Motzei Matzah

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Three handmade Matzahs

One of the main part of the seder is eating matzah which takes place in the section called, Motzei Matzah Trans. (Hebrew מוציא מצה; tr. taking out of the unleavened bread). Two brachot are recited on the broken and whole pieces and then two kezaytim are consumed.

How to make the Brachot

  1. One should take the Matzahs, the whole one on bottom, the broken one in middle, and another whole one on top, and make the Bracha of HaMotzei. Then one should drop the bottom matzah which is whole and make the Bracha of Al Achilat Matzah.[1]
  2. Then one should break off a piece from the top and middle Matzahs to have a Kezayit from each.[2] The best way to do that is to eat both pieces simultaneously. If one is not able to eat both together, one should eat the piece from the top Matza first [3]

Leaning while eating the Matzah

  1. The matzah should be eaten while leaning.[4]

Dipping the Matzah in salt

  1. The Sephardic minhag is to dip the matzah in salt and the Ashkenazic minhag is not to dip the matzah in salt.[5]

Measuring a Kezayit

  1. Most permit measuring the required amounts for the Mitzvah of eating Matzah. [6]Some are strict to require one to measure before Shabbat. [7]

How much Matzah should one have?

  1. See the Required Amount of Matzah and Wine for the Seder page.

For someone who is unable

  1. For someone who can't eat the appropriate amount of Matzah according to Ashkenazim, should have at least 17 cc (which is 9 rows on a machine matzah). [8]
  2. For someone who it’s difficult to eat that much Matzah one may dip the matzah in water for a second and then eat it. [9]
  3. Matzah soaked in water is fit to exempt one's obligation after the fact. Some say that if the matzah is soaked any liquid other than water it is invalid for matzah mitzvah, while others disagree.[10]
  4. Cooked matzah doesn't fulfill the mitzvah.[11]

How to eat it

  1. Since our Matzahs are thin and hard to eat 2 Kezayitim in Kedi Achilat Pras one should eat then one after another. [12]

Ownership over the Matzah

  1. The minhag is that one doesn’t need to acquire the Matzahs from the homeowner, however, the pious maintain this practice.[13]
  2. A person's wife does not need to acquire the matzot.[14]

Soft Matzahs

  1. Some say that even for Ashkenazim it's permissible to have soft Matzahs and for those that it's difficult to eat hard matzah it's preferable to eat Soft Matzah. [15]

Machine Matzah

  1. Many poskim permit eating machine matzah to fulfill the mitzvah of eating Matzah at the seders, if the matzah was made with intent to be used for the mitzvah of Matzah.[16]
  2. There’s no difference in preference in having whole wheat or white flour matzah.[17]
  3. Sephardim hold that one should have hand baked matzah for the seder.[18]
  4. One should certainly buy matzot baked before Pesach and not on Pesach itself.[19]

Oat Matzah

  1. Someone who is celiac and can't eat wheat matzah, may eat gluten free oat matzah to fulfill his obligation.[20]
  2. For more details see Rav Dovid Cohen's Guide to Halacha for Celiacs.

Baking Matzah

  1. There was an old minhag to make sure to bake the matzah after chatzot, midday, on Erev Pesach.[21]

Egg Matzah

  1. One does not fulfill one's mitzvah of the night of the seder with egg matzah.[22]
  2. According to Ashkenazim one should not eat egg matzah on Pesach unless one is ill or weak. However, according to Sephardim it's permissible to eat but one can not eat it for the mitzvah of Matzah at the Seder, however it's praiseworthy to avoid it. [23]

Sources

  1. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 475:1, Mishna Brurah 475:2. Mishna Brurah (475:2) explains that the reason we take three matzot for hamotzei is because we are trying to satisfy two different approaches. The two whole matzot serve as lechem mishneh, the requirement of having two whole loaves of bread on Shabbat or Yom Tov. The third matzah, or the broken piece of matzah, represents the poor man who does not have a complete piece of matzah. In developing this further, the Shulchan Arukh HaRav (475:4-5) explains that for al akhilat matzah one should place the bottom matzah down since al akhilat matzah applies to the top matzah or the middle broken piece.
  2. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 475:1. Mishna Brurah (475:9) explains that one needs to eat a k'zayit from both the whole matzah as well as the broken one because some argue that the berakhah of al akhilat matzah applies to each of these matzot. Accordingly, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichot Shlomoh ch. 9, n. 40) writes that if the three matzot that the head of the household is using does not suffice for everyone to have two kezaytim, each person should just have a piece from the top matzah and then supplement it by eating other available matzah up to the necessary k'zayit. He explained that according to Mishna Brurah, if one isn’t eating from the head of the household’s matzot, there exists no doubt as to which matzah the berakhah of al akhilat matzah applies. Alternatively, Rav Hershel Schachter (Eretz HaTzvi p. 40-1) explains that the reason to require two kezaytim of matzah is to satisfy a) the mitzvah of matzah, b) the mitzvah of seudat yom tov.
  3. Shulchan Aruch HaRav 475:6-7
  4. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 475:1
  5. Shulchan Aruch and Rama O.C. 475:1, Mishna Brurah 475:4 explains that Ashkenazim don’t dip the matzah in salt so that the matzah can be seen as poor man’s bread.
  6. Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 29:40 (also in Halichot Shlomo 9:7), Petach Dvir 306:7
  7. Natai Gavriel (vol 2, 90:30) quoting Shulchan Aruch HaRav
  8. Halichot Shlomo (pg 214 note 55)
  9. Halichot Shlomo (pg 282 note 274), Chaye Adam 129:2
  10. Magen Avraham 461:7 writes that if the matzah was soaked in any juice or tasty liquid it would invalidate the matzah since it would give it a taste and the matzah needs to taste like matzah (Brachot 38b). However, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik in his notes on Pesachim 41a disagreed. He held that if the matzah had a taste it is still considered matzah mitzvah as long as it wasn't cooked. Nonetheless, in order to have the taste of the matzah linger in one's mouth at the end of the night one would need to eat a bit of non-soaked matzah afterwards.
  11. Rabbi Yosi and Rabbi Meir in Pesachim 41a and Brachot 38b argue whether one fulfills the mitzvah with cooked matzah. Rabbi Yosi holds one does not. Why not?
    • Taste of Matzah: Gemara Brachot 38b implies that the reason is because cooked matzah doesn't taste like standard matzah and the mitzvah of matzah needs a taste of standard matzah. This is the understanding of the Rashba Brachot 38b s.v. lo and Ritva Brachot 38b s.v. ad kan. Raah Brachot 38b s.v. vmeyhu agrees that Rabbi Yosi requires taste of matzah but thinks that Rabbi Meir does not require taste of matzah. (This is the understanding of the fnt. to Ritva n. 241 and not the fnt. to Raah n. 155 who equates the Raah with the Rashba and Ritva.)
      • Some ask that if matzah needs taste why does the Gemara Pesachim 115b hold that if someone swallows matzah they fulfill their obligation unlike maror. The Meiri Brachot 38b s.v. linyan answers that matzah itself needs taste but since it is possible to taste, even one did swallow it in a way that one didn't taste it one still fulfills one's obligation. Rabbenu Mano'ach Chametz Umatzah 6:2 and Magen Avraham 475:11 echo this answer. Meiri Pesachim 115b s.v. mi quotes some who say that in fact that one doesn't fulfill one's obligation when swallowing matzah since one needs to taste the matzah based on the Gemara Pesachim 115a.
    • Matzah Ashira: However, the Tosfot Pesachim 41a s.v. aval holds that the gemara means that cooked matzah is like matzah ashira and doesn't fulfill the mitzvah of matzah. Tosfot Harosh Brachot 38b s.v. ad agrees.
    • Not Torat Pat: A third interpretation of the gemara is whether cooking makes the matzah not be considered bread as it invalidates it's status of bread. Indeed some say that as a result of Rabbi Yosi, cooked matzah is mezonot. This is the opinion of the Maharam Chalavah Pesachim 41a s.v. yosin, Rash Challah 1:5, Bahag (cited by Tosfot Harosh Brachot 38b), and Shiltot (Tzav 77, cited by fnt. to Tosfot Harosh).
  12. Halichot Shlomo 9:41
  13. Sfat Emet Sukkah 35a s.v. itta, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo 9:4, Haarot of Rav Elyashiv Pesachim 29a.
    • Rosh Pesachim 2:18 understands that it is necessary to own one's matzah in order to fulfill one's obligation and if it is stolen one does not fulfill one's obligation. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 454:4 codifies the Rosh.
    • Sfat Emet extends this to having to own the matzah and not merely rely on the fact that the homeowner allowed him to eat it. For example, see Shulchan Aruch E.H. 28:17 and Taz 28:34 where it is clear that it is possible to have something that one can eat but yet not be the owner of. Sfat Emet defends the practice not to be strict to acquire the matzah's because we can assume that the intention of the homeowner is to grant them ownership over the matzah's.
    • Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo thinks although regarding stealing the Mekor Chaim 454:1 notes that chewing on the matzah itself is a form of acquisition (Ketubot 30b) and therefore one would fulfill one's obligation, for a regular guest this isn't the case because he doesn't intend to acquire them. He defends the minhag based on the Mahari Kurkus and Kesef Mishna who understand the Rosh as disagreeing with the Rosh.
    • Rav Elyashiv notes that it seems Tosfot Pesachim 29a would deem eating to be a form of acquisition whether one intends to acquire the matzah or not. He concludes that it isn't a clear proof since perhaps it is only an acquisition with respect to chametz and not in general. (In that vein see Baal Hameor, Raavad, and Rabbenu Dovid who all seem to be a clearer proof than Tosfot.)
  14. Rav Shlomo Zalman (Halichot Shlomo ch. 9 fnt. 29 p. 207) originally thought that a wife should acquire the matzot from her husband like any other guest. Later he changed his opinion because the husband is obligated to feed his wife so her food is in her ownership.
  15. Rav Hershel Schachter YUTorah.org between minutes 58 and 66. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo 9:80 says although in the past ashkenazim may have eaten it there is no tradition anymore to permit it. Rav Asher Weiss at the end of the Minchat Asher Haggada siman 15 writes that really it is permissible but there may be some concern that since we aren't experts in making them soft it may become chametz.
  16. Rav Schachter on OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5770 between minutes 75:15 and 81:00. In a shiur on yutorah.org, Rav Schachter discussed the issues of Machine Matzah at length. The major issue was whether the pressing of the button to start the machine is considered enough of an action of a person to consider the matzah to be baked lishma. He concluded that it many poskim consider it to be acceptable Shemurah Matzah. He also quotes Rav Soloveitchik saying that he found machine matzot to be preferable for the mitzvah of eating matzah at the seder. Bikvei Hatzoan he shows this point from the Gra YD 3. (See Maharsham 2:16 who quotes those who are lenient.) Haggadah of the Roshei Yeshivah (pg 2) records the practice of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer to eat machine matzah for the seder. See Hakira v. 25 p. 31 fnt. 57 quotes that Rav Moshe Soloveitchik held that machine matzah was as good if not better than hand made matzah and he would give it to his children for the seder, though he himself had hand made matzah for the seder. He explained that there's no minhag to eat hand made matzah since you can't have a minhag that isn't based on any halachic factor. Yachava Daat 1:14 recommends using handmade matzah for the mitzvah but for the rest of pesach machine matzah is fine.
    • Does making matzah require kneading and baking lishma or it just needs to be guarded lishma? The Gemara Pesachim 40a is clear that it is necessary to have shimur for kneading and baking. (Regarding whether preparations before kneading need shimur, see #Shemura Matzah.) One application that clarifies this requirement is whether it is sufficient for a non-Jew to bake the matzah while a Jew is watching that it isn't chametz. The Raah held that it should be acceptable since it is only necessary to guard that the matzah doesn't become chametz and it isn't necessary for the Jew to do any kneading or baking himself. The Raah himself thought it was the halacha but in practice wasn't lenient. The Ritva says based on the Rabbenu Chananel like the Raah. However, the Ritva himself disagrees and thinks that having a Jew watch the non-Jew make the matzah is invalid since it lacks lishma. He says that it depends on whether stam is lishma and concludes that the stam of a non-Jew is not lishma. He supports his contention from the Bahag and the Geon Rav Cohen Tzedek. In the footnote (fnt. 744), the Ritz Geyitz pp. 92-3, Teshuvot Geonim Shaarei Teshuva 298, Shiltot, Meiri quoting the Raavad, and Rashba teshuva 1:26 are quoted as agreeing with the Ritva. Bet Yosef 460:1 cites the Rashba teshuva 1:26, 593, 3:259 and Hagahot Maimoniyot 6:1 citing the Ravyah 480 also being strict. However, the Orchot Chaim (Chametz Umatzah ch. 116 cited by Bet Yosef) quotes Rashi, Rif, and Ramban as holding like the Raah and it doesn't matter who does the kneading or baking. Darkei Moshe 460:1 quotes the Maharil (Afiyat Matzot ch. 70) who was lenient if there's no other solution but the Darkei Moshe disagrees. Bach 460:1, Magen Avraham 460, and Taz 460:1 accept the Maharil. Mishna Brurah 460:3 is strict though he cites the Magen Avraham as the minority opinion.
    • Chazon Ish OC 6:10 is lenient to consider the spinning of the strings to be lishma when done by machine. He reasons that since the first action is attributed to a human action and is lishma everything that continues is considered to be lishma as well. Chut Shani Pesach pp. 147-8 applies that Chazon Ish about tzitzit for matzah but says that in practice the Chazon Ish was strict unless it was hard for someone since the mesora was to use handmade matzah and not the machine matzot.
    • Is pressing a button considered grama or lishma? Maharsham 4:129 holds that pressing a button is considered removing an obstacle (hasarat hamoneya) and is grama and not lishma. Chesed Lavraham OC 1:3 holds that kneading and baking matzah don't need to be done by a human being, it just needs to be lishma and that is accomplished by the person who pressed the button. Achiezer 3:69 agrees as well as Har Tzvi 1:10 implies.
    • Is it possible to recite a bracha on matzah that isn't made lishma? Yachava Daat 1:14 cites the Oneg Yom Tov 42 and Aznei Yehoshua 1 who hold that it is possible to recite a bracha for a matzah that isn't lishma since at least it fulfills the mitzvah of eating matzah.
  17. Rav Schachter on OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5771 between minutes 101 and 101:30
  18. Yacheve Daat 1:14 writes that since it is a major dispute if the Jew who presses the button to bake the matzot is considered lishma one should avoid the question for the mitzvah deoritta of matzah. Yalkut Yosef 475:32 concurs. See Yabia Omer YD 4:20:9 who references this idea as well. With respect to the concern that a crumb of chametz was mixed into the machine matzah's, Yachava Daat 1:14 writes that they would be nullified and remain nullified on Pesach. Yalkut Yosef (Pesach 5771 447:11) agrees.
  19. Tur end of OC 458 writes that one should bake one's matzot before pesach in case there's any crumbs of chametz mixed in they would be nullified and permitted on Pesach. He is in line with his own opinion in Tur OC 447 that once chametz is nullified in food before pesach it remains nullified. Yabia Omer O.C. 2:23 applies this to machine matzot that might have a crumb of chametz mixed in but was nullified before pesach. He shows that the minhag is like the opinion of Shulchan Aruch that there's no chozer vneer by chametz before pesach.
    • One concern with oat matzah is that the Rama 453:1 writes that the minhag is to use wheat specifically. The Chok Yakov explains that the reason for the minhag is because matzah made from wheat is generally the one most people prefer. He says that if there's no wheat available one could use another one of the four grains that he likes. Eshel Avraham Mbuchach 453:1 and Mishna Brurah 453:2 agree. However, the Maharsham in Daat Torah 453:1 raised another explanation for the minhag. Magen Avraham 453:5 notes that barley causes dough to rise more quickly than wheat. Based on the Magen Avraham, the Maharsham reasons that it is preferable to use wheat matzah's so that there is no concern for chametz. He concludes that after the fact it is not a concern. Minchat Yitzchak 9:49 is concerned for the issue of the Maharsham and does not want to allow oat matzah for that reason that perhaps it wasn't made properly and is chametz. He does not think that oat matzah is a solution for a celiac, though he does not pose another one. Rav Elyashiv (quoted in Dirshu 453:2) held that it is possible for someone who would get sick from eating wheat matzah to eat oat matzah's.
    • Are oats one of the five grains? Rashi Pesachim 35a s.v. shibolet shual holds that oats are one of the five grains. Dr. Felix questioned this based on science. Others answered the questions and vehemently rejected anyone who questioned oats as being one of the five grains. This is the position of Rav Solovetichik in Mpeninei Harav p. 69, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Elyashiv (quoted by Rabbi Yosef Efrati in Mesorah v. 10 p. 66 and Halichot Sadeh v. 57 p. 15), Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Halichot Shlomo Pesach פץ 170 כמאץ 310), Steipler, and Chazon Ish (Rabbi Efrati p. 14).
    • In previous years oat matzah was made by first baking the kernels of oats to make them edible. However, in the process they were roasted so that they couldn't ferment later to become chametz. Is it possible to make matzah with grain that can't become chametz? The Ramban Milchamot 10a argues that one doesn't fulfill the mitzvah of matzah with matzah that was made with dough that couldn't become chametz. Matzah needs to be guarded from becoming chametz but if it can't become chametz it can't fit the requirement of matzah that needs to be guarded. The Rambam Chametz Umatzah 6:5 seems to disagree. He allows matzah made from fruit juices besides wine, oil, honey, and milk, even though fruit juice doesn't allow the dough to rise. Maggid Mishna quotes an opinion that corresponds with the Ramban who argues that fruit juice matzah isn't matzah since it would never become chametz. The Lechem Mishna 6:5 explains that the Rambam presumably held that the type of grains that are necessary for matzah need to be the type that could become chametz, but as long as the type of grains are possible to become chametz even if in this dough it couldn't become chametz it is acceptable as matzah. Pri Chadash 462:1 suggests for the Rambam as well but thinks that the Ramban is correct. Chaye Adam (Nishmat Adam 119:15) holds like the Rambam. Tzemach Tzedek 1:57:2 adopts a similar approach though he does not reach the same conclusion as the Chaye Adam. The Magen Avraham 454:1 seems to follow the Rambam as Rabbi Akiva Eiger there notes is in disagreement with the Ramban, while in Magen Avraham 471:5 he seems to adopt the Ramban approach. Dagul Mirvava highlights the tension between the two conflicting Magen Avraham's. Chatom Sofer 471:5 answers that the Magen Avraham requires the type of flour and type of liquid be able to create chametz but the actual mixture doesn't need to become chametz. Pri Megadim MZ 462:2 seems to be strict but cites both Magen Avraham's. Shevet Halevi 9:117 is lenient for the oat matzah which were made with roasted oats. He adds that they should listen to the bracha of al achilat matzah from someone else. Today the oats matzah's are made differently.
  20. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 458:1. Chok Natan 458:1 writes that the time for Pesach is according to the Bach only 6.5 hours into the day and according to the Magen Avraham after 6 hours into the day. The Magen Avraham cites Tosfot Pesachim 5a, Yoma 28a, and Niddah 63b as proofs. Chok Natan rejects these proofs and supports the Bach from the Roke'ach 280, Mordechai Pesachim n. 533, and Shibolei Haleket 213.
  21. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 462:1. See Rambam Chametz Umatza 6:6
  22. Daily Halacha by Rabbi Mansour. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 117:6 writes that the elderly and sick may eat Matzah Ashirah which is made from fruit juice, eggs, milk, or wine as long as no water was added. However, if there's not such a great need one shouldn't bake Matzah Ashirah.
    • Rashi Pesachim 36a s.v. ein holds that matzah made with fruit juices could become chametz nuksheh, inferior chametz and it causes the flour to rise faster than water. Maharam Chalavah cites the Raavad as agreeing with Rashi. However, Otzar Hageonim Pesachim 35a n. 85-7 quoting Rav Natronai Gaon, Rav Kohen Tzedek, and Rav Shmuel Hakohen, Rabbenu Tam in Tosfot 35b s.v. umey, Tosfot Rashba 35b s.v. umey, Rabbenu Peretz 36a s.v. isa, Rosh Pesachim 2:13, Rif Pesachim 10a, Rambam Chametz Umatzah 5:2 and 5:20, Ritva Pesachim 35a s.v. dardeki quoting the Ramban, and Maharam Chalavah 35a s.v. amar all hold that pure fruit juice doesn't cause chametz. Rabbenu Dovid defends Rashi and says that the Ramban originally explained like Rashi and later changed his mind. Michtam 35b quotes the Hashlama who agrees with Rashi. Tosfot Chachmei Angliya 35a write that originally the Riva was lenient and later retracted.