[Avodah] The night of Makas Bechoros

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Tue May 15 04:05:47 PDT 2018

Shemos 12:39 teaches us:

> They baked the dough that they took out of Egypt into loaves
> of matzah, because it did not become chametz, for they were
> driven out of Egypt and could not delay. Nor did they prepare
> any provisions for themselves.

Various meforshim deal with halachic problems of this pasuk. For example,
they were commanded to eat matzah, and being rushed out had nothing to do
with it. Or, chometz was forbidden, and being rushed had nothing to do with
it. This thread WILL NOT discuss those issues. If you want to discuss those
issues, please start a new thread.

My questions have nothing to do with halacha. They relate to the sequence
and timing of the events of that night. They relate to "lir'os es atzmo" -
I try to imagine myself in Mitzrayim that night, and certain parts of the
story don't make sense to me.

I have distilled my problem down to two simple and direct questions about
the dough mentioned in the above pasuk:

1) When was that dough made?
2) When was that dough baked?

We were forbidden to leave our homes until morning, and it is totally
irrelevant to me whether you prefer to define "morning" as Alos or as
Hanetz. Either way, there way plenty of time from when Par'oh and the
Mitzrim went shouting in the streets, "Get out!" until we were able to
leave our homes. I estimate that we had several hours to prepare food for
the trip. I find it difficult to imagine that the flour and water were not
mixed until the last 17 minutes before morning.

Another problem: Given that they DID take unbaked dough out of Mitzrayim,
what happened when they finally decided to bake it? Obviously, if they were
able to bake it, it must be that they were not hurrying out of Egypt any
more. So why didn't they just wait a little longer, and allow the dough to
rise? (Someone might suggest that it was only in Egypt that "it did not
become chametz", and that they did let it rise after getting out, but the
pasuk disproves that, by telling us that "they baked it into matzah", i.e.
that the dough never rose at all, at any point.)

There are other questions that could ask, in addition to those, but I'll
stop here for now.


Akiva Miller
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