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Section: Why?   Category: Moadim
TAGS:afikoman  Leil HaSeder  Pesach
5 Reasons Why Children Steal the Afikoman
One of the children's favorite parts of the Seder is the stealing of the Afikoman, hiding it, and subsequently asking for a gift before returning it to their father.  Where does this minhag come from?  The Hagadah Otzar Divrei HaMeforshim brings some reasons for stealing the Afikoman.

1.  To show how much they love the mitzva.  (Mekor Chaim - Chavos Yair)

2.  Based on the Mishna in Pesachim that says the children grab the Matza so they shouldn't fall asleep. (Chasam Sofer)

3. Dogs watch the house from burglars.  On the night of Pesach the dogs did not bark therefore they were vulnerable to thieves.  As a Zecher to this we steal the Afikoman. (Michtav Sofer - Rav Shimon Sofer of Krakow)

4.  Matza represents parnassa.  The Ba'al HaBayis breaks it in half.  He leaves half on the table representing Olam HaZeh and the other half he hides for Olam Haba.  The little children who only know from Olam Hazeh try to grab the hidden half.  The Ba'al HaBayis must watch it and make sure they don't steal it.  (Ach Pri Tevua - Rav Tzvi Hirsch MiLiska)

5.  When Eisav went in to get the brachos from Yitzchok, Yitzchok said "Ba Achicha BiMirma" you brother came with trickery.  The Medrash Plia adds "and he took out the Afikoman."  The brachos were given on Pesach.  Therefore the children grab the afikoman to get the brachos.  The brachos are the present that they ask their fathers to buy for them.  (Rav Menashe Klein)

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