Stealing the Afikomon

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    So after yachatz we do Magid and during the sometimes discussions, we are distracted and the youngsters are busy pulling off the “crime of the century”.

    We go to wash Rochtza, ready for Motzi – Matza, and discover that not only is the Afikomon missing, but ALL the matzos were stolen!

    At this point we already washed and can’t talk. The youngsters are laughing themselves silly.

    We make hand motions and lots of “nu! NU!” but the guilty youngsters play dumb about the caper!

    What should we do?!

    All the matzos are gone! The crime of the century!

    What is the shuyur hefsek?

    This is worse than those who chap all the kugel at kiddush!

    They chapped ALL the matzos! GEVALD!!

    Should we prevent this apocalyptic situation by locking up the matzos in the safe?

    Hiring armed guards over the matzos?

    What is the minhag in other homes that have these young criminal minds lurking at the seder ready to extort, create havoc and pull off robberies?


    I have never seen anyone hide all the matzos. If this goes on in your house then yes I would lock them up to avoid this problem. Or do as I do…..I do not leave the dining room to wash. My children bring me the washing cup in a deep bowl so that i can wash at the table.

    as to the shiur of hefsaik…….Shulchan Aruch Orech Chayim (166) The ramah says the time it takes to walk 22 amos.

    Yabia Omer

    We don’t “steal” anything. We hide it under the table cloth.


    chabad does not “steal” the afikomon.
    some say that its hinted in maamar razal חוטפין מצה בלילי פסחים בשביל התינוקות שלא יישנו(פסחים דף קט, ע”א) .
    but there is also a maamar razal: בתר גנבא גנוב וטעמא טעים (ברכות דף ה’ ע”ב)



    At 18 minutes for a mil (2000 amos), 22 amos comes to just under 12 seconds. I am sure most people are not makpid on that on a regular basis. That said, most certainly no one should allow their kids to cause a major hefsek by stealing all the matzos, that is just ridiculous and certainly against halachah.


    Harav Shimon Schwab did not like the use of the word steal when it came to the afikoman. he preferrred to say snatching the afikoman. The source of the minhag is that it was on Pesach night the Yaakov Avinu received the brochos. The Yitzchok tells Eisav “BAH ACHICHA B’MIRMA” and the word B’MIRMA has the same gematriah as afikoman.


    It is a bit our fault. One year we used a “decoy” afikomon besides the real afikomon..The youngsters stole the “fake afikonmon” and they ended up with fake news, fake presents, and no impeachment, no collusion with the Russians….nada, nothing.

    When they offered to sell back the fake afikomon for a heavy randsom, we said , Neyet! Send it to Putin!

    Well it worked that one year. The next year they decide not to fall for a fake afikomon, so they stole ALL the matzos.

    Can you blame them?!

    Now we have a worry that they will be chapping ALL the matzos!

    Oy Vey!


    Mrs Joseph “They say that every topic under the sun has already been discussed in this Coffee Room and everything nowadays is merely chazara:”

    I guess not this topic!


    ביי אונז האט מען געזאגט אז גאנבענען איז נאר א אונגערישר מנהג


    Why would it be stealing? You hide the afikomen and the kid can find it not steal it. You are allowing them to find it. Where did the whole stealing thing come from? If anything the kids are learning to look for mitzvohs!


    writer – “Where did the whole stealing thing come from?”

    Pesochim 109 a Rabi Eliezer says on pessach we “chap” the matzos. Rashi, Rashbam expalin what chapping means, but Rambam in Chmetz Matza ch 7 hal 3 states that it means that people grab away the matzos from each other which excites the kids to stay awake. Meiri is more explicit. And the rishon, Mharam M’Challvah says we STEAL the afikomon from one another!!

    The Chok Yaakov s. 472 ss 2 says the custom is the CHILDREN should STEAL the afikoman based on Gemora above. Same also in Be’er Heytev ss. 19.


    So all the mitzvos were stolen. We already did rochtza made a brocha al netila, reaching the zman of hefsek – do we b’dieved use egg matza (to save the brocha)? In such a shaas hadchak


    Sephardim have a great minhag. By tzafon the father hides the afikomen and whoever finds it gets a prepared prize.


    Funnybone, isn’t that how the minhag works? That’s why I don’t understand why it’s considered stealing the afikomen rather than finding it


    My father used to give presents to all those who did not steal the afikoman. He said a thief does not deserve a present. And he made clear that we don’t need the piece that was put away. The only reason it’s hidden is in case we eat up all the other matzos, but we have plenty more so that isn’t going to happen. If someone steals it, let him keep it.


    Chazal call it “TOFSIM )chap/grab) matzos” – that is the minhag. Hiding and other “games” is not the minhag of chazal.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “Funnybone, isn’t that how the minhag works? That’s why I don’t understand why it’s considered stealing the afikomen rather than finding it”

    That’s the Chabad minhag and apparently also Sphardi (I wasn’t aware of that until now). The long standing Ashkenazi minhag done by many is for the kids to steal the afikomen. In other words, some have the minhag to steal other have the minhag to find. Two separate things.


    We don’t steal the afikoman Bec we don’t want to teach kids bad Middis even as a joke


    חוטפין מצה is a chazal. If Lubavitch does not allow stealing the matza, that’s not unusual. Lubavitch does things their way.But I am surprised about others! The issue is – what happens when they steal ALL the matzos?!

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    Are you pretending to be a Lubavitcher on other threads or pretending to not be one here?


    NevChaimBerlin – I am not Lubavitch or even chassidic, but I do love all frum Yidden and tolerate our diverse ways of serving Hashem.

    Yidden are like my cholent – there are potatoes, beans, barley, meat, onions and all my secret ingredients. We need each ingredient to make the cholent and if one is removed, the cholent won’t be what it should.

    The beans in the cholent might make fun of the potatoes, and the meat might think that he is the “real” cholent and the onion is not part of the Cholent Tzibbur, but that is pure silliness.

    So if you are the barley or the spice – without the rest of us you do not make the Tzibbur of Klal Yisroel.

    The cholent of Frum Yidden is delicious. A symphony of flavours!

    (And the Coffee Room is sometimes like the boiling pot holding the cholent).

    Enjoy the cholent.


    Egg Matza!!!!!???? Since when do we allow matza ashira to healthy people?


    lacisrmma – “Egg Matza!!!!!???? Since when do we allow matza ashira to healthy people?”

    We don’t. But the situation is: A brocha on netila for ha’motzei was made, no regular matzos are available. So now do we lose the bracha (l’vatala) or can one be kovaya seuda and eat egg matza – in such a sha’as ha’d’chak?


    Talking after washing for tzorchei haseudah is muttar. See Mishna Berura 166:2

    “Levad meyhadvarim shehheim ltzorech seuda D’mutar Lhafsik Lekulei Almah.

    So in short Just say “bring us the matzos now.”


    Since you are not yotzi with matza ashira then your homtzi and al achilas matza would also be levatala.

    Yabia Omer

    Egg Matza can be eaten by anyone, not just sick. Mezonot.
    By us we wet the Matza during the meal to make it more edible. And strictly speaking you can talk between washing and motzi. Rav Ovadia would DAVKA speak in order to teach this Halacha.


    yabia omer. Ashkenazim do not eat egg matzos (or other matza ahira) for matzos mitzva. which the passuk says lechem oni. As to talking between al netilas yadaim anf hamotzi see the Mishna Berura quoted above.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “Egg Matza can be eaten by anyone, not just sick”

    He should have specified: the sick and the Sphardi.
    Ashkenazim do not eat egg matzah. The Rema doesn’t even allow for it after zman issur on erev Pesach.

    How did egg matzah even come into this? The OP said they had not said hamotzi yet, just al natilas yadayim. I’m 99.9% sure I heard in a shiur that, in such a case, it’s not a brachah l’vatallah even if you never get to eat the bread. The basis was that if something wasn’t a brachah l’vatallah when you said it, you can’t retroactively make it one.


    Just reviewing the halachos of stealing (the afikomon);

    1. The kids that stole the afikomon matzah, they can’t be yotzeh with the matza they stole – it’s mitzva ha’ba b’averah

    2. When they return matzah, they get the mitzva of v’hayshiv es hagzeilah asher gozal. But they should not steal “just” to get the mitzvah. That is like doing an aveirah justt so one can have the mitzva of teshuva.

    3. A ganov is chayev kefel (double), so they need to really return twice the matza they stole.

    4. If they made a major change in the matza, like if they constructed a building with the matza, they need not return the matza itself, just the value.

    5. The value of the matza fluctuates (after pesach matza is worth less than before pessach), still, after pesach they can return the now discounted matza and say “haray shelcha l’fanecha”.


    3. A ganov is chayev kefel (double), so they need to really return twice the matza they stole.

    Kefel is a knas….which we dont have the ability to levy knasos today.


    lower – indeed bais din cannot IMPOSE a knas, but that does not negate the chiyuv to pay kefel.

    Yabia Omer

    No I did not say that you can use Egg Matza for the Mitzvah of achilat Matzah. I just said it’s kosher for Passover al pi dina degemara.

    Reb Eliezer

    RG, the snatching of the afikomon is done for fun in order the children should stay awake, so there is no stealing involved. They take it temporarily. If they don’t return it, you can take any shamurah matzoh and make it afikomon.


    Stealing for fun is also stealing (as specified in Shulchan Aruch). It matter not the motive. A ganov is chayev kefel.

    Besides, many of these “children” are grown. Knowing that the matzos are at risk, keeps the adults awake – to guard them. It makes the matzos – matzos shmurah.


    Yabia Omer: This whole thread has to do with children hiding all the matza before Motzi Matza and the subsequent question specifically asked by the OP had to do with substituting egg matza for motzi matza. So when you made your comment it was in the context as a response to what I wrote above. As stated by Rabbi Eli Gersten (OU) in his article “Who can eat Egg Matzah” “According to the Shulchan Aruch, dough made from flour mixed with fruit juices or eggs will not become chametz no matter how long it stands, provided no water is added. Despite this ruling, Ashkenazic practice mandates that egg matzot may only be used by the elderly and the infirm…………..Although the allowance to eat egg matzah over Passover applies in the above-mentioned cases, one cannot fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzah on Seder night with egg matzah. The Torah refers to matzah as “lechem oni” poor man’s bread, because it is made solely from flour and water, the simplest of ingredients. Egg matzah is called “matzah ashirah,” rich man’s bread, for it contains more complex ingredients and is unacceptable for the mitzvah of matzah. ” And yes we realize the halacha for sephardim is different.


    if you don’t want your children to be oiver on gneivah, (and which parent wants his kids to do avairos?!) you need to make the matzos hefker (remove your ownership from them) so the kids “steal” hefker matzos. Which is a good chumra that I recommend! It is so obvious, I am surprised others don’t do this!!

    The problem then, if they are ketanim, is that they are koneh (acquire) the matzos and cannot relinquish ownership when they return the matzos (as by lulov, the koton is koneh but cannot be makneh back), so the parents are eating matzos which aren’t theirs. True, you don’t need “lochem” (not lechem – lochem: “yours”) by matzah (as needed by lulov on first day), but are you mekayim achilas matza (afikomon) with matzos that don’t belong to you? If they aren’t “yours” are they stolen matzos? I don’t think this is a strong kasha.


    iacisrmma, for matzos mitzva nobody allows egg matza. The question is only for the rest of Pesach. Sefardim allow it for everyone, Ashkenazim only allow it for those who are unable to eat normal matzah (veyesh lomar that now that we have potatoes perhaps even they should not be allowed).

    YabiaOmer, there is a teshuva in Yechaveh Daas (I don’t remember which volume but I’m sure you can find it in the index) about whether a Sefardi shopkeeper who carries matza ashira on chol hamoed may sell it to a customer he knows to be Ashkenazi. He paskens that the shopkeeper must put up a sign informing customers that this is forbidden to healthy adult Ashkenazim, and then if an Ashkenazi brings it to the counter he may assume that he must be buying it for those who are permitted to eat it.


    PS: I have a vague recollection at the back of my head that it’s in volume 6, so look there first, but don’t hold me to it. I don’t have it to hand to check.


    milhouse: once again my statement about egg matza was specifically related to matzas mitzvah which was the topic of this thread.

    Yabia Omer

    Yes I’m aware of the Ashkenazic stringency to Egg Matza.
    Here’s a question: can an Ashkenazi eating at a Sephardi eat food that was used to cook rice?


    can an Ashkenazi eating at a Sephardi eat food that was used to cook rice?

    Yes. Kitniyos is batel berov, so whatever taam of kitniyos the pot expels into the food will be batel. If an Ashkenazi does this for himself it could be considered mevatel issur lechatchila, but to a Sefardi it’s not an issur, so there’s no shyla.

    Further, since an Ashkenazi may cook kitniyos for Sefardi guests, it seems obvious that he may also cook non-kitniyos for them in a kitniyos pot, and having done so beheter he may then eat the food.

    Yabia Omer

    CORRECTION:. eat food that was cooked in a pot that was used to cook rice

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “The kids that stole the afikomon matzah, they can’t be yotzeh with the matza they stole – it’s mitzva ha’ba b’averah”
    I know you’re just joking around anyway, but you realize that every major acharon except the Baal Hatanya poskens that mitzvah habah b’averah is still yotzi b’dieved? Did you accidentally out yourself as a Lubavitcher again? Or, is this all part of your incredibly intricate CR account build?

    The OU you referenced is understating it. The Machaber permits it, and the Rema does not; most Ashkenazim would not present that as “the Shulchan Aruch allows it.”
    The OP’s question was, I believe, whether or not he could use matzah ashirah to make motzi (not al achilas matzah) so that his washing would not be wasted. I believe the entire shailah is built on false pretenses.


    We are talking about stolen matzah, and you claim that “every major acharon except the Baal Hatanya poskens that mitzvah habah b’averah is still yotzi b’dieved” ?!

    Are you saying that every major posek argues with the gemara that says explicitly that you can’t be yoteh with stolen matzah?

    And every major posek does not include the Shulchan Aruch with explicitly state s that you can’t be yotzeh with stolen matzah (s. 454, ss. 4?

    And you don’t consider the Mishna Brura a mjor posek that concurs with this halacha (ibid, s”k 14)?!

    And you think that the only one that hold you can’t be yotzeh with stolen matza is the Baal Hatanya (presumably in Rav Shulchan Oruch)?!

    You ask me “Did you accidentally out yourself as a Lubavitcher again? “, I mirror back your words slightly paraphrased, Did you accidentally out yourself as an am ha’aretz (which might mean you are the Lubavitcher) again?


    Neville, specifically which major achronim do you mean – that say one is yotzeh with stolen matzah?

    You claim ONLY the Baal Hatanya holds that way!

    Although I honestly do not know how the Baal Hatanya paskens – I assume in Rav Shulchan Oruch and not in Sefer HaTanya. I will list below the Rishonim and Poskim that ALL say one is NOT yotzeh with stolen matzah.

    I must note that YOU seem to know how the Baal Hatanya paskens, yet I am not choshed you are a Lubavitcher, since many learn Rav Shulchan Oruch, especially since the Minshe Brura often cites him).

    A brief listing of Rishonim and poskim that I am familiar with on the topic:


    1.Rambam (Hilchos Chametz u’Matzah 6:7): One is NOT Yotzei with stolen Matzah. One is Yotzei only with Matzah on which one blesses Birkas ha’Mazon.

    i.Magid Mishneh and R. Mano’ach, citing the Yerushalmi: One may not bless on stolen Matzah. R. Oshaya learns this from “Botze’a Barech.” This refers to beforehand. One blesses afterwards, for he owes just money. R. Yonah says, an Aveirah is not a Mitzvah. R. Yosi says, a Mitzvah is not an Aveirah. R. Ila says “these are the Mitzvos” – if you do not do them properly, they are not Mitzvos. Some say that one is Yotzei b’Di’eved, for one owes only money, and it does not say “Matzaschem.” This is unlike the end of the Yerushalmi. If one stole flour or wheat and made Matzah, surely he was Yotzei. He acquired, and owes only money.

    ii.R. Mano’ach: Even though it does not say “Matzaschem”, we learn from Chalah, for which “Arisoseichem” excludes Hekdesh. We disqualify Matzah of Ma’aser according to the opinion that it is Hash-m’s property. Surely, also Gezel is excluded. If one’s Matzah might have been switched with another’s (e.g. during baking), they should stipulate that whatever each takes is his. We do not bless Birkas ha’Mazon on stolen Matzah, for it was an Aveirah (Rambam Hilchos Berachos 1:19).

    2.Rosh (Pesachim 2:18): One is not Yotzei with stolen Matzah. Chachamim argue only about Ma’aser Sheni. They also learn the Gezeirah Shavah “Lechem-Lechem” (Menachos 70b). Stolen Matzah is not considered yours. In the Yerushalmi, it seems that R. Oshaya holds that one is Yotzei b’Di’eved, but perhaps the latter Amora’im disagree.

    i.Ritva (Sukah 35a DH Ela): One is Yotzei with stolen or borrowed Matzah, for he acquires it through Shinuy while chewing it, like it says in Kesuvos. The Gezeirah Shavah requires your Matzah. This excludes only Ma’aser Sheni, according to R. Meir. He holds that it is Hash-m’s food, and one has permission to eat it, so we cannot say that he acquires through Shinuy.

    3.Tosfos R. Peretz and Tosfos Rashba (Pesachim 35b DH Aval): Mitzvah ha’Ba’ah b’Aveirah applies only to Mitzvos like Lulav, which we use to praise Hash-m and appease Him, or Korban.

    4.Ramban (Pesachim 35b DH Yesh): Mitzvah ha’Ba’ah b’Aveirah does not apply to an Isur like Tevel, which can be fixed. Mitzvah ha’Ba’ah b’Aveirah is only mid’Rabanan; the Gemara brought an Asmachta from Nevi’im. Some disagree.


    1.Shulchan Aruch (OC 454:4): One is NOT Yotzei with stolen Matzah.

    i.Mishnah Berurah (14 and Bi’ur Halachah DH Ein): This connotes that he must bless again. However, since the Ritva says that he was Yotzei, perhaps he should not bless again. Sha’agas Aryeh (95) says that even on the second night, he was not Yotzei. Some say that one is Yotzei with stolen Maror. Others say that also Maror must be yours. Sha’agas Aryeh (94) says that this is a Mitzvah mid’Rabanan ha’Ba’ah b’Aveirah. The Mechaber (649:5) says that one is Yotzei in such a case, but the Rema says that one is not Yotzei.

    ii.Magen Avraham (196:1): Perhaps one blesses Birkas ha’Mazon even if he ate stolen bread, for he acquired it through eating. Also, the Beis Yosef was in doubt in Siman 649 (about blessing after one acquired through Shinuy), so we must be stringent about Birkas ha’Mazon.

    iii.Kaf ha’Chayim (29): The Aruch ha’Shulchan is lenient about Maror on the second night, when it is mid’Rabanan for two reasons, since some are lenient even on the first night.

    2.Shulchan Aruch (ibid.): This is if he stole Matzah. If he stole flour or wheat and made Matzah, he was Yotzei, for he acquired it, and he owes only money.

    i.Taz (4): Even though one is not Yotzei with a borrowed Esrog, for it must be yours, one is Yotzei with borrowed Matzah. The lender knows that the borrower will eat it. He allows him to acquire it and pay for it afterwards.

    ii.Kaf ha’Chayim (31): One is Yotzei l’Chatchilah with borrowed Matzah.

    iii.Magen Avraham (5): If Ploni stole Matzah and gave to Levi after despair, Levi is Yotzei. If Levi returned it to Ploni, Ploni is Yotzei with it.

    iv.Gra (9): We forbid due to Mitzvah ha’Ba’ah b’Aveirah only when he acquires through an Aveirah, e.g. Shinuy Reshus with yi’ushr. This is according to the Halachah, that yi’ushr does not acquire by itself.

    v.Gra (10): Tosfos says that even when he acquired it without the Aveirah and it is not Mitzvah ha’Ba’ah b’Aveirah, he may not bless on it.

    vi.Mishnah Berurah (16,17): One is not Yotzei l’Chatchilah, for he may not bless on it. One who bought stolen Matzah after yi’ush may bless on it, for it did not come to him through an Aveirah.


    Nevelle, “every major acharon except the Baal Hatanya poskens that mitzvah habah b’averah is still yotzi b’dieved?”

    Obviously, you do not consider Shulchan Oruch as a majot achron, nor the Mishne Brura – which both hold that you are NOT yotzeh with stolen matzah.

    Mechaber in sif daled, M.B s”k 14 (and Biur Halacha).

    But you could have corrected me on the mistake that matza does not need to be “lachem” (yours) as a lulov. THAT is incorrect (Rosh Kiddushin 54b siman 18) holds you are not yotzeh with stolen matzah because it still belongs to owner, so it isn’t yours – lachem.

    Raabad (cited by Rabbenu Manoach to Rambam’s Chametz U’Matzah 6:7) therefore advises people who bake together to declare, “My matzos belong to whoever happens to take them.” By making this declaration, everyone will legally own whichever matzos he takes home.

    The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 444:15) states that if a merchant demands immediate payment, the buyer person does not acquire legal possession of the matzos until he pays. Therefore, if he delays paying until after Yom Tov, he has not ful­filled the mitzvah because the matzos were not legally his.

    The Sefas Emes (Sukkah 35a) states that a host who provides matzos for his guests at the Seder should explicitly transfer ownership of the matzos to them so that they legally own the matzah they eat. (Rav Moshe Sternbuch, in Responsa Teshuvos VeHanhagos vol. 2, Orach Chayim 240, cites the Shevet Sofer, who advised similarly in his Shabbos Hagadol derasha.)


    Neville, instead of learning Tanya all day, you should open a Mishne Brura and have a seder in Gemorah . ‘ain am haaretz chosid”

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    Ah, feel the warmth. It’s almost funny how you believe you’re any different than those you insult. Your bright red cape is so real you can almost feel it flapping behind you. Feel the love!


    Syag – I just happen to have the knowledge to back up what I say. That makes me different than others that I insult when they claim halachic/Torah positions that are incorrect. By posting misinformation in a public fprum, others are mislead. in such a case, one must not sit idely by and remain silent. There is a chiyuv to point out the mistake and correct it.

    When I “insult”, I try to mirror back the concept or words said to me or others. In this case the comment was:
    “you realize that every major acharon except the Baal Hatanya poskens that mitzvah habah b’averah is still yotzi b’dieved? Did you accidentally out yourself as a Lubavitcher again? Or, is this all part of your incredibly intricate CR account build?”
    the implication that I am Chabad I mirrored back with ” learn Tanya all day”, and the adage “kol haposel b’mumo posel’ – one uses his own fault when faulting others.

    likewise refering to Rav shulchan oruch as Baal Hatanya is like refrencing the Mishna Brura as the Chofetz Chaim.

    bottom line is that I can cite chapter and verse to back points I raise. Others use their own mind set, sevoras ha’beten and simply if they don’t know of it, it must be wrong. That makes me stand head and shoulder above them, on my “high horse” (if you will), while herding cats.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    “But you could have corrected me on the mistake that matza does not need to be “lachem” (yours) as a lulov. THAT is incorrect (Rosh Kiddushin 54b siman 18) holds you are not yotzeh with stolen matzah because it still belongs to owner, so it isn’t yours – lachem.”

    Exactly. It’s not because of mitzvah habaah b’aveirah. You’ve gone through a lot of research over something sparked by a misunderstanding. I was talking about the use of “mitzvah habaah b’aveirah” in this context. Look in siman 649 with regards to stolen lulavim. You’re yotzi b’dieved on chol hamoed with no brachah because there’s no din of “lachem.” If you’re curious, you can take a look at that same siman in the S”A Harav; it reads quite differently in that regard. I’m not insulting his psak, just disputing that we hold universally by mitzvah habaah b’aveirah = pasul.

    You saw that M”B explained the matzah’s din has to do with a gezeirah shavah to challah that requires it to be your’s? You saw the Be’er Heiteiv bring down the opinion that you’re yotzi with matzah that was carried out on Shabbos? It’s not because of mitzvah habaah b’aveirah.

    P.S. my comment was meant more as banter. But, the fact that I seemed to actually deeply trolled you actually makes me really happy given your performance on the CR lately.

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