Friday, April 16, 2021

Now that Pesach is over, I feel compelled to ask: Am I the only one who feels like they are at a roulette wheel in a casino every time I open a box of shmurah matzah?

For $20+ per pound, it is the single most expensive food item on my Seder table: more than brisket, more than corned beef. Yet, each time I open up that box, I start to pray “please be whole, please be whole…at least three; God, just give me three. Please.” It’s bizarre.

The folks who make the square matzah, at a fraction of the price, have figured out how to ship it whole. In fact, manufacturers of virtually anything else we buy—throughout the year—have managed to figure out how to ship items unbroken. Yet, the central food of Passover, which we are told needs to be “whole” for the Seder, comes as often broken as it does intact? And this we call “Hiddur Mitzvah.”

The best part is the name: “Shmurah Matzah.” It’s “watched” from the very beginning of harvest through the entire baking process to ensure absolute kashrut. Yet, when I unbox my triple-hashgacha-Hebrew-Yiddish-Swahili cardboard box and see shards, “kosher” is not exactly the first word which comes to mind.

Someone is making a lot of money, and for reasons I don’t get, we seem to tolerate the broken delivery year after year.

Maybe it’s time I revisit the square matzah again. There is an honesty in knowing when I open the box, I’m getting what I paid for.

Jeffrey Korbman
Highland Park