Monday, April 9, 2012

Yes, Mom! Of course I'm writing my history essay!

     Passover seems like a peaceful holiday. Jewish families get together on the first night* to gorge themselves on heavy, yeastless food, learning about their history as a people and singing repetitive songs. This is all a façade. Beneath the cover of the tipsy adults and the children showing off their tolerance for horseradish, there is a war.

     It is not a particularly ferocious war. It has been going on for generations, yet many of the combatants do not realize. There have not been any casualties as a direct result of the conflicts, although there have been many unpleasant cases of constipation.

This wise son does not realize
he is about to lose a friend.
     By those "in the know," it is called The Matzah War. Like many (even most) wars, it is divided into two armies. Haters of the yeastless flatbread make up one faction, lovers the other. People end up on sides regardless of family, friends, or religious sect. Pairs of Jewish buddies, united right before the holiday of freedom, are often wrenched apart when days of matzah and cream cheese gratify one and drive the other insane.

     If neither feels strongly about the issue, rest assured one will by day four, when, for some, the desire to consume leavened products becomes all-consuming. Research by scientists at institutes which are most  definitely legitimate** discovered that in many people, the chemical imbalance caused by the lack of fluffy foods (and the prevalence of overly fluffy matzah balls) leads to increased levels of anger, tendencies towards schlumpiness, and all around kvetching. "The grumpiness and complaints can really alienate friends," says Moishe Steiner, a veteran of many Passovers.
Don't even think about
digesting this.

     Many matzah lovers have tried and failed to ease the symptoms in the attempt to make Passover pleasant for all. Matzah bagels, matzah brei, and matzah pizza only temporarily relieve the stress, resulting in feelings of inadequacy on the part of the matzah lovers, who retaliate famous guilt-inducing skills. When failures such as Passover cereal and passover spaghetti arise, the vengeance is even worse.

     The Jews are no longer slaves in Egypt, but they are still enslaved to their taste buds. All we can do is hope for a change in Jewish attitudes and a less cardboard-like tomorrow.

*The first two nights for people who don't live in Israel.
**And what chutzpah for wondering! Be a mensch.


Nu, what? I was feeling Jewish-y today. I apologize if nobody gets it.

Here are some definitions.
Matzah - The flat, crackery sort of thing that Jewish people eat on Passover. Its only ingredients are flour and water. You can tell. 
-- balls - round pieces of doughish stuff put into soup. They range from chewy to mind-bogglingly fluffy.
-- bagels - these do not really taste like bagels. They are things in the shape of deflated bagels. They taste like cardboard, but chewier.
--brei - softened and fried matzah, with eggs and milk. Usually a breakfast food.
Chutzpah - Obnoxiousness. Sometimes a compliment. In this case not.
Mensch - Gentleman. Polite and considerate.
Schlumpiness - My weird conjugation of the word shlump, which means sloppy person.
Kvetching - Complaining, whining.

Happy Passover or Easter to everybody. If it's your birthday, happy birthday as well. (Or anniversary, half-birthday, unbirthday, etc.)



  1. I'm not Jewish and I honestly don't know much about Jewish traditions so I'm not sure I understood everything. But it was still a fun read. :)) (I like reading Jewish words. For some reason they make me smile when I read them in my head.) And I most definitely believe that those "scientists at institutes" are "most definitely legitimate."

    1. Jewish words make me smile too. I learned how to say this Yiddish saying (you can't dance at two wedding with one butt) in the Yiddish, and I say it when I'm in a bad mood. Um. Um. I'M TOTALLY NORMAL OKAY?!

  2. This was great!! Awesome cultural glimpse!

  3. One: how do you say you can't dance at two weddings with one butt?
    And two: I loved this. Jew buddies! I don't always keep kosher - I was pretty good this year except for when I had one of my cousin's girlfriend's homemade carrot cake cupcakes when I went to Easter dinner - but I do love matzah and I love matzah ball soup. I literally look forward to it all year.
    Pesach sameach!(closest I could get to translating it phonetically :])

    1. One: Du kanst nisht tansen auf tzvei chassoness mit ein tuchus. (I don't know if my phonetic stuff worked. Oh, well.)
      Two: Mmm carrot cake cupcakes. I completely understand your leavened-food inclinations. You can buy matzah during the year in Toronto, so I get it sometimes. Yum.

      !גם לד פסח סמח

      Woot. Hebrew.

  4. Happy Passover/Easter right back atcha!

    1. Thank you. I feel like this could go in an infinite looooop.

  5. 'fraid I'm goy, but it sounds like tortilla would be allowable... tacos?

    1. It's also just wheat/oat/etc. products in general. It has to do with a bunch of symbolism to do with humility and stuff.
      I don't want to misinform you, though. So I won't elaborate.

  6. oh, wait... cheese + beef....

    1. Oh, but we use either fake ground beef (which tastes very good, actually) or tofu cheese (which tastes less good). >:D

      You're making me drool. . .
      I have so many days leftttttt.
      (I actually don't mind it much. Blargh.)

  7. Like most languages, I only know the swear words of Yiddish. I assure you, milady, I am no mensch. :)


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