Dear Rabbi, in one of my haggadot I read that the Afikomen is kept till after the meal as the dessert. Does that mean that the Afikomen takes the place of dessert, i.o.w. no pudding with the meal? Thank you for your council, Shalom Gerhard
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct that the last thing we eat at the end of the Passover Seder meal is a portion of matzah called Afikoman. That's the matzah we put aside at the start of the Seder to make sure we would have some left to eat at the end of meal. (Of course if that half piece itself is not big enough to give everyone a good size portion, then we can use other pieces of matzah that we have from the box). The reason to eat the afikoman at the end of the meal is so that the last taste in our mouths will be matzah – this recalls the Passover sacrifice that was eaten at the end of the meal on a full stomach. When your hagadah says that the afikoman is eaten as desert, it just means that it is to be eaten (like we eat desert) as the last thing in the meal. If you choose to eat some pudding before the afikoman, that's fine – as long as you finish the meal with the afikoman matzah. (I always thought it a fine idea to eat several courses of desert!) Blessings.