Until when can the afikomen be eaten? R’ Akiva – all night; R’ Elazar ben Azarya – until chatzot. Like whom do we hold? Most Rishonim say you are only yotzei afikomen until chatzot; the Rambam says all night. The Shulchan Aruch says to be machmir.
The Avnei Nezer’s suggestion for how to finish the afikomen by midnight without rushing the Seder. The mitzvah is fulfilled when the time for the mitzvah has arrived and you have already completed the mitzvah. Why can’t we eat after the afikomen? So that you can fulfill the mitzvah of afikomen exactly at chatzot by having the taste still in your mouth (since it’s impossible to eat it exactly at chatzot). Therefore, if you’re running late, eat a kezayit of matzah for the afikomen and stipulate: if the halacha is like Rebbi Elazar ben Azarya then this is the afikomen (and once chatzot is over you can resume eating!), if it’s like Rebbi Akiva then the matzah I eat after the meal should be the afikomen.
Rav Moshe Feinstein’s objection.
Shiur provided courtesy of Torah Anytime