Everyone knows that Shmurah Matzah is expensive. We’re not talking about the boxed square Matzah at the supermarket. We’re talking the round, handmade kind. (see this post for more about Shmurah Matzah and why its important to us) Since we go through a lot of it at Shabbos House, we have to make sure we’re getting a good deal. For years now we’ve been ordering from a well-known and reputable wholesaler in Brooklyn who sells many varieties of Shmurah Matzah in large quantities to Chabad Houses across the United States and probably beyond. My father of Capital Chabad Centers has been ordering from him for many years, so when we started at Shabbos House in 1997 we started to do the same. Capital Chabad is the parent organization of Shabbos House and the umbrella for Chabad center in Northeastern NY State.
As Pesach started to approach this year, we checked his updated price sheet in the email, it only went up pennies from last year so we called the office and put in an order. The woman on the phone looked up our past orders and saw that it was under my father’s Capital Chabad account. Since we pay separately, to avoid confusion, I asked her to put it under Shabbos House and told her which Matzah and what quantities we wanted. She said she would email us an invoice to confirm and the order would be ready for pickup in Brooklyn that day. (They also ship but we had to be in Brooklyn anyways, so we could save that way).
I was out shopping when we got the invoice, and harried with a bunch of things. Raizy was home preparing for the trip. We both got the email with the invoice, and whoa! The prices were much higher than the price sheet we were originally quoted! What the heck! I fired off an angry email right away, Raizy wrote back more politely, and then we called later to find out why there was such a price discrepancy. We emailed her the price sheet we were sent, and asked why this order would be a couple of hundred dollars extra?? What is going on here!?
When the woman at the Matzah company office saw the price sheet she figured it out right away. Originally we were part of the Capital Chabad account. This has been a standing account for decades with this wholesaler. They had a long annual relationship from the companies earliest beginnings and therefore had a much better pricing arrangement. When I switched to open a new account under Shabbos House, the computer put it down as a brand new account without the history and much better pricing deals that Capital Chabad had for years…
So, we got the better price on the Matzah. And also an important Passover and life lesson:
Sometimes, especially in these times of accelerated progress, we think we know better and we want to start off on our own and do our own thing. The past feels ancient and irrelevant. And nowadays past is much more recent. even the 90’s seem ancient. You see this a lot with parents and children. Kids often don’t want to be hampered or tethered to their parents, and are eager to break away, start anew, be their own person (except when they can’t afford to pay the rent).
But this story reminds us that we don’t arrive here to this world all on our own. We have much to be grateful and appreciative to those who have come before us, who have paved the way, worked hard and invested so much, and enabled us to reach where we are today. Sometimes, the more we are connected and rooted to our past, the better off we are in the present and in the future. This is true of Judaism, of course, but it’s also often (in most cases) true of families, too. And it’s true of wholesale Shmurah Matzah prices.
This gives new meaning to the Haggadah text: “This is the Matzah of (that) our forefathers….”