Bo: The Sign is Coming ~ Rabbi Reuven Chaim Klein

In Parshat Bo there are three signs: The plagues in Egypt are called a “sign” (Ex. 10:1-2), the blood which the Jews were supposed to place their doorpost was called a “sign” (Ex. 12:13), and the tefillin which the Jews are supposed to wear is called a “sign” (Ex. 12:9; 12:16). The Hebrew word for “sign” in all of these cases is oht. However, there is another word for “sign” in Hebrew: mofet. In fact, the Ten Plagues are not just called oht, but they are also called mofet (Ex. 11:9-10). So what is the difference between an oht and a mofet?

Nachmanides (to Deut. 13:2) explains that an oht is a sign that is supposed to portend the fulfillment of a prophecy. For example, when a prophet predicts that if such-and-such will happen it will be a sign that something-or-other is true, then such-and-such is an oht which serves as a “sign” for the prophecy. Nachmanides further explains that the word oht (ALEPH-VAV-TAV) is related to the word for “coming” (ALEPH-TAV-HEY, or more commonly in its Aramaic form with a second ALEPH instead of the HEY), because it is a sign of things “to come.” The word mofet, on the other hand, denotes a “sign” that will come about in a miraculous way that bends the apparent rules of nature. Nachmanides explains that the word mofet is shorthand for muflat/niflah/pele (“wonderous”) with the LAMMED dropped for the sake of brevity.

Nonetheless, Nachmanides cites the Sifrei (to Num. 6:3) which explicitly notes that oht and mofet are the same thing. Nachmanides explains that this does not literally mean that the two words are true synonyms that bear the exact same meaning. Rather, it means that the two words refer to the same sort of phenomenon. Midrash Lekach Tov, also known as Pesikta Zutrata, cites the Sifrei,but adds that an oht is a “sign” about something in the future, and a mofet is a sign of something imminent. Rabbi Shlomo Aharon Wertheimer (1866-1935) explains that this is not a contradiction, because Midrash Lekach Tov understood that the Sifrei means that there is no difference between the two words in that they both mean “a sign”, but they can differ in the details as to when the implications of that sign are to manifest themselves.

Rabbi David Kimchi (1160-1235), also known as Radak, explains in Sefer HaShorashim that an oht is any type of “sign”, while a mofet refersspecifically to the type of “sign” whose purpose is to cause one to believe in something set for the future.

Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno (to Ex. 7:9) explains that when G-d sends someone to perform some sort of miraculous feat, then, depending on the purpose of the miracle, one of the two words in question will be used. If the purpose of the miracle is to relate a message about G-d, the term mofet is used. But, if the purpose of the message is to relate something about the messenger/medium, the term oht is used.

Rabbi Don Yitzchak Abarbanel (1437-1508) writes that some commentators claim that oht and mofet are synonyms that refer to supernatural phenomena. However, he disagrees with this understanding and explains that neither word refers to any supernatural wonders. Rather, both words refer to natural “signs”. An oht is a sign or symbol which can be within nature. For example, Gen. 1:14 reveals that the benefit of having a sun and moon is to serve as an oht for different periods of time. Moreover, tefillin is called an oht that symbolizes the Exodus, and the flags of each tribe had images which served as an oht that symbolized the tribe (see Num. 2:2). Abarbanel also notes that each letter of the alphabet is called an oht because that letter is a “sign” that represents a certain sound. All of these examples suggest that an oht can be a “sign” that lies within the confines of nature.

On the other hand, Abarbanel explains that a mofet refers to a non-physical “sign”, to a more abstract, logical argument. He explains that the word mofet is related to yofi (“beauty”) because the veracity of a logical argument lies in the beauty of its honesty. Indeed, the Radak in Sefer HaShorashim writes that the root of mofet is YUD-PEH-TAV.

The earliest person to use the mofet in this way was Rabbi Shmuel Ibn Tibbon (1150-1230), best known for having translated the works of Maimonides and others from Judeo-Arabic into Hebrew. He writes that mofet refers to a proof which conclusively proves a certain idea; while an oht refers to evidence which points in the direction of a certain idea, but does not conclusively prove it.

Malbim explains that an oht is any “sign” or “symbol” which is used to remind one of something that the sign symbolizes. A mofet, by contrast, is a supernatural “sign” which is used to remind one of G-d — the ultimate mover behind all natural and supernatural phenomena. Malbim simplifies this distinction by explaining that every mofet is an oht, but not every oht is a mofet. [Rabbi Shlomo Pappenheim (1740-1814) contrasts oht with eid, writing that an oht is simply a reminder, while an eid serves to remind and spur one into action.]

Rabbi Avraham Menachem HaKohen Rappaport (1520-1594) writes in his work Minchah Belulah that there are two differences between an oht and a mofet: An oht directly brings one to a certain belief, while a mofet only pushes one in the direction of a certain belief but does not directly bring him to any conclusions. He writes that mofet is related to the word mefateh — “seduce” or “convince”, see Devarim Rabbah §7:9. Alternatively, he explains that an oht is a sign of the Heavenly realm, while a mofet is a sign in the Earthly realm. Finally, Rabbi Rappaport concludes that oht and mofet are simply synonyms that mean the exact same thing.

Malbim explains when Moshe turned his staff into a snake in front of the Jews it was called an oht because it was a sign to them that he was really sent by G-d. However, when Moshe performed the same act in front of Pharaoh it is described as a mofet because to Pharaoh it was simply a supernatural parlor-trick, but had no deeper meaning (because he denied G-d).

Rabbi Wertheimer writes that some claim that the root of the word mofet is YUD-PEH-AYIN, but that the AYIN is always dropped, and the YUD sometimes morphs into a MEM. Accordingly, he explains that mofet is related to mofia (“presents itself”), because a sign is the way one presents an idea to others. Alternatively, he explains that mofet to mean the “presentation of a new, hitherto unseen, phenomenon”.




Bo: I Desire it ‘Na’ Now, Even Half-Baked ~ Yehoshua Steinberg


Bo: I Desire it נא Now, Even Half-Baked

שמות יא:ב -דַּבֶּר נָא בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם וְיִשְׁאֲלוּ אִישׁ מֵאֵת רֵעֵהוּ וְאִשָּׁה מֵאֵת רְעוּתָהּ כְּלֵי כֶסֶף וּכְלֵי זָהָב.

Please, speak into the ears of the people, and let them borrow, each man from his friend and each woman from her friend, silver vessels and golden vessels(Ex. 11:2). 

The word translated here as “please” is the Hebrew word נא. Rashi comments: “the word נאmeans aught but request – אין נא אלא לשון בקשה. I ask you… [to ask their neighbors for belongings] so that… Abraham will not say He fulfilled… ‘and they will enslave them and oppress them’(Gen. 15:13), but He did not fulfill… ‘afterwards they will go forth with great possessions’ (Gen. 15:14).”

The difficulty with the expression “the word נאmeans aught but request” is that we find many examples of the word נאin Scripture that have no connection with requests or appeals of any sort. One need search no further than our Parashah to find two very different meanings1: 1. Pharaoh uses the term נאto dismiss Moses from his court (Ex. 10:11). 2. The word נאdenotes unprepared meat, in this case the Passover offering, which we are enjoined from partaking of while raw (Ex. 12:9).2Rashi’s super-commentators (e.g. Mizrachi, Sifsei Chachamim) qualify Rashi’s comments by limiting the rule to the particular case under discussion.3

In sharp contrast to Rashi, Targum Onkelos (and Yonatan in the Prophets) renders נאin every single case where Rashi cites this rule (nine times in all) with the word כען-now.4Ibn Ezra goes even further, interpreting every occurence of נאthroughout Scripture as now.5

Rashi always distinguishes between the plain meaning and homiletic interpretations, especially emphasizing the simple meaning of a word. His straying from the Targum in this case, where Onkelos’ translation seems the straightforward and simple denotation, is unusual for Rashi and requires study.

We can suggest an answer based on a fourth rendering of the word נא, offered by the author of Haketav Vehakabbalah on a verse recited in Hallel:

Ps. 116:14 – My vows to Hashem I will pay, in the presence, now [נֶגְדָה נָּא], of His entire people;IyunTefilla of Haketav Vehakabbalah(paraphrased) – The Targum renders “נֶגְדָה נָּא לְכָל עַמּוֹ”as “אֲתַנֵי כְדוֹן נִסוי לְכָל עַמֵיהּ”, meaning: “I will now relate6His miracles before the people.”נָּאis thus interpreted as “His great, wonderful deeds,” related to the word נאה(fitting, splendid)… similar to Rashi’s commentary onזה אלי ואנוהו(Ex. 15:2)– “thisis My God and I will relate His beauty and praises.”7To summarize, according to this interpretation, נאcan bear the meaning נאהas well.

Getting back to Rashi’s interpreting נאas an expression of request. An observer can discern right away that when a petitioner presents his case, he generally makes sure to do so in a pleasant [נא,נאה] manner (at least until he gets what he wants). 

Regarding the other two meanings of נא(rawand now), we mentioned previously that Ibn Ezra interprets all instances of the word as being based on the meaning of now. According to this view, the meaning rawis related to now,8in that the Torah commands us not to partake of the Paschal offeringnow– regardless of its state of readiness.But in that case, why indeed is there even a need for such a commandment, when few would consider eating raw meat in any event?9

The answer may be hinted at in a Midrash expounding a verse in Gen. 18:4 – Let a little water נאbe taken and bathe your feet. The Midrash says that Abraham was rewarded for the word “taken” (יוקח) with the Commandment of the Passover offering (they shall “take” a lamb). For the word “please”(נא),he was rewarded by the Commandment that they refrain from eating it while raw נא.

While the beginning seems a fitting match: “taking” for “taking”; the second part is less intuitive. This second Commandment is a negative one, directing the Israelites to refrainfrom partaking of the uncooked sacrifice. How was this a fitting reward for Abraham, whose entire life was dedicated to non-stopactivityfor others, as exemplified in his hosting of the angels?

The answer appears to be in Abraham’s outstanding quality of actingimmediately, without delay. A person willing to eat raw food is demonstrating his great desire for the object in question. In the case of the sacrifice, the Israelites’ desire to fulfill the commandment immediately would have blinded them to its state of readiness or lack thereof,10thus necessitating a special negative commandment to rein in their enthusiasm. What greater reward could be promised to Abraham -who enthusiastically and immediately fulfilled every precept he possibly could- than meriting progeny imbued with the same passion?

We may therefore suggest that the common meaning of the three denotations of נאis in factבקשה, as Rashi stresses so often, because the act of entreaty reveals the deep desire of the requestor to acquire the object or to accomplish the task now, immediately. The manner -polite or impolite- in which the request is presented is irrelevant in this case, because the central point is the immediate desire to fulfill the בקשה/ request. In this way, Rashi’s אין נא אלא לשון בקשהcan indeed be applied to every instance of נאin Tanach.

Closing prayer: May we constantly seek [מבקש] to fulfill G-d’s precepts, just as the thirsting soul seeks water. May our actions be pleasant[נאה] to Him, and may Israel praise Hashem now [נא] and forever.

1ראה ראב”ע שמות יב:ט לדוגמאות נוספות.

2ועוד,יש מקומות שגם משמע מתוך דברי רש”י בעצמו שלשון “נא”פירושה”עתה” / “עכשיו”,כגון:בריב:יאהִנֵּה נָא יָדַעְתִּי כִּי אִשָּׁה יְפַת מַרְאֶה אָתְּ;רשי-הנה נא ידעתי-עד עכשיו לא הכיר בה…ועכשיו…הכיר בה.וכן משמע מפרש”י בענין תשובת אבימלך ליצחק:ברכו:כזכח– וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יִצְחָק מַדּוּעַ בָּאתֶם אֵלָי… וַנֹּאמֶר תְּהִי נָא אָלָה בֵּינוֹתֵינוּ;רשי– תהי נא אלה בינותינו וגו’ – האלה אשר בינותינו מימי אביך, תהי גם עתה בינינו וביניך. ובדברי הקב”ה לישראל בשיר השירים, משמע גם מפרש”י שפירושה של “נא”היא”עתה”:שהש ז:ט– וְיִהְיוּ נָא שָׁדַיִךְ כְּאֶשְׁכְּלוֹת הַגֶּפֶן;רשי– ויהיו נא שדיך – ועתה הֵאַמְתִּי את דברי… הטובים…עומדים באמונתם.

3ומצינו במקום אחר שחז”ל סייגו את הביטוי “אין…אלא לשון…” במלה’זו’:סוטה יב:– וְנַעֲרֹתֶיהָ הֹלְכֹת עַל יַד הַיְאֹר(שמות ב:ה)- א”ר יוחנן:אין הליכה זואלא לשון מיתה,וכן הוא אומר:הנה אנכי הולך למות(בר’כה:לב).

4בריט:יח– וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹט אֲלֵהֶם אַל נָא אֲדֹנָי;תא– בְּבָעוּ כְעַן רִבּוֹנָי (נ”א:ה’) ; רשי– נא- לשון בקשה.בר’ כב:ב– קַח נָא אֶת בִּנְךָ אֶת יְחִידְךָ;תא– דבר כען ית ברך; רשי– אין נא אלא לשון בקשה. בר’ לח:כה– הַכֶּר נָא לְמִי הַחֹתֶמֶת; תא– אשתמודע כען; רשי– אין נא אלא לשון בקשה, הכר נא בוראך. בר’ מ:יד– וְעָשִׂיתָ נָּא עִמָּדִי חָסֶד; תא– ותעביד כען; רשי– ועשית נא – אין נא אלא לשון בקשה. שמיא:ב– דַּבֶּר נָא בְּאָזְנֵי הָעָם; תא– מליל כען; רשי– דבר נא – אין נא אלא לשון בקשה. במי:לא– אַל נָא תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָנוּ; תא– לא כען; רשי– אל נא תעזב – אין נא אלא לשון בקשה, שלא יאמרו לא נתגייר יתרו מחבה;במיב:ו– שִׁמְעוּ נָא דְבָרָי; תא– שמעו כען; רשי– שמעו נא – אין נא אלא לשון בקשה. דבג:כה– אֶעְבְּרָה נָּא וְאֶרְאֶה; תא– אעבר כען; רשי– אעברה נא – אין נא אלא לשון בקשה. יהושע ז:יט– שִׂים נָא כָבוֹד לַה’;תי– שַׁוִי כְעַן. יש לציין שיש גירסא שמשמיטה את המלה ‘כען’בבר’יט:יח,אמנם רש”י ורוב הגירס’ כן גורסים אותה. ברם,גם לפי הגירס’ השניה,ע’גור אריה שם שפירש שמלת ‘בבעו’היא תרגומה של ‘אל’,ולא של ‘נא’.

5ברמח:ט-קָחֶם נָא אֵלַי וַאֲבָרֲכֵם;אבע-קחם נא אלי -עתה.וכן כל נא שבמקרא.שמד:יג-שְׁלַח נָא בְּיַד תִּשְׁלָח;אבע[פירוש הארוך] -כבר פירשתי,כי כל נא במקרא כמו עתה.וככה דבר נא באזני העם (שמ’יא:ב),שמע נא יהושע (זכ’ג:ח),יומת נא (יר’לח:ד),אוי נא לנו (איכה ה:טז).במי:לא-וַיֹּאמֶר אַל נָא תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָנוּ;אבע-אל נא -כמו עתה,וכן כל נא שבמקרא.ישעה:א-אָשִׁירָה נָּא לִידִידִי;אבע-כל נא כמו עתה.

6The word נגדה(as in הגדה) rendered as אתני(relating, telling), as per the Aramaic rendering in many places:

ברמו:לא– אֶעֱלֶה וְאַגִּידָה לְפַרְעֹה;תי– אִיסַק וְאַתְנֵי לְפַרְעֹה.ברמט:א-הֵאָסְפוּ וְאַגִּידָה לָכֶם;תרי-אִתְכְּנִישׁוּ וְאַתְנִי לְכוֹן.שמיד:ה– וַיֻּגַּד לְמֶלֶךְ;תרי– וְאַתְנֵי לְמַלְכָּא.במכג:ג-וְהִגַּדְתִּי לָךְ; תי-וְאֵיתְנֵיהּ לָךְ.ברלח:יג– ויֻּגַּד לתָמָר לֵאמֹר;תי– וְאִיתְנֵי לְתָמָר לְמֵימָר.

7[וראה גם תורה תמימה,ויקרא ו, אות פ”ג בענין דרשתם ז”ל למלה תופיני,שדרשוה מלשון ‘נא’ו’נאה’].

8רש”ר הירש הציע מכנה משותף דומה,והיינו:הפרעה והפסקה, וייחס”נא”לשרש’נוא’ (שרשו של “תנואה”[במ’יד:לד]/ “הניא”[שםל:ו]):רשרהשמיב:ט-אל תאכלו ממנו נא -‘נא’משרש’נוא’:להיות מופרע,להיות מופסק באמצע תנועה,בו הוחל. מכאן’נא’:מלת טעם בפי המבקש להתערב; ‘הניא’:למנוע ביצוע החלטה.מכאן שפרוש ‘נא'[כאן]:בלתי-גמור,בשל למחצה.רשרהברה:ללא– ‘נוא’:תנועה שהופסקה,ומכאן’נא’:מבושל למחצה. ‘הניא’:עכוב להגשמת מחשבה.והרוצה לשנות את דעת חבירו,פונה אליו בבקשה: ‘נא’.אח”כ מצאתי כן במדרששכל טוב (בובר)שמות בא יב:ט.אולם ראב”ע כינה שיטה זו “דרך רחוקה”.

9כך שואלים בעלי התוספות (תוספות השלם, שמות יב:ט).

10ובזוהר(ג:רנא,ב)אמרו טעם שלא יאמרו המצרים שברצון ותשוקה לאלוהיהם של המצרים אוכלים אותו גם טרם עת. והשוה לטעם שהביא בעל ספר עוללות הגפן (על ההגדה, דף ס).




Bo: The Holiday of Freedom ~ Tzvi Abrahams

בֹּא

The holiday of freedomחַגָא דְפַטִירַיָא

פֶּטֶר רֶחֶםThe firstborn issue from the wombפְּטוּרExemptionפָּטוּר:Freeנִפְטָר: Departedלְהִפָּטֵר: To departמַפְטִיר:Maftirהַפְטָרָה: Haftorahפַּטְרוֹן: Patronפִּטרִיוֹת: Mushrooms

פֶּטֶר רֶחֶםקַדֶּשׁ לִי כָל בְּכוֹר פֶּטֶר כָּל רֶחֶם בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה לִי הוּא1
Sanctify to me every firstborn that opens every womb in the Bnei Yisrael, whether it be in man or animal, it is mine. 

Rashi explains the term פטרas the first opening, like the verse in Mishlei 
פוטר מים ראשית מדון (משלי יז,יד.)/the beginning of a quarrel is the releasing of water, and like the verse in Tehillim יפטירו בשפה (תהלים כב, ח.)/the opening of the lips. Alsoפוטר מים/the releasing of water is to do with השלחה/sending, where פטר רחם/the opening of the womb also means sending out from the womb, i.e. what issues from the womb.

Every opening and sending out from a narrow place to a more expansive place has the notion ofחפשיים/freedom, like it says “וְשַׁלַּח רְצוּצִים חָפְשִׁים” תרגום ופטר דאניסין בני חורין/the releasing of freemen from imprisonment.

קַדֶּשׁ לִי כָל בְּכוֹר/the sanctification of the firstborn is one of many mitzvoth that are a remembrance of the coming out of Egypt. The nation of Israel is the firstborn of Hashem, as it says “כֹּה אָמַר ה’ בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְׂרָאֵל”/so says Hashem my son my firstborn Israel. The going out from Egypt is compared to פטר רחם in that just like the firstborn issues from the womb from a narrow restricted space to a more expansive place so too Hashem redeemed us from Egypt from a narrow restricted space to a more expansive place. And Just like the release of water from a narrow space to an expansive place is with force, so too the going out of Egypt was בחפזון ובחוזק יד/with a strong hand and very quick.

“מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָּהּ עָנָנִי בַמֶּרְחָב יָהּ”
The key that released us from Egypt was צעקה/outcry of prayer, as it says
“וַנִּצְעַק אֶל ה’ אֱ-לֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ וַיִּשְׁמַע ה’ אֶת קֹלֵנוּ”/and we called out to Hashem the G-d of our fathers, and Hashem heard our voices. The time approaching the coming of Moshiach is termed חבלי משיח/the birth pangs of Moshiach, so just the birth of a nation from Egypt needed the key of צעקה/outcry of prayer, so too we need this key to bring Moshiach. This can only be achieved if we feel the distress of being in exile, however if we live a life of contentment living in our comfort zones then our generation has lost its key to redemption.

פְּטוּר,להפטר,פָּטוּרנִפְטָר/Departed, Free, to Depart, Exemption”כִּי לֹא פָטַר יְהוֹיָדָע הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הַמַּחְלְקוֹת”2
For Yehoiada the Kohen did not dismiss the outgoing group (of Kohanim).
Yehoiada the Kohen did not give permission for the outgoing guard of Shabbas Kohanim to go home as per usual, rather he obligated them to stay longer. (Mesudas Dovid).

Sometimes in order to be released, one needs permission from a higher authority. One who takes leave to depart is called נפטר/departed, and the permission to depart is called a פְּטוּר/exemption. Therefore one who is נִפְטָר/departed from the world is considered exempt/free from mitzvot. We are born in to this world against our will and we depart from this world against our will. All is in the hands of Hashem, where His permission is needed to release us.

מַפְטִיר,הַפְטָרָהWe see that the root ‘פטר’ has the dual meaning to depart from one domain and to enter another. When we go from one room to another, at the same time the door opens to one room it closes on the other. So too the הַפְטָרָה/Haftorah concludes the Shacharis tefillah and opens the Mussaf tefillah. Theמַפְטִיר/the last Aliyah to the Torah completes the reading of the Torah.

פַּטְרוֹןYosef is called both אַבְרֵךְ/Avreich and אב לפרעה/father to Pharaoh.
Rashi explains that אַבְרֵךְ/Avreich is the one, where everything that come in or goes out, is under his jurisdiction, whereas אב לפרעה is called Patron, one who oversees and manages the affairs, and makes decrees like a father over a son. He is the advisor to the King who finds solutions to problems. This fits nicely with the English terms for both Patron and Patriarch. 

אפוטרופוס/Guardian
Yosef is also called אפוטרופוס [Brachos 63a]
According to this, אפטרופוסfits well with the root ‘פטר,’ the one who controls all that comes in and goes out. 

פִּטרִיוֹת/Mushrooms”ואין מפטירין אחר הפסח אפיקומן”3
Rashi explains the wordמפטירין in the above Mishna to mean הנפטר/like one who takes leave from his friend, so too here it means the bringing out of sweet types of foods for dessert before one leaves the meal. For example פטריות/mushrooms, meaning dessert food before one departs. פטריות/mushrooms could also come from the word פָּטוּר/exempt from terumot and maasarot because it grows above the ground.

חַגָא דְפַטִירַיָא/The holiday of Freedom
The Targum for חַג הַמַּצּוֹת isחַגָא דְפַטִירַיָא and Targum for מצות is פַּטִיר. So what is the connection between מצה andפטיר?

According to the root definitions of ‘פטר’ we could perhaps answer in the following ways. 
1) Matzah symbolizes redemption and freedom [Maharal]
So too פטירה/release from a narrow place to a more expansive place is considered freedom, like we said above (“וְשַׁלַּח רְצוּצִים חָפְשִׁים” תרגום ופטר דאניסין בני חורין).

2) Matzah symbolizes חפזון/haste without delay.
So too the פטירה/release, like water from a narrow place to a more expansive place, gushes forth with strength and speed, and so too the going out of Egypt was with haste and force without delay..4

3) The eating of the Pesach with Matzah and Maror was eaten in a state with their belts girded, shoes on their feet and sticks in their hands, waiting for the moment when they would be given רשות להפטר/permission leave.

4) Matzah symbolizes eating.
The mishna says אין מפטירין אחר המצה אפיקומן. Like the words יַפְטִירוּ בְשָׂפָה/the opening of the lips here too מפטיריןcan mean not to open the mouth and eat any dessert after the matzah, so as not to lose the taste of matzah in the mouth.5

5) Matzah comes from the root 6‘נצה’ like the verse “וְהִוא כְפֹרַחַת עָלְתָה נִצָּהּ” referring to a blossoming flower. This fits nicely with what the Iben Ezra writes regarding פטר רחם where he describes the opening of the womb to פטורי ציצים7/blossoming flowers, which are mentioned in the adornments of the Beis Hamikdash.8

So according to this explanation מצהis connected to פטר, the budding fruit referred to as נץ/neitz. Neitz, the term commonly used for the sunrise, represents a new day, so too matzah symbolizes newness, the birth of the Jewish nation. Rashi writes in the first verse of Bereishis that the Torah could have begun from the first mitzvah of Kiddush Hachodesh (the sanctification of the new moon) because the main reason for the Torah is the observation of the mitzvot. The reason for Hashem commanding us to start counting the months from this new time, was because in this month was the birth of His firstborn Israel. It is also possible to say that the reason why Pesach has to fall out in the Aviv/spring, because the Aviv comes from loshen אב when the first fruits appear.9This is the time where Hashem has given permission in nature for the blossoming of flowers (Nissan being the month when we make the special blessing on the flowers). This is the time where Hashem commanded us to eat Matzah that represents the פטר רחם, the firstborn issue of Israel. This explanation then fits nicely with חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הוא חַגָא דְפַטִירַיָא.

1שמות יג:ב

2דברי הימים ב,כג:ח

3פסחים קיט:

4ראה ספר שם משמעון (שו”ת חו”מ סי’ח) 

5רע”ב,וגם ראה תפארת ישראל,פסחים י:ח

6םפר השרשים לרד”ק,ראה גם ספר חשק שלמה שרשים לרבי שלמה פפנהיים שרש ‘צא’

7מלכים א ו:יח

8מצודת ציון שם

9רש”י שמות כג:טו