The Kezayis Revolution Continues!
Good news for the Jews! The recent trend of insisting on ever-larger sizes of matza that need to be eaten on Seder night continues to be challenged. The latest work, released into the public domain, is called Zayit Ra'anan, by a Sefardic Torah scholar. You can download it at this link. I haven't had time to study it properly, but the numerous haskamot alone are fascinating in their diversity. Some of the rabbanim are greatly unnerved, some admit that the arguments seem compelling but are afraid to say that anyone other than "the Gedolim" can decide these things, and others forthrightly state that it is obviously true that a kezayit is the size of a contemporary olive.
The monograph that I wrote on the evolution of the kezayis, from the size of an olive to a matzah ten times that size, seems to be the most popular piece that I have ever published. It's now incorporated in my book Rationalism vs. Mysticism, which you can purchase at this link.
Here is a list of other posts relating to this topic:
Matzah/Maror Chart for Rationalists - so that you, too, can have a chart!
The Popularity of Olives - exploring why this paper is so popular and yet hated by some.
Why On Earth Would One Eat A Kezayis? - discussing the strange notion that one should aim to eat a kezayis of matzah on Seder night.
The Riddle of the Giant Kezayis Defense - wondering why many people would not accept that a kezayis is the size of an olive.
Maniacal Dishonesty About Olives - exposing an error-ridden critique that appeared in the charedi polemical journal Dialogue.
It's Krazy Kezayis Time! - discussing the view that one should eat a huge amount of matzah in a very short time in order to fulfill all opinions.
The Kezayis Revolution - announcing the fabulous sefer by Rabbi Hadar Margolin, which presents the same arguments that I brought but in a more yeshivish manner. He also brings an astonishing array of evidence that many recent charedi gedolim likewise held that a kezayis is very small, including even the Chazon Ish! Best of all, the entire sefer can be freely downloaded.
Monsters & Matzos - a great riddle: what is the connection between the relatively rare findings of ancient whale bones on the coast of Israel, and the large size of matza that many people eat on Seder night?
Meanwhile, the new Biblical Museum of Natural History is open for tours, and will be open over Pesach too. We expect most tours on Pesach to sell out, so book your tour now! Visit www.BiblicalNaturalHistory.org for more details.
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