- Searching for the Afikomen
- Why three Matzot?
- The High Priest of our confession
- He is Coming
Breaking the Matzah/Afikomen:
The middle matzah on the Seder plate is broken in two. The larger part is put aside for later use as the Afikoman. This unusual action recalls God’s splitting of the Sea of Reeds to allow the children of Israel to cross on dry land. The smaller part of the middle matzah is returned to the Seder plate. This broken middle matzah symbolizes humility, and will be eaten later as the “bread of affliction (poverty).” The Seder Leader calls out Yachatz. Yachatz (“divide”) is step four (of fourteen) of the Passover seder. Three matzot that have been placed in a white bag (called a matzah tosh) are taken out and shown to all. The leader then says: “This is the Lechem Oni (לחם עוני-the Bread of Affliction) which our forefathers ate in the Land of Egypt. All who are hungry, let them come and eat. All who are needy, let them come and celebrate the Passover with us.”
Searching for the Afikomen:
The Seder Leader takes the middle piece, calls out “Yachatz,” and breaks it in half.
The Seder Leader then takes the larger piece (called the Afikomen) and wraps it in a white linen cover. The leader then tells the children to close their eyes and then he hides the Afikomen somewhere in the room. As the Seder progresses, the children are encouraged to search for the “lost Afikomen.” Since the Seder cannot end without it, once it is found (discovery is engineered to occur at the end of the Seder), the child receives a reward, and a small piece is given to each participant. The wine cups are thereafter refilled and grace after the meal is recited to close the meal. The purpose of the Afikomen game is to keep the children alert and attentive throughout the Seder. Why Three Matzot? Why Afikomen?
Why three Matzot?
Three sheets of matzot, what do they represent? Some of the sages have suggested that the three matzot represent the life and testimony of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But why is the middle matzah (Isaac) broken in half? This is an illustration of the sacrifice of Messiah, since the first occurrence of the word love in the Scriptures (אהבה-ahavah) (Genesis 22:2) refers to a father’s love for his “only” son who was offered as a sacrifice on Moriah. This part of the Seder is a clear prophetic witness to the provision of Messiah ben HaElohim. He is the Korban Pesach of the heavenly Father. Messiah is the “Seh haElohim” who takes away the sin of the world.
Yachatz! Divide! As the Sea of Reeds parted before the Israelites, so this matzah will be divided. Let us remember our salvation, as the bread of haste and affliction now resembles our path to freedom.
Yeshua is the “Seh haElohim” who takes away the sin of the world. The broken middle piece of matzah is a picture of the suffering Messiah (Isaiah 53). This piece, called the afikomen, is taken, wrapped up, and carefully hidden from view, only to be discovered at the end of the Seder. This is an image of the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah ben Yosef (Joseph) from the dead.
The afikomen is wrapped in a linen cloth and hidden away while the children cover their eyes. They will be searching for it later! The smaller piece of the now broken matzah is divided among the participants and eaten.
The High Priest of our confession:
This points to the Messiah who is the permanent “High Priest of our confession.” Messiah is our High Priest forever as was said by King David when he prophesied that Messiah (his descendant) would be “a priest forever according to the order of Malki-Tzedek” (מלכי־צדק-cf. the King of Righteousness: Psalm 110:4). Messiah provides us eternal redemption by means of his shed blood (the atoning sacrifice of his life) that was placed in the Holy of Holies made without hands (the Tabernacle in Heaven). This is why the symbolism of the broken priest is also included by the sages in the Passover Seder. The Messiah is the one who was “wounded for our transgressions,” “bruised for our iniquities.” It is by His stripes that “we are healed” (Isaiah 53).
He is Coming:
The Afikomen ritual has been a part of the Passover ceremony since Second Temple times. The ceremony of the Afikomen was part of the Passover service during the time of the Suffering Messiah ben Yosef. The Greek word aphikomenos is a participle that means “He is coming!” and therefore Messiah will appear again soon as the Conquering Messiah ben David. Preparing for the Second Cup. After the Yachatz ritual, wine for the second cup of the Seder is poured (the Cup of Deliverance).