Passover Tips: How to Barter For The Afikomen

by Mallory Schlossberg

Ah, Passover. The Jewish holiday that epitomizes them all: a formal meal (the seder), family flying in from all over the place, copious amounts of drinking (four glasses of wine!), and traditions aplenty. Consider this is your Fiddler on The Roof moment. Tradition!

One of those time-old traditions is bartering for the afikomen. A refresher course for those who are unfamiliar: There are three pieces of matzo (the unleavened bread that you're obliged to eat if you're keeping kosher for Passover) in the center of the table. The middle matzo is broken and a piece of it (the afikomen) is hidden.

After the big meal, kids traditionally look for the hidden piece. Assuming the kids find it (and it's —spoiler alert! — usually under a cushion or in a cabinet), the adults and seder leaders are in a conundrum. The seder cannot proceed in the absence of the afikomen!

Then a world-class lesson in bartering begins. Adults must barter with these youngsters to get the afikomen back. (In an alternate version of the tradition, kids can hide the piece of matzo from the adults, who still must barter to get the piece of matzo back. Basically, the children hold the power!) You might be thinking What's so great about a piece of matzo? I've got a whole box! It's EVERYTHING. The rest of the seder cannot go on, and depending on how long your family seder goes, you may very well find yourself pulling a longer all-nighter than you ever did in college if the ceremonial meal cannot proceed.

While you may consider yourself an adult, this is a game in which it's a good time to emphasize your youthful attributes and sit at the kid's table. Besides, as a grown-ass woman, your bartering skills are likely unbeatable. Assuming you've got that powerful piece of matzo in your hand — what are you gonna do?

Here's how you barter like a beast, while still keeping the seder a classy, time-honored affair. Tradition!

1. Assume A Powerful Stance

No one says "no" to a powerful woman. Stand tall...and smoke may emerge. But try not to scare your grandma with your powerful smoke, okay?

3. Offer to kindly pour the person you're bartering with with an extra — a fifth! — glass of wine

Kill 'em with kindness.

3. Accept no less than what you want

Consider the Afikomen a metaphor for the rest of your life, my friend.

4. Have Jake Gyllenhaal and The Sesame Street Gang Help You Out

As most folks who grew up Jewish know, it was pretty cool when smoldering stars and pop culture united in celebration of the heritage. Unfortunately, Jake Gyllenhaal wasn't around when I was kid (well, he was, just not particularly relevant, and slightly less chiseled). Kids today have this on Sesame Street:

5. Recognize That You're An Adult, This Is For Kids, And Quietly Retreat Back To Your Seat to Drink Your Manischewitz.

Enjoy your midlife crisis in the middle of seder, but please do it quietly, OK? This is a religious event, and the seder is about to resume.