Thursday, April 10, 2008

Halocho #92 - Can Matza be folded?

Matza is made from flour and water. Nothing else. The water is drawn the night before it is used. The water for Sunday's baking is drawn on Thursday night. One can draw water for many days in advance, but it's preferable to do it one day at a time. The water is stored in a closed room to ensure that no flour-dust falls into it. The flour is ground from wheat that was harvested while still slightly green; once wheat is fully ripe it can become chametz (leaven) even before being harvested if it comes into contact with water. The wheat is carefully stored to ensure it remains dry. The wheat needs to be ground into flour at least 24 hours before it is used, to give it time to cool down. 18 minute after water is added to flour the dough becomes chametz. Matza baking runs in 18 minute batches after which all equipment is thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of dough. Matza needs to be produced away from direct sunlight - and the room should be cool, as dough becomes chametz sooner in a warm room. Once the dough is put into the oven it may not be removed until it is fully baked. Matza used at the Seder needs to be made with the intention of it being used for a Mitzva; everybody involved in its production says "L'shem Mitzvos Matza" (for the purpose of the Mitzva of Matza) before all activities. This is know as Shmura Matza. If a Matza has a fold in it, or a bubble more than a finger high (2.5 cm), then the fold or bubble are considered chametz and need to be broken off and disposed of. the rest of the Matza can be eaten. It is recommended to check ones Matzot before Pessach to ensure there are no folds or bubbles. One is forbidden to eat Matza on Erev Pessach. Most people have the custom to stop eating Matza from Rosh Chodesh Nissan already. Some don't eat Matza an entire month before Pessach. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch: 108, 109, 110 - Danny

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