Adventures of a Chief Rabbi: Well-traveled Pesach Food

April 13, 2015

Well-traveled Pesach Food


Short version: Luggage Found

Long version below:

For those who read my Casablanca post, you will know that my luggage was lost en-route. The bulk of that particular bag contained Kosher for Passover food for me to enjoy during the holiday. While not of terrible urgency, it is certainly a time-sensitive product, becoming highly desired for Pesach, but much less attractive immediately afterwards.

As fate would have it, on the last day before the final day of Pesach, I received a call that my long-lost bag had been located, but would only land that evening (when it would already be the holiday and I could not travel to retrieve it). Yesterday, Sunday, I finally retrieved my possessions from the airport, just a few hours after the completion of Pesach.

Everything was there, though no longer in pristine condition. It seems it had quite a journey. To recount: After departing from Tel-Aviv my bag landed in Istanbul where it waited several hours for its next flight. Unannounced, the bag was forced to stop in Casablanca, where who knows how it may have been manhandled. From there it crossed the Atlantic to arrive in Sao Paulo. However, traumatized from accompanying me, it decided to escape from my presence, removed its identifying tag and grabbed a flight to Santiago de Chile. There it enjoyed its view of the Pacific Ocean and the mountains and volcanoes surrounding the city. However, eventually, despite its best efforts at escape and subterfuge the authorities tracked the bag and forcibly put it back on a flight to Sao Paulo. It just couldn’t blend in as a Chilean bag. Resigned, the bag cooperated and deemed it time to be reunited in Montevideo.

The bag had enjoyed a two week vacation from me, and the results were readily noticed. Crumpled, wrinkled, smushed – it obviously did not travel well, despite its globe-trotting escapade. The prized Kosher for Passover food just didn’t have the same allure after Pesach.

One of the many unforeseen blessings of not having my bag (I’m sure there are many, though I have trouble enumerating them) is that I was transported to the Pesachs of my youth, where the food selection was minimal. I remembered palatatively, viscerally, Pesach. It is curious that one needs to travel to Uruguay to feel Pesach.

In Israel, in New York, in the many beautiful hotels and resorts around the world that cater to Kosher-eating Jews, the menus are so rich, so varied, the baked goods so bread-like that there is little to remind one of Pesach besides the barely eaten Matza at the table. There is something unrecognizable about our modern-day Pesach. I ponder this as I munch on stale coconut macaroons.

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