While there are many rituals and traditions associated with the Seder, one of the most familiar is the breaking of the middle matzah at the beginning of the Seder. Why do we break the middle matzah and not one of the others? Our sources offer several explanations. One explanation suggests that the middle matzah captures the image of our ancestor’s position “between a rock and a hard place,” caught between a pursuing army and a sea they were afraid to cross. The broken matzah also reminds us that even when life seems to be at its darkest, when we feel most depressed or incomplete, there is still reason to hope. Our ancestors were liberated from slavery and ultimately led to the Promised Land.
The Haggadah tells us “…in every generation we are to see ourselves as if we ourselves came out of Egypt…” and so it is our duty to continue the process of redemption by always striving to be free. That middle matzah is broken rather than the top or the bottom, to teach us how to break out of bondage, whether it be spiritual, physical, or psychological. If we stand as that middle matzah, surrounded by faith, family, friends, and G-d, it is certainly possible to break free. It is through the support and faith of those around us that liberation and redemption is possible.
The MJCCA joins me in wishing you a Chag Kasher V’Sameyach, a happy, healthy and meaningful Passover!
Brian Glusman serves the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta and is the visiting rabbi at Shearith Israel Synagogue in Columbus, Ga.