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Submitted by Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg – To be read just before dividing the middle matzah Yachatz

We now prepare to break the middle Matzah – this bread that carries conflicting interpretations – the bread of affliction and the bread of freedom.

As we divide the matzah into two uneven pieces, we remember our affliction.

On kibbutz, there were always a couple of old ladies who didn’t eat much at the meal in the communal dining room, but who would line up afterwards to fill stacked containers with food to take home. They had survived the camps, places where if you come across a piece of bread, you do not eat it all at once. No – you take a little, and you save most of it for later.

Tears flow from the cracks in the matzah. As we divide the matzah into two uneven pieces, we remember our affliction.

But this matzah is also the bread of our freedom.

Today in the State of Israel our People have power. We have land, we have plenty. Yet, too often the tears of our affliction blind us to these realities. Israel grabs and settles territory out of fear that the enemy will return to decimate us. We are still victims.

As we break the matzah, we can break the habit of seeing ourselves as afflicted-ones. We can rise up from the degradation of occupation and eat our bread like free people!

Let’s embrace the pshat (the simple, surface meaning) of the ritual of yachatz, to break our bread and share it with our neighbors. Let’s divide the matzah, and take only what we need. We can let go of that wrapped-up piece, and we can let go of our fear, because we have faith that this is the only way to make it all whole again.


Submitted by Rabbi Esther Lederman (2010) – To be read after the recitation of the Four Questions/ Ma Nishtanah

Tonight, we ask four questions. Two remind us of our slavery at the hands of the Egyptians- Matza and Maror – the bread of our affliction and the bitterness of our tears. Two remind us of our liberty– the dipping of foods and reclining in our chairs. Echoes of slavery and freedom mingle at our seder table. We recline upon our cushions as we lick the salty tears of our enslavement.

Tonight, we ask four questions that remind us of our bitter past and joyful present. But what about our future? It is time to ask a fifth question: What will redemption look like?

Israelis and Palestinians, hearing each other’s stories, facing each other’s truths. Israel and Palestine, two states for two peoples. Justice for both, Security for All. Peace for the People. The People for Peace.

What will redemption look like? An end to death and terror, An end to checkpoints and blockades. Liberty for Palestinians, Secure Borders for Israelis, A New Map for the Middle East.

V’im lo achshav, eimatay? And if not today, then when?

Tonight we ask four questions. But it is time to ask a fifth: What will redemption look like? Our children want to know… Pesach