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The Thrill of the Afikoman and Other Stories

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03/21/2013

The Thrill of the Afikoman and Other Stories photo

Okay. I lied. There are no other stories. Yes, I must be the wicked child. Despite my age of 25 (going on 26!), I am still a child. Passover still tends to be one of my favorite Jewish holidays of the year. Believe me, when I’m in my local Jewel Osco, and yes I shop there because it’s JEW-el Osco, I never PASS OVER the chance to check out the kosher section. See what I did there? Seriously, do you? Because if you do can you please let me know what I did there because I have no idea what I did there.

When it comes to the Passover Seder, the search for the Afikoman is a long standing tradition that can be traced back well before I was even born. Crazy, I know. But the search for the Afikoman is one element of my life that sadly does not exist anymore. Oh, the search for the Afikoman. If there’s one thing I wish still existed in my adult life, it would be that incredibly fast metabolism I had as a child. But if it was two things, yes two things, it would be the absolute lack of responsibility. But if it was THREE things, yes three things, then it would have to be that I could still participate in the search for the Afikoman come Seder time. I miss it so much I often buy loaves of bread and purposefully put them in locations around my apartment that I’ll forget just to have that wonderful excitement at a later time when I accidentally find them.

How funny would that be if I was joking? There’s a lot of moldy bread in my apartment that I can’t find.

The thrill of the hunt for the Afikoman was like no other. This wasn’t like finding Waldo, Jimmy Hoffa or your pants. There was a prize to be had! But sometimes the parents and/or aunts and uncles were quite cruel and would be far too clever in their hiding spots. There were the acceptable places like under the couch cushion or in between the books on the book shelves. Then there was the tough places like under the table cloth or inside the closet. But then there was one place I drew the line.

The Afikoman can NOT be hidden in the box of matzo. That is cruel and unusual punishment. That’s on par with telling me I’m going to Disney World and then taking me to the doctor’s office to get a booster shot. It hurts literally, figuratively, emotionally and redundantly. The scars I have from those Seders still exist today. But that’s only because I was rough housing too much and fell on a broken Seder plate when I was 9. But let’s not go there.

I must say, the night of finding the Afikoman did sometimes lead to incredible experiences. Imagine the night I found the Afikoman AND lost a tooth. Man, I was rolling in it. It being money for those that needed clarification. I would often get my dollars exchanged for rolls of pennies so rolling it in wouldn’t be as strange. Rolling in dollar bills looks rather foolish. Actually rolling in any amount of money looks rather foolish. But rolling in hay on the other hand…..moving on.

I do, however, need someone to explain to me how the Afikoman is considered dessert. I understand it roughly translates to “that which comes after” but still, why couldn’t those amazing fruit slices or ring jells translate to that as well? Perhaps I’m mistaken, but the call of dessert does not often represent unleavened bread in my mind. Although when I see it smothered in chocolate my attention does tend to be captured. Although in all fairness, anything smothered in chocolate does tend to catch my attention. I’m looking at you Elite chocolate bar that I dip in chocolate and then pour chocolate sprinkles over.

I don’t do that. Much. 

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