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Fragments of Redemption

Sometimes Hashem grants the gift of a single moment encapsulating a simple microcosm of pure perfection; etching every granted beat as a precious seal on one’s heart, sweeping past too swiftly in a world of the hidden time keeper’s making.

As we reached shfoch chamatcha in the Hagaddah, I made my annual trek through the living room of my youth to open the door for Eliyahu Hanavi… My immediate family was there, seder-side, enwrapped in songs of waiting – trembling tears streaming down our faces – mixed states of personal and collective gratitude weighted with the historical consciousness of our nation’s past and present predicaments.

The longing, heavy swollen laboring, colliding with the voices and cries of our predecessors reaching for that beseeching prayer that unites us all as we call upon our supreme compassionate Master of nature defying miracles to redeem us yet again from slavery to redemption; a tattered messiah in the shadows weighted and waiting too. The night of seder – no matter our status – we are engaged as His emissaries begging for a hastening of Mashiach‘s arrival and the binyan (building) of His Bayit Shlishi bimhera biyamenu; along with the lasting peace our hearts, souls and homeland long for.

V’af al pi sheyitmameah im kol zeh achakelo, achakelo bechol yom sheyavo (and though he may tarry, we wait for him everyday) with melody streaming into the night, it was my father who came beside me first at the opened door waiting in the darkness for Elyahu to arrive.

We stood wrapped in each others’ arms holding on to one another – comforted in our binding love- appreciating the warmth of its flow and wordless significance. As we embraced that timeless moment together, I felt the small benign hump on the back of his emaciated frail frame. I thought of the burdens that tired back had carried throughout the years. The annual draping of the matzo bag over his shoulder declaring, kinderlach – dus is der oremer broyt mein  taire yidden hobn geschlepped fun Mitzrayim (this is the bread of affliction our dear Jews carried from Egypt), was just the tip of the remnant burdens my father had carried throughout his life…

Jumping with another teenager off a train bound for Auschwitz, disguised in a stolen German officer’s uniform as he smuggled medicine and food into the Budapest ghetto, he was saved by Raoul Wallenberg as he was about to be arrested. Burning his Talmudic scholar uncle’s Russian uniform as he slept dreaming of honors and glory that would never be his to collect, all of it redirected him back toward his yiddishe roots.

He convinced a general at the Tattersaal Death March that his oozing shrapnel wounds could infect everyone and that he should be sent to hospital; Dad’s countless acts of long forgotten bravery that will never be recorded… he assisted his father with a soup kitchen, after the war, for those returning to find family survivors, when nothing seemed to have meaning anymore… He drove the fateful wagon to retrieve his surviving family- a mother and 7 other children- who never came back, while his father waited in breathless anticipation – a pauper’s table set for kings that night, crestfallen when all who returned were an elderly bobbe and a few surviving cousins.

Never again could father and son look into each other’s eyes without re-experiencing that moment of pain and abysmal loss, burdens we should never know. An orphan teen swept floors here in the goldene medine, rebuilding a semblance of a life, a family, finding a reason to go on through toil and strife, scrounging scraping together pennies. Living on soup and bread, building a shem tov, doing chassadim benistar, keeping faith with the One that seemed to have turned His back on innocents and holy torah giants, yet… yet saved him – personally – countless times.

Breaking his back to provide  a Jewish education and home for his children, Dad working together with his wife of many years to build a bayit neeman.  Burdened anew with diagnoses of benign meningioma’s pressing that could be plucked right out by her cowboy top brain surgeon that left her a cerebelerless ragdoll – her balabusta high skill and zeal knocked right out from under her… down to wheel chair size. Dad’s fighting, simultaneously, a debilitating muscle condition didn’t stop him for a moment from rushing home and building bars throughout the house so his wife would have as much mobility as possible.

Doing more than any husband would to maintain order and normalcy in our lives and making mom feel like she is and will always remain his eshet chayil.  Burdens on that back of his only grew in their complexity physically and emotionally, But he never stopped doing,  he never stopped believing that Hashem would come save him again and again; for as long as it would take.

I want to hasten my redemption –  there is so much I could, should be doing and yet my eyes are toward shamayim searching, hoping, waiting… when in truth, like my father, I should shoulder the burdens as he does hastening  directionality of our movements in the bringing of mashiach tzidkeynu.



Holy Macaroons and More!

Last year we wrote a couple of times about a line of delightful new products, Matzel Toff. This brand specializes in covering matzah with toffee and an excellent chocolate. While chocolate covered matzah is far from being a new idea, the way Matzel Toff executes it is more than worthy of even a very sophisticated palate.

About six weeks ago, we got their latest offerings Matzel Bits! and Holy Macaroon!. While both SYR and I felt it was a great product, we never got around to post it (a serious oversight, we are thoroughly ashamed of!!!).

Matzel Bits! is made with Parve dark chocolate (kosher for Passover). Starting with Streit’s finest matzah, they cover it with a layer of delicious toffee and the whole confection is then covered with dark chocolate (made from Passover sugar, Passover chocolate liquor, and Passover chocolate cocoa butter.

Holy Macaroon! is a very good, dairy, coconut macaroon covered in dark chocolate and topped with dried cranberries. Frankly, I do not much like traditional macaroons, even as a kid I couldn’t stand them. These macaroons, however, are quite good and make for an interesting variation of a traditional Passover sweet.

You can order the items online at or you can pick it up at a variety of stores. In the New York area you can find these products at Pomegranate in Brooklyn, Zabar’s and Eli’s in Manhattan and many more.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



Matzel Toff

Matzel Toff – Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt


Matzel Toff – Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt

Just when I thought nothing could top the taste of Matzel Toff‘s Milk Chocolate covered matzah, I found out how grievously wrong I was. Matzel Toff‘s Dark Chocolate With Salt covered matzah is even better yet! Sea salt and chocolate?!?!? Sounds strange, right?  Try it, you’ll love it.

I just came across this delicacy and couldn’t wait to taste it.

Matzel Toff's Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt

I wasn’t disappointed, an amalgam of contrasting and complimenting flavors, this was a great exotic treat. Covered with toffee (which immediately sets this bar miles ahead of other plain chocolate covered matzah), followed by a thick layer of dark chocolate sprinkled with sea salt, it combines the complex mineral taste of sea salt with dark chocolate (less sweet than its full milk sibling) and a rich toffee that gives it that extra crunch.

This is truly a gourmet treat. Like the last bars we tried, this one also barely lasted a few minutes. Neither SYR nor I could resist it! Phillip Guttman and Abigail Levy, Matzel Toff‘s owners/partners, have done it again!

We’ve received quite a few inquiries as to where it’s available, having contacted the company I was assured that their products will be available at a number of places in the five boroughs and in various states in March, with various products being introduced specifically for Pesach. Meanwhile, starting in March also, you may order from their current stock or pre-order the Passover products at their website.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



Matzel Toff


Matzel Toff

Everyone’s tasted chocolate covered matzah, right? Think again… unless you’ve had some Matzel Toff, you have no idea what matzah with chocolate is!

Woooow, what a treat!

Starting with a Streit’s matzah bar that gets covered with toffee and chocolate, this product is like nothing you ever imagined…

Looks scrumptious, tastes even better

The two bars did not last more than a few minutes. The milk chocolate covered variety that CS and I had came with a very generous covering of toffee and chocolate. The chocolate was obviously not of some cheap make but it showed all the rich taste you expect from a quality product.

Matzel Toff is a small CT based company, the brain child of Philip Guttman and Abigail Levy. Phillip, as a college student used to make his grandmother Edith’s delicacy (chocolate covered matzah), for a late snack, for parties, to share with good friends. When his friend Abigail tasted it she soon realized that if you add toffee, you take the flavor to a new level.

While it had never occurred to Phillip that this was a salable product, Ms. Levy convinced him to incorporate and start mass producing it. Between the two they invested $10,000 for research and development, the biggest challenge was the product’s shelf life, which they soon overcame. Then, armed with a Rolodex, they started making phone calls.

Currently it comes in four flavors:

  • Milk Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt
  • Pareve Chocolate (Kosher for Passover)
  • Milk Chocolate (Kosher for Passover)

In fact, Matzel Toff is so delicious that it’s included in Challah Connection’s Wine Gift Package.

Bartenura Moscato d'Asti; Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon; Mashuga Nuts (cinnamon spiced pecans); Seabear smoked salmon and Elsa's Story seasalt crackers; Meditalia green olive tapenade and creamy hummus;1 lb Bazzini pistachios; Koppers Petite Fruits candies; Matzel Toff; Chukars Cherry Quartet, 2-piece truffle set from Lake Champlain Chocolate.

We must try the Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt next…


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