April 21, 2024
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With Passover recently passing by, there is at least one lingering question that continues to puzzle the greatest of minds: why on earth would anyone purchase matzah farfel? No offense intended to the manufacturers but matzah farfel—which is matzah that has been broken into small pieces—seems like a product that simply enables the laziest among us. This farfel-related enabling of the lazy is even worse than starting a hashkama minyan at 10:30 a.m., loaning someone a pre-built sukkah or selling pre-cut bagels.

Matzah farfel is essentially what you get when you drop a piece of matzah on the floor. If matzah is a puzzle, then matzah farfel are the jigsaw pieces. You certainly do not have to be an expert to create matzah farfel. Just about anyone can do it as long as you know how to smash a piece of matzah. In contrast, it indisputably takes some skill and dedication to turn a tuna into tuna fish, a cow into ground beef or a turkey into a turkey burger. In other words, you can’t just drop a chicken on the floor in order to make chicken nuggets. Anyway, dropping chickens or anything on the floor is not a good idea unless you’re dropping a beat on the dance floor.

When it comes to making matzah farfel, dropping matzah is a virtue and thus ineptitude is an asset. In fact, the klutzier you are, the better. In all likelihood, those who are fired from their jobs as matzah-makers for breaking too many matzahs actually wind up excelling in the matzah farfel industry. To put this into perspective, imagine what a “want ad” would look like for a matzah farfel job:

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WANTED: FREAKISH FARFEL PHENOM

Are you an accident-prone stumblebum who always makes a mess of things?

Are you an unreliable galoot with astonishing butterfingers and terrible hand-eye coordination?

Are you an unrepentant bull-in-a-china-shop who enjoys destroying the delicate?

Are you a psychotically clumsy buffoon who enjoys ruinous chaos?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then boy o’ boy, do we have the perfect job for you. Call 1-800-SHATTER—Ask for Mr. Shard.

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So when did the Israelites become so indolent? Some scholars argue that after hundreds of years of back-breaking, unending slavery in Egypt, the Jewish People yearned for a chance to lazy out. Other scholars point to the nesi’im (tribal princes) who were relatively lazy when responding to Moshe’s request to collect materials for the building of the Mishkan (the portable temple). A few scholars posit that lazy Jews became in vogue when the first overly-indulgent Jewish mother offered to cook for her child and deliver meals every week while the child attended college. This resulted in the child suffering from “Tupperware-induced torpidity” and possibly led to generations of lazy Jews.

Matzah farfel arguably represents a number of important Passover events. For example, it represents Pharaoh’s litany of “broken” promises to let the Hebrews go. It represents the “breaking” of the bondage under which the Hebrews suffered. Matzah farfel also represents Moshe’s “broken” dreams of entering the Promised Land together with his people. Matzah farfel also goes beyond Passover. For example, it represents every Jew’s “broken” heart when Stella D’Oro announced that their Swiss Fudge cookies would no longer be pareve. (They have since righted that wrong.)

It would be reasonable to wonder why other types of food are not made by pulverizing them into smithereens. That is to say, why don’t we transform other items into farfel? Nobody ever talks about creating bagel farfel, pit farfel or challah farfel. You seldom hear discussion about saltine cracker farfel, Ritz cracker farfel or Tam Tams farfel.

It also would be reasonable to wonder about the next generation of farfel-related products. If Jews are willing to buy matzah farfel, i.e., matzah that has been smashed into pieces, would such Jews also consider purchasing “matzah farfel matzah,” i.e., matzah that was smashed into pieces but then put back together to create a new piece of matzah with unique and unusual battle scars? Let’s imagine competitors in the industry attempting to reverse-engineer another company’s “matzah farfel matzah”:

Employee: I’ve got it!!!

Boss: You’ve got what?

Employee: I figured out their secret sauce! I’ve cracked the code… and cracking is the key term!!!

Boss: Well then, out with it, man! Tell us all how they are dominating the “matzah farfel matzah” market? How do they do it?

Employee: It’s easy. They break a matzah and then they piece it back together.

Boss: What?

Employee: I know, I know. It’s so simple that it’s actually completely ingenious.

Boss: How can we possibly compete with that?

Employee: Perhaps we should one-up them by creating “matzah farfel matzah farfel”?

Boss: You mean break it, piece back together and then break it again.

Employee: Yup. Just like my last failed romantic relationship.

Boss: Oy vey.

Final thought: If you truly love someone to pieces, then matzah farfel makes the perfect gift.

By Jon Kranz

 

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