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The Agam Judaica Team
Afikoman cover 0m124
- Afikoman (Hebrew language: אפיקומן, based on Greek, epikomen or epikomion [επί Κομός], meaning "that which comes after" or "dessert") is a half-piece of matzo which is broken in two during the early stages of the Passover Seder and set aside to be eaten as a dessert after the meal.
Based on the Mishnah in Pesahim 119a, the afikoman is a substitute for the Korban Pesach, which was the last thing eaten at the Passover Seder during the eras of the First and Second Temples and during the period of the Mishkan. The Talmud states that it is forbidden to have "afikoman" after eating the meal, so that the taste of matzo remains in our mouths. The Gemara debates what action Afikoman refers to, whether it is moving places or eating foods. Today, the Afikoman refers to the Matza eaten at the end of the meal, or the Matza that causes the rule of "Afikoman" to go into effect.
In some families, the head of the household hides the afikoman for the children to find, and rewards them with money or candy. In other families, the children "steal" the afikoman and ask for a reward for its return. Either way, the afikoman has become a device for keeping children awake and alert during the Seder proceedings, until the time it is needed for dessert.
This information is taken from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org