What We Do

Take hold of the middle of the three matzahs on your Seder Plate.

We need the top matzah to remain whole. We’ll be making a blessing on it later on. Blessings are said on whole things.

Break it in two. Leave the smaller half between the two complete matzos.

The piece that remains on the Seder Plate is the “poor man’s bread” over which the tale of our slavery is said. Poor people only eat a small part of their bread — they need to save the rest in case tomorrow there is none.

Break the remaining (larger) piece into five pieces and wrap them in a cloth.

According to Kabbalah, the world is created through five contractions of light.

Hide the package until the end of the Seder when it will be eaten as the Afikoman, or dessert (step #12).

In many houses, the children hide the afikoman and the adults have to find it at the end of the meal. In others, the adults hide it and the children find it. Either way, it keeps the kids up and in suspense until the end of the meal.

Many Sephardic Jews have the tradition of tying the afikoman under the arms of the children, who carry it like that all night, just like when we left Egypt.

What It Means

Why is there so much broken in this world? Why did the Cosmic Designer make a world where hearts break, lives shatter, beauty crumbles?

A whole vessel can contain its measure, but a broken one can hold the Infinite.

Matzah is called the poor man’s bread. He is low and broken. And it is this brokenness that allows him to open his soul and escape his Egypt.

As long as we feel whole, there is no room left for us to grow. It is when we realize we are but a fragment, that we need the others around us, that so much of us is missing — that is when miracles begin.

Read: Why Do We Hide the Afikoman?