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107 (FF: Pre-Passover | FF: ペサハの前)

April 15, 2011

A Bakery in Jerusalem, Sept 2009 | エルサレムのベーカリー、2009年9月撮影

Yesterday I had the most stressful grocery shopping experience since I came to Israel.

Never mind the increased traffic in the parking lot, the crowded aisles inside, increased customers and store staff including cash register assistants (baggers) I had never seen there before. There was serious anxiety in the air, people.

There is a certain amount of anxiety in our supermarket every Friday, as it is right before Shabbat (the Jewish day of rest) and everyone is trying to get their grocery shopping done before the stores close for the weekend. But this was anxiety vamped up to a whole new level. Even though I knew stores would be open in the next two weeks (limited amount of days/hours compared to usual) it still made me feel like this may be my last chance to shop and that I should grab what I can.

This is all due to the approaching Jewish holiday, Passover, which starts Monday evening next week. It is the biggest holiday in the Jewish calendar. I can’t say what goes on during Passover since I am just about to experience it for the first time in Israel this year, but it undoubtedly involves many large family gatherings, and lots and lots of food. Hence the chaos in the supermarket.

Once Yuval and I finished maneuvering (=elbowing and pushing) our way through the crowded aisles and settled in for our 20 minute wait for the cash register is when he said something that made me stop dead in my tracks.

“Do we need any bread?” he asked.

“I don’t think so. We rarely get any bread anyway and besides we can make it ourselves.” I replied.

“Then maybe we should get an extra bag of flour.”

“Why?”

“Because it’ll disappear from the stores next week.”

“What, bread and flour?”

“Anything flour-related.”

Yuval went on to explain that this was due to the prohibition of flour products during the eight days of Passover. Matzah, the cracker-like bread made with flour and water, is eaten instead. This is what the Jewish people ate during their exodus from Egypt, when they apparently left in such haste that they couldn’t even wait for their bread to rise.

I was already familiar with Matzah and the story of Egypt… but not the prohibition of flour products. What doesn’t have flour in it? The answer suddenly seemed very limited.

I simply couldn’t get my head around the fact that all flour-related products could just disappear from the supermarket. It didn’t seem possible, in this day and age of abundance. Besides, wouldn’t that be a lot of work?

“A lot of products will be covered with a special nylon.” added Yuval.

“And even if someone took a product anyway, it’ll be rejected by the register?”

Yes it will indeed.

These may be the kind of questions I will be laughing at myself for asking in a few years time, but they’re what comes to mind now! I’ve never been prohibited from buying anything in a supermarket in Japan.

If I manage to capture this on camera, I will be sure to share it with you my friends.
Hopefully along stories of my first Passover experience in Israel.

Take care and Hag Sameah (Happy Holiday) to those of you celebrating Passover!

昨日のスーパーでの買い物はなんとも大変な行事でした。
イスラエルに来て以来、最もストレスフルな買い物体験だったかも。

駐車場でのカオス、店内の混み具合、客数だけではなくスタッフ数の増加(今回初めてレジの助手をみました)に加えて、空気がとにかく違いました。

スーパーは毎週金曜日になるとある程度空気が張っています。なぜならば土曜日はユダヤ教の安息日。お店が全て閉まってしまう前にみんな買い物を済まさなければなりません。でも昨日のピリピリ感は新たなレベルでした。お店は開いているとわかっていながらも(開店日数は普段より減るけど)、これが今後約2週間の間で買い物できる最後のチャンスかも、と思ってしまうような切迫感。

この理由は来週に迫ったユダヤ教の最大のお祭り、ペサハ。月曜日の夕方から始まります。ペサハで何が起こるかは私もイスラエルでは今年が初めての経験なので今は何とも言えませんが、大家族が集まることは間違いなし、と言うことは大量の料理も間違いなし。道理でスーパーが混乱するわけですね。

ユバルとやっとのことで買い物を済ませ約20分待ちのレジの列へ並んだ時でした。

「パンは必要?」とユバルが聞きました。

「普段ほとんどパン買わないし、、、ほしかったら家で作ればいいんじゃない?」

「じゃあ小麦粉を余分に買っておいたほうがいいかも。」

「なんで?」

「来週になったらスーパーから消えるから。」

「え、パンと小麦粉?」

「小麦粉がはいっている製品は全て。」

ペサハの八日間の間は小麦粉を含まれるものは禁止されるそうです。マッツアと言う酵母が入っていないパンが代わりに食べられます。なぜならばイスラエル人がエジプトから脱出した時、あまりにも急いで出発したためパンを発酵させる時間もなく、マッツアを食べたからだそうです。

私はマッツアのことやエジプト脱出の話は知っていたけれど、小麦粉製品禁止のことを聞くのは初めて。逆に小麦粉が含まれない製品って??と考えてしまいました。

それより、現実的に小麦粉が含まれる製品が全てスーパーから消えることがどうしても想像できませんでした。物があふれるこの時代にそんなことがありえないと思ったし、それだけの製品を動かすのは考えただけでも大変な作業!

「多くの製品はプラスチックかなんかで覆われるよ。」とユバル。

「それにも関わらず製品を取って、レジに持って行っても、そこでまた拒否されるの?」

もちろん、だそうです。

このような質問は数年後には思い返して笑ってしまうような質問かもしれませんが、
今純粋に浮かぶ質問たちです。
日本で買うことをレジで拒否された製品なんてありませんでしたからね。

もしこの小麦粉製品禁止の様子を写真におさめられたら、またここで紹介しますね。
また、私のイスラエルでの初めてのペサハの経験のことも紹介できたらと思います。

その時までお元気で、そしてペサハを祝う皆様はハッグ・サメーア(良い祝日を)!

Much love,
Kaori

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sammi Moe permalink
    April 15, 2011 11:42 pm

    Shalom! I have many paper cranes at my house too! And with Passover coming next week, JetBlue will have “Passover snacks”! Those are the best snacks we serve all year. Everyone looks forward to them. One does not have to be Jewish to appreciate the delicious fruit and nut mix, honey almonds, and dried fruits. Yummy!
    I do hope all is well with you and all! I am still loving this blog!
    Hugs and love to you!
    Sammi

    • April 16, 2011 7:56 am

      Hi Sammi,
      I wish I could try JetBlue’s “Passover snacks” too🙂
      I currently only have the one paper crane I rehearsed before the class at home, but I think I’ll add a few more!
      I hope all is well with you too!
      Love
      Kaori

Trackbacks

  1. 108 (FF: Matzah brei | マッツァ・ブライ) « much love, kaori – letters from Israel

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