Another only in Israel moment…

Friday morning I opened the newspaper (the Jerusalem Post in this case; we subscribe to both the Post and Haaretz) and was greeted by the following headline:

"Matza relief! A ‘kezayit’ may be smaller than we thought"

Unless you’ve studied a little bit of Talmud or halacha, you probably have no clue what this headline is talking about.  "Zayit" is an olive; "kezayit" means "like an olive." Many measurements in halacha are tied to this measure.  How much bread do you have to eat to be obligated to say the blessings? A "kezayit."  How much matzah do you have to eat on Passover to fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzah? A kezayit.

So only in Israel is it front page news on the newspaper that someone claims he now has proof that a kezayit is less than 5 grams, substantially less than what has generally been considered the proper amount.  Researchers looked at the olives from some 3000 year old olive trees and concluded in the days of the Talmud, olives were pretty small.

Who cares?  Most of us eat lots of matzah at the seder.  This is really for the benefit of those who have a digestive condition, such as celiacs, that make it difficult for them to eat wheat.

Not a headline you are likely to see on the front page of the Toledo Blade…

Shavua tov,

Rav Barry

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Barry Leff

Rabbi Barry (Baruch) Leff is a dual Israeli-American business executive, teacher, speaker and writer who divides his time between Israel and the US.

One thought on “Another only in Israel moment…

  • May 9, 2008 at 5:35 pm
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    Definitely not something you’d see in the Blade, haha.

    You and your family appeared in my dreams last night. I took it as a sign I should get in touch with you, especially since Aaron has been bugging me to do so. I hope all is well with you! I miss your guidance.

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