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Is the leader of the seder supposed to hide the afikoman so that the kids can find it, or are the kids supposed to hide it so that the leader can find it? And what is the point of this hide-and-seek game anyway?

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To your last question: Kidei sheyish-alu chavrei mi.yodeya. –  Isaac Moses Mar 9 '10 at 15:52
    
In my parents' house, my father used to hide it, but my cousins took every drawer apart searching for it. After then, the rule became that the kids hide it (and there were rules as to where it could be hidden). –  Charles Koppelman Mar 22 '13 at 17:35

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Common practice (at least from what I've seen in the Ashkenazic world) is the father hides it. Rambam says the kids have to steal it and hide it. Either way, it's to grab the kids' interest and keep them awake.

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Shalom, hiding and looking for the afikoman seems like a gimmicky way to keep kids interest in a seder. I'm sure the rabbis could have come up with a better way to keep kids interested then a game. After all, we have the four questions, the four sons, the song dayanu as well as opening the door for Eliyahu that keep my interest in the seder as a kid. As a teen, even getting four large cups of wine keep me interesed in the seder till the end. –  Ken Mar 12 '10 at 21:00
    
Ken, are you sure the rabbis came up with this one? –  Isaac Moses Mar 12 '10 at 21:02
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It definitely keeps them awake and interested in something, but it also distracts away from "the main point". Unless the main point really is just to keep them awake and entertained. As the father of young children, I know this really does have value, since the kids get excited and look forward to pesach, which literally gets stamped on their consciousness for years to come –  Jeremy Mar 16 '10 at 14:45
    
What we always did (and we are ashkenazic), is the leader of the seder (usually my dad) would set the afikomen aside where everyone could see it and the kids would steal it at the first opportunity. That is how I conduct seders today. –  Dennis Mar 24 at 16:08

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