…in which we bring together several ideas from this past month.
Breaking the middle Matza seems like quite a quaint little act we do for no big reason.
We want to finish our seuda with an Achilas Mitzvah, an act of eating that is a mitzva; just as the Korban Pesach was the last thing eaten, “al hasova”, post-satiety, during Temple times. But why do we have to make a scene of breaking it to save it for later? Just eat some matza later.
The explanation is that the Torah calls Matza “Lechem Oni”, poor bread. On the one hand, the poor is a reference to the lack of leaven. But the Talmud says that it also suggests the idea that the loaf should be broken, unwhole, like a poor man would have. So we break a loaf of matza not just to save some for later, but to have an incomplete loaf during the Seder. But I’ve got so many boxes of “shevuros”, matzos broken at the bakery itself. Why do we need to ritualize it?
Maybe we just want to accomplish both things (Make sure Matza is broken now, with some saved for later). But I’m still stuck on the ritual element. That calls out “Seek for meaning here!”
But I don’t want to make anything up. So let’s just work with the facts.
The Middle Matza is split into two: Half is eaten at the start of the meal and half is eaten at the end of the meal.
The Seder has four cups of wine: Two cups before the meal and two cups after the meal.
The Seder is divided into two parts.
The theme of what we speak of on Seder night is also divided into two parts.
The obvious theme of the Seder is the Exodus, Yetzias Mitzrayim.
But there is obviously the second act of History that is a real part of the night as well.
That “Next year in the Land of Israel.”
“All the days of your life, includes the days of Moshiach.”
“And he built us a Chosen House.”
“Next year in Jerusalem.”
I wrote about this on “T minus 18”.
In today’s long-term housing debt world, two of the most exciting moments in the purchase of a house are when the down payment is made and someone says “Congratulations, you are a homeowner.” and when that last payment is made and you actually do own the house. Those are both real moments. Every first of the month in between gets you there of course, but it’s the down payment and the final payment that stand out.
The down payment allows you to move in, and the final payment allows you to stay forever.
World history, and the Jewish element of it, also have those two moments.
There’s that first movement out of the muck, and then the final dignity.
In the first act of the Jewish story, Avinu Malkeinu, Abba, acquires the Jewish People with a goat.
In the final act, Asa Hakadosh Baruch Hu V’shochat Malach hamaves, the Holy One Blessed is He kills the Angel of Death, the Yeitzer Hara!
One opinion says that one fulfills the rags to riches element of the story by saying “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us out.”
But the other opinion, broader, deeper, says that the real rags to riches story of the night is saying “Originally our ancestors worshiped idols, but now the Omnipresent God has brought us near to serving Him.”
Yachatz, splitting that Matza, tells all the participants that this night, this story, this epic, has two parts,
Part One we will dwell on at some length in a moment.
And Part Two is saved for later. It’s hidden for now, people have tried and will try to take it away from us, but they won’t succeed, and it is BIGGER AND BETTER than Part One! And those who know about it hope they are around to see it.