Ha Lachma Anya – The Bread of Affliction/Poverty


The first line of the Maggid section of the Haggadah focuses on a specific dimension of one of the traditional Pesach foods: “This is the bread of affliction/poverty.” (The word anya translates as both poverty and affliction) What does matzah symbolize and why does the Haggadah begin specifically with a discussion of it? In this resource, learners will take a close look at the Ha Lachma Anya text and break it down into its various components. Thought provoking discussion prompts  such as seeking the connection between freedom and poverty and debating whether a poor person can be completely free, as well as viewing and interpreting an artistic video, enrich the students’ understanding of the paragraph’s messages.  Following this, students can research a specific circumstance in which people are limited in basic human activity because of poverty and brainstorm ways in which society can help resolve this situation.

Lesson Attachments​

The learners will:

  1. understand how remembering events such as the Exodus from Egypt influence our present behavior

  2. know the content of the Ha Lachma Anya text as well as the reason why it segues from describing matza as the bread of affliction/poverty to the tradition of inviting all who are hungry to come and eat

  3. be able to organize a group tzedakah campaign for Passover and make a card to attach to the food packages, that conveys the values articulated in Ha Lachma Anya

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

  5. A further study option/s to related materials on the JEBD site or to external links

Student handout, computer, projector

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