Tell me about the Afikoman

We are broken, but the best is yet to come.

As a message of hope, the Afikoman is probably the most powerful of all our Pesach symbols. Pesach is a time of hope. We are given a yearly opportunity to recognise that we have been saved once, and therefore we can be redeemed again.

We were rescued from the slavery of our past and Passover allows us to acknowledge and celebrate this miracle. We focus on our redemption from Egypt. It is a fact of our history and through recalling it we know there is hope for the future. It happened once to our whole people and on Seder Night we tell the testimony of this act.

But this redemption is not yet over. We live in a world of uncertainty with many things out of our control. Pollution and politics, poverty and sickness, society’s ills and expectations. All these things surround us and affect us to one degree or another. The world is broken and this broken matza speaks to us. We are all a part of this whole, this world,  and we too are broken. As a group, and as a wider community. Brokenness is a symbol of incompletion. Life is not whole.

We spend our lives learning. And life, in response to that concept, continues to give us the same lessons in different forms, until we learn what  we need to understand. At that point we have graduated onto the next lesson. History repeats itself and we find ourselves again and again in a time where there is inequality and bullying of differing minorities.

We hold the responsibility of our future even while we spend Seder Night retelling the story of our past.

The children run around the house hunting for the Afikoman. We have taken the middle matza and split it in two. The larger part is taken for the Afikoman and it is that larger part that we are looking for. The larger part that we leave for the children to find. By this tradition of hiding the Afikoman, we are continuing our heritage of teaching our children. This larger part, this Afikoman represents the future. We are gifting it to them. Building the right future is larger than the stories of our past.

On Seder night, the children stay up long enough to hunt for the Afikoman, the broken piece of matzo that we need, we cannot manage without. And why? Because without it we cannot carry on. The Afikoman is the symbol of hope, hope for the future.

The promise of the future is greater than the achievements of the past.

About the Author
Abi Taylor-Abt is an outstanding Jewish Educator and Curriculum Developer who has worked in the field of Jewish Primary and Secondary Educational Curriculum Development for over twenty years. She is the author of Lessons in Jewish Learning - a grab and go curriculum for communities and Jewish schools. Originally from London, Abi spent time living in Israel, South Africa, England and the United States. After working in Boise, Idaho, Abi spent 5 years in Israel for the second time whilst her children served in the army. She is currently Director of Education for Yachad a combined educational endeavour between the conservative congregation of Beth Shalom and the reform community of Temple Emanu-El in Michigan, USA. A 2018 recipient of the Klein/Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, Abi is also awaiting the video version of her recent ELI Talk Detroit Speaker Fellowship.