Pesach Greetings

Yachatz – The middle matzah is broken. The half matzah that remains is symbolic of the poor person, who has only a half a loaf of bread or matzah. We then recite:

This is the bread of poverty that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and partake of Passover.

Perhaps in no other year in our lifetime, the reading, early in our Passover seder, about the bread of poverty, speaks to us all. All of us have been touched, directly or indirectly, by the economic disaster which we are in the midst of.

This reading, contained in all haggadah texts, is a reminder of our obligation to address hunger and poverty, especially when we are in the midst of celebration.

The half of the broken matzah described above is often hidden in a game that captivates our children: holding the matzah for ransom, or in some households, giving gifts to children who find the hidden matzah.

Far be it from me to suggest doing away with these time-honored customs. Instead, you might modify it, by reducing the amount of the afikoman gifts and supplementing it with a card indicating that, in recognition of those who now eat “the bread of poverty” a part of each child’s gift is the knowledge that tzedakah is being given in their names to a local food bank, soup kitchen or similar organization.

Should you want to do so this year, below is a card that you might use.

___________________________________________________________________

We break the middle matzah to leave part of it as the bread of poverty, while the rest of the broken matzah becomes the afikomen.

Tonight, as so many in our country and our world face poverty and hunger, a part of your afikoman gift is the gift of giving tzedakah to those in need.

In your honor a donation has been made to:

____________________________________________________________________

to support its work in addressing poverty and hunger.

“May all who are hungry come and eat”

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