Here in the Buckle, I expect to have trouble getting all the Passover groceries I want. The grocery stores, bless their hearts, seem to forget Jewish holidays change dates every year, and sometimes wait too late to put stuff on display. They hardly ever order the same things year to year, and I might just have to do without Bazooka bubble gum and mini-marshmallows. And the matzah: they don’t know from Passover vs. regular, so I always doublecheck the hecksher on the box.
Last year we had one box of matzah to last the whole week. I was calling friends to borrow a sheet of matzah just to eke out a second seder. But it wasn’t just me: the matzah shortage was nationwide. Did anyone ever figure it out? It made headlines in The Jewish Daily Forward. And what I could NOT believe was that Manischewitz dawdled so long replacing factory machinery, they could not produce a single, solitary Tam-Tam in time for Passover. Nobody, anywhere had Tam-Tams last year. This was a BIG whoop at our house. I love and hate Tam-Tams. Granted, all they really are is flavored hydrogenated oil with a crunch, but they go so well with Temptee cream cheese, KDP. Now that I’m gluten-free, I have to pass on the little artery-cloggers, but my family must have Tam-Tams or it just isn’t Pesach.
Today, I got Tam-Tams. I had the Passover Moment I look forward to all year: the moment I walk into my normal grocery store to discover a whole section devoted to K for P, all ranged along a paper-lined shelving unit. Chills. Suddenly, I am not just a lone balabusta in the Hillsboro Road Harris Teeter, I am a link in a chain. I am Jewish and I am buying for Passover!
The Moment is transformative. Yesterday, I pulled my back changing a fitted crib sheet without taking off the bumper pad. I’m in agony right now, despite four ibuprofin and a muscle relaxant. But today, when I shuffled up to the new Passover shelves, clinging to my buggy so that I wouldn’t fall down, I felt my pain melt away like a potato starch cookie, like an egg kichel, like a shard of bittersweet chocolate seder plate. I stood up straight (impossible moments before) and savored my deliberation over which kind of gefilte fish, which brand of chocolate-covered matzah, how many Dr. Brown’s to buy, how many Tam-Tams.
The Tam-Tam itself may kill you, but the buying of Tam-Tams will heal.
Happy shopping, everyone.