Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Unusual Custom

In Belz, there were several customs that touched upon the baking of matzos. In the rebbe’s home there was a large room used to bake matzos where a built-in oven was used only for this purpose. They would bake on the first two days of Nisan as well as erev Pesach. They were particular to use wooden vessels and not to allow a minor to do anything at all. Everyone who helped was also required to immerse in a mikveh before doing his job. But perhaps the most unusual custom was that, after the matzos were baked and had cooled, the chassidim would take them and put them on the rebbe’s bed. When someone asked the rebbe’s son, Rav Mordechai Rokeach, zt”l, to explain this strange custom, he pointed to a Rashi on Chulin 54. He explained, “The mishnah in Keilim states that in Egypt, the Jewish people tied the korban Pesach to their beds. Rashi in Chulin 54 discusses that mishnah and writes that in later generations as well, they would tie their korban Pesach to their beds to commemorate the custom in Egypt. Since during our exile we eat matzah to commemorate the korban Pesach, they would place the cooled matzos on my father’s bed to fulfill this ancient custom.”

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