Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Mystical Meaning Of Ma'os Chitim

Received via e-mail from Rabbi Dovid Sears:

"Tzedakah (charity) saves from death" (Proverbs 10:2). The initial letters of these three Hebrew words spells "matzah." (Likkutei Moharan I, 201).

Commentary: From this we see that tzedakah possesses a certain spiritual power to protect one from violating the prohibition of chametz on Pesach – for the Zohar (III, 251b) states that chametz represents the "Side of Death" – and it enables us to fully attain the holiness of eating matzah.

This gives us a further insight into why the sages of former times established the custom of giving the needy "ma'os chitim" (literally, "wheat money," to be used for the purchase of matzos) before Pesach.

(Rabbi Nachman Goldstein of Tcherin, Otzar HaYirah: Teshuvas HaShanah, "Pesach," Part II, sec. 6)

To tack another thought onto this teaching:

While chometz represents death and the evil trait of self-importance, matzah represents da'as, higher consciousness. Giving charity represents letting go of one's innate selfishness, and expresses a sense of unification with others and their needs. This itself is an aspect of da'as – and it leads to even greater levels of the perception of unity. Therefore, there is an intrinsic connection between tzedakah and matzah, which is da'as.


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