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The text was updated 2019.15.02.

TZAFUN (CAFUN) (Hebraic צפון) - the name of the eleventh Part of the Seder Meal.

During the Jewish Passover (see: Passover) the leader of the liturgical assembly takes care to assure that the celebration runs strictly according to the order (in Hebrew: Seder). For this purpose, he uses a particular book: “The Passover Haggadah”. “The Passover Haggadah” contains fourteen main parts to be accomplished sequentially. One of these parts is “TZAFUN (CAFUN)” – HIDDEN. What is its meaning?

To answer this question, one ought to perceive, that:

While one accomplishes the eleventh part of the Seder Meal – Tzafun – one eats a special unleavened Afikoman.

What is the meaning of Afikoman in Seder?

The correct etymology of Afikoman is very important to understand its meaning in Seder.

Against the prevailing opinion, it is not the Greek word that Afikoman bases on. The meaning of Afikoman is easily perceptible in its Hebrew inscription. But where can you find this Hebrew term? The answer is as follows: within the framework of the 5th part of Seder when the leader has to explain all the laws and orders of the celebrated liturgy. The last issue on which he has to finish the presentation is the prohibition of eating after the consumption of paschal Afikoman. One can read this prohibition in Mishna, where, in the order Moed in the tractate Pesahim, the tenth and final chapter discusses the order of the Passover seder; for Afikoman see X.8. Here we have the Hebrew term Afikoman - אֲפִיקוֹםָן. When presented without these vocalic signs which were added to Hebrew texts by Masoretes about the 6th century after Christ, has the following form: אפיקומן. Because in dictionaries of Hebrew there is no word with such consonants, one can suppose that it is a word formed as the composition of two or more commonly known Hebrew words. Penetrating research showed that it is so indeed.

So we have the meaning of Afikoman, perceived in its Hebrew inscription:

The meaning of Afikoman is the clearest against the background of the history of Exodus:


It is well known that rich in history and tradition, the Passover Seder commemorates the exodus of Jewish slaves from Egypt thousands of years ago. We are now able to combine each of the separate parts of Seder with the corresponding exodus stages. Thus the eating of Afikoman in the eleventh Part of the Seder Meal (Tzafun) means that just in the time of this eating, participants of Passover participate in the passage under the leadership of God with their fathers between the two halves of the divided Sea of Reeds.

The last remark

The eating of Afikoman by the participants of Passover translocates them into the whole way from the place of the consumption of the lamb in Egypt to that of the singing of a hymn in Lord’s honor on the second strand of the Sea of Reeds. But chiefly it moves them into this fragment of the way which is on the bare bottom of the Sea of Reeds, in front of Baal-Zephon. It is consistent with the correct etymology of both the word Afikoman and of the eleventh Part of the Seder Meal (Tzafun).

See also

External links


Wojciech Kosek, Pierwotny ryt Paschy w świetle schematu literackiego Księgi Wyjścia 1-18, Publisher: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Papieskiej Akademii Teologicznej, 2008, ss. 440, 978b83b74381598 and [1]