Matzah, unleavened bread, reminds us both the bread of poverty that the ancient Israelites ate in Egypt and the bread of freedom that they ate in their rushed escape to freedom. Three matzot sit on a plate at the center of the table. At this point of the seder, we break the middle matzah in two, wrap one portion in a napkin, and set it aside, hidden from sight.

This division reminds us of the forced separation of communities and families, parents from children, spouses and siblings from each other. The visible half becomes our bread of affliction, representing the suffering of those who do not know where their loved ones are. The hidden half, called the afikoman, represents the horrors hidden from our sight. At the end of the seder, we look for the afikoman, and similarly commit to seeking redemption. Until families and communities become one whole again, our seder cannot truly end.

I am 38 years old, married and a father of two children. I was born in Niala, South Darfur. My father was murdered during an attack on our village in 2003. We had to run away and seek refuge in the “Kalma” refugee camp. My mother, wife and children still live there until today. I miss them very much and I don’t know what their situation is. I came to Israel to seek protection but I was imprisoned. I have been in prison for almost two years. I don’t want to be in prison any more. –Testimony of A.A.M.S., 1/18/14 1

We pour a second cup, the cup of storytelling, and over it we begin to tell tales of Exodus old and new.

haggadah Section: Yachatz
Source: T'ruah's Refugee Seder