Thursday, March 26, 2009

Halocho #298 - Can Matza be folded?

Matza is made from flour and water. Nothing else.

The water is drawn from a well or spring the night before it is used. The water for Sunday's baking is drawn on Thursday night.

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 needs to be ground into flour at least 24 hours before it is used, to give it time to cool down.

18 minutes after water is added to flour the dough becomes chametz. Matza baking happens in 18-minute batches after which all equipment is thoroughly cleaned to remove all traces of dough.

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 Mitzvat 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.

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

Chodesh Tov and Shabbat Shalom

- Danny Thursday, Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5769

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