Thursday, March 22, 2007

Passover- The Procedure of Motzi Matzah on Pesach Night

Passover- The Procedure of Motzi Matzah on Pesach Night

One of the parts of the Seder is Motzi Matzah. It’s worthy just to review how that part of the Seder works.

At the point of Motzi Matzah one should have three Matzot on the Keara (Seder plate). The top Matzah and the bottom Matzah is full, and the middle Matzah is the Matzah that was broken for the procedure of Yachatz, (which was earlier in the Hagadah.) The larger piece of the broken Matzah is off the table hidden away to be used later for the Afikoman, and the smaller piece is in between the two full pieces.

The custom is that the Ba’al Habayit (head of household) lifts all 3 Matzot and has everybody at the Seder in mind, and he makes the first Beracha while holding all three Matzot. He recites, “…Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’Aretz.” The reason he holds the three Matzot is because he needs to make a Beracha of Hamotzi on 2 complete Matzot which is from the law of Lechem Mishne. The law says that on Shabbat you need two complete loaves, so on Yom Tov as well you need two complete loaves.

After he makes the Beracha of HaMotzi, he drops the third Matzah. Now he holds the top Matzah and the middle Matzah (broken piece) together and says the Beracha of “…Asher Kidishanu BeMtizvotav Vetzivanu Al Achilat Matzah”. Again, he has everybody in mind. There is no ‘Baruch Hu Baruch Shimo’. There is just Amen. And then after he finishes that Beracha he simultaneously breaks from both the top and the middle Matzah, he dips in salt like our Minhag is all year around, and then he eats it. He then gives to everyone around the table a piece from both the top Matzah and the small bottom Matzah.

Now, Maran (Rabbi Joseph ben Ephraim Caro 1488-1575) holds that one should eat 2 Kezetim of Matzah at this procedure of Motzi Matzah. Two Kezetim is a Kabetza (the volume of an egg, defined as 57.6 grams or 2 fluid ounces) of Matzah. But, the Biur Halacha takes this Halacha to task and really he doesn’t understand the logic of why we should have to eat 2 Kezetim. It’s also brought down that the Chazon Ish (Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz 1878-1953) understood like the Biur Halacha. However we can not sway from the opinion of Maran, who stated clearly that for Motzi Matzah you need 2 Kezetim. Now, you can’t get 2 Kezetim for every single person around the table from the slices that the Ba’al Habayit is holding. So it is obvious that he is going to take from the box. Which means that he is able to take Matzah from the box. The Ba’al Habayit should be knowledgeable in this, in order so that we are sure that everybody will receive the proper amount. Many people think that whatever they get is what they have to eat. It is not so. The Ba’al Habyit should be aware that he has to give everybody at least 60 grams of Matzah. One Kezayit is 30 grams, 2 Kezetim is 60 grams.

It is also has to be pointed out that the Matzah must be eaten while leaning. If one does not lean on his left side he would then have to repeat eating the Matzah over again. So therefore, we have to remind each other beforehand not to forget to lean. Again, one who did not lean during the eating of the Matzah, must repeat it again.

Last not but not least, there is a time frame that one is supposed to eat this Matzah. Lechatchila, one should try to eat the required amount of Matzah within 4 minutes. If he can not eat it within 4 minutes he can go up to 6-7 minutes. But certainly one should not sit back and eat the Matzah at his own pace where he would finish eating in 8 or 9 minutes. Then already he ate outside the window of the Shiur.

That would be the Motzi Matzah.

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