A Matza and a Prayer ­ Article ­ BINA

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A Matza and a Prayer

by Rabbi Aron Moss

Question:
 
What's so bad about bread? Before Pesach, we search every nook and cranny for a stray crumb and then burn it all up. Then we spend eight days eating matza and no bread. Seems like whatever bread represents, it's pretty bad. But if bread is so corrosive to our spiritual lives, why is it permitted the rest of the year?
 
Answer:
 
Bread represents ego. Matza is egolessness. Leavened bread is puffed up and self-important, unlike the unleavened matza, which is flat and humble.
 
Is ego bad? And is it being egoless so good?
 
Ego has a time and place. Ego is not good when you need to grow to the next stage in life. To become the you of tomorrow, the only thing in the way is the you of today. You will never become something else as long as you are what you are. No matter how good you are, you can always become better. But that means temporarily putting the current you aside to allow the new one to blossom.
 
This is particularly true in our relationship with G-d. To move beyond your current state and graduate to a higher level of spirituality, you need to suspend ego and follow G-d with pure faith. Just like the Israelites of old, who followed G-d into the desert, with matza and a prayer, putting themselves aside and surrendering to Him.
 
But once you have made the leap beyond self, you need to reintroduce ego and work with it. Now it's time to integrate your newfound insights into your reality, to make it yours. For that you need your ego back. For if you remain egoless, you end up being a nobody. And G-d isn't looking for a relationship with a nobody, He wants a somebody.
 
First you have to resign your self, then you can refine your self. Start the journey with matza, then go back to bread.

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