Daily Archives: November 8, 2011

Mind your Matzoh and your Mitzvot

Someone once asked me how to find balance between the law and love of others. Perhaps we can take a lesson from Matzoh and Mitzvah. Matzoh is unleavened bread – that stuff we eat every Sunday in the Lord’s Supper. Mitzvot are good deeds or commandments.

Every Passover, practicing Jews search their houses to ensure they have removed all yeast (leaven). This law is explained in Exodus 12 & 13 when Israel is given the legal aspects of the Passover. “Minding your Matzoh” means, keep the unclean or evil thing from your house. This is what Jesus was doing when he cleansed the Temple of the money changers during Passover. While Israelites were removing yeast from their houses at Passover, Jesus showed them that he would remove the unclean, evil thing from his Father’s house.

According to the traditional Jewish interpretation of scripture, there are 613 Mitzvot or commandments. If you follow or teach others to follow a commandment, it is said you have done a Mitzvah, a good deed. So you might help someone cross the street today, and that would be a Mitzvah, a good deed. Certainly, Jesus taught that we must do good deeds (Luke 6:9).

Finding balance between the two can be difficult. If we do nothing but mind the law, we may lack love toward others. Similarly, if we do nothing other than good deeds, we may lack adherence to the law. It is an effort to follow laws and help our fellow-man.

For the Christian, balance includes doing good deeds and following laws, but if we don’t have God in our hearts, then we’re just people-helpers and rule-followers. Unfortunately, for many people, following God’s Laws and helping others would be a step up. Nevertheless, it doesn’t get us any closer to heaven or salvation. We cannot work our way into heaven. The only way to heaven is through Christ. Once we have the mind of Christ, the Spirit of God in our hearts, then and only then, can we be about our Father’s business of minding matzoh and mitzvah – law and good deeds.