Why On Earth Would One Eat A Kezayis?
The reaction of many people to my conclusions about the kezayis is one of shock, followed by the question: "So do you yourself really eat such a small portion of matzah and maror?"
This is a very strange question. It also sheds light on problems caused by the evolution of the large kezayis-shiur.
Why on earth would I, or anyone, only eat an olive-sized portion of matzah and maror? The mitzvah comes late at night, after a really long day, when I haven't eaten for hours. Any normal person will eat much more than an olive-sized portion!
The kezayis is a minimum. The halachah says that eating anything less than a kezayis is just not called an act of eating. But any ordinary act of eating is obviously more than the bare minimum!
Does anyone build a sukkah ten tefachim high?!
So why do people wonder if people like me will be eating an olive-sized portion? Probably because the evolution of the large kezayis, along with the change from traditional matzah to Ashkenazi matzah (a.k.a. concrete) and from traditional maror (wild lettuce, sowthistle, etc.) to horseradish, has made eating a kezayis such a tricky and stomach-challenging ordeal that this is all that people aim for. Kezayis becomes not the minimum, less than which is simply not an act of eating, but rather the challenge, the goal. And people become so focused on eating the right quantity that this becomes the main thing that they think about!
But when you eat traditional matzah, and traditional maror (which was the normal hors d'oeuvre in antiquity), and a kezayis is a kezayis, why on earth would anyone only eat a kezayis?