Friday, November 2, 2012

Parshas Vayera--Pesach before Pesach

In this week's parsha, we see a group of three angels being treated to two different feasts.  At one, Sara baked cakes, but they might not have been set out.  At another, the guests were given matza.  Why, one might ask?  Because it was Pesach.
Really.  According to Rav Bechaye, the commemoration of the Exodus accounts for both the unserved cakes (Sara let the dough sit too long and it became chametz) and Lot's matzas.  Never mind that the specific incident that would trigger the celebration of Pesach, and the commandment to avoid all things chametz during that time were A COUPLE OF CENTURIES AWAY!
And here we come to the biggest problem I have with Midrash--the Torah existed before it was written.
Really, if we had enough foresight to know that we would have to eat matza for a week in the spring to commemorate our freedom from Egyptian slavery, then why didn't we have the foresight to get out of Dodge before it became an issue?  Why did we stay after Joseph died?  Why go to Egypt in the first place?  Why not stay in Canaan and keep our freedom, thus avoiding the need to commemorate a Biblical feast hundreds of years before it was necessary?


  1. These are cute stories that make certain people happy and can be ignored by the rest of us.

  2. Midrash was not supposed to be taken literally.
    There are many cultures which bake flat bread, no necessarily unleavened, but which looks similar to matza, maybe that's the kind of bread you would serve your guests : it's quick and will not over-rise on a scorching day?
    Midrash is supposed to be a spice, sprinkled lightly over p'shat. I am very careful to tell and show my kids exactly what it says in the Torah instead of the Little Midrash.

  3. Tell that to Rav Bechaye. He made the roster of Chazal, so we kind of have to take him seriously.


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