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.