! How can I repay you?"

"I have everything I need, thank you," replied Pierre. "But tell me, there is one thing I would like to know: Knowing what those Russians would have done to you had they found you, what did it feel like hiding under those mattresses?"

Napoleon was livid. "Do you know who you're talking to?! I am Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French empire!" he roared.

"Guards! Take him to the firing squad," Napoleon ordered.

Poor Pierre was standing by the wall with his hands tied behind his back, whispering his last prayers. Four soldiers drew their guns, awaiting the order to fire.

Suddenly Napoleon approaches. "Free this man!" he bellowed. Pierre, baffled, barely stammered… "What's going on?"

"You wanted to know how I felt under those mattresses," replied Napoleon. "Now you know."

While historians can debate whether this fable actually happened, we can certainly take a lesson from it.

When we commemorate the Exodus, everything that we do to reenact the story helps us to actualize the experience. By eating matzah, specifically handmade matzah, as our ancestors prepared in Egypt, we relive the episode in a dramatic and genuine way. We recall the haste in which the Jews left Egypt—they didn't even have time to let the dough rise. Through eating bitter herbs, we remember the bitterness of the slavery. With the drinking of four cups of wine, we relive the joy of liberty, reclining expansively like free men. By performing these and the other rituals of the Seder, we can and do relive and experience the true freedom that our ancient ancestors gained.

If you truly want to experience the freedom that the Jews felt when leaving Egypt, remember the handmade matzah!Like them, we too can experience true freedom from our oppressors—be they tyrannical "Pharaohs," psychological inhibitions or spiritual obstacles. On the night of the Seder we are released from their chains. It is a night when our essential spark is permitted to shine; when we overcome the limitations that prevent us from being the person that we want to be.

Recount the story of the Exodus and sing some nice songs with your family. And if you truly want to experience the freedom that the Jews felt when leaving Egypt more than 3,300 years ago, remember the handmade matzah!

P.S. For your very own handmade shmurah matzah contact your local Chabad center, or click here to purchase online.