We learned that Israel did not leave Egypt until the dominion of all their [Egypt's] ministers in the spiritual realm above was broken. Then [Israel] left their [Egypt's] domain, came under the authority of the Holiness above of G‑d, and were bound to Him. This is the meaning of: "For to Me the children of Israel are servants; they are My servants". (Lev. 25:55) What is the reason "they are My servants"? "whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt", that I took them out of another domain and brought them under My authority [of holiness].

From now on, you are free men.

This is what Rabbi Shimon said: It is written, "But on the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses; for whoever eats leavened bread[bread that soul will be cut off from Israel]". (Ex. 12:15) I have explained it thus: leaven and leavened dough are one level, and all hint to another dominion, the ministers appointed over the other nations whom we call "Evil Inclination", "another dominion", "strange god", "other gods". Here also, leaven, leavened dough and leavened bread are all the same [for they all hint to kelipot]. G‑d said: 'All these years, you were under the authority of others and served another nation. From now on, you are free men. "But on the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses...you shall eat nothing leavened" (Ibid. 12:20) and "there shall no leavened bread be seen with you" (Ex. 13:7) [and thus you will nullify the power of the kelipot.]

Rabbi Yehuda said: If so, why not on all the days of the year? [If these kelipot are always present, why should they not be always nullified?] Why only seven days, as is written, "Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses," and not more? He said to him: At all those times [i.e. the seven days of Pesach] that a person is obliged to show himself free, it is required, but whenever he is not obligated then he does not need to.

This is comparable to a king who appointed a person to be a minister. He rejoiced and wore clothes of glory all those days that he was being elevated to this level, but afterwards he did not need it. The following year, he observed those days that he rose to this honor and wore those clothes, and he did so each and every year. Similarly with Israel, it is written: "Seven days shall there be no leaven found," for they are days of rejoicing, the days that they arose to this honor, and went out of another bondage [from the Other Side]. Every year, they observe those days when they rose to this honor and went out of another authority and came under holy authority. Therefore, it is written: "Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread."

BeRahamim LeHayyim: It is no coincidence that the letters of Matzah and Mitzvah are so similar.
"And set yourself free." Once a year we are commanded to get out of Egypt, "Mitzrayim", that tight and narrow strait that confined us, that cut off our heads from our hearts, that left us as children who could not think expansively. Part and parcel of this process is humble ourselves by eating Lechem Oni/Bread of the Humble. But mystically and somewhat magically, this bread is also the Bread of Answers, answers to all the deep questions we may have about why we are locked into certain behaviors of negativity. By not imbibing puffiness and elevated grain products, we reduce ourselves to the bare physical necessities. This cleans out our system not only physically, but more importantly, spiritually. It is no coincidence that the letters of Matzah and Mitzvah are so similar. Eating the former opens us up to attachment to the latter. And Mitzvah (Mem Tzadi Vav Hei) reveals the final two letters of G‑d's Name while concealing the first two letters (Mem Tzadi are in At-Bash1 Yud and Hei; Alef = Tav, Beit = Shin, Gimel = Reish).

And if we can do this physically with Matzah one week a year, why can't we do so spiritually the rest of the year?!

Bracketed annotations from Metok Midevash and Sulam commentaries
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