The Great Passover Money Throw

April 9, 2015 | Marc Angel
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Some Sephardi Jews have a custom of throwing coins and candy to children to mark the conclusion of Passover. Marc Angel recounts his memories of the practice, and explains its significance:

Each of the children was given a paper bag. We waited breathlessly for the men to come home [from synagogue]. . . . And finally the great moment arrived. [There was a knock on the door] and in came my grandfather, father, and uncles, all tossing coins and candy as we children rushed to gather the newfound treasures. Mixed into the coins and candy were blades of grass. It was a beautiful chaos of laughter, singing, and scrambling. . . .

What is the meaning of this custom? It is a re-enactment of the joy the Israelites experienced when they crossed the Red Sea and gained their freedom from the servitude in Egypt. . . . [T]he money tossed to the children reminds us of the gold and silver the Israelites took with them as they left Egypt. The blades of grass recall the reeds at the sea. The candy symbolizes the manna. Just as the Israelites rejoiced and sang at their redemption, so our celebration included ineffable joy.

The closing days of Passover focus on the theme of redemption. . . . We were redeemed in antiquity; we will be redeemed in the future. But what about now? I think the “money throw” at the end of Passover provides an answer. We don’t live in a redeemed world, but we have the power to increase faith, increase joy, increase hope. We have the ability to give our children and grandchildren a spirit of happiness and excitement in their Jewishness. We can remind ourselves of past redemption, and that we ourselves must play a role in maintaining a vibrant, creative, and happy Jewish life until the future redemption.

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