Thursday, March 22, 2007

Passover- Is It Permissible To Eat Egg Matzah

Passover- Is It Permissible To Eat Egg Matzah

Just one Halacha in Hilchot Pesach regarding the Minhag with Matzah Ashira, which they call Egg Matzah. Regarding this, Gemara Pesachim writes that when one kneads flour with fruit juices it does not become Chametz.

However, there is a Machloket amongst the Rishonim on what that exactly means. Some opinions hold like Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki 1040-1105) that it’s not Chametz as per the Torah, however it can become Chametz Nukshe, which is considered Chametz according to the Rabanan. But, most Rishonim including the Tosafot (basic commentary of many scholars throughout the 12th and 13th centuries),argue on Rashi and say, that when you knead flour with fruit juice it can not become Chametz at all. It’s not like kneading water with flour which has the ability to become Chametz if it is left without kneading it. With juice it is not like that. It does not have the ability to make the flour into Chametz.

The opinion of Maran (Rabbi Joseph ben Ephraim Caro 1488-1575) in Shulchan Aruch is like those Rishonim that say that it does not become Chametz when kneading dough with fruit juices. But such is true only as one is careful during the kneading process not to allow any water whatsoever to get mixed in. If water does get in, it is then worse because when water is mixed in, it then becomes Chametz immediately. So there’s a very fine line here. Maran says so long as there is no mixture of water, and it’s clear that there is monitoring and a valid Hashgacha, and everything is done carefully, it is then permissible to eat Egg Matzah (Matzah Ashira) on Pesach.

That’s also the opinion of the Peri Chadash, and Rav Chida (Rav Chaim Yoseif David Azulai, 1724-1806) writes from his grandfather Rabbi Avraham Azulai that such was the Minhag in Sefarad. Therefore the Halacha for Sephardim that wants to eat these cakes or these cookies or Matzah Ashira on the holiday, is that they certainly have what to rely on based on all these Poskim.

Ashkenazim on the other hand are more Machmir (stringent). It’s because of the opinion of Rashi that fruit juice can be a problem, and because there is concern that maybe a drop of water can get mixed in makes the risk dangerous. So they are only lenient for old people or for sick people like the Rama brings down.

Pesach in general is a holiday on which we are Machmir on our intake of food, and everyone who is Machmir when it comes to these things, will come upon him blessings. For example, if a person only wants to eat Matzah Shemura during the whole holiday, upon him will come blessings. Or if one eats just regular Matzah the whole holiday, upon him will come blessings. So if one doesn’t want to get involved in the whole controversy of Egg Matzah he doesn’t have to. It’s not a Mitzvah to eat Egg Matzah.

But regarding the Halacha of whether or not it is permissible is that those that want to have Egg Matza on Pesach, the halacha for Sephardim is they definitely have Maran to rely on, so long as the Hashgacha on the Matzah Ashira is legitimate, and it’s a proper Mashgiach that we know that was making sure that it was done the proper way.

The Halacha is Egg Matzah (Matzah Ashira) for Sephardim is permissible.

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