Pesach: The Broken Matza

The sound of matza cracking
reminds us how the story starts
amid a shattered world
of slavery and suffering.
Holding up the broken matza,
fragile and incomplete
as the world is, as we are,
we set forth again.
Together we seek
the missing piece
to restore the world
and ourselves to wholeness.


In A Night to Remember, the Haggadah of Contemporary Voices by Mishael Zion and Noam Zion, the authors portray Yachatz – the fourth stage in the Seder, when we break the middle matza, “The Pesach story begins in a broken world amidst slavery and oppression.” They bring the saying by the Rebbe of Kotsk, “There is nothing more whole than a broken heart,” and they quote Leonard Cohen, “There’s a crack in everything/ That’s where the light comes in.” They add that in some families, every participant at the Seder is given a whole matza and invited to ponder for a moment this entrance into a broken world before breaking their matza.

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