Afikomen A Sign

When events form trains of coincidences, you are on the right track! It takes God and a seeker together to create such a train.  A few years ago I was going through very, very bad times. My professional career was in turmoil. My self-esteem was near absent. It was Passover, and we were at my wife’s parents apartment in Queens, NY. I still smoked back then. The seder was, as usual, rushed through, and any sense of earnest gratitude for the deliverance from Egypt was absent. Why, was it that my life was so screwed up, while everyone else just seemed to be cruising with ease through their lives? And yet they had no apparent sense of awe at the very idea of existence, of consciousness, of the God of Israel reaching into and manifesting in the History of humanity? As the only smoker, I walked up to the roof, only one flight up rather than three down, and with a view. To the west, I could see the Empire State Building, to the northeast the towers of the Throg’s Neck Bridge. I prayed for God to give me just the slightest hope for His presence. Please Lord, I have no right to demand a sign, but I sure could use one! Stamped out the butt, walked downstairs to the apartment and as I entered the children were wildly jumping up and down for I had promised that I would hide the afikomen. (In the Passover Seder, three matzos are held up at the outset, and the middle one is taken out, cracked in half, and one half is hidden until the end of the seder. Children then run about searching for it, and the finder wins a prize, candy or five dollar bill or something like that. As a Messianic Jew, in a family of mainstream minimally observant Jews, my insight illuminated the meaning of the afikomen for me. When Yeshua, at the Last Supper, the first night of Passover, the first Seder, took bread and said when we eat this in the future let it be in memorial to Him, he was offering matzo. And He was the matzo, and He was cracked, and half of Him was hidden away until the end of the Seder, or the end of this age.) Feeling too devoid of energy even to hide it as I promised to do, I asked them to hide it instead. These kids were four and five years old. They hid it, and told me when I was warm or cold. And gradually I was led to the old bookshelf in the second bedroom. Then toward an old collection of Funk & Wagner Encyclopedias. And finally to the “A” book. It opened up to reveal the Afikomen. But tears of joy leaked from my eyes. These almost babies, pre-literate, had placed the Afikomen between the entries for Afghanistan and Africa. If, IF!, the word “Afikomen” would have been in the encyclopedia, it would have been exactly where the children hid it!   I came back to the dining room and the chatter of meaningless banal family chit chat was going exactly as it was when I left for the roof. I tried to tell the adults about the Afikomen. Every time I got a couple of sentences of the story out, someone’s comment from somewhere else on the table inevitably stole the attention of my listeners (whose attention was impossible to sustain for the necessary amount of time to get out the bare outlines of this event.) No one could hear me. This was for me alone! Thank you God, King of the Universe, creator of the fruit of the vine; Baruch atow adenoi eloheinu melech h’olam, boree p’ree hagaffen. Here is my point: every single bit of that story happened as I described. But, if I hadn’t been given a heart to plead, and curiosity to look and eyes to see, I would not have noticed where the afikomen was hidden. If a sign is given and is not noticed and understood,is it a sign? No, we humans are as necessary as God for a sign to be a sign! Just as a rainbow has no independent existence outside of the mind of an observer so is the Hand of God in our lives. That is not to say GOD is dependent on human or other consciousness for His existence! God forbid. But the Hand Of God is present when it is sought,by those who seek.

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