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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Soft Matzah?

I was reading R' Aviner's latest SMS responses, and I found this one to be particularly interesting:
Q: Is it permissible for Ashkenazim to eat the soft matzah made by the Sefardim?
A: Yes, it is not chametz or kitniyot.
That's a rather good reason, but I feel like most Ashkenazim would still feel uncomfortable or "weird" eating soft matzah. But in truth, why shouldn't we? Would we hold that perhaps it is chametz, at least to us? Assuming that we wouldn't (since it would in essence be accusing Sephardim of transgressing a core commandment), then why not eat it as well?

28 comments:

  1. I have often considered marrying a sefardi just for the sake of being able to eat those matzahs. I don't like Ashkenazi matzahs...

    But in all seriousness, these is something about minhagim. Desecrating a minhag is a serious thing. My father has many stories to prove this point (needless to say, he stands VERY firmly behind all minhagim). For example, there is a story about a rav who declined a well paid, highly prestigious position as rav of a town. When asked why, he explained that he had witnessed them scorning various minhagim.
    So while it would not be an aveirah for me to eat soft matzohs, I would assume it would be very much the wrong thing.

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  3. I read somewhere that the first matzot made by the Jews leaving Egypt, were probably soft--if they were baked so fast, they probably didn't have time to crispen up.

    As far as minhagim go, I'm not really sure SD's story proves his point. Some minhagim have questionable origins. And some minhagim are downright wrong...

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  4. and Sefardi matzah is closer to the actual matzah we left Egypt with. BTW i think that is where shwarma in a lafacomes from, the "Korban Pesach" (Pesach sacrafice), in Sefardi matzah!

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  5. See my post about soft matza, from last year:
    http://parsha.blogspot.com/2008/02/soft-matza.html

    kt,
    josh

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  6. Yay! I've always hoped someone would say this was OK for ashkenazim!!

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  7. Serach, I have heard that many times before. Is there a source for it? And if so, why is there such a widespread minhag to use hard matzohs?

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  8. SD - So that's the question - is it actually minhag that we don't eat soft matzah? Or is it just something we never really had around in Ahkenazi countries? It sounds like it's the latter.

    Baila, Serach - That's what most people around here seem to think as well. The sephardim here will tell you exactly what Serach says, which is that it's like a shwarma in a lafa.

    Josh - Very interesting, and interesting that R' Schachter also okays it.

    Noyam - Ask your LOR. :)

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  9. Scraps - Eh. :)

    SD - Hard matzos likely came about in Europe, when that was all they could do. Even then, their matzos were much thicker than ours - hence the minhagim on gebrokts, because some people were concerned that the matzos were so thick, if there were unbaked flour in middle and it got touched with water that chometz could be made.

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  10. Ezzie- I don't get why the Europeans couldn't make the matzahs the way they did in the sefardi countries?
    And you have really gotten me curious about this minhag thing. I'll have to ask my father to look into it. :-)

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  11. SD - Different wheat, flour, laws... honestly can't recall. :)

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  12. Ezzie- I'll have to look into this. I'm beyond curious now. ;)
    I'll let you know...

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  13. Ezz, I believe the Rama discusses the new Minhag of hard matzohs, and does not view them favorably. It appears that hard Matzahs have been Ashkenzai custom for hundreds of years now.

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  14. The other problem is that the Askenazik Matzah really shouldnt be Hamotzi. It is classic Pas Haba Bkisin and a mezunos (unless eaten in sufficent amount)

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  15. Because it's not your minhag and minhagim while they may seem just like "nice" things they are considered halach and while kitniyot are only a minhag you wouldn't THINK of having rice or peanuts would you?

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  16. "never really had in ashkenazik countries" often qualifies as a minhag.

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  17. SD - Keep me posted!

    DAG, Jerk - So the question is if that qualifies as actual minhag. R' Schachter and R' Aviner seem to think not, which I find really interesting.

    Also, this is very different from kitniyos. Here, we're talking about a product made from the exact same ingredients and made within the limits we hold of - but we have never had.

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  18. And how does that differ from all those people who don't eat say, tomatos on peasach b/c they didn't have them in EU? that's the reason it became a minhag. Come what may it is very important to stick to our minhagim as opposed to finding excuses to eat shwarma as we like it on peasach.

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  19. Have to agree with Jerk that Pesach should not be so much about what we can't have and more about what we can. You can't live without shwarma for a week?! Until I read this posting I was not even aware that sfardim have a different kind of matzah. Actually, why should I have been? Hubby and I "inherited" our minhagim from our families and what logical, plausible, necessary reason would we have for changing them or looking for other ones? As to two rabbanim saying that they are fine for ashkenazim on Pesach, with all due respect to those rabbanim, 1)they aren't either of them the Rav we go to for a psak and 2)apparently they aren't the majority opinion or we would have heard this from many other sources as well.

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  20. Jerk - Yes/no. Most of what you eat now over Pesach is likely stuff we didn't before as well, not to mention we should not get caught up on the idea that just because something wasn't done does not mean it can't or shouldn't be done.

    ProfK - We're not talking about any two rabbonim here; we're talking about two of the most major poskim outside of the Charedi world, both of whom are respected even within the Charedi world. That's rather telling.

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  21. Ezzie - We're not talking about any two rabbonim here; we're talking about two of the most major poskim outside of the Charedi world, both of whom are respected even within the Charedi world. That's rather telling.

    And the two are generally known to be machmir rather maykel!

    Chag Kasher Ve'Sameah everyone.

    Mark [took apart the entire fridge last night and washed every piece, tonight it's the freezers turn]

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  22. And the two are generally known to be machmir rather than maykel!

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  23. not to mention we should not get caught up on the idea that just because something wasn't done does not mean it can't or shouldn't be done.

    But isn't that how a lot of minhagim came about in the first place? Because of the times, or what was/wasn't done, etc.?

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  24. Anon - Also true!

    Erachet - Yes! Which is why it's important to differentiate between minhag yisrael and minhag shtus, and why even minhag is something we will sometimes look at and get rid of if it no longer makes sense or in other cases. (Usually done on a personal level.)

    Beyond that, you have issues such as this which seem to not be necessarily minhag. R' Schachter and R' Aviner seem to believe that in this case - or perhaps they still would not eat it, but are noting it's allowed? Unclear.

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  25. soft matza is good... and it tastes just like the hard stuff. just chewier. and it makes awesome matza pizza (tastes just like pizza).

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  26. We actually asked our local Rabbi about whether we could eat soft matza during Pesach. He in turn asked the local Sephardi rabbi, who paskened it was not acceptable for Ashkenazim. One reason that was relayed to me was that the soft matza include salt as an ingredient, while Ashkenazi matzah are purely flour and water.

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  27. I recently read the widely circulated article concerning the Streits matzo controversy(http://thejewishstar.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/different-from-all-other-years-streit%e2%80%99s-matzo-off-preferred-list-in-five-towns/).

    Although I am completely an unbiased reader (I have never met any of the individuals the article gravitates around), I am nevertheless bothered by the glaring fact that there are many deafening, yet completely unanswered questions. After skimming through the comment pages on the numerous websites that discuss the article, I noticed that the masses are bothered by the same simple yet troubling questions.

    How can a Rabbinic organization take such severe action (the article extensively describes the harm it caused to R' Soloveichik) against a respected individual, without even being able to verbalize a complaint against him? The article quotes Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld as saying "He [R' Moshe Soloveichik] just doesn’t swim in the kashrus world … we’re not saying he’s bad; not at all. We just don’t know." What does that mean? Shoot and ask questions later? To put it simply: the whole story just does not add up- there must be politics at play that does not meet the innocent eye.
    I decided to search around the web, to see if I would be able to find any articles that R' Moshe Soloveitchik may have written that would cause him to find disfavor in the eyes of those who attacked his hechsher. It didn't take too long to find a document that began to crystallize a seemingly sinister and petty plot.

    I came across this letter (http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2009/01/r-bomzer-censured-by-vaad-for.html) that was published on a blog called "Daat Torah." One of the Rabbinic signatories on this letter, written in opposition to Rabbi Bomzer's Geirus protocol, is the Rav Hamachshir of Streits Matzo, Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik. When I "Googled" Rabbi Bomzer's name I discovered that he has been a long term leading member of the Rabbinical Council of America, the Young Israel Council, and is the President of the Vaad Harabonim of Flatbush (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=32337) I also discovered that his son R' Moshe Bomzer, is a prominent member of the Orthodox Union, and serves on the "Rabbinical Council of America’s Executive Committee" (http://www.rabbis.org/about_us.cfm).

    To my laymen eyes, it looks like a simple story of underhanded revenge. Quite saddening if true, but all would agree that the real tragedy would be the utter miscarriage of justice if this story were not properly investigated and reported.

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