Daily Halachot – The Pesach Seder – Yachatz and Magid

The section that follows Karpas is Yachatz. In Yachatz we cut the Matza into two pieces and the reason for this is given in the Gemara: “Darko Shel Ani BePrusa” (Pesahim 115b). In other words, a poor person (symbolized when we recite Ha Lachma Anya) is not accustomed to eating from a whole loaf of bread but rather from a partial loaf. As such, we break it in half: One piece is included in the blessing of Al Achilat Matza, and the other half is hidden for the Afikoman. At this point the Moroccan custom is to recite some verses in Arabic:
“Hagda qsm l’lah allab’har, ala tnas ltreq, hen cherju jdudna mn masar. Ala yid Sidna oun’Bina, Mussa bn ‘Amram, ‘Ala slam oursa, hen fiqhum ughathum mlkhdma se-iba alhouriya. Hagda yfiqna HaKadosh Baruch Hu, venomar amen.” 

“This is how G-d split the sea into 12 paths when our ancestors went out of Egypt by the hand of our master and prophet Moshe son of Amram, may peace be upon him. Just as G-d redeemed and saved our ancestors from slavery. In this same manner HaKadosh Baruch Hu will take us out , let us say Amen.”

The Ben Ish Hai says that we should break the middle matza into a big piece, shaped like the Hebrew letter vav, and into a smaller piece, shaped like the Hebrew letter dalet. The larger piece is hidden under the tablecloth as if one is watching over the Korban Pesach. As well there is a universal custom to hide the Afikoman and for the children to search for it.
The next section in the seder is Magid in which we relate the HagadaMagid must be recited together by all those present and in a language that is understood by the participants.  Magid is not simply a ritual that should be recited in Hebrew, but is the transmission of the story of the exodus from Egypt and should therefore be recited in whatever language is understood. As well, Magid should be chanted like a song since it is a form of prayer; indeed the Moroccan custom is to recite it with a special tune. There is an obligation to transmit the story of the exodus to our children and so the essential part of Magid is to teach them them all about what is mentioned there. Every child should be taught about the exodus and should be included in the seder according to his age and intellect.