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Why is matzah so expensive?


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#1 comfortingsong

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:05 PM

Who would have ever thought that water and flour could be this expensive?? I'm confused because simple carbs are usually the really cheap foods, like white bread, potatoes, etc. Even when it's pas yisroel and made by other Jews, it's not expensive. I would like to understand how matzah can be so darn expensive. Was it always like this? Does the labor of making the matzah really cost as much as people are charging? Or is this just a way to exploit fellow Jews for money, since the matzah makers know that we don't have a choice and will have to pay for it anyway?

#2 Moshi

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:25 PM

Why is Pesach SOUR CREAM so expensive?!
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#3 comfortingsong

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:28 PM

Why is Pesach SOUR CREAM so expensive?!

So you think that Pesach food in general is so expensive due to an exploitation of fellow Jews for money, since we don't have a choice?

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:34 PM

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#5 comfortingsong

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:39 PM

Matzah isn't expensive. You can get a box of machine matzah for $2 a box. Asking why hand shmurah is expensive is like asking why Amish furniture costs more than Ikea.

Why does Amish furniture cost more than Ikea?

#6 GoodEats!

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:45 PM

Why is everything so expensive? answer: price gouging.

#7 Xi

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:15 PM

Why does Amish furniture cost more than Ikea?

Because it's handmade.
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#8 comfortingsong

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:33 PM

Because it's handmade.

And the increase in labor cost of making handmade matzah is equivalent to the increase of its price? I can't imagine so.

Why is everything so expensive? answer: price gouging.

Yep, that's what I was getting at. I just think it's wrong for things to be so much more expensive on Pesach, when people's choices and options are severely limited. Other people ending up paying the difference in the huge amount of tzedaka that is allocated to support families who can't afford Pesach food this time of year. So, my question is - where is this money going to exactly? Straight to certain people's pockets?

#9 Xi

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:40 PM

Yep, that's what I was getting at. I just think it's wrong for things to be so much more expensive on Pesach, when people's choices and options are severely limited. Other people ending up paying the difference in the huge amount of tzedaka that is allocated to support families who can't afford Pesach food this time of year. So, my question is - where is this money going to exactly? Straight to certain people's pockets?

Handmade matzah is not a necessity.
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#10 comfortingsong

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:43 PM

Handmade matzah is not a necessity.

I hear that. So, do you think that people who can't afford handmade matzah without tzedaka should not get it? What about other necessities? If you walk into any supermarket, most kosher l'pesach food is more expensive than regular food.

#11 GoodEats!

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:59 PM

Yep, that's what I was getting at. I just think it's wrong for things to be so much more expensive on Pesach, when people's choices and options are severely limited. Other people ending up paying the difference in the huge amount of tzedaka that is allocated to support families who can't afford Pesach food this time of year. So, my question is - where is this money going to exactly? Straight to certain people's pockets?
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I'm furious at the bill I had this year. I'm home for first days and chol hamoed and i shopped for basics staples and fish only. No meat at all! it was $320. and if you saw how much and what I bought.. its infuriating.

I didn't even shop for shabbos foods yet.

#12 Nooch

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:36 PM

Handmade matzah is not a necessity.


For many, it is a necessity for one's seder matzoh. One is required to eat matzah that was made l'shma for the sedarim. Certain poskim hold that machine matzoh is deficient in this critical component. So in fact hand matzoh is the only option available.

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#13 Nooch

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:40 PM

And the increase in labor cost of making handmade matzah is equivalent to the increase of its price? I can't imagine so.


Absolutely! Have you ever visited a hand matzoh factory? The amount of people required to bake a matzoh from start to finish is amazing! It is far more labor intensive in every step of the process. That said, I don't know if the prices charged are still warranted.

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#14 Kalashnikover_Rebbe

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Posted 19 April 2011 - 01:42 PM

Absolutely! Have you ever visited a hand matzoh factory? The amount of people required to bake a matzoh from start to finish is amazing! It is far more labor intensive in every step of the process. That said, I don't know if the prices charged are still warranted.


Also they only operate a few months out of the year, and they need to maintain the premises all the time. And it IS labor intensive, some matzos even have manually ground flour! but I still think there are enormous profits involved and outright price gouging....

I'm really surprised that no one has gotten together and tried to take on the matzo mafia by selling matzos for cost or close to it. Kollel Chabad has cheap(er) matzos in EY, but even the drastically reduced price is still over 70NIS per kilo...

Maybe it is due to the fact that a VAST majority of the population eats machine matzos, so even those that are makpid on hand for matzos mitzvah can afford it for one night. It is mainly the chassidim that get pwn3d here... But machine shmura is also SIGNIFICANTLY more expensive than stam matzos and I wonder how much of that is because of the extra labor (they dismantle and clean the machines MUCH more often than the regular) and how much is frum tax....
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#15 Pinchas

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 02:33 AM

I was very impressed that as we got closer to Pesach food prices here in Israel actually DROPPED dramatically. I was expecting the opposite and got a "head start" buying stuff for Pesach, Purim time, only to feel like an idiot when I see the same items for half price two weeks later...

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#16 comfortingsong

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 08:53 PM

Also they only operate a few months out of the year, and they need to maintain the premises all the time. And it IS labor intensive, some matzos even have manually ground flour! but I still think there are enormous profits involved and outright price gouging....

I was actually discussing this over a Pesach meal yesterday. Someone mentioned that in Arizona, for example, there are wheat farms through which matzah is made. At these farms, they have someone stationed 24/7 in order to make sure that no water comes in contact with the wheat (and they apparently pay the non-Jewish workers who cut the wheat extra money to not drink water while slaving in the sun and dehydrating). Since one person doesn't want to be there the whole time, it seems like they pay a group of people to work in shifts and pay many of them to be there at the same time, so that they have a minyan. This helped me understand the crazy cost of matzah... I don't know, it sounds like something that shouldn't be necessary, but maybe it is - who knows?

#17 Kalashnikover_Rebbe

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:16 PM

I was actually discussing this over a Pesach meal yesterday. Someone mentioned that in Arizona, for example, there are wheat farms through which matzah is made. At these farms, they have someone stationed 24/7 in order to make sure that no water comes in contact with the wheat (and they apparently pay the non-Jewish workers who cut the wheat extra money to not drink water while slaving in the sun and dehydrating). Since one person doesn't want to be there the whole time, it seems like they pay a group of people to work in shifts and pay many of them to be there at the same time, so that they have a minyan. This helped me understand the crazy cost of matzah... I don't know, it sounds like something that shouldn't be necessary, but maybe it is - who knows?

What do you think "shmura" means???
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#18 comfortingsong

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:21 PM

What do you think "shmura" means???

From my understanding, not all people watch the wheat from the time that it is grown or that far in advance. They also don't require that 10 people are in the same state to watch the wheat at the same time. If they don't, that would cut the cost of watching it significantly. The more chumros one keeps regarding matzah seems to correlate with the more money that one ends up spending on the matzah.

#19 Kalashnikover_Rebbe

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:30 PM

From my understanding, not all people watch the wheat from the time that it is grown or that far in advance. They also don't require that 10 people are in the same state to watch the wheat at the same time. If they don't, that would cut the cost of watching it significantly. The more chumros one keeps regarding matzah seems to correlate with the more money that one ends up spending on the matzah.

I believe all "shmura" today is from the time it is cut. Even non shmura matzo today is usually guarded from the time it is ground...
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#20 rvn2590

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:32 PM

Matzah isn't expensive. You can get a box of machine matzah for $2 a box. Asking why hand shmurah is expensive is like asking why Amish furniture costs more than Ikea.


I bought it on sale for $3.99 for four boxes.
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