Re: Keeping a piece of the Afikoman #galicia


In a message dated 4/28/05 12:14:51 PM, pniname@... writes:

In the end of the Seder my father Moshe Mandelboim who came >from a Chasidic
family >from thr area of Krakow
used to take a piece of the Afikoman, and to keep it in a hidden place
till the next year.
Does someone know about this Minhag?
Pnina Meislish, Jerusalem

Although I have not sat at a Pesach table for more than a quarter of a
century, and only infrequently before that last one since my childhood, I do
remember the fleeting pleasure of looking for the afikomen my father would hide and I
enjoyed the present I received whether I was the first to find it or not.
Usually it was my brother, six years older than I who found the hidden afikomen.
I don't remember whether our big sister ever joined in the search. I
suspect she may have thought that such a search was beneath her youthful dignity.

I did some quick google searches about hiding, keeping or saving afikomen.
Most sites said that hiding the afikomen for children to seek was a tradition
that was only about two hundred years old, devised to keep children alert
during the often lengthy readings and prayers. (I enjoyed looking at the small
engravings in our Maxwell House hagadah booklets. I especially admired the one
depicting the plague of frogs. Not knowing how the pictures our Hagadah were
reproduced, I would wonder how anyone could draw such tiny frogs.)

As for hiding a piece of matzh to store for the following year I found one
website which said members of a particular family would keep a piece in their
wallets "so that they would always have something of value in them."

Another site spoke of a folk tradition of saving a piece of afikomen as an
good luck amulet, and of some people saving a piece for the entire year. I
suppose a family's tradition of saving a piece for the whole year depended on
that family's dependence on superstition. Perhaps such a custom permeated the
Seder celebrations of other families who lived in the same town.

Questions have suddenly arisen in my mind. Wouldn't a piece of afikomen
which had been saved for the whole year become part of the hometz which had to be
swept out of the house as part of the preparation for the next Pesach? Would
a amulet of saved matzah lose its efficacy after a year had passed? Would
people who saved a piece for a year add that piece to their trove of other such

Naomi Fatouros (nee FELDMAN)
Bloomington, Indiana
BELKOWSKY,BIELKOWSKY, BILKOWSKI, Odessa,St. Petersburg,Berdichev,
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SCHUTZ, RETTIG, WAHL, Shcherets;LEVY, WEIL, Mulhouse; SAS/SASS,Podwolochisk;
RAPOPORT, Tarnopol, Podwolochisk, Radomysl?; BEHAM, Salok, Kharkov;

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