The winter of 2011 was tough on many of Europe’s root crops. A week before Passover the Jewish Community of Madrid found that the shipment of horseradish it had ordered from Bolivia would now not arrive until ten days after the Passover ended.
The community needed the horseradish for its traditional Passover ritual of eating Maror – bitter herbs, but whomever they tried approaching from among the EU suppliers, they received the same reply “Sorry! No can do.” In desperation, the Rabbi phoned one of his Yeshiva friends in Tel Aviv – who happened to be the second cousin of the Mashgi’ach for Agrexco – and begged him to organize the dispatch of a crate of Israeli horseradish roots, by air-freight to Madrid.
It took the friend two days to organize, and two days before Passover, a crate of grade A tear-jerking Israeli horseradish roots was proudly loaded at Ben Gurion Airport onto the El-Al flight 789 to Madrid, and all seemed to be well.
Unfortunately when the Rabbi came to Madrid Airport in order to take the crate out of Customs, he was informed by an anti-Semitic customs agent that because of concern that the horseradish was infested with bugs, the Israeli shipment was being quarantined. After spending the entire day trying unsuccessfully to get the customs agents decision overturned, a government bureaucrat finally informed the Rabbi that no shipments would be unloaded for at least four days.
When members of the Jewish community came to the Rabbi’s home to pick-up the much anticipated horseradish roots, the Rabbi sadly informed them that, “the Chraine in Spain stayed mainly on the plane!”