Hello dear readers,
One of the key aspects of the seder is educating the next generation about the story of the exodus. Apart from the story itself (and the midrash that accompanies it), the idea is to engage the children (and everyone, really) using a variety of things: we sing fun songs (dayenu, echad mi yodeah); we point to and eat weird foods (it’s a feast with crunchy bread and bitter herbs); and, most importantly, we have questions. Many of these questions are programmed into the hagaddah itself, like the four questions of the mah nishtanah and the four questions of the four sons, while other questions are evoked through the telling of the story and the analysis of the texts. But one question doesn’t appear in the haggadah, and it’s the question asked multiple times at our seders:
That question, of course, is: Where is the afikoman?
What a great idea, the afikoman hunt. It’s a question whose answer demands that you get up and look. You also can’t have dessert until you find it (technically, the afikoman is the dessert). And it’s a great way to keep the kids awake into the later portion of the seder (depending on how late you go). So, like the search for Waldo, we ask where the afikoman is. Here are a few of our favorite hiding places from over the years:
- This one is always a classic, since there are so many books on the bookshelf and the afikoman can just slide between two books (or even on top of the books). Now, you can’t put them too high, in case you have little kids who can’t reach the topmost shelf, but a fun wrinkle is to put the afikoman on the lowest shelf, where even a little kid would have to bend down to see it. Note: You can try putting the afikoman inside a book, but it might get all smashed up.
- This was a fun one. We hid the afikoman in my daughter Rachel’s dollhouse, and arranged it so it looked like the dolls were sitting at a seder table and eating the afikoman. It took the kids a little longer to find the afikoman, but everyone thought it was funny!
- RIGHT NEXT TO YOU AT THE TABLE. This one gets a lot of value the first time you use it, but less so on subsequent uses. Basically, you make it seem like the afikoman is hidden somewhere over there, but you actually hide it near you, like under your seat or under your napkin. This is a good one to use at a kosher Passover hotel, where you might not be so familiar with potential afikoman hiding places.