Arutz Sheva accompanied Rabbi Zalman Melamed, dean of the Beit El Yeshiva and the community’s venerable rabbi, as he visited a local bakery on Monday and personally took part in baking matzot (unleavened bread) for the holiday of Passover.
“It’s a special mitzvah to take part in the baking of matzah and be a partner in the baking,” said Rabbi Melamed, who explained that taking part in the actual preparation process “results in the eating of the matzot being done with a special feeling as well.” It is a custom for Torah figures to make a point of baking their own matzahs so as to fulfill the commandment by themselves.
The bakery which he visited also has educational programs for students, both younger and older, including kindergarten children on the laws of matzah baking.
The entire process from beginning to end of each batch is only allowed to take 18 minutes to ensure that the dough does not rise. Those baking repeat the words "Leshem matzat mitzvah" - meaning this matzah is being baked because of the commandment to eat matzah on Passover - over and over, and those present feel the palpable joy at its fulfillment. The word matzah and the word mitzvah (commandment) have the same letters in Hebrew, so that there is much symbolism in this action.
“The results are amazing,” said Rabbi Melamed. “The children feel like they are partners in the process and they feel happy to be part of the preparation of matzah. They see the entire process, how the matzot are baked from beginning to end, and this is something which is very uplifting and strengthens the love of Torah, the love of mitzvot, and the love of the holiday of Passover.”