NEW YORK—Following his recent ban on soda containers over 16 ounces, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he now intends to place similar limits on wine and matzo consumption at Passover seders.
“Everyone knows that Jews struggle with obesity,” the mayor declared at a news conference yesterday at Gracie Mansion, “so why aggravate the problem by drinking four whole cups of wine and eating three large sheets of matzo at a single meal?”
Noting that the Passover foods are a Jewish tradition dating back thousands of years, the mayor said, “That may be so, but look at the health problems they create. You eat all that unleavened bread, and your system is bound to get backed up. It’s no wonder Moses was pleading, ‘Let my people go.’”
Bloomberg added, “No one needs that much wine at a meal, either. And, shamefully, the biggest offender is a Jewish icon—the prophet Elijah. On seder night, he goes from house to house drinking. Who does he think he is, some frat boy?”
In a surprising display of erudition in Jewish law, the mayor said he was familiar with, and opposed to, the adherence to the strictest requirements encouraged by some Torah sages.
“If you intend to adhere to the shiurim of the Chazzon Ish, or even Rabbi Moses Feinstein, take your Seder out of the City,” said a defiant Bloomberg.
He outlined his restrictions as follows:
For the drinking of the four cups – “3.3. oz. will be the maximum permitted under New York City law. You may think 5.3 ounces is a saintly amount to drink for each of your 4 cups, but it is overly burdensome on the NYPD when they have to haul your machmir tuchus off to detox.
For the Eating of Matzoh – “No more than the size of 1/3 of an egg, measured by weight and not volume. You will be subject to citation or arrest if you feel the need to stuff half of a ‘Talmudic’ egg in your mouth and choking on your high halachic standards.”
The Mayor then left the press conference angrily, turning only to add, “Next year in Jerusalem. IF you can fit on the plane!”
Several Jewish organizations have already filed lawsuits in Brooklyn courts, claiming that the mayor’s new proposal infringes upon their religious rights. Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwieback, legal counsel for Agooda Israel and author of the book When Abbada Things Happen to Agooda People, said, “Instead of downsizing seder foods, the mayor should be increasing them, like donating his nuts to make more charoses.”