What a disappointment it must have been for our ancestors. After centuries of hard, broken bits of biscuit they dreamed of soft, edible leavened bread such as the well-heeled Egyptians ate, but it was not to be.
They left Egypt in haste and as they went the dough baked hard and it was the same of bread of affliction again, except that this time they knew the good times were about to unfold and the next time they would eat rich man’s bread. Matzah, therefore, was two things at once – the memory of affliction and the promise of redemption.
But why was all the haste necessary? More time spent on planning and the Exodus might have been a more triumphant experience. Or then again it might not have been. Had the people dawdled the moment might have passed and the opportunity would have gone. Maybe that is why the haste was necessary. When opportunity beckons one has to respond immediately.
Not in all circumstances; the Talmud advises exactly the opposite when it comes to finding a marriage partner. Pir’kei Avot also advises taking your time if you are a judge and have to reach a fair and just decision. But in so many other departments of life, opportunity knocks but once and we dare not delay in opening the door. Especially when it comes to freedom: when the gaol door opens, off you go.