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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 1, 2004 / 11 Nissan, 5764

The Horseradish Chronicles: The Pain of chrain

By Michael Arnold Glueck


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | So the Hebrew school teacher asks little Johnny:


"What is the meaning of most Jewish holidays?"


Replies little Johnny: "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat."


Little Johnny had a point. Most Jewish holidays celebrate deliverance of one kind or another, and most have special foods associated with them. Purim, for example. Evil Haman tried to kill us, so now we eat "Hamentaschen," little cakes shaped like the three-cornered hat he wore until Queen Esther and Uncle Mordechai arranged a terminal neck-stretch on the gallows he'd built for the Jews.


Or Chanukah, which commemorates victory over an exceptionally the Greeks. We eat "Latkes" thin little potato pancakes symbolizing how the Maccabees whipped, pureed, pounded, flattened into little bite-size pieces, and then fried the Hellenes. Or something like that.


But I must confess, although somewhat warily, that my favorite holiday, food-wise, is Passover and its Seder, the feast of deliverance from Egyptian bondage. One delicacy in particular. Not lamb or matzoh, the unleavened bread that the Israelites hurriedly baked before beating feet out of Egypt. Nor even the "charoses," the mix of apples, nuts, and wine that symbolizes the brick and mortar of slave labor. And no, not even the traditional four cups of Manischewitz.


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I love the horseradish, the "Mahror," the uncut, super-strong variety put out at Passover to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.


Now, the horseradish is a noble root. But like any other mild addiction, it can be worrisome. And not everybody understands when I explain that an item meant to symbolize bondage is also my favorite comfort food. So, in a blatant attempt at self-reassurance, I decided to do some research.


According to "Horseradish Trivia," over the past few millennia, this plant has been used as an aphrodisiac (a matter I pass over in silence), a treatment for rheumatism and lower back pain, and a kind of cough syrup. The Egyptians knew from horseradish. So did the Greeks.


In "The Root Queen's Guide to Horseradish," Judy McCann informs us that the word first appeared in English print in 1597, in a medicinal guide to herbs. The original word may have been "harsh radish," the word "radish" deriving from the Latin "radix," meaning "root." It also goes well with chicken, brisket, and roast beef.


A noble root, indeed. But I was still uneasy. So I got in touch with Dr. Phil. Not the TV potentate, but Dr. Phil Gold, a Seattle-based historian and writer.

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Not to worry, said Dr. Phil. Horseradish goes deep in Jewish history. Although the Hebrew word is "Mahror," meaning "bitter," the Yiddish term is "chrain." This word is actually Sephardic in origin, and goes back to the Spanish Inquisition, when roving gangs sought out secret Jews who were surreptitiously celebrating Passover. It being too dangerous to bake matzohs, these Spanish Jews emphasized horseradish, because it was easy to dispose of when the bad guys knocked on the door. Hence the proverb:


"The chrain in Spain goes mainly down the drain."


Dr. Phil also related an incident from his childhood. As the first-born son of his family, he was expected to fast all day before the Seder, in gratitude that when the Angel of Death slew all the first-born in Egypt the Israelites were passed-over. Not wishing to pass up the delicacies in his high school cafeteria, he adopted a common alternative. Go to the synagogue before dawn, pray with the old men, study with them a bit, then symbolically break your fast with the only item more prohibited during Passover than leavened bread.


Canadian Club -- not the soda!


The old men, Dr. Phil relates, took great pleasure in sending the kids off to school reeking of spirits. It made for some interesting encounters with the homeroom teacher.


Even that long-ago bitterness of slavery can bring good things about. During the final stages of the Israeli-Egyptian peace negotiations, the Abu Rudeis oil fields, seized by Israel during the 1967 war, proved a problem. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was ready to hand them back but Egypt's Anwar Sadat also wanted compensation for the oil the Israelis had taken during the Sinai occupation. Finally, at least according to legend, Begin told Sadat, "Look, if you don't charge us for the oil, we won't charge you for the Pyramids."


Sadat laughed and agreed, and perhaps chose not to mention that Hebrew slaves never worked on the Pyramids. After all, when there's a chance to make peace, what's a little oil or a few Pyramids to stand in the way?


Something to ponder the next time you taste something bitter.


A Happy Passover to all.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., is a multiple award winning writer who comments on medical-legal issues. Column by clicking here.

© 2004, Michael Arnold Glueck