Hello dear readers,
Right now I’m working on a few new Passover dessert recipes, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a little something about the seders’ real dessert: the afikoman!
Of course, at my seders I always serve fresh fruit and a pesach “cake” after the meal is over, but the absolute last thing you’re supposed to eat at the seder is the larger of the two pieces when the middle matzah is broken in two, all the way back at the yachatz part of the haggadah. In fact, the Babylonian Talmud even holds that the word afikoman literally means dessert in Greek! Interestingly, the Jerusalem Talmud mentions that the word afikoman is like epikomion, which means after dinner entertainment. That makes a little more sense to me, since the prefix epi means after, like in epilogue; I don’t remember seeing any menus in Israel that had an afikoman section at the back!
Anyway, after that little refresher about the definition of afikoman, I wanted to share some tips about making the afikoman even more fun for you and your children. One of the purposes of the whole afikoman rigmarole is to keep the kids awake and interested and asking questions about pesach and the seder, so here are two new ideas for spicing up the great afikoman adventure!
- MAPS: This one is good for younger kids, and is great for getting kids to work together. The idea is to make a treasure map that leads to where the afikoman is hidden. Back when I was pregnant with Reuven and had only two kids, Aryeh made a beautiful treasure map of our downstairs, made to look all yellow and faded, with a real X marks the spot and everything! It was very cute seeing Rachel and Ronit working together, unsure if they should be doing pirate accents (that was an unexpected side effect of the map adventure, when they kept saying chad gadyarrrrrrrrrrrrrr).
- LOCKS AND PUZZLES: For slightly older kids, you can mix it up a bit. A few years after the pirate map, we were doing a seder with our friends down the street, and right after yachatz they put the afikoman into a box with a combination lock. Then, the box was hidden, and the kids not only had to find the box, but they also had to figure out the combination. The three numbers to open the lock were riddles that had to do with pesach and the hagaddah (plus a little basic math). It’s a great option to test your kids’ pesach involvement as well as their seeking ability.
- SCOUTING: Even if you can’t make a map or a puzzle, make sure to scout the area where your seder will be. If you’re at home, you of course know everywhere; but then again, so do your kids. If you’re away on a kosher Passover vacation, try to get a look around the seder areas, and make sure you have a good way of distinguishing your afikoman from those hidden by your neighbors.