I don’t know if you’ve been following the news lately, but there are a lot of stories that are specifically relevant to us as a whole.

For one, there’s a recent article titled, “Pizza Injuries on the Rise.”  Especially right after Pesach, I’d imagine.  People run for those pizza shops the minute Yom Tov is over and they don’t care who’s in the way.  We’re so stuffed the entire Yom Tov that we don’t have room for another bite, but we’re force-feeding ourselves pizza at 11 o’clock at night because we can

So I can see people, in their enthusiasm for pizza, get injured, sort of like that situation in the Mishna in Yoma where the Kohanim were so enthusiastic about racing to do the avodah that they were falling off the ramp. 

At the very least, I can see people getting cramps running for the pizza.

I mean, I get that people have a minhag to eat pizza on Motzoei Shabbos, because there are 8 slices, which symbolizes the 8th night of the week and the supernatural levels of this night that are l’maalah min hazman; and it’s round, which symbolizes beginning a new cycle (sort of like aveilus food); plus pizza has the same gematria as cholent, and also ani l’dodi v’dodi li.

But the blind fanaticism for Motzoei Pesach doesn’t even make sense.  We all go weeks without eating pizza.  It happens all the time.  Most people don’t eat pizza over Sukkos either.  Not on purpose; it just happens.  Definitely not the first two days or the last two days, and probably not on Chol Hamoed.  A pizza-shop Sukkah on Chol Hamoed is not a pleasant place to sit.  It’s just men in there eating quickly, because the women are like, “Sure, I’ll eat with you!” and then they take a peek at the situation and say, “You know what?  It’s kind of cold.  Maybe I’ll eat inside with the kids.”  Yet nobody goes crazy for that first pie right after Simchas Torah.  I don’t even think most pizza shops are open that night, if you can imagine.  Everyone’s still fleishig from the afternoon seudah.  They’re definitely not auctioning off the first pie like it has some rare segulah.

And why pizza?  Why not bid over the first bagel, or the first box of noodles, or the first plate of Chinese food?  There are a lot of foods we don’t eat that week.  For the entire Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, most people don’t eat nuts, but you don’t see them running out the second Yom Kippur’s over to go nuts at Oh Nuts!

So we need to be aware of this study.

According to the article that I read, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has determined that last year alone, pizza was the cause of 4,000 ER visits around the world, up from 2,300 the previous year.

The injuries included burning the roof of one’s mouth, not being able to figure out how to use that pizza slicer, delivery guys running to make the time limit, people falling down the stairs while carrying a pizza because they couldn’t see the next step and they thought they were done, sitting on a hot pizza in the car…  One person even stabbed himself with a fork.  Which is why you don’t eat pizza with a fork.  And one person fell out of bed reaching for a slice.  I should mention that it was a bunk bed.

Also, everyone has some kind of burn from enthusiastically taking a pie out of the oven.

Burns were the most common.  Most people, when they eat a slice of pizza that’s too hot, they don’t spit it out and wait.  They just kind of juggle it with their tongues while chewing with their mouths open – like they’re giving everyone a free show – but occasionally someone can’t figure out how to juggle it right and he ends up in the hospital.

According to a quote in the article, “Most people were not actually injured by the pizza, but rather in its presence.”  It’s like pizza makes you dumb.  It ruins your concentration, like someone in the room that you’re trying to impress, so you don’t watch what you’re doing.  After all, people don’t always think about safety while eating pizza, because pizza is very exciting.  And it’s not really a food that people always sit still while eating.  Most kids dance while eating pizza. 

Of course, some injuries are worse than others.  One pizza shop worker fell while carrying a large tray of tomato sauce.  He only ended up in the ER because no one could tell how much of it was blood.  Fortunately, the man survived. 

“That was a big mess,” he later told reporters.  “To this day, I’m still finding remnants of sauce.” 

Yeah, of course he is.  He works in a pizza shop.  So pizza might actually make people dumb.  I mean, what other food would someone fall out of bed for? 

I did fall off a chair leaning for matzah once.

Of course, there are ways to minimize injuries:

- Experts say that if you want to avoid burning the roof of your mouth, you should eat the pizza upside down. 

- To avoid slicing accidents, don’t put all your weight on a pizza cutter while the pizza is sitting on a surface that is smaller than the pie.

- To avoid tripping, hold the pizza box as you would a briefcase.

- If you’re in bed and you want pizza, don’t just reach over.  At least wash neigel vasser.

But the point here is that food can kill you.  It doesn’t just keep you alive.  It’s multi-faceted.  Like water.

And it’s not just chometz that can kill you.  Pesach food can kill you too, as anyone who’s ever eaten Pesach food can attest.  Especially if this was your first year making Pesach.

In January, a deputy in South Carolina was responding to a burglary call when one of the cows on the property distracted his k-9 unit, or “dog”.  So the dog bit the cow.  I don’t know; maybe the dog thought that the cow was the burglar.  It’s hard to tell how much of police work k-9 units actually understand. 

So the deputy, yelled, “Let go!”  And the dog was like, “I don’t think so!”  Although the dog couldn’t talk, because his mouth was full of cow.

So the deputy, trying to get his dog to let go, shot the dog with a stun gun.  At which point the cow kicked the deputy. 

It was like a bad version of Chad Gadya.  And then the shochet came… 

But see, we’re distracted by pizza; dogs are distracted by cows.  I’m a fleishigs man myself.

Also, it turned out that the burglary call was unfounded.  There was no burglary.  So the deputy had come down for nothing.  I don’t know what that means, when they say a burglary call was “unfounded”.  I think it means like when you’re missing something, and you say, “It was stolen!  Call the cops!” and then when the cops show up, your cow spooks their dog which bites your cow which kicks the deputy which tases the dog, you say, “Oh, never mind.  I found the thing.  I think my wife just moved it.”

Of course, the other problem with chometz is that it brings out all the dangerous weirdos out there. 

For example, there are all the people who specifically like pineapple on their pizza.  Which is not at all what the Ribbono Shel Olam intended when he created pizza on the first Motzoei Shabbos.  You could have a friend that you think is normal, and he offers you a piece of pizza, and there’s pineapple on it.  And you can’t just pick the pineapple off – the juice is still there. 

And now there are other pizza trends, involving kiwi and watermelon.  At least watermelons don’t have seeds anymore.

And it’s not just individuals.  There’s a non-kosher restaurant chain in New Jersey that is selling something called pizza crusts.  And you know it’s only a matter of time before this catches on in the kosher world.  You can just buy a box of all pizza crusts.  It’s like cheese sticks without the cheese. 

How are they getting these?  Are they trimming them off actual pies?  That must mean they’re selling crustless pizzas too.  But how do they make this work financially?  You’d think way more people would be into crustless pizza than pizza-less crust.  There’s no way it’s even. 

So what I think is happening is they’re cleaning it off the tables.  There’s no way that’s not what they’re doing.   

You think there are bite marks on them? 

But they’ll never admit this.  According to a spokesperson, “We know that the crust is everyone’s favorite part of the pizza, so skipping straight to selling pizza crusts only seemed like the perfect idea.” 

Who are you talking to?  How bad was your pizza that people’s favorite part was the crust?

Though to be honest, isn’t that why we run to the pizza shop after Pesach?  Because cheese and tomato sauce are both 100% kosher l’Pesach.  It must be the crust.  We didn’t even know. 

Point is, it’s a scary world out there, and I urge you to barricade yourself in your home, if you aren’t already.  That way, I don’t have to wait in line for pizza.

But be careful.  Most accidents happen in the home.


Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia, a monthly humor columnist, and has written six books, all published by Israel Book Shop.  He also does freelance writing for hire.  You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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