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.
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.
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”