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March 29, 2011

Rabbi Hershal Schachter Approves Soft Matzoh For Ashkenazim

Soft Matza Rabbi Schachter There is no custom that restricts Ashkenazim to eating hard Matza. Although Ashkenazim have eaten hard matzoh for many years, the practice has the same significance as the practice of making parochet of blue material rather than of red or maroon material.

Soft Matza Rabbi Schachter

The above letter from Rabbi Hershal Schachter was sent out attached to the following email from Rabbi Meir Gershon Rabi, who runs a kosher supervision agency (hashgacha) in Australia:

Shalom to you, my Friends
I am pleased to send this note from HaRav Schachter, the Rosh HaYeshiva of YU and senior Halachic advisor to OU Kosher.
 
A summary of HaRav Schachter's note.
There is no custom that restricts Ashkenasim from eating hard Matza.
Although Ashkenasim have eaten hard Matza for many years, such a practice has the same significance as the practice of making the Parochet of blue material rather than of red or maroon material.
Besides, there is evidence from the Mishna Berura that "Matza made as soft as a sponge" can be used for the Mitzvah of eating Matza.
Furthermore, the Rema who mentions that Matza should be made as Rekikin, means to say that Matza should be made thin, even less than an Etzba (about 12mm), not one Tefach thick (about 8cm) as permitted by the Mechaber. He does not mean that Matza should be made as thin nor as hard, as wafers.

--
Best,

Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
[Kosher VeYosher
Australia]

 

Comments

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Blurb at the top should say "restricts Ashkenazim from eating SOFT matzah".

More than about time.
In Israel there are people who study Temple rituals who have been making soft matzah, thick matzah, shaped matzah, etc. for years.
It's pretty certain that the original matzah our ancestors ate on the way out of Egypt was soft matzah. If anything, the charred circular crap we are told is the most "frum" is an innovation and soft matzah is the original tradition.

It should be added that it not only states that there should be no problem for Ashkenazim to eat it but writes that it is permissible for Ashkenazim to use soft matzo for matzot mitzva (the mitzva of eating matzo at the seder), and it is regarding that which he compares the change to changing the color of the parochet in a shul "because color is not [factored in as] part of the custum."

Also, you should change the caption at the top like TDL noted.

Oh, well, if the Rema said it... [rolls eyes]. He's also the guy who made chicken-swinging mandatory for these lunatics.

Well, thank God that burning issue is settled. I'm sure the frummies will all be rushing out now to buy soft matzah. [/sarcasm]

(Meanwhile, where does one buy it? I've never seen it, or even heard of it. Do the Sephardim use it?)

wow. i finally agree with jeff. i never thoght i'd see the day failedmessiah had a halachic discussion.thanks jeff, for bringing this website back to its roots

In Israel it is commonly called teimani matzah, and many ashkenazim have been eating it for years. It's common sense, and Rav Schachter just put in print for the brain-paralyzed religious community.

It's commonly sold frozen

the yemenites eat soft matza, it looks very much like a laffa. it is widely believed that the yemenites hold the 'purest' (for lack of a better word) tradition.

The original matzoh was soft matzoh, a lot like chapati. Middle Eastern Jews still eat it. Hard matzoh only came into fashion a few centuries ago.

Sounds interesting. Hopefully it will become commonly available this pesach.

The original matzoh was soft matzoh, a lot like chapati. Middle Eastern Jews still eat it. Hard matzoh only came into fashion a few centuries ago.

Posted by: A. Nuran | March 29, 2011 at 10:02 AM

Because Ashkenazim lost the mesorah how too make it & got nervous. Korech means to roll up, it was a wrap,like a shawama of barbequed lamb horse raddish & lettuce in a wrap.
Even a century ago, women made matzos on their own fire places in Eastern Europe, & those were fine for Pesach.
Today there is commercialized business of Matzoh Baking, which benefits many poor families, who do the work, in Israel alot of ladies from the Mizrach, feed their families from the job. It is said that it enhances the mitzvah of eating matzah, & some forbade machine matzohs for that reason, so as not tolose employment of those workers. Sounds a little like trade unions I guess.

Check out the cost of soft Matzo and I think you will go back to Lubavitcher hand shemurah. And the Shatzer matzo tastes even better and is still cheaper than Soft Matzo
Why is it that Sefardim wish to safe guard their Massorah , but we Ashkenazim can't get enough of Sefardi food ,customs etc etc. What is wrong with our own Masorah and traditions.
By the way I wonder how amny Sefardim in Israel eat this soft Matzo .
Halacha is not the only determining element if deciding our ritual , its also a matter of tribal rites as Mordecai Kaplan would say. Its a way of conecting with our ancestors .And at least for the past 300 -400 years we ahve been eating hard matzos . I shall stick with that No Thank you for the Halachic advise.I have enough Pita bread year round.

i am ashkenazi...on pesach i decide i want to be sefardic. this way i can eat rice etc.
why and how can i do this?
because from way back when, we're all mixed. before poland, there was italy, before italy there was spain..we're all mixed.


That's what is so great about Rabbi Shachter - bigger Talmid Chochom, and actually has a brain. Check out some of the stuff he has to say on the Aguda/Moetzes.

Cool. Never heard of this stuff. Going to do my major Pesah shopping in Monsey soon. Anybody know where I can get this stuff there?
And has the Monsey Pathmark been replaced yet?
And what about the place on 306 past Rockland Kosher; any insights?

While on matzah .....

On Sunday, baking matza in Brooklyn, the Rebbe called everyone over to show a matza whose edge had curled over and had been baked that way. Carefully unrolling it, he showed that under the 'lip' there was a moist, reddish-brown deposit. "this", he announced, "is the origin of the blood libel! (Alilat dam). When Christians saw this they thought it was blood!". Anyone have any info on this????????

1. monsey pathmark is closed.
2. all supermarkets, rockland kosher, monsey glatt, wesley kosher..they're all great. if you need kosher food.
3. monsey glatt on main street off of 306 has the largest selection.
and the butcher is very nice.

Zaiman Alpert writes:
Why is it that Sefardim wish to safe guard their Massorah , but we Ashkenazim can't get enough of Sefardi food ,customs etc etc. What is wrong with our own Masorah and traditions.

It's because Sephardi food is better than Ashkenazi. A LOT better.

I have always eaten "hard" but not shmura matzoh , and I see no particular urgency for a leniency on this (we sometimes get SOME shmura for the seder, which my wife prefers).

I also try to keep full ashkenazic wrt kitniyos, though if I find I need SOME leniency, I will sometimes allow myself kitniyos. And of course, following R Golinkin, I would never allow the restriction on kitniyos to get in the way of eating at the home of sephardi friends on Pesach.

On Sunday, baking matza in Brooklyn, the Rebbe called everyone over to show a matza whose edge had curled over and had been baked that way. Carefully unrolling it, he showed that under the 'lip' there was a moist, reddish-brown deposit. "this", he announced, "is the origin of the blood libel! (Alilat dam). When Christians saw this they thought it was blood!". Anyone have any info on this????????

Posted by: Curious | March 29, 2011 at 12:43 PM

That would only work if the blood libel originated no earlier than 600 or so years ago or matzoh entered into the libel about that time. It's origin is much earlier, but I'm not sure when matzoh entered into libel.

The problem with keeping "full Ashkenazi" on kitniyot is that it eliminates, mmmm, pretty much everything from bones to coconuts if you follow the logic.

If you have a griddle or a good oven it's childishly simple to make your own soft matzoh. Getting the appropriate flour or storing and grinding your own grain is left as an exercise to the reader.

I follow the precedent, not the "logic". The precedent involves banning a specified list of items (I also follow the masorti decision to allow kitniyos derivatives).

I dont think the logic makes sense. But like an above poster, I see it as a folkway, that maintains continuity. Also, following the minhag of your particular ancestry is ITSELF a folkway of the Jewish people. Again, I would drop such minhagim for a compelling reason - but where no such compelling reason exists, I prefer to keep them.

(Meanwhile, where does one buy it? I've never seen it, or even heard of it. Do the Sephardim use it?)

In US, Tortillas is the way to go, brah !!! ;)

I could never understand how you were meant to make a "sandwich" with the hard matzoh. Clearly this would only be possible with the original-style soft matzoh, not this new-fangled hard stuff.

I could never understand how you were meant to make a "sandwich" with the hard matzoh.

Hello !?!

Hard-shell tacos !

Besides, hard matzos is preferable for some purposes, i.e hiking, camping, e.t.c..

Loshon Hora, no horseradish: That's a north European thing. Marror to them was lettuce or some bitter root. (Not sharp, bitter.)

Interestingly, the only reason they were once worried about "gebrokts" is because they used soft matza even among Ashkenazim. There's no risk of gebrokts with hard matza. Oddly, it's only (some) Ashkenazim, with their thin matza, that worry. Sephardim, with their thick, don't.

Zalman, not sure what you mean. How can anything objectively taste "better"? If people want, let them.

masortiman, someone had to drop the old customs to make the new ones.

@Ruthie -

Thanks!

Go to http://softmatza.com

White or Whole Wheat.

I wonder how many people here can make their own matzos?

Anyone?

It is very easy, you know...

"masortiman, someone had to drop the old customs to make the new ones"

that should be done slowly and organically, by the wisdom of the folk.

I hold by several such new minhagim - for example wine and cheese made by gentiles. And with fairly radical changes in halacha (made for compelling reasons) a high level of gender egalitarianism, and ordination for gays.

In the midst of all that change, I think holding on to SOME old minhagim for the sake of continuity is a good idea. Since I have NEVER had a problem with hard matzot, and indeed they are part of the taste of Pesach for me, I see no good reasons to change, and plenty of good reasons NOT to.

how do you make matzoh brei with soft matzos, wise guys?

Aleksandr, I've been making my own matzoh (hard and soft) for years. Hand mill for the grain to make flour. Water. Salt. Heat Matzoh.

Nice. Too bad you only one tho ;)

I do not use hand mill and salt...

Although, a pinch of salt may not be such a bad idea... I guess I'm going to have a chance to try it soon ;)

visit the website www.realmatza.com
see also the comments by HaRav Elyashiv, http://www.realmatza.com/harav-elyashiv.html

We might be able to arrange delivery airmail to USA and Israel, keep your eye on the website

anyone can buy it at
softmatza.com

Meir Rabi has just distributed the email set out below.
His translation of Rabbi Weitner's letter is at best loose and at worst downright misleading. He has added the following words which do not appear in the original Hebrew.
"and inspected them. After careful examination"
I hope his kashrut supervision is better than his translation skills.
*********
From: Meir Rabi
Sent: Mon, 28 March, 2011 10:27:50 AM
Subject: Soft Matza

We have launched a website www.realmatza.com which promotes soft Matza

Rabbi Weitner, the Rav of Tnuva, sent a sample of this soft Matza to HaRAv Y Sh Elyashiv, and this is what Rabbi Weitner wrote me (The Hebrew looks good on my screen I hope it does on yours as well)

ביקשתי מחבר לקחת את המצות שהשארת לי לרב יוסף שלום אלישיב שליט"א והרב אלישיב ראה את המצות ואמר שהצורה והרכות שלהן איננה מעכבת ואיננה מפריעה לכשרותן.

which says something like,
Rabbi Elyashiv saw these Matzot and inspected them. After careful examination he stated that from what he observes, these Matzot would be perfectly Kosher for Pesach.

HaRav Elyashiv is merely observing that Matza of this type and soft texture, produced according to all the dictates of Halacha will be absolutely Kosher for Pesach.

Of course, this is not and can not be taken as a statement of endorsement for this particular soft Matza, since HaRav Elyashiv is unaware of the details of the process of manufacture.

Best,

Rabbi Meir G. Rabi
***********

Oh dear, I think the whole gebruks humra would have to be called into question of soft matzo were deemed acceptable.

The halakhic reason behind gebrucks is 1) that a pocket of unbaked flour, not completely mixed with water, might have endured the baking process as unchanged flour, or 2) a pocket of dough not fully baked might have undergone the baking process, but because of its state could be rendered hametz immediately on further contact with water.

As we always understood it, the baking process for matzo entailed baking the dough until there remained no recogisable moisture. The frummer you are, the more you bake your dough. Indeed, some ultra-hasidish families who book out the Lubav bakeries for private matzo baking sessions produce ridiculously burned matzo which they consider to be a hiddur mitzvoh for matzos mitzvah (the kazasim eaten in direct fulfillment of the biblical commandment).

With that mindset, and that understanding of chometz and matzo, I cannot fathom how soft matzo would be anything but chometz gomer, having spent more than 18 minutes in a moist state.

Which obviously it isn't.

I personally have known Rabbi Rabi for over 40 years, and trust his hashgochoh 100%

He is a fine, modest and upstanding yid, and is a good example to all of us.

And even though KA would like to stomp on his head, he does not hold a grudge against them.

He is my guide and mentor.

On the matter of moisture content - unless the matzoh has been burnt to a cinder, it still has a high moisture content, whether it is soft or hard.

The ikur is, that the dough must have been cooked completely, with no raw parts.

And if you think logically about it, the whole idea of a hard matzah, with rows of tiny holes all the way through it, is an artificial construct, and in no way would have resembled the "pita" style bread that the Israelites would have made when leaving Egypt. Why ? - because, they were the 'inventors' of this process, and they would have had no need to put those holes in, as they had no requirement to eat unleavened bread.

So, while we are trying to copy what they did, we have to overdo it? just like everything else we do...Davkah !

the logic will be we have been doing the hard mazho for some many years it hard become tradition and therefore should not be changed one iota


as many other stupid things we do

ASHENAZIM NEED VERY THIN MATZOS REGARDLESS OF HARDNESS SO SEFARDIC MATZOS DON'T WORK
OPEN HALACHA IN SHU"O O"C 460:5 ALSO SEEMS THAT WE EAT HARD AS WELL RABBI RABI IS AN OUTLIER RABBI SHCHATER'S LETTER IS NOT WELL TRANSLATED

I Just checked the source mentioned in this letter against the source mentioned in the previous comment. The source in the letter is about the laws of Zayis and is really negligible in he face of the RAMA in 460 previously quoted. There is NO indication that soft matzos were actually used in the mishna berura only that air pockets in both vegetables and soft matzos are not included in the shiur Kzayis. Furthermore, the language of the misnah berura sufganim is the word used in 460 for gebrochts products and may be referring here to the kzayis amounts for matza balls not matza!

Next thing you know, Ashkenazim will develop a taste for roasted leg of lamb and will learn how to do nikkur.

http://oukosher.org/index.php/common/article/whats_the_truth_about_inikkur_achoraim_i/

We have nikkur in the eastern hemisphere.

Granted the matza doesnt have to be cracker like however since the a'may ha'oretz seem to be prevalent here, I wil fill you in on something. The reason for the hard matza is for practical reasons. They dont want it to leaven. When you put it in the oven it has to bake quickly. Thick dough wont bake as fast.


On the other hand for those learning Menachos now, it sounds like the menachos, WHICH WERE NOT CHOMETZ, were CRACKER in the way the mishna/gemora talks about breaking them apart.

Aside from the issue of Ashkenazim eating soft matzos on Pesach, the hashgocha of those "matzos" produced in Australia cannot be relied upon. See the following alert issued by Rabbi Moshe Gutnick shlita of Sydney that casts significant doubt on the status of the "matza" that were produced last year by this same hashgocha...

WARNING RE: SOFT MATZAH – PESACH 5771

It has come to our attention that Kosher V’Yosher has purportedly supervised for Pesach soft laffa type Matzot. As we have done in the past, we wish to warn kosher consumers that in our opinion the supervision of Kosher V’Yosher cannot be relied upon and these Matzot may not be used on Pesach.

Last year, when Kosher V’Yosher supervised these Matzot for Pesach, according to the manufacturer and our visitation of the plant, the following occurred:
1. Ordinary flour that was not kosher for Pesach was used.
2. The conveyor belt was sprinkled with maize starch
3. The process heat was not sufficient for the baking of Matzah

In other words, the matzot were not permitted to be eaten on Pesach and were likely actual Chametz. It is therefore our opinion that Kosher V’Yosher cannot be relied upon.

Furthermore Kosher V’Yosher this year on their website have sought to use “approbations” from two renowned experts in Kashrut to bolster their position – Rav Elyashiv Shlit”a and Rav Shachter Shlit”a.

However the words of these Rabbis have in our opinion been misused by Kosher V’Yosher. Upon hearing of the manner in which their words were being used the two Rabbis issued separately the following statements:

Rav Elyashiv Shlita:
אסור לתת הכשר למצות רכות לקהילות אשכנז כי זו פירצה. ביהדות אשכנז אין על זה מסורת ואף פעם לא נהגו לאפשר אכילת מצות רכות.

Translation: It is forbidden to give a hechsher to soft matzot for Ashkenazi communities as this is a “pirtsah” a breakdown ( in standards). In Ashkenazi Jewry there is no such tradition (for making soft matzot) and at no time was it customary to enable the eating of soft matzot.

Rav Shachter Shlit”a:

My note written last month regarding Sfardic matzos was somehow taken as an endorsement of some specific matzah plant in Queens. Others understood that I was obviously referring to some specific matzah plant in Petach Tikvah. Let it be known that I am not familiar with either plant, and my note was not intended to endorse any specific matzah manufacturer in the NY area or in any other location. One must take care to use only such food products made under strict Rabbinic supervision and approved by one’s local Orthodox Rabbi, and especially with respect to Pesach products where the laws of kashrus are much more complicated and much more serious.

The above statements speak for themselves and in our opinion the lack of credibility of Kosher V’Yosher. Contrary to the Kosher V’Yosher website, Rav Elyashiv clearly forbids the making of such matzot for Ashkenazim and Rav Shachter does not allow his note to be used as an endorsement.

Kosher V’Yosher can simply not be relied upon and the soft matzot under the supervision of Kosher V’yosher must be considered forbidden for Pesach use.

The Kashrut Authority
The Sydney Beth Din
The Yeshiva Rabbinate

Here we go again. Rav Elyashiv did say, didn't say. Did. Didn't.
Either no-one truly knows what he said, or someone is lying, or Rav Elyashiv said this one day and that the other.

See RealMatza.com if you want to see the real thing.

Also see http://machonshilo.org/en/eng/component/content/article/34-featured/550-soft-massa-its-the-real-thing for an explanation of why that’s the real thing and how Ashkanazim came to eat those wretched crackers (hint: European ovens and ignorance about how to bake flatbread).

One final note: to everyone who likes spreading the anachronism that Hillel invented the sandwich, stop it!

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