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The Foundation Stone Haggadah: Yachatz 2


Chazal say that it was in the merit of Yitzchak Avinu that we were redeemed from Egypt, and redeemed early. The middle Matzah represents Yitzchak. The Gematria of Yitzchak is changed when his name is changed to ישחק. The diifference is 210, corresponding to the 210 years that we were in Egypt.The Gemara in Shabbat 89b describes how Yitzchak saved the Jewish People with his laughter. Half the matzah remains on the plate to remind us that we only stayed in Egypt half the time we were supposed to. The second half is put away for the future when he will protect us again.

The Chidah is alluding to a complex concept; Din is harsh, but it is also the expression of the greatest Chesed. It is through Din that God empowers us so that our choices matter. (If they didn’t, He wouldn’t judge us!) Yitzchak uses his laughter to save us by pointing out the limitations of our actions; from the perspective of Din our mistakes are not as significant. There seems to be a delicate balance within Din itself. Without the balance found by Yitzchak his son Yaacov could not have become the great balancer that he was. The balance of Yitzchak is also found in his two sons Yaacov and Eisav, which is why he didn’t want to cut Eisav off. The passuk says that the choice of Yaacov over Eisav, by God, was arbitrary. This also takes us back to the explanation of Kaddesh earlier through the eyes of the Or Hachayim.

Yaacov, now prepared to balance, is the one who can take us down to Miztrayim, where we have to learn how to balance. We can be free and still be slaves to Hashem. (See Rav Kook on Karpas.)

Balance is symbolized by the breaking the Matzah in half. The two sides of one thing; din and din, slaves and slaves, food and food.

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