THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
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Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) HALACHAH: "MATZOS SHEMURAH"
OPINIONS: The Torah states, "You shall guard the Matzos" (Shemos 12:17),
teaching that during the production of Matzos, one must watch (or "guard")
the wheat to prevent it from becoming Chametz for the sake of the Mitzvah of
Matzah. The Gemara discusses the extent to which Matzah must be watched from
becoming Chametz. One opinion suggests that it must be watched from before
the time that it is kneaded. The Gemara concludes that no proof can be
brought that Matzah must be watched from before kneading. Nevertheless, Rava
taught that when cutting the grain in the fields and tying it into bundles,
people should have in mind that they are doing it for the sake of the
Mitzvah of Matzah. What is the Halachah?
(a) The RIF rules that the Shemirah must be done from the time that the
grain is cut, based on what Rava told the people.
HALACHAH: All three opinions are cited by the SHULCHAN ARUCH (453:4).
L'Chatchilah, one should watch the wheat from the time that it is cut in
order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Matzah in the most ideal way, as the Rosh
writes. If one is unable to watch it from that time, then b'Di'eved he
should watch it from the time of grinding, or at least from whenever it
comes near water. In extenuating circumstances, one may fulfill the Mitzvah
with Matzah that was watched only from the time of kneading.
(b) The SHE'ILTOS (Parshas Bo) writes that from the moment the wheat comes
in contact with water, it must be watched from becoming Chametz. The ROSH
confirms this opinion and says that where he lives there is always water
found in the vicinity of the mills where the flour is ground, and therefore
the practice is to watch the wheat from the time that it is ground into
The RAN adds another reason to watch the flour from the time that it is
ground. Rava said that watching it from the time of kneading is not
sufficient Shemirah; one must watch it from *before* the time that it is
kneaded. Therefore, one must watch it from the time of grinding. This might
be the opinion of RASHI in Chulin (7a) as well, who mentions that we watch
the flour from the time of grinding.
(c) The ROSH (2:26) rules that it is enough to have Shemirah from the time
of kneading, because the proof of Rava was not established as conclusive.
Even the Rif and the others who say that the flour should be watched before
kneading, only mean that it is *proper* to watch it then, but not that it is
obligatory. That is, if one does not watch it from the time that it is cut,
the Matzah is still Kosher for fulfilling the Mitzvah to eat Matzah.
2) HALACHAH: MACHINE MATZOS
The Torah states, "You shall guard the Matzos" (Shemos 12:17), teaching that
during the production of Matzos, one must watch (or "guard") the wheat from
becoming Chametz, having in mind that it is for the sake of the Mitzvah of
Matzah ("Lishmah"). Today, machines are used to make Matzah. The machines
knead the dough and bake it. Obviously, a machine cannot have in mind that
it is making Matzah for the sake of the Mitzvah. If so, machine-made Matzah
should not be valid for use at the Seder for fulfilling the obligation to
eat Matzah. What is the Halachah?
The Acharonim compare this case with that of Matzah being made by a person
who is unable to have intention to make the Matzah for the sake of the
Mitzvah, such as a gentile or a child. There is an argument among the
Rishonim if Matzah can be made Lishmah in such a case:
(a) The BEIS YOSEF (OC 460) cites the RASHBA who says that when a gentile
kneads the dough, even though a Jew was standing over him as he made the
Matzah, the Matzah may not be used for the Mitzvah. The Jew's Kavanah that
the Matzah be made by the gentile Lishmah does not help, since he is not
making the Matzah himself. This is also the conclusion of the RITVA.
HALACHAH: The MISHNAH BERURAH (OC 460:3) cites both of the opinions
regarding a Jew who watches over a gentile or Katan while they make Matzah.
He cites the MAGEN AVRAHAM who rules that when there is no other option, one
may rely on the lenient opinion and use such Matzah for the Mitzvah.
Although the Magen Avraham writes that the Jew must constantly be reminding
the gentile that he is making the Matzah for the sake of the Mitzvah, the
Mishnah Berurah (Sha'ar ha'Tziyon #5) points out that according to Rav Hai
Ga'on and the Re'ah, this does not seem to be necessary, since it is enough
to have the Kavanah of the Jew himself as he stands over the gentile and
guards the Matzah Lishmah.
(b) Others, though, argue. RAV HAI GA'ON and the RE'AH, cited by the Ritva,
assert that the Torah does not require that the *person making* the Matzah
do so Lishmah. Rather, the Torah requires that the Matzah be watched and
guarded by someone, Lishmah. If a Jew stands over a gentile or a child who
is kneading the dough, and he watches the dough from becoming Chametz
"Lishmah," it will suffice.
According to this, Matzah made by a machine with a Jew standing by it having
in mind to guard the dough from becoming Chametz for the sake of the Mitzvah
of Matzah *would* be acceptable for fulfilling the Mitzvah, if no other
Matzah is available. In fact, Matzah made by a machine which a Jew turned on
may even be acceptable l'Chatchilah, as the machine (which does not have a
mind of its own) might be considered an extension of the hands of the Jew.
However, there are many issues involved with Matzah made by machine (see
MIKRA'EI KODESH Pesach II:3:b; MO'ADIM U'ZEMANIM, Hilchos Pesach), and
therefore in practice one should consult a competent Rabbinic authority or
follow his family's custom.