Matzah is the unleavened cracker-like bread that we eat on the holiday of Passover. Passover celebrates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, and the story we tell mentions how the Israelites left in a hurry, without waiting for their bread dough to rise. In commemoration of this story, during the eight days of Passover, we eat matzah and avoid all leavened foods.
The rules for baking matzah stipulate that it be made and cooked within 18 minutes. At the Passover seder we also refer to matzah as the “bread of affliction.” Its dry and crackly texture reminds us of the difficulties our ancestors faced when they were slaves in Egypt.
Pronounced: SAY-der, Origin: Hebrew, literally “order”; usually used to describe the ceremonial meal and telling of the Passover story on the first two nights of Passover. (In Israel, Jews have a seder only on the first night of Passover.)