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|
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.
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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.)