Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

The Matzo Scandal of Passover 2010 — Beware Fake Matzo…and Fake People

7 tons of fake matzo (also spelled matzah, especially by those who speak modern Hebrew) was discovered when Israeli authorities raided a factory today. No, I am not kidding, even though this sounds like a joke.
A team composed of police and representatives of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s Emergency Response Team (the joke begins) sped to a factory with lights and sirens (the joke gets better) where they seized what has been described as “pirate matzah“.
It’s not that I take either eating hametz (leavened products) or otherwise improperly prepared matzah lightly, but the amount of coverage about this story is striking. What does it all mean? I am not sure, but given the issues faced by citizens of the State of Israel, something is going on.
Perhaps it’s simply a welcome distraction from constant conversation about Iran, the future of Jerusalem, rising levels of poverty, etc. Or perhaps it’s a reminder that even though the majority of Israelis describe themselves as secular, that has nothing to do with their depth of attachment to those practices and traditions that really speak to them. Or more disturbingly, perhaps it reflects the contempt in which that majority is held by some who describe themselves as religious.


Apparently, the names of the rabbis who attest to the kashrut of the fake matza include many who are long dead. This would be immediately known to more traditional Jews, but not likely to be known by most in Israel.
Could it be that those who made this matzah simply don’t care if they were providing to others something which they themselves would not eat? If so, they should be more ashamed, and we should be more outrages than had they perpetrated their fraud against all people equally.
The Jewish people left Egypt as one – ‘saints’ and sinners, good people and bad, etc. If my theory about the matzah is correct, we should all take a moment to reflect on the irony of leaving Egypt as one, only to return to Israel in the 20th century and sacrifice that kind of unity in the process.
Finally, what does it even mean to call this matza “fake”? Why is it fake? Because it does not meet the standards of some rabbis? Is it fake if it meets the needs of those who will eat it with family and friends this coming night? It may not be okay for some of us to eat, but why does that make it fake?
The matzah in this case is NOT fake, it is mislabeled. The “fakes” in this case are the makers of the matzah. Their behavior, not the matzas, are the real scandal here.

  • Yaakov

    The writer accuses religious Jews, who would not themselves eat nor own chometz, of selling chometz to irreligious jews for use on Passover. However, he does not provide any evidence that the “matzo pirates” are religious. The idea is antithetical to the letter and the spirit of Torah law. The writer brings no proof for this accusation, yet he recklessly casts aspersions on the entire group of religious Jews on the basis thereof. Shame!

  • Your Name

    The issue is religious tradition. The question is the blessing on the Matza from the supervision of the Rabbi, by which using a certain type of flour, in order to properly label it ‘Kosher Certified.’
    Expressing one’s thoughts as a writer and openingly exploring the circumference of behavioral reaction is very intelligent, especially if a topic is personally important to the writer. I beleive his final call was to inspire unity among secular, traditional and other faiths in a call to honesty with one another; not at the cost of a religious tradition, but more emphasis on the quality of human behavior.

  • Jay Kravette

    Dear Rabbi Brad,
    Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe at the time of the Exodus there were no “Jews” but the nation of Israel and the gentile nations.

  • Your Name

    The Israelites’ 400-year stay in the land of Egypt, became enslaved to the Egyptians. 400 years had passed since Joseph moved his family to Egypt……The “decendants of Abraham” had now grown to over two million strong…considered ‘Hebrews.’ The only people who believed in the one true God. A beautiful representation of God’s love and deliverance for all people.
    *Exodus from Egypt 1446 (1280)

  • Rabbi Brad

    Dear Jay,
    You are correct. Earliest mention of “Jews” is the (presumably) 3rd century BCE Book of Esther. There we find Mordechai “the Jew” and people “Judaizing”. The meaning of that term will have to await a later time — I have Passover cleaning to do! : )

  • Sherry

    Okay, I’m a bit confused about who you would considered “Fake”. If for instances, a Christian wanted to practice this reminder of what God has done for His people; would you consider them…”Fake”. I’m trying to understand about what this article is getting out and the last paragraph has confused me. Will wait patiently for the answer. :)
    May God bless you, your family, and friends on this wonderful holiday.

  • Jane Kasov

    Seven tons of matzah! Who has time to supervise and bless such an enormous quantity? Throughout the world we have ersatz in almost everything because it’s too costly and time-consuming to make things in the true way. Let’s call it trompe l’oeil matzah. Then the traditionalists will be warned away, and the modern, hurried people will buy.

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