Afikoment Gifts on Passover


My mom tells of growing up in Denver in the 1950’s and receiving a quarter from many uncles for finding the Afikomen.  I remember my Uncle Irving passing out $2 bills to all the cousins.  Now, those bills were an oddity, and so special that we wouldn’t even spend them.  I actually still have a few tucked away in my jewelry box.  As kids we couldn’t sit still until the middle piece of matza was broken, folded into a napkin, and hidden away.  Whoever found it would then hold it for ransom until they received a gift.  Yes, one person found the Afikomen, but in order to prevent hard feelings, the matzah was broken up and passed around so that all the kids received gifts.

There are stories and legends intertwined in history about finding the Afikomen.   Doing research for this blog post we found that the Afikomen has taken on special meanings throughout history as.  This symbolic middle piece of matzah used to be saved as protection against the evil eye and to ensure longevity.  Back in the Middle Ages, Jews would carry it in a little pouch with them from Passover to Passover, hoping for good luck.  Did you know that if you kept the Afikomen for 7 years, you could then throw it into a river to stop a flood?  The stories go on an on.

Afikomen might sound like this crazy made-up word, but it is a word.  Pronounced Ah-fee-ko-men, it is actually a Greek word meaning dessert.   Read more about it in this past post.

Let’s fast forward from the 1950s and 1970s to 2017, and admit that kids are still fascinated with the Afikomen ritual and holding it ransom until they receive something in exchange.  The thing is, when you gift something to a kid, they remember it.  That is what Jewish family celebrations are all about– creating memories and rituals.  From the food we eat to the prayers we chant, every child remembers the holidays.  Having them leave with a small keepsake just preserves these memories.


Here are two wonderful choices to gift the children at Passover Seder.  A sterling silver Jewish star pendant or a Hebrew chai charm are both meaningful moments of the holiday.



Chai– Not the Tea but a Symbol

We know, you order Chai masala tea at your local Indian restaurant.  It is sweet, creamy and oh-so-delicious.  This is also what comes up when you do a google search for Chai.

Happened to us, so you aren’t the only one out there.




A chai is actually a combination of 2 Hebrew letters: chet and yud.  Pronounced “hi” or if you want to fake an accent, had a hard ch to it.  There’s no need to do that though. chai letters in hebrew


So, how come it is common to wear these two letters and not two other random Hebrew ones?  This is really a two-part answer.


Well, there is the mystical tradition, called gematria, that assigns a numerological value to Hebrew letters.  The letter chet has a value of 8, since it is the 8th letter in the alphabet, and the yud is the 10th.  So that equals 18.  And 18 is now a lucky number because of these two letters combined together and their value.  You’ll often find Jewish people gift in increments of 18, 36, 72…. you can do the math from there.

The second reason comes from the word Chayim…meaning  life.  You’ve heard it in modern day songs, from the Black Eyed Peas, I Gotta Feeling, when they yell out “L’Chayim!”  To life!  Ok, now that Fiddler on the Roof song “L’chayim, L’chayim to life!” will play in your head.


In a nut shell, Chai, the combination of two letters is for a long, prosperous and healthy life.

Alef Bet Jewelry has it set with diamonds and 14k gold or in sterling silver on lucky red string bracelets.  No matter the reason, gifting something with a Chai or in increments of 18 is a good thing, a positive thing, a lucky thing.

Chai symbol jewelry