Why There Is a Matzah Shortage

We have been hearing about the undersupply of matzah in the US, and couldn’t find any in the store this morning here either. We could have scraped through our (one day–I can’t help rubbing it in again) of Yom Tov but managed to scrounge some extra from friends. I figure someone got smart and and shipped a big order from Israel to the US earlier in the week.

The shortage was all caused by my father-in-law. He bought 10 or 15 pounds of matzah on sale at the supermarket before Pesach, stored it in his basement, and flew to Israel to be with his children. Hopefully no one will raid his house.

Oy Bay is covering the story.

My husband and I both recall that our families would never rely on being able to find matzah in the middle of the week. Where he lived, you put in your Pesach order in advance and that was it. In my hometown you could find Pesach products in stores, but the supply was sketchy.


  1. we grew up that you buy everything before pessach. everything. nothing is to be bought during pessach. dont know why.
    we are more lenient on this nowadays and go shopping when we need something, but we still plan ahead to have everything we need. We rarely have to buy anything on pessach, though I had to buy some exxtra potato chips this year during chol hamoed.
    needless to say, this method means we always way over-purchase and we have tons extra that we will use after pessach. We still have plenty of matza as well, though we estimated a little better this year than in previous years and our excess in matza is not so0 great…

  2. mominisrael says

    The milk and meat are an issue, because the animals must eat kosher for Passover food. If the food is produced before Pesach, it’s not a problem. That’s why Israeli dairy products say “Kosher le-Pesach erev Pesach” (kosher for Pesach Passover eve).
    Some people cook everything erev Pesach for this reason; if a crumb accidentally falls in before Pesach it is batel be-shishim (diluted by sixty times the amount so considered a non-issue) but a crumb of chametz on Pesach cannot be batel even by more (forgot how much).
    We bought a lot this year on chol hamoed, produce and dairy as well as matzah. Packaged food shouldn’t be an issue.

  3. Comment on Rafi’s comment: you buy everything before pessach
    My rabbi believes in this. In his case, it is because some chametz might accidentally enter into your purchase. This actually happened to us once! We were visiting my brother, and some treif, chametzdik frozen food got in our groceries. So maybe this isn’t a problem if you shop in a Jewish store that sells no chametz on Pesach.
    Also, there’s stuff about the eggs…and the chickens ate chametz? This one I really don’t get. But I bought 60 eggs before Pesach, and we aren’t even home for Seder.

  4. First I am hearing about the matza shortage here in the US. I didn’t see it when I went shopping erev Pesach and there was still matza on the shelves chol hamoed. And yes, I do virtually all my shopping before yom tov, everything. In an emergency I head to a kosher grocery store where the milk has been stored since before Pesach.
    The papers are reporting that some countries are not going to be exporting as much food as they did before because of food shortages in their own countries. So if you buy these products you may not have as much choice, but so far the supermarkets are still full and no one is limiting how much you can buy of anything. The prices are a different story.

  5. I’m waiting for my soup to finish boiling so I can make Shabbat. This year, I had difficulty finding so many products mid-chag. Oil and cake meal were low in supply to name two. Personally, I’d prefer to have everything on hand. But, life doesn’t always work that way and sephardim are “lenient” on some things ashkenazim are strict on anyways.

  6. We have plenty of leftover matzah, cake meal and matzoh meal. I definitely over bought. But with all these food shortages, maybe I should save ’em for next year….

  7. I hadn’t heard about the matza shortage in the US. We had more than enough here. We buy most of the food beforehand and end up doing more shopping during the week (I don’t worry about chometz accidentally getting mixed up with my groceries).
    One great thing about being in Israel is that since most of the food factories go kosher le Pesach, there’s no chance of the stores running out of the KLP milk, butter, etc. My mother always has a problem with this- if she doesn’t buy enough milk, butter, cheese, beforehand, they run out midweek and are out of luck as the stores run out as well.