Did the Jews Eat Matzah in the Wilderness?
Question submitted to “Ask the Rabbi” by:
Name: Ary Kempler
City: New York
“Did the Jews in their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness eat Matzo on Pessach?
If so how did they get the wheat?
Do you have a source for your answer?
Thanks in advance!”
Rabbi Tully Bryks responds:
Once the Torah (Bible) was given at Mount Sinai, the Jews were already obligated to observe the 613 Mitzvos (commandments). There were some exceptions, and the Korban Pesach (Paschal offering) may have been one of those exceptions, as some commandments could only be observed in Israel or with a Temple or in a state of purity. But the rest of the laws of Pesach were still in effect, including the Mitzvah to eat Matzah.
Regarding your question about wheat, the question can really be asked about food in general. How were 3 million people, limited to the technological achievements from over 3,000 years ago, able to feed themselves while wandering in the wilderness for 40 years? The answer is that G-d sustained us with “Man” (manna). G-d provided us with a miraculous daily food source that had the ability to taste like anything we wanted. So just as the Man could be eaten every Shabbos and fulfill our obligation to eat bread, I would suggest that the Man could also be used on Pesach to satisfy our obligation to eat Matzah.*Some suggested sources: Korban Pesach in the wilderness – See Tosafos and the Chiddushay Harim on the Talmud Kiddushin 37B and see Rashi on Shemos 12:25 Man – See Shemos 16:14 and the commentaries there.
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