MOTZIE – 15 Steps of the Seder (Part 8)


After washing our hands, we begin the process of internalizing the message of spiritual freedom by eating the Matzah. However, before we partake of the

Matzah, we must recite two blessings. The first blessing is referred to here as “Motzi,” in which we praise G-d for the “bread” by saying: HaMotzi lechem min ha’aretz, “who brings forth bread from the earth.”


The purpose of this blessing—which we recite every time we eat bread—is to recognize that all of our sustenance comes from G-d. We cannot internalize the higher spiritual power of Matzah if we think that it is a part of a natural process.

In other words, to quote a famous Chassidic maxim: “One cannot climb upward if they are still tied to the ground.”

If a person’s perception of reality derives from the earth, i.e., that it is all part of a natural cycle that is fixed, there is no room for true advancement.

Indeed, we cannot experience true freedom if we believe that we are forever confined to a mold that we call nature.

It is not that we shun nature. On the contrary, we see it as G-d’s system. We therefore pay homage to G-d the Creator of the system and not to the system itself.

Only by recognizing—as we do in the blessing of haMotzi—that it is G-d who extracts the bread from the earth; that G-d controls nature, can we hope to experience true freedom.


Moreover, this blessing reinforces the understanding that even when we eat at other times of the year, it is not the food with all of its nutrients that nourishes us, but rather the Divine spark within the food and nutrients.

This is the mystical meaning of the verse:  “It is not on bread alone that man lives, but on the word of G-d.” The “word of G-d” here refers to the Divine spark within the bread. Our hunger for food, the Ba’al Shem Tov teaches us, derives from the soul’s desire to access that powerful spark of holiness within the food.

Reciting the blessing releases the more sublime energy embedded in the Matzah.  We extract that energy when we fulfill the mitzvah of eating the Matzah. One cannot unleash the more potent energies within the Matzah, without first revealing its most basic energy.

One cannot build a structure if there is no foundation.

The Motzi blessing thus lays the foundation for the eating of Matzah and its effects.

Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

Published in Holidays Pesach

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