The Matzav Rant: The Post-Pesach Pizza Frenzy


pizzaBy Shmuel Miskin,

Now that the dust has settled following another wonderful Yom Tov of Pesach, I’d like to share my thoughts on what has become a common post-Pesach practice in many areas. I know that my words will likely be greeted with nods of the head from those above the age of 50 and waves of the hand or looks of annoyance from those younger, but so be it.

The issue? The post-Pesach pizza frenzy. I just don’t get it. The second Yom Tov is over, lines are out the door at local pizzerias in communities nationwide. Are we so desperate for a slice of this Italian delicacy? Do our tummies so desperately need a slice of pizza because we are absolutely starving after subsisting on a chometz-free diet for eight-and-a-half days?

I am not coming purely from a hashkafah standpoint. Surely the readers here can share their own hashkafic viewpoints on the post-Pesach pizza craze. Taavas achilah, overcoming one’s urges, etc.

I am asking from a practical standpoint: What’s the rush? What will happen if we wait until the next day to down our first slice of post-Pesach pizza?

Then there’s my favorite pet peeve: I meet a fellow in a local supermarket where arrangements are made so that one does not need to rely on a hetter mechirah after Pesach. He stocks up on enough noodles until the summer, he buys countless items so that he does not have to rely on the hetter mechirah of other stores….but a half hour later he’s buying pizza from the local pizza store! (Lest you argue that this does not constitute relying on a hetter mechirah, I verified that in that particular store, they make their dough before Yom Tov and sell the actual dough. I should note that there are indeed stores which specifically do not sell the dough, but make their dough after Yom Tov, in which case there is no issue of relying on hetter mechirah.)

I know that families generally work hard over cleaning up after Yom Tov and a nice fresh slice of pizza is a welcome sight and a gastronomical delight. I am not here to count calories or become the food hashkafah police. But it seems to have reached a level of obsession, where, on Pesach itself, during the last Yom Tov seudos, people are already making arrangements so that they can get to the pizza store in the fastest and most strategic way to ensure that they have their coveted pizza as soon as humanly possible. This obsession has gone overboard.

I happen to know an individual – a regular, normal person – who shared with me that one of the things he has been mekabel on himself – to practice overcoming his natural urges – is to refrain from eating pizza on Motzoei Pesach. This gentleman, who is a regular, normal guy, related that throughout the year, he is rarely able to demonstrate strength of character or an ability to overcome his yeitzer. One time a year, he said, when everyone is running to the pizza store, he accepted upon himself bedavka not to go and buy pizza. He wants to demonstrate to himself that he can be above the frenzy and the tumult.

I’ve shared some thoughts. I’d like to read yours. Maybe I am just old fashioned or overly critical. But, like I said, in my eyes, the tomato sauce and cheese can wait another day.

{Shmuel Newscenter}


  1. I think it depends on when you’re getting it. I agree, people who run out right after Yom Tov have a problem. But not everyone does that.
    Personally, after Pesach ends, I begin cleaning up. I pack away the Pesach dishes, and take out the regular dishes. Only after I’m done (or close to done) do I want to eat. After working hard for hours, I don’t want to cook, so I get good, inexpensive food – pizza. Usually, when I get there, the lines are gone, and the stores are close to closing.

    Another issue even for those who rely on mechirah is that very often, the pizza stores are open minutes after Pesach ends. The chometz isn’t bought back that quickly! Another contract needs to be signed between the Rav and the person who bought the chometz. Until that’s done, how can the stores began to use the food?

  2. you do know that there is a minhag (or perhaps a halacha) to eat chametz immediately after pesach.
    many gedolim insisted on making havdala motza’ai pesach on beer.

    the minhag/halacha can be found in the so-called targum yonasan 12:18. i say “halacha” because the targum seems to read it into the passuk – which would make it a de’oraysah! but i will settle for a minhag yisroel which is about two thousand years old.

    as far as the lack of middos involved, according to the article, that comes under the rubric of kedoshim tihiyu

  3. Tihs rant reminds me of the letter in the Mishpacha which advised women not to skimp on the shabbosing between Purim and Pesach – to make challah and not eat things that have been in the feezer. If that is someone’s way of becoming closer to hashem, so be it, but I for one am very happy to buy challah and use what will be thrown out from my freezer so that I can focus on Pesach…

    Same here. In my house the pizza is the tool that moves the process along. Until Pesach is completely put away and enough Chometz stuff taken out to funciton – no pizza – after that its pizza time – well deserved after all the hard work my crew puts in cleaning, cleaning, turning over, cooking, cleaning, cooking, cooking and then turning back. Not why moshiach is not here – in my opinion

  4. It happens to be the GR”A was makpid to have chametz as soon as possible after Pesach was over in order to demonstrate that his abstaining from certain foods was dictated purely by halacha. Halivai we could all be as punctilious in our observance of the GR”A’s hakpados as the brave individuals who ignore their aching, matza-filled stomachs and rush to eat pizza immediately after pesach!

  5. Based on this post I will bl’n not eat any pizza on thursday night (after Shkia until after Chatzos) and not on Motzai Shabbos Kodesh (until Alos Hashachar). Not even for a seudas mitzvah or Melave Demalka.

  6. 1 – The Gra was makpid to make Havdalla on beer after Pesach to show the Chavivus Hamitzvos for not eating Chometz over Pesach but then to immediately eat Chometz as soon as it was permitted. So it is a GOOD thing to crave Chometz and eat it before the next day.

    2 – I am happy for the Pizza shop owners who close for Pesach and have no business then get so much as soon as the Yom Tov is over. Why not? they deserve it! Good for them!!

    3 – It’s the best incentive to get the help I need as qick as I can get it. it then is a great way to get the kids out for a special treat and then to sit as a family together one more time enjoying some hot fresh pizza and talk about the great Yom Tov we just had is something special.

    Hey….. it’s all in your attitude. Be positive, look on the good side and this post pesach “frenzy” becomes post pesach “fun”

  7. The GR”A was makpid to have chometz immediately after Pesach. But he didn’t run like a mishigina to buy pizza.

  8. “Another issue even for those who rely on mechirah is that very often, the pizza stores are open minutes after Pesach ends. The chometz isn’t bought back that quickly! Another contract needs to be signed between the Rav and the person who bought the chometz. Until that’s done, how can the stores began to use the food?”

    For this reason there are kashrus agencies (I believe the Vaad of Queens is one of them) that wouldn’t give their hashgocha to a pizza store that opens on Motzai Pesach. There is too much potential for problems, that it’s safer to wait for the next day.

  9. First of all #13 thats a stupid comment think before you write. I know someone who doesnt let her kids get pizza the night after pesach for this reason.

  10. #12 is correct all the Queens pizza stores remain closed on motzei Pesach to maintain the Vaad Harabbonim of Queens Hechsher. (I believe this rule was initiated years ago when 1 store was baking too early.)

  11. are there any talmidei chachomim out there who can show us where exactly is it written that the Gaon made havdoloh on beer motzei Pesach. I have heard this but I have never found it in any sefer. It seems a bit strange that the Gaon whould not be mavdil on wine which is L’chatechila

  12. I never eat pizza on motzei pesach. what’s the rush? Usually at about midnight my husband brings me two small rolls from the corner bakery which I eat with a delicious vegetable salad.

  13. our pizza stores & bakery don’t open until at least an hour after yom tov – and the vaad/mashgiach is the one who opens the stores. no concern for chametz not being properly bought back. We didn’t go out until 1am when the pesach thing were put away and the house back to almost normal. I much needed break and nutrition since nobody had eaten from before mincha. It was a great time to spend together relaxing as a family and enjoy the last family time until succos the next time the whole family will be together with the out of town siblings.

  14. It is a mitzvah d’araisa to chazer down pizza on motzei pesach like a slob. Anyone who fails to do so is chayiv a lav.

  15. I’m wondering: Flour is technically not chametz which means it does not have to be sold. Mix it with water and it will start to rise even without yeast. So why are you worried about when the store opens?

  16. I have a hashkafic problem with the whole purpose of this segment. You are constantly looking for the bad in people, and criticizing in a way that will not impact anyone. Even if someone would agree with your negative approach in this situation (I don’t), do you really think anyone will remember this article for next year when Pesach ends. I think the very idea of having a “Matzav Rant” is influencing the author into thinking negatively about fellow Jews. If you happen to see something that bothers you that you think writing a letter will help with, by all means, write it. But to have a set segment where you constantly need to think of ways to criticize the frum community is not beneficial.

  17. What’s the whole eisik/big deal that people feel they need to comment. Somebody wanted to raise a point. He is not telling you what to do. If you don’t agree that’s fine but keep it to yourself. Chill out.

  18. What in the world is your point in telling people how to live? I don’t like standing in line, so I don’t go motzei Yom Tov, but don’t mock people’s love of pizza. I’m sure there are foods that you love as well. I just can’t stand people ranting about stupidity. There is enough in a Toradick lifestyle that we can rant about, and complain that our fellow Jews are doing or not doing. Eating pizza on motzei Yom Tov is not one of them. Acting like a chazzar and pushing in line, cutting in line, and not eating like a mentch, those are things to complain and rant about.

  19. I’m Maskim to the author, Frumme yidden should not act like GOYIM!!!
    Don’t use the Gra’s minhag as an excuse to act like a chazairisha goy.

  20. To #13 and #18, That is mistama fake pepporoni,
    you shold be dan lkaf zchus, but if it is real i am very disappointed.

  21. Just for the record there is an inyan to make havdallah on chometz to show that the reason we didn’t eat chometz was the mitzva and not that we don’t want it. Pizza is just as good. Second of all the people waiting in line have a great time so it’s not a big deal. Third maybe they just don’t want to help turnover. Fourth it is enjoyable and something to look forward to after a night of putting away pesach. Either way stop looking for non issues and making a big deal out of it. Live and let live and let;s deal with real problems.

  22. #12 – you are 100% correct. The Vaad of Queens doesn’t let ANY food establishment to be open on motzei pesach except for the heimishe grocery stores.

  23. In my family, we have no such minhag, Boruch Hashem. I happened to have gone to the bakery the next day, but I would have had no problem waiting for the next piece of chometz to be my challah on Shabbos.

    And using the GRA zl as a smach to go and eat PIZZA when all he was talking about was using beer for havdalah, goes to prove how right the writer is, tone not withstanding. But the intent is emes l’amiti. No shaila!

  24. #23, Chareidi: Well said! How about a column that highlights the good in klal yisroel, rather than one writer’s pet peeves?

  25. Thanks for a great piece. As others have commented, my crew knows they have an incentive to work harder & faster so they can get the first chametz down. I myself don’t need it – & my kids see that. Sometimes I’ll down a slice, & some years not. I hope I’m teaching by example. It’s not the taiva – it’s part of the fun. But I do realize that there are some people nebach… like the first cig after Shabbos. Like I said, nebach!

  26. This pizza gluttony that afflict some of our brethren on Motzei Pesach is indeed an embarrassment to our holy nation.

  27. I personally don’t rush to eat any chometz until my Pesach stuff is put away, and pizza is not a priority by me. I don’t know when pizza became such a requirement for motzei Pesach, or motzei Shabbos for that matter.There is nothing heilige or Jewish about pizza. When I grew up there were no kosher pizza stores in my neighborhood and no frozen kosher pizza either.

  28. The minhag of eating pizza on motzai Pesach us based on the maimar chazal : b’toraso shel luigi d’rossi huhyuh kasuv: chag ha’pezza tishmor….though the gemara is takeh madcheh the guess, still we’re mekayim it ad hayom!

  29. I agree that many people eat pizza immediately after Pesach but maybe the actual frenzy simply comes from people know that the wait time will be long, so they rush out as quickly as possible so they won’t have to wait as long.

    If there were 10 pizza stores all next to each other and they all tasted the same, I’m not sure the frenzy we see would occur.