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Pigging out on carpas

I’m fidgeting around, picking scabs, wondering how on earth I could gash my middle finger open on something as stupid as cleaning, when I’;m cutting, dicing and chopping all day long – basically my concentration is on anything besides the seder, sure there are a couple of cute girls around the bend to look at, a newly minted crazy BT who thinks he’s chassidish and some wanna be frummy rebels to talk to, but all is not well on the western front, I’m literally starving and it’s causing me to go out of my mind.

I know I’m going out of my mind, because never in my life did carpas taste so good, I know all about trying not to eat a kizayis, so I treasured my small tasteless boiled potato sans skin and tiny sprig of parsley as if I were a survivor in a DP Camp. It’s tough when you go from working at a fine dining institution every day where I get to pig out on lamb, veal racks and freshly ground burgers to my hearts content only to one day find my pantry locked with a big sign that says CHOMETZ. This year was the first year that I was so starved I decided to pig out on carpas.

Years of forced sedering has brought the kezayis problem to the forefront of my consciousness as I debate both of my yetzers about what to do about the gnawing in my belly. “But if God provides with the abiklity to eat in the first place, how could you turn your back on him?” I shrugged off the yetzer tov and asked for the bowl of potatoes to be passed my way, but the water wasn’t salty enough so I had the bowl of radishes and parsley passed my way as well, I dumped them on my plate like a madman as magid in it’s entirety receded into the back of my mind and carpas took center stage.

Carpas isn’t exactly my idea of a meal and I really needed something more, so I added a few spoons of the sweet and savory charoset to my heaping pile of veganism. The hostess commented that we had a really good meal in store, but I knew it wouldn’t be for eons, these were the kind of folks that did a seder right, magid had to be at least 2 hours (official BT regulation) but luckily there was only one youngest child and one sayer of the ma nishtana – in fact I felt like a million bucks when the host merely skipped the part where the entire table has to sing ma nishtana again to afirm what the child just said – I never understood the obsession with ma nishtana and the only explanation I have for the absurdity of it all is that it in some way justifies Sunday school or insanely high yeshiva tuition prices, not sure how it does, but it’s really the only explanation as to why we spend so much time on the four questions which no one would ever think to ask in the first place.

If I could ask four questions they would go something like this – why on this night don’t we eat mustard or corriander? Why does the OU refuse to take a stand on quinoa? Is gebrokts the craziest minhag around? Didn’t they have 3 days to bake bread during the plague of darkness?

But I have better things to concentrate on, like wondering what kind of sin I will get for eating this heaping mound of veggies while everyone else is telling over the story of the story of leaving Egypt, ever notice that people say it like that – The telling of seeper yitzyas mitzrayim is a bit redundant don’t you think?

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Ramba"m April 21, 2011, 5:52 AM

    According to me you SHOULD AT LEAST have a Kizayis, so chill out…

    • haha April 21, 2011, 6:43 AM

      Such a BT Comment…haha

      • Yoni April 21, 2011, 10:33 AM


  • Avrumy April 21, 2011, 6:18 AM

    Eat, eat, gezunter heit. The “rules” are simply there to annoy us.
    Yes gebrokts is ridiculous. As ridiculous as kitniyos. And why 2 seders? We are yotze with telling about yetzias mitzrayim the first night! Why don’t we “bench tal” again while we are at it?

    • Geoff April 21, 2011, 9:04 AM

      “Why dont we bench tal again while we are at it?”

      That would be bal tosif, cv”s, but everyone knows that we have two seders because that’s what Moshe Rabbeinu did in the midbar (not some mishegas about the Sanhedrin being unable to keep their calendars straight).

  • jewess April 21, 2011, 9:14 AM

    this is the problem with orthodox judaism today. you are so worried about the punishment you may be getting for eating too much potatoes on a night of the year. does it really make sense that this is what a god who created the world would be worrying about??

    • OfftheDwannaB April 21, 2011, 1:02 PM

      That’s not orthodoxy today. That’s classical judaism. If u have a problem with that, fine. But do a little research or u come off sounding ignorant.

  • batsheva April 21, 2011, 10:24 AM

    Hah! At our house, after we dip the potatoes and parsley, and we say the boray pri haadamah, we serve salad. We call it extended carpas. We just said the blessing for it, so why not? That way people aren’t starving to death when we get to dinner at 10:30.

  • Talia bat Pessi April 21, 2011, 10:54 AM

    “as if I were a survivor in a DP Camp”

    That comment was kinda in poor taste, Heshy. God forbid. My grandparents were survivors in DP camps.

  • Joseph April 21, 2011, 2:38 PM

    I am the Charoset
    Churning in vain
    I am the Matzah
    Eat me one may

    I am the Quinoa
    Without clarity
    I am the Meatballs
    Splashing at thee

    I am the Jewess
    Yearning for You
    I am the Jew
    Without You Too

    I am the Freedom
    With Haste we did Leave
    We are the sippur
    on Matzah-prone night

    Eat me eat me taste me
    Taste me one may
    Tasting cream soda
    Jello and clay

  • Seriously? April 21, 2011, 5:56 PM

    Gebrokts makes a LOT of sense.

    Consider: In places where people are careful about gebrokts, they were very poor, and had lousy facilities for making matzos. So not only were matzos usually burnt, but they also were not mixed well in the first place.

    As a result, poorly made matzah often had little flour pustules baked into the matzoh.

    Adding water to such matzah would indeed create new chometz.

    Today, of course, we have much better technology for matzah making. But tradition is tradition…. at least there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for how it came to be.

  • Seriously? April 21, 2011, 5:58 PM

    I would add to this that the flour itself was low quality, which meant that even if it was mixed well, ypu’d end up with a lot of wheat grains that did not get crushed entirely into flour, and so could not be baked fully. Exposing those grains to water would also create chametz.

  • Puzzled April 22, 2011, 3:13 PM

    About the 3 days for baking bread – I’ve always assumed there was some sort of sourdough thing going on, but maybe they didn’t know about starter…so it would take a week to get any rising.

  • Anonymous April 26, 2011, 10:39 PM

    At my Seder every year I get stared at and told from every one a kizayis only ,but the next food course ain’t for anothe hour 🙁 Btw good post!!!

  • Moish the spacedout BT April 30, 2011, 9:28 PM

    When you go into seder time exhausted, starving and stressed out you fully realise what the relief what a cooked piece of potato means. After the first kos of straight 12.5% wine you will be oblivious to your unappreciative guest(s) who are carping about your conduct of the seder -“whole cazayis, he took a whole cazayis!”. After the fourth kos I fall asleep under the table.

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