When you were a child, you were blessed with faith. The world was good, people were good, and being good yourself was simply a matter of following the the dos and don'ts of life which G‑d had told your Mom and Dad.

Then you grew up, met some of the bad guys, and found that following the rules doesn't always pan out the way you imagined it would. Morality muddled into an amalgam of maybes, ifs and usuallys. Faith alone wasn't enough anymore: you also needed intellect, sensitivity, feeling, will and desire to navigate this thing called life.

When you first married, you were blessed with faith. Your husband/wife was the most good-hearted, intelligent, beautiful, talented, caring and loving person in the universe. Your love for each other would get you through anything. Then your marriage aged, acquiring wrinkles, an irregular heartbeat and bouts of dementia. Love alone just wasn't enough anymore: you also needed intellect, sensitivity, feeling, will and desire to maintain the relationship.

You begin in faith, and move on to experience. But there is also a third stage: a stage in which the faith reemerges. A stage in which you discover that your spouse really is the greatest, most wonderful person in the universe. A stage in which you discover that the world is good, that people are good, that the G‑d-given dos and don'ts are the formula for a meaningful life. No, it's not as simple and straightforward as your youthful faith saw it. But this mature, complex, thoughtful, willed and inspired faith has something that youthful faith didn't have: it has a density, a texture, a taste. A richness.

You've returned to that original faith, that same faith which shone so bright and hard because it wasn't saddled with knowledge and experience. Now, however, your faith co-exists with — indeed feeds upon — your knowledge and experience. The roots of your faith reach deeper than them, its crown towers higher than them, but it also leans against them and is fortified by them.

Matzah is the most basic icon of the festival of Passover. The biblical name for Passover is "The Festival of Matzahs." For eight days, this flat, "unleavened bread" displaces all leavened forms of the staff of life. And on Passover eve, the three seder matzahs, enthroned on their special plate at the head of the table, take center stage in the seder rituals.

But there's no small amount of confusion surrounding the significance of the matzah. The sages of the Talmud and the Kabbalah give it different — even conflicting — names: "The Bread of Affliction," "The Bread of Poverty," "The Bread of Humility," "The Bread of Instruction," "The Bread of Faith," "The Bread of Healing."

And then there's the matter of timing: Just when was the matzah born? At the beginning of the seder we announce, "This is the bread of affliction which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt..." But later in the evening, we recite: "This matzvah that we eat, for what reason [do we eat it]? Because the dough of our fathers did not have time to become leavened before the King of the kings of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them."

Thus we have pre-Exodus matzah and post-Exodus matzah. Or, as they're referred to in the teachings of Chassidism, pre-midnight matzah and post-midnight matzah.

For matzah, the bread of faith, has two faces. It is the faith of "poverty" which thrives in pristine souls free of the tangles of intellect and the burdens of experience. And then, when it emerges from the other side of the night, it is a faith enriched by the very elements that stifled it in its years of exile.