There’s something unusual about Pesach that is uncommon, if not unique.
There are plenty of mitzvos and rituals which commemorate that something happened – we sit in a sukkah because our ancestors sat in a sukkah. But the reason we eat Matza is not just because our ancestors ate Matza when they left Egypt; it’s specifically because of the way they left Egypt – in a hurry – בחפזון. Since they left in a hurry and didn’t have time to bake bread, we bake our dough quickly as well.
What is so exceptional about the fact they left in a hurry?
Doing something quickly can be good or bad, depending on the context; you’d want heart surgery done slow, but you’d want the ambulance to show up quickly! Yet getting things done quickly is an important principle in Judaism – זריזין מקדימין למצות.
Rav Hutner explains that the source of this principle derives from the Matza our ancestors ate – because they left in a hurry. The Torah warns us to observe the mitzvos – ושמרתם את המצות – which the Midrash alternatively reads as Matzos. Speed is not an extra credit; waiting would ruin it!
The Vilna Gaon notes that in our daily prayers, we thank God for creating space, and also for creating time – ברוך אומר ועושה, ברוך עושה בראשית.
The moment the Jews became connected to the Creator, they transcended. When something temporal meets something eternal, the result is speed; where נצחי interacts with זמן, you get חפזון.
Perhaps that is why the final plague happened כחצות, in a non-moment.
This might sound complex, but it’s intuitive. When something matters, you do it as quickly as possible.
R’ Shlomo Farhi teaches that a lack of urgency can profane something from sacred to just another item on the to-do list. And the source of this crucial concept is the birth of the Jewish People, commemorated by the Matza our ancestors baked in a hurry.