What we want and what we need

Haggadah Section: Yachatz

By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder www.alternadox.net

We all know that we cannot rely on the holiness of our desires all the time.  Tonight is special, different. Tonight it is safe to let go.  But in a week or a month, who knows?  By breaking the middle matzah , we acknowledge that we are still split.  We still cannot ultimately trust that our desires and our necessities, our concerns and our impulses, our inner child and our responsible adult, have become one. There is brokenness here. 

The two pieces of matzah represent two kinds of eating: because we have to and because we want to. One half we will eat soon, in hunger. The other half we will hide─the half that represents desire, enjoyment, fulfillment, luxury.  It is supposed to be eaten on a full stomach, out of desire to eat rather than necessity.

We will hide it because our relationship to it is still uncharted - many of us haven't yet made peace with our desires as portals to the holy.  But we are also giving ourselves a goal. The hidden matzah represents our future, the ultimate future, where we are free to do as we wish, knowing that this is Hashem's wish as well. Our ultimate goal is to bring these two halves together.

This is a moment of brokenness, but it is also a moment of faith.  In allowing ourselves to break, to recognize the split, to admit unfamiliarity, to admit that we are not yet there, we are also expressing faith that the rift can be fixed.  After all, only people who do not believe in healing try to 'keep it together'.  Jews, however, believe in the 'healer of broken hearts'. We believe in the G-d who values nothing higher than a broken vessel. We believe that even when the broken matzah is two, it is one.


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