Thursday, April 28, 2011

Afikomin redux

On March 30, 2007, I published Chaval Sedur Pesach, a post which argued that the rituals and forms of the Seder are very similar to the forms of the symposia, a type of Greek banquet which was wildly popular in the Hellenized world at exactly the time the Seder was created. The post produced 184 comments and a raging argument regarding the meaning and origins of the word Afikomin. I was also accused of being the Pesach grinch, and of being controversial merely for the sake of page views. All of these complaints were satisfactorily addressed in comments.

A challenge that I thought particularly stupid came in the form of this question: How can you sit at the Seder with any sort of Jewish feeling if you believe/know that many of its forms were copied from Greek banquets? I answered with For my critics.

Lurker, who is those days was a friend and supporter of this blog, weighed in a few days later with the Comment of the millennium. In this superb mini-essay Lurker uses impeccable Torah sources to rebut the claim (make by Joe Settler) that Afikomin has an Aramaic etymology. Then, he uses some of those same sources to support that contention I made about the original meaning of "ain maftirin achar hapesach afikomin."

Best of all, Lurker dealt firmly and conclusively with the disgusting and shallow suggestion (made in 2007 by Chaim G/Bray of Fundie and Yus, but repeated, alebeit in slightly different forms in our own generation - elah she bechol dor v'dor! - by the likes of @rabbidmk @Hizfuld, @UncleChaim and @yeshivaguy) that attempting to discover the origin of our customs "belittles Judaism" or  "undermines Orthodoxy" and somehow insults our dead ancestors.

A few days later, on April 12, Lurker was back with Pummeled! Yus gets his clock cleaned again, a comment that left a mark on Yus that is likely still visible all these years later.

Four days later I wrapped up with Last word on the Afikomin.

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