Questions and Answers on Yachatz — Breaking the Middle Matzah

By Moshe Bogomilsky

“Breaking the matzah.”

QUESTION: What is the reason for breaking the middle matzah?

ANSWER: The matzah is broken before reciting the Haggadah because the recital is to be over lechem oni — bread of poverty — (the poor can afford only a broken piece — Pesachim 115b).

The broken piece is between the two whole matzot because the blessing of Hamotzi is to be recited over a whole matzah, and since there is a rule that “one must not by-pass mitzvot.” The upper [thus first accessible] matzah must therefore be whole, and afterwards the second berachah of “al achilat matzah,” will be made over the middle-broken matzah.

(הגש"פ עם לקוטי טעמים ומנהגים)

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Alternatively, Hashem told Avraham of the Egyptian bondage at the Brit bein Habetarim — the Covenant Between the Portions. At that time He instructed him to take three heifers, three goats and three rams and split them in half (Bereishit 15:9). The three matzotcommemorate the three animals, and the breaking of the middle matzah commemorates splitting them in half.

(הגש"פ מוצל מאש - בית אהרן בפי' פאר אהרן)

haggadah Section: Yachatz