Each of the moedim is based upon a Biblical event and the commandments given by the Most High. To keep us grounded in the Scriptures that inform us about each moed, tradition begins with the reading of the Word including passages from throughout the Bible. The traditional readings (at right) are for the first day of Chag HaMatzot.
While some find it appropriate to dismiss traditional observances as mere "traditions of men" we should be like the Bereans and consider what Scripture says about tradition.
Chag HaMatzot [the Feast of Unleavened Bread] contains several traditions.
Although cleaning the home of leaven usually occurs in the weeks (or even months!) ahead of the moed, there is a final search for leaven that is performed the day of Pesach. Often times this search is performed with a feather to gently scoop any fragments of leavened material into a container. Afterwards the container and all of its leavened objects are burned (usually with a candle) to destroy them. Just in case leaven is left undiscovered somewhere in a person's home, a traditional prayer is recited "nullifying" the leaven and rendering it "ownerless".
According to rabbinic law and tradition, eighteen minutes is the maximum amount of time that moistened flour can be left unattended before it will naturally "leaven" from the yeast spores in the air.
In current matzah parlance, “18-minute matzah” means that the entire matzah [production] line is cleaned every 18 minutes; this includes mixing utensils, table or conveyor lines, matzah cutters and scorers (dockers) and every other surface that comes in contact with the dough. The result is a product that has not just been baked in less than 18 minutes, but one that has also not come in contact with any dough older than 18 minutes. However, this special time-sensitive cleaning process can be challenging, particularly when dealing with older matzah-making equipment that is pitted or has cracks and crannies.1
Meal of Messiah
There is a tradition that was started in the seventeenth century by the founder of the Chassidic movement (the Baal Shem Tov) called the "Meal of Messiah". On the last day of Chag Hamatzot, the last meal of the day was eaten as a special seder with the focus on the coming of Messiah and the final redemption2.
The following table outlines some traditional readings for each of the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
|Joshua 3:5-7; 5:2-6:1; 6:27|
(Chol Hamoed 1)
|Leviticus 22:26-23:44||2 Kings 23:1-9, 21-25|
(Chol Hamoed 2)
|Exodus 13:1-16||2 Kings 23:1-9, 21-25|
(Chol Hamoed 3)
(Chol Hamoed 4)
(Chol Hamoed 5)
(Chol Hamoed 6)
|Exodus 13:17-15:26||2 Samuel 22:1-51|
|Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17||Isaiah 10:32-12:6|
The following days can fall at any time during the 8 days of the festival.
|?||Intermediate Sabbath||Exodus 33:12-34:26||Ezekiel 37:1-14|
|?||First Fruits||Exodus 34:1-26
Footnotes1. Taken 4/27/2015 from Getting to Know Your Matzah at https://oukosher.org/passover/articles/getting-to-know-your-matzah/ [back]
2. "Meal of Messiah", Messiah Journal issue 103, p 26 [back]