Bob Schwartz

Tag: matzo

Refugees and the Bread of Affliction

Passover begins this evening. As part of the festival, many Jews will be eating the flat dry bread of matzo at seder tonight; some will eat it for the next eight days. Matzo is known as the bread of affliction, commemorating the hardship of slavery and the hardship of the flight to freedom.

As we break bread—flat or otherwise—we might also remember the plight of millions of refugees around the world. To help ease their affliction, we might also consider contributing to UNHCR.

חַג שָׂמֵחַ

Chag sameach.
A joyous festival.

Matzo: Dealing with Eating the Bread of Affliction

Organic Spelt Matzo

Matzo is referred to as “the bread of affliction,” symbolizing the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, who didn’t have time to allow the bread to rise as they fled through the wilderness. Talk about flatbread, this is the ultimate.

If you are observing the Passover and avoiding bread for the next week, or even if you’re not, some thoughts about eating matzo.

  1. Put away the toaster. Save the counter space. You won’t need it for bread. And you can’t toast matzo. Even if you could, it would slip through the slot.
  1. Make matzo brei for breakfast. Matzo brei is kind of a cross between pancakes and French toast, made by soaking matzo in water, mixing it with eggs, and cooking it in a frying pan. Delicious all year round. You don’t have to Jewish and it doesn’t have to be Passover.
  1. Try all the varieties of matzo, or at least the ones that don’t seem a little extreme (Organic Spelt, I’m looking at you). Once upon a time there was only plain matzo, just like there used to be plain white bread. Now everything is mixed in: Egg, Yolk-Free, Egg and Onion, Spelt, Mediterranean, Whole Wheat, Garlic and Rosemary, and Everything (which actually doesn’t have everything, just garlic, onion and poppy seeds. Go figure.)
  1. Don’t try to make sandwiches. At the seder, the tradition is to eat a tiny sandwich of horseradish and haroset (a sweet paste representing the mortar of the building the Jews slaved on) between two pieces of matzo. The great sage Hillel supposedly created this sandwich, and his name is attached to it. Even this tiny sandwich throws matzo crumbs all over the place. A full-size matzo sandwich is not a good idea. No matter how wise Hillel was.

Happy Passover.