Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Matzah Ashira Part II

As mentioned we are not allowed to eat matzah on Erev Pesach. However, this only applies to matzah that one can eat by the seder. What is the status of matzah ashira-matzah made from fruit juice.

The gemara in Pesachim 35a:b has a machlokes whether "mei peiros", fruit juices make something chametz. L'halacha it is a machlokes rishonim. Rashi holds that matzah ashira (matzah made with mei peiros) is chametz nuksha while Tosafos (35b) holds it is matzah. Everyone agrees that one can not use matzah ashira for the seder. Rashi obviously holds you can't use it because it is chametz and can't be eaten at all on Pesach. Tosafos holds (based on the gemara) that it is not "lechem oni" and therefore is pasul for the seder. In fact Tosafos writes that Rabbeinu Tam would eat matzah ashira on Erev Pesach since the only matzah one can not eat Erev Pesach is matzah that you can eat by the seder.

Shittas Rema

Halacha l'Ma'aseh the Mechabeir paskens that one can eat matzah ashira on Pesach while the Rema says it is not our minhag unless you are sick or old. The Rema doesn't indicate if he is being choshesh for Rashi or if it is for a different reason. However, the Aruch Hashulchan writes that the reason for the Rema is that we are afraid some water might have gotten mixed in and matzah ashira with water becomes chamtez very quickly.

Being that the Rema says that we don't eat matzah ashira on Pesach, he also says that one should not eat it after chatzos on Erev Pesach. In other words we should treat it as chametz and it is only muttar to eat as long as one can eat chametz.

Noda B'Yehuda

The Noda B'Yehuda has an interesting teshuva where he focuses on Rashi. He says that according to Rashi matzah ashira is chametz nukshah. The Noda B'Yehuda proves that chametz nukshah is only m'd'rabanan and being that is the case it is only assur to eat when Pesach starts. It is muttar to eat the whole day of Erev Pesach. According to the Noda B'Yehuda, both Rashi and Tosafos will allow you to eat matzah ahsira the whoel Erev Pesach and one can even use it for seudah shlishis in the afternoon. L'maskana the Noda B'Yehuda paskens that he doesn't want to go against the Rema but b'shas hadchak one can eat it all day Erev Pesach

Reasons to be machmir

There are a few reasons to be machmir, specifically with regard to egg matzah.

1) The Rambam does not count eggs as mei peiros and therefore egg matzah would not be matzah ashira

2) The Bach and Maharal hold one could use matzah ashira for the seder

3) If the matzah ashira has water in it it might be considered real chametz

4) The beracha is mezonos and it is not lechem for a seudah

Rav Moshe

Rav Moshe (chelek 1 siman 155) holds one can use matzah ashira, even egg matzah made with water. He says most Rishonim and Poskim hold eggs are mei peiros. Also, based on a Magan Avraham he understands that matzah ashira with water is still matzah ashira. Finally, although the beracha is mezonos if you are koveia seudah it is hamotzi and you can use it for a seudah.

One final note: I noticed in the sefer Erev Pesach Sh'Chal B'Shabbos that he quotes from the journals in HaPardes and HaMaor various discussions that took place in 1950's on this topic. In fact Rav Moshe's teshuva appears in HaPardes Shevat 5718/Feb 1958. The other issue of HaPardes is Nissan 5714/April 1954 where Rav Moshe Rozen says you can't use egg matzah. Both journals are available at

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