Matzoh, Money and Marriage

Here’s an unusual thought experiment: Imagine meeting a twenty-year-old man who is suffering from near total amnesia. He explains to you that he knows how to read and write, drive a car and live healthily, but has no idea at all of what he ought to be doing to prepare for successfully living the rest of his life.  What are you going to tell him?

Upon some reflection, I think I’d say to him, “There are two really important things that are vital for happy living and neither is intuitive, so I am delighted that you asked me.”

The two are money and marriage.  Nothing at all is taught about either one at GIC’s (Government Indoctrination Camps formerly known as public schools.)  Not surprisingly, the result is a huge number of twenty-year-old men who have never given a realistic moment’s thought to earning a living.  Public education’s indifference to marriage has also resulted in a significantly diminishing percentage of young men marrying.  If nobody teaches young males how money works and why marriage is important, how could they possibly know? 

Not only is this sad for men, but it is also bad for society.  Grown men playing video games in their parents’ basement may be a stereotype, but all the variations that this stereotype represents are terrible for a culture.  With fewer and fewer men focused on acquiring financial independence, freedom gets forgotten.  And with only a minority of men marrying, the growing numbers of single people and fatherless babies inevitably increases the role of government.  Just as inevitably, once the role of government increases so does its power.  Once again, the biggest casualty is freedom.

You won’t be shocked to hear that the Biblical festival most dedicated to the idea of freedom heavily emphasizes both money and marriage. 

…on the tenth day of this month [Nissan] every man shall take a lamb for each father’s house,
a lamb for each household. 
(Exodus 12:3)

This is the only instance in the Torah where a sacrifice is to be eaten within the father-headed family home.  Even among North America’s largely secularized Jewish population, the Passover Seder is perhaps the most widely practiced Jewish observance. Certainly in religious homes, but even in generally non-observant ones, it is still commemorated by holding a family Seder, usually led by the father or grandfather.

Even in these egalitarian times, marriage, for the most part, happens when a man proposes to a woman.  Couples who married after the woman proposed marriage are few and far between.  Thus, a father-led home means a man became a man and stepped up to the plate.  A female-headed household is quite a different matter because it does nothing to socialize a man.  Even the boys raised in such households are at high risk in many ways because of the absence of a father. 

One of the most reliable indicators of durable cultures through the ages has been monogamous marriage.  This alone socializes men who, by starting a family, leading it and supporting it, turn a family into a fortress of freedom.  As everyone knows but few say aloud, the overwhelming majority of people living off their fellow citizens through government entitlements are not living in father-headed families. 

For this reason, the Scriptural verses about the festival of freedom stress the father-led household, the consequence of a stable marriage.  Any citizen who is part of a successful father-led family is extremely unlikely to seek very much interaction with and dependence on centralized government.  But marriage is only one part of how to achieve freedom from the tyranny of a centralized Pharaoh, whatever his modern incarnation might be.  The other part is financial independence—money.

The special unleavened bread of Passover is called “Bread of poverty,” in Hebrew, “Lehem ONI”.

ע נ י

You shall not eat leavened bread with it [the Passover lamb sacrifice] for seven days you shall eat matzoh, bread of poverty (ONI)…
(Deuteronomy 16:3)

Some translate the Hebrew word ONI as ‘affliction’ but it is the identical word appearing here:

If that man is poor [ONI] you shall not keep his deposit overnight
(Deuteronomy 24:12)


You shall not take advantage of a poor [ONI] or destitute hired person…
(Deuteronomy 24:14)

In other words, the observance of Passover commences with identifying poverty as undesirable; represented by this indigestible bread of poverty called matzoh.  However, the Exodus is preceded by the Israelites gathering up all the wealth of Egypt, leaving behind nothing.  (Exodus 12:35-36) The Passover festival thus also represents starting a journey from poverty to prosperity which reaches its intended destination seven weeks later at the festival of Pentecost with a special consecration of regular bread—the bread of wealth.

When a nation must be built out of the wreckage of a few hundred years of slavery, the two most important lessons are marriage and money.  Without these, the nation will only slide into subservience to the next Pharaoh who happens along.  And from that day to this, both marriage and money remain important to the descendants of those Israelites who left Egypt with their matzoh 3,330 years ago from Friday night, March 30th, 2018, the night of the Seder this year.

20 thoughts on “Matzoh, Money and Marriage”

  1. The destruction of the family goes hand in hand with the loss of freedom and growth of government control. Many of the “crises” we hear about on the daily news, such as school shootings, opioid (and drug) abuse blame the gun, the doctor or whatever and never address the real issue, the lack of morality and lack of respect for human life. Marriage is hard, I myself failed at marriage; but I mades sure that my children were taught manners, kindness, respect and morality. That is a parent’s responsinility.

  2. The topic of marriage was on my mind today. I’ve been watching a mother eagle care for her 2 chicks for 6 weeks and thought how much kids and even adults could learn from their natural instincts. I thought about how humans natural instincts, such as marriage, having children and taking good care of our children in addition to utilizing God’s gifts to us (agriculture, etc) have been manipulated by the ungodly and the government indoctrination system (I like you also use that term), which is ruining American society and other parts of the world. This was perfect confirmation of something that’s been on my mind recently.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thanks Leanne–
      only one important correction to your interesting comment. Marriage is NOT instinctive. It only happens where the culture educates it and expects it. That is no longer true in N. America. Is your eagle nest watchable on the Internet? A couple of years ago I was watching an eagle nest with ma and pa eagle taking care of 3 eagle babies…..until a big Osprey swooped in (and on camera) made off with the baby eagles. They osprey family ate well that day but ma and pa eagle left the nest never to return. Nature is red (and raw) in tooth and claw, to paraphrase Alfred Lord Tennyson.

  3. Praise be to God for the wisdom of His word, and for His conduit and interpreter encountering my spiritual life. Marriage and money are the two things that unfortunately have become a “trial and error” learning experience in these times. Public school does very little (to nothing) to teach the most necessary subjects.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Darin-
      GICs do much worse than merely neglect to teach necessary subjects; many of them actually propagandize and indoctrinate. And many parents are blissfully ignorant in their trusting acquiescence.

  4. unfortunately this is happening in today’s generation, which was not common a few decades ago in the absence of social media interaction, and microwave invention.Tough Love corrections is needed accompanied with corresponding actions to bring and make it meaningful change.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Steve Ndung’u–
      It’s not only social media and microwave technology. It is the obliteration of the traditional rules, rituals, and restraints of Judeo Christian Biblical faith which used to sculpt the boundaries of the culture

  5. This is the best article I have read in years, be it on news media digital, opinion pieces, from the mouth of politicians, you name it. The Rabbi is always – always – spot on, grounded in reality. This article is not only true, it is ageless in wisdom. Thank you!

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Thank you so much Brian–
      For your warm hearted and encouraging words. Do feel free to share this Thought Tool with others who may find it useful.

  6. Wow, that was good. Any recommendations for grown men playing video games in their parents’ basement? Besides _Thou Shall Prosper,_, of course.

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Hello Terry–
      Thanks for writing. The recommendations would depend upon whether it was the grown men in their parents’ basements who were asking me for the best advice. But if it was the parents driven to distraction by their basements full of game playing adult males, who were asking me, it would be a different set of strategies.

  7. Love this timely post. It will certainly bring enlightment the constituency of faith

  8. The social engineering experiment called “The Great Society” has literally destroyed the black community. It has changed a Judeo-Christian society that was recovering from 200 years of slavery back into a matriarchal society. A marriage rate equal to or higher that whites and a single parent household equal to or less than whites in the 1950s, early 60s are now at the opposite extremes. And what becomes of young men in a matriarchal society? They become the warriors protecting and trying to enlarge their turf.
    I could no more vote for a Democrat as I could a Nazi.

    1. It’s working its magic on what used to be the white middle class as well. Illegitimacy rates have gone from 17% to 40%, and it’s been calculated that 80% of firstborns are born out of wedlock in the US. What is even sadder is that women have come to expect this from their male cohorts, and believe it’s “normal.” The fear of being alone forever keeps them from demanding better, or at least grown up, behavior and standards from their partners.

      1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

        Dear Jean–
        Thanks for pointing out that all are afflicted by this cultural collapse. Sadly, the pathological Left speaks of wanting to reduce poverty but the one thing that would all but guarantee it, namely stable marriage between a man and woman, makes them recoil in horror. They believe the cure is worse than the disease.

    2. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Peter–
      What is there to say? It is all just too sad even to cry.

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