Chocolate Covered Affliction
One of my favorite things about Passover is the wonderfully strange tradition of chocolate covered matzah. How long can someone be expected to endure the bread of affliction without a little chocolate to make the process more bearable? I may be a little liberal on my thinking about Passover dietary restrictions, but I think the purpose of matzah is not to endure matzah but to think about the plight of the refugee, to consider the continuing struggle against oppression throughout the world. Food has the power to transform how we think about the world. It has the power to join families across the globe and across history.
So where a typical seder would end with a round of “next year in Jerusalem,” I prefer instead to toast to a better here, to next year in peace. And there is so much work to do before we get there. I don’t want to take this opportunity to write about a particular case of injustice, there are many. I want instead to urge you to take the time to recommit yourself to work for justice. Whether you are celebrating Passover, Easter, or the weekend take this time to remember your responsibility to heal the world. As our country deals with the aftershocks of a health care debate that was at times successful and at other moments shamefully ignorant and hurtful, we all must look around at our community and toast to a better year next year and to our fight to get there. So whether you want to lead a campaign to reduce reliance on bottled water in your neighborhood, or read an article detailing the neocolonial impulses behind the biotech push in Africa, or maybe even enter the world of the televised Food Revolution led by media darling Jamie Oliver to see how the mainstream is defining real, good, fair food and what you may have to add, or stage a bake-in to protest the strange New York-based trend against home baked goods in schools, it is all worthy work. What we eat, how we eat, where we eat, and with whom we eat can and should bring us into a conversation about advocacy, access, justice, and community. But I know that sometimes it is hard to do, it is sometimes overwhelming. Sometimes people spit on and insult those who are working for a better quality of life for our citizens. Sometimes people would rather rally against than rally for. But you will have allies. Those people who sit down to eat with you, those are your allies. Begin the conversation here. And do not get too overwhelmed. It is sometimes okay to have your matzah with chocolate.