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Sunday, 20 Nissan 5773 / March 31, 2013

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Five, Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Six, Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Seven

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Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Five

Halacha 1

The prohibition against chametz applies only to the five species of grain. They include two species of wheat: wheat and rye; and three species of barley: barley, oats, and spelt.

However, kitniyot - e.g., rice, millet, beans, lentils and the like - do not become leavened. Even if one kneads rice flour or the like with boiling water and covers it with fabric until it rises like dough that has become leavened, it is permitted to be eaten. This is not leavening, but rather the decay [of the flour].

Commentary Halacha

in water on Pesach [to remove its husks] -- Rabbenu Manoach explains that the kernels of grain were placed in hot water, stirred vigorously, and then crushed to remove the husks.

because [the kernels] are soft and become leavened rapidly. If one did stir [barley] in water and [the kernels] softened to the point -- The cracking open of the kernels would be the clearest sign that the grain had become leavened. However, even if the leavening process has reached the point

that if they were placed at the opening to a roasting pan -- Our translation of ביב follows Rav Yitzchak Alfasi and Rabbenu Chanan'el. See also Halachah 22. However, Rashi (Pesachim 40a) provides a different and more lenient interpretation.

upon which loaves were usually baked, they would burst open - behold, they are forbidden -- This is a very stringent measure. Once barley kernels are exposed to water, they will burst open shortly after being exposed to heat of this nature.

If they have not reached this degree of softness, they are permitted.

Halacha 2

With regard to these five species of grain: If [flour from these species] is kneaded with fruit juice alone without any water, it will never become leavened. Even if [flour] is placed in [these juices] the entire day until the dough rises, it is permitted to be eaten [on Pesach], for fruit juice does not cause [dough] to become leavened. It merely causes [the flour] to decay.

The following are [included in the category] of fruit juice: wine, milk, honey, olive oil, apple juice, pomegranate juice and all other similar wines, oils, and beverages.

This applies so long as no water whatsoever is mixed with them. If any water is mixed with them, they cause [the flour] to become leavened.

Commentary Halacha

With regard to these five species of grain: If [flour from these species] is kneaded with fruit juice alone -- מי פירות literally means "the water of fruit." However, as the halachah explains, the practical application of the term is much broader.

without any water, it will never become leavened. Even if [flour] is placed in [these juices] the entire day until the dough rises, it is permitted to be eaten [on Pesach] -- This halachah is a matter of controversy among the commentators. In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 3:1), the Rambam makes similar statements. However, in the Oxford manuscript of that text, the words "permitted to be eaten" are crossed out and replaced with the words "one is not obligated for כרת." However, it appears that this emendation was made by Rav Avraham, the Rambam's son, and not the Rambam himself.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 462:1) permits the use of fruit juice. However, the Ramah (462:4) states that it is Ashkenazic custom not to use fruit juice for matzah on Pesach out of the fear that some water might perhaps be mixed together with it (see below). Nevertheless, he does allow leniency for people who are ill or sick and have difficulty eating normal matzah.

Among the present day applications of this concept is commercially produced "egg matzah." According to the above guidelines, in the Ashkenazic community, such matzah:

a) cannot be used in the Seder, as explained in the commentary to Halachah 6:2;

b) must contain only eggs and fruit juice, with no water whatsoever;

c) even so, should be eaten only by those with medical problems that prevent them from eating normal matzah.

for fruit juice does not cause [dough] to become leavened -- and thus become chametz. Rather,

it merely causes [the flour] to decay. -- Nevertheless, dried out wine dregs which have fermented do cause the dough to become leavened (Tosefot, Pesachim 28b).

The following are [included in the category] of fruit juice: wine, milk, honey -- The Hagahot Maimoni explains that this applies to both bee and date honey.

olive oil, apple juice -- The dough is permitted even if the apple juice has begun to ferment.

pomegranate juice and all other similar wines, oils, and beverages -- Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 462:2) defines

מי פירות as: "any liquid that is not derived from water... even if it does not come from produce."

This applies so long as no water whatsoever is mixed with them. If any water is mixed with them, they cause [the flour] to become leavened -- Indeed, when water is mixed with these juices, the dough becomes leavened much faster than if it had been mixed with water alone. Generally, dough can be left eighteen minutes before it becomes leavened, but the limit for dough made from a mixture of these liquids and water is much less (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 462:2). See commentary to Halachah 20.

Halacha 3

[On Pesach,] we should not cook wheat in water - for example, cracked wheat - or flour [in water] - for example, dough balls. If one cooks [either of the above] - behold, it is absolutely chametz. This applies if [the kernels] crack open within the dish.

We may not fry dough in oil in a frying pan. However, we may cook a loaf [of matzah] or roasted flour. If one boiled a lot of water and, afterwards, placed flour into it - behold, it is permitted, because it is cooked immediately, before it could become leaven. [Nevertheless,] it is accepted custom in Babylonia, Spain, and the entire western [diaspora] to forbid this practice. This has been decreed lest one not boil the water well enough.

Commentary Halacha

[On Pesach,] we should not cook wheat in water -- Though raw wheat itself is not chametz, once wheat or flour is mixed with water, it becomes leavened within eighteen to twenty-four minutes. (See Halachah 12.) Less time is required when heat is applied to it. Hence, cooking or baking with wheat or flour on Pesach must be carried out under careful guidelines.

for example, cracked wheat -- wheat served as a grain.

or flour [in water], for example, dough balls -- A dish resembling kneidlach, but made with regular flour rather than matzah meal.

If one cooks [either of the above] - behold, it is absolutely chametz - for the wheat or flour has become leavened.

This applies -- This clause obviously refers only to cooking wheat.

if [the kernels] crack open within the dish -- the cracking open of the kernels is a sign that the wheat has expanded because of leavening.

We may not fry dough -- made with water

in oil in a frying pan -- The Maggid Mishneh explains that oil is considered מי פירות and, hence, will cause the dough to become leavened. (See also Nodah BiYhudah, Vol. II, Responsum 57.)

However, we may cook a loaf [of matzah] -- Pesachim 39b states that once matzah has been baked, it can be cooked again without the fear of leavening. Similarly, it can be ground into meal, and then used as flour without the fear of becoming chametz. (See also Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 463:3.)

This law is the basis of the widely practiced leniency of cooking and baking with matzah meal. Nevertheless, certain Ashkenazic communities refrain from using matzah meal because of the custom of שרויה, gebruks. Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi (Responsum VI; see also Sha'arei Teshuvah, Orach Chayim 460:10) writes that it is possible that some of the dough was not baked thoroughly and some flour remaining in it could become chametz when cooked again.

or roasted flour -- Once flour has become roasted, it will not become leavened. However, we must differentiate between roasted flour and flour made from roasted wheat; the latter flour may not be used on Pesach. (See Halachah 5.) The Pri Chadash even questions the leniency of using roasted flour.

If one boiled a lot of water and, afterwards, placed flour into it - behold, it is permitted because it -- the flour

is cooked immediately, before it could become leaven -- This practice was permitted only when the water was absolutely boiling at the time the flour was placed in it.

[Nevertheless,] it is accepted custom in Babylonia, Spain, and the entire western [diaspora] to forbid this practice. This was decreed lest one not boil the water well enough. -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 454:3) states: "At present, there are none who know how to boil foods in this manner. Hence, all boiling is forbidden."

Halacha 4

It is permissible to cook grain or flour in fruit juice. Thus, dough which was kneaded with fruit juice, cooked with fruit juice, or fried with oil in a frying pan is permitted, for fruit juice does not cause leavening.

Commentary Halacha

It is permissible to cook grain or flour in fruit juice -- Baking dough kneaded with מי פירות was discussed in Halachah 2. The present halachah explains that flour mixed with those liquids will not become leavened even when cooked or fried.

Thus, dough which was kneaded with fruit juice, cooked with fruit juice or fried with oil in a frying pan is permitted, for fruit juice does not cause leavening -- As explained above, it is Ashkenazic custom not to use dough or flour cooked with these liquids.

Halacha 5

Roasted grain which is singed in fire and then ground [into flour]: That flour should not be cooked with water, lest it has not been roasted well in the fire, and thus will become leavened when cooked.

Similarly, when preparing new pots, we should not cook in them anything other than matzah that was baked and then ground into flour. It is forbidden to do so with roasted flour, for perhaps it will not be roasted well, and thus may become leaven.

Commentary Halacha

Roasted grain -- Once wheat is roasted, flour that is made from it will never become leavened.

which is singed in fire -- lightly roasted in order to dry out any moisture.

and then ground [into flour]: That flour should not be cooked with water lest it has not been roasted well in the fire and thus will become leavened when cooked -- Rabbenu Manoach explains that this law applies only to light roasting. If grain is roasted thoroughly, its flour may be used. However, in instances of this nature, the Rabbis would rather forbid such practices entirely than allow a loosely defined leniency. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 463:3.)

Similarly, when preparing new pots --

מלל, the word used by the Rambam, means "husk." In his dictionary, Rabbenu Tanchum of Jerusalem explains the derivation of this term:

They take fresh barley, singe it, dry it, and grind it into flour. Afterwards, it is cooked until it is soft... and then, it is poured into new pots to reduce their porosity.

In his commentary on the Mishneh Torah, Rav Kapach notes that such practices are still followed in Yemen today.

we should not cook in them anything other than matzah that was baked and then ground into flour -- matzah meal. As explained in Halachah 4, once matzah has been baked, it will never become leavened.

It is forbidden to do so with roasted flour, for perhaps it will not be roasted well and thus may become leaven -- This statement is slightly problematic, for Halachah 4 mentioned that we may cook with roasted flour.

Halacha 6

We do not stir barley in water on Pesach [to remove its husks], because [the kernels] are soft and become leavened rapidly. If one did stir [barley] in water and [the kernels] softened to the point that if they were placed at the opening to a roasting pan upon which loaves were usually baked, they would burst open - behold, they are forbidden. If they have not reached this degree of softness, they are permitted.

Commentary Halacha
Halacha 7

It is permissible to stir wheat [kernels] in water to remove the bran, and then immediately grind them, as is done when grinding fine flour. [Nevertheless,] all Jews in Babylonia, Eretz Yisrael, Spain, and the cities of the western [diaspora] have accepted the custom of not stirring wheat in water. This decree [was instituted] lest [the kernels] be left aside and become leavened.

Commentary Halacha

It is permissible to stir wheat [kernels] in water to remove the bran -- Wheat kernels are firmer than barley kernels.

and then immediately -- Once the grain has come in contact with water and it is left untended for the time it takes a person to walk a mil, it will become leavened. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 467:2.)

grind them, as is done when grinding fine flour. -- The commentaries note that in Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 12:20, the Rambam states that the grain used for the meal offerings was not stirred in water, lest it become leavened. Among the resolutions offered to this difficulty is that chametz is a severe prohibition, and greater care would be taken.

[Nevertheless,] all Jews in Babylonia, Eretz Yisrael -- Gittin 57a explains why the term ארץ צבי is used as a reference for Eretz Yisrael.

Spain, and the cities of the western [diaspora] have accepted the custom of not stirring wheat in water -- Rabbenu Manoach mentions that this custom was several hundred years old in his time (approx. 1200 CE). Pesachim 40a mentions that even in Talmudic times, a בעל נפש (a person precise in the observance of the commandments) would not use wheat that had been stirred. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 453:5) states that stirring wheat is "prohibited."

This decree [was instituted] lest [the kernels] be left aside and become leavened -- i.e., the fear is not that the wheat will become leavened while the bran is being removed, but rather, that after it has been removed, it will be left to become leavened.

Halacha 8

A dish that was cooked, and barley or wheat was discovered inside it: If the grains have cracked open, the entire dish is forbidden, for chametz has become mixed together with it. If they have not cracked open, they must be removed and burned, but the remainder of the dish may be eaten. [This ruling was given] because grain that has been stirred in water without cracking open is not actual leaven as forbidden by the Torah. It is only a Rabbinic [ordinance].

Commentary Halacha

A dish that was cooked and barley or wheat -- Some authorities recommend more severe laws for wheat than for barley, but the Rambam equates the two.

was discovered inside of it -- One kernel of grain can create difficulties, for even the slightest amount of chametz that is mixed together with other foods causes them to be forbidden (Halachah 5 above).

If the grains have cracked open -- they have surely become chametz. Hence,

the entire dish is forbidden, for chametz has become mixed together with it -- Furthermore, the pot and utensils with which it was cooked are also forbidden during Pesach.

If they have not cracked open -- Halachah 6 above mentions a more severe measure. However, that ruling concerns the kernels of grain themselves, while our law deals with their effect on another dish, which is merely a Rabbinic ordinance. Hence, greater leniency is shown (Maggid Mishneh).

they -- the barley or wheat itself

must be removed and burned -- as if they were chametz

but the remainder of the dish may be eaten. -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 467:9) accepts this ruling. However, the Ramah and the other major Ashkenazic authorities forbid use of this dish. However, the Taz allows the dish to be sold to a gentile.

Halacha 9

[Exodus 12:17] states: "Keep watch over the matzot" - i.e., be careful of the matzot and protect them from any possibility of becoming chametz. Therefore, our Sages declared: A person must be careful regarding the grain which he eats on Pesach and [make sure] that no water has come in contact with it after it has been harvested, so that it will not have become chametz at all.

Grain which sunk in a river or came in contact with water, just as it is forbidden to eat from it [on Pesach], it is forbidden to keep [possession of] it. Rather, he should sell it to a Jew [before it becomes prohibited] and inform him [about its nature], so that he can eat it before Pesach. If he sells it to a gentile before Pesach, he should sell a small amount to a number of individuals, so that it will be finished before Pesach, lest the gentile go and sell it to [another] Jew.

Commentary Halacha

[Exodus 12:17] states: "Keep watch over the matzot" -- Some ancient manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah include these two lines in the previous halachah, but all published texts follow this division.

i.e., be careful of the matzot and protect them from any possibility of becoming chametz. -- Furthermore, as evident from Halachah 6:5, this verse also implies that the flour and the matzot made from it must be watched with the specific intent that they be used for the mitzvah of eating matzah on Pesach.

The above is the source for the practice of eating shemurah matzah, matzah made from grain which has been watched to ensure that it did not become chametz and prepared with the intent that it be used for the mitzvah of eating matzah. The use of such matzah during the Seder is an absolute requirement (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 460), and it is advisable to use it throughout the holiday.

Therefore, our Sages declared: A person must be careful regarding the grain which he eats on Pesach -- Pesachim 40a relates that Ravvah would tell the harvesters cutting wheat for Pesach: "Have the intent that this grain be used for the mitzvah of matzah."

and [make sure] that no water has come in contact with it -- The chronicles of Jewish community life in both Eastern Europe and North Africa relate how the harvest of the wheat used for matzah was always begun at noontime, long after the morning dew had risen.

after it has been harvested -- Based on the above passage from Pesachim, Rav Yitzchak Alfasi and the Rambam require that the grain be watched from the time of harvesting onward. Nevertheless, Rabbenu Asher follows a more lenient policy and does not require the wheat to be watched until it is ground. [Rabbenu Nissim explains that even Rav Yitzchak Alfasi only recommended watching the matzah from harvesting as a pious measure, and not as an absolute rule.]

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 453:4) explains that it is preferable to use grain that has been watched from harvesting; as a minimum requirement, one must use grain that has been watched from the time it has been ground into flour. If there is no other alternative, one may buy flour in the marketplace and begin watching from the time the dough is kneaded.

The Mishnah Berurah clarifies the latter point explaining that where grain is washed or submerged in water before grinding it into flour, such grain may not be used for matzah. (This practice is still common in many communities.) In practice, most shemurah matzah made at present is watched from the time the grain was harvested.

so that it will not have become chametz at all -- However, before the grain is cut, no precautions are ordinarily necessary. Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 467:5) mentions that if the wheat kernels have dried out and no longer need nurture from the land, they can become chametz.

Grain which sunk in a river or -- Pesachim 40b mentions a ship which sank carrying a cargo of wheat. After the ship was recovered, Ravvah allowed the wheat to be sold. From that example, we can derive concepts governing all instances where grain

came in contact with water -- Rabbenu Manoach emphasizes that this halachah applies to wheat kernels that have not split open. Had they split open, a Jewish purchaser would immediately notice the fact and there would be no need to inform him.

just as it is forbidden to eat from it [on Pesach], it is forbidden to keep [possession of] it -- Halachah 7 mentioned that one could stir wheat in water to remove the husks without it becoming chametz. Since the wheat was constantly being agitated, it would not become leavened. In contrast, this halachah contains a more stringent ruling, for the grain was left at rest (Tzafnat Paneach).

Rather, he should -- preferably

sell it to a Jew -- and not a gentile

[before it becomes prohibited] -- after the fifth hour on the fourteenth of Nisan

and inform him [about its nature] so that he can eat it before Pesach -- If he does not inform him, it would be forbidden to sell the chametz to him, lest he keep possession of it on Pesach, and thus violate the commandment against owning chametz.

If he sells it to a gentile before Pesach, he should sell a small amount to a number of individuals -- Most texts of Pesachim (ibid.) read: "He should sell small amounts to Jews." Apparently, the Rambam's text of the Talmud did not contain that phrase. If a Jew knows that the grain has become leavened, he will surely take the necessary precautions so that it will not remain in his possession on Pesach.

so that it will be finished before Pesach, lest the gentile go and sell it to [another] Jew -- The later authorities (see Mishnah Berurah 467:3) question what to do if large amounts of grain come into contact with water on Erev Pesach, when it is not possible for the gentile to consume the entire amount before Pesach. They advise that it be sold to a gentile who will surely sell it back to the Jew after the holiday.

Halacha 10

Grain upon which [water] leaking [from the roof] has fallen: As long as [the leak] continues, drop after drop, it will not become chametz even if [the leak continues] the entire day. However, if [the leak] stops, if it remains [untouched] for the standard measure [of time] - behold, it becomes chametz.

Commentary Halacha

Grain -- Most texts of Pesachim 39b, the source for this law, read "flour" instead of "grain." Similarly, when quoting this law, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 466:6) also states "flour."

upon which [water] leaking [from the roof] has fallen: As long as [the leak] continues, drop after drop, it will not become chametz. -- The dripping of the water agitates the grain and prevents it from becoming chametz.

even if [the leak continues] the entire day -- However, the grain must be made into flour and baked immediately after being taken from under the leak. Otherwise, it will become leavened (Shulchan Aruch).

However, if [the leak] stops -- or the grain is moved

if it remains [untouched] for the standard measure [of time] -- the time it takes a person to walk a mil, as explained in Halachah 13

behold, it becomes chametz.

Halacha 11

We do not knead a large dough on Pesach, lest it become chametz. Rather, [the size of the dough] is confined to the measure for which one is obligated to separate Challah.

We do not knead with hot water, with water heated in the sun, or with water that was drawn on the present day, only with water that has rested for a day. A person who violates [this requirement] and kneads using one of the above - behold, the [baked] loaf becomes forbidden.

Commentary Halacha

We do not knead a large dough on Pesach, lest it become chametz -- Pesachim 48b relates that dough will not become chametz as long as it is being kneaded. However, a large dough is hard to manage. Hence, our Sages restricted a dough's size to insure that women kneading it will be able to continually agitate the entire dough.

The Rokeach mentioned that in his age, baking conditions had changed from Talmudic times. More people were involved in the process and the ovens were larger and baked matzot more quickly. Therefore, leniency was taken as regards the restriction of the size of the dough. However, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav and the Mishnah Berurah both recommend adhering to the former practice.

Rather, [the size of the dough] is confined to the measure for which one is obligated to separate Challah -- 43 and a fifth eggs, as stated in the following halachah; approximately 73 fluid ounces, 9.125 cups, or 131.8 cubic inches in contemporary measure.

We do not knead with hot water, with water heated in the sun, or with water that was drawn on the present day -- Rashi (Pesachim 42a) relates that the position of the sun in the spring causes the temperature of well and spring water to rise. Hence, matzah may be kneaded

only with water that has -- been drawn [preferably, either slightly before or directly after sunset on the day before the matzot are to be baked (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 455:1)], and

rested for a day. A person who violates [this requirement] and kneads using one of the above -- types of water whose use the Sages forbade;

behold, the [baked] loaf becomes forbidden -- There is no debate about the prohibition against using hot water. However, with regard to the prohibition against using water drawn that day, the Shulchan Aruch (455:3) quotes the Rambam's opinion, but states that in a difficult situation, one may use matzah that was inadvertently kneaded with water that was not drawn on the previous day. The Ramah and the Ashkenazic authorities are more lenient and allow the use of such matzah in all situations.

Halacha 12

A woman should not sit in the sun and knead, nor [should she knead] under the open sky on a cloudy day, even in a place where the sun is not shining. [She should not] leave the dough and become involved in another matter. If she both kneads and bakes, she must have two containers of water, one to smooth [the matzot] and one to cool off her hands.

If she violated [these instructions] and kneaded dough in the sun, or did not cool off her hands, or made a dough larger than the measure for which one is obligated to separate Challah, the loaf is permitted. What is the measure for which one is obligated to separate Challah? Forty-three and a fifth eggs of average size - by volume and not by weight.

Commentary Halacha

A woman should not sit in the sun and knead -- lest the sun's heat speed up the leavening process.

nor [should she knead] under the open sky on a cloudy day, even in a place where the sun is not shining -- Yoma 28b states: "a cloudy day is all sun; the heat of a cloudy day is more severe than that of a sunny day."

The Ramah (Orach Chayim 459:1) mentions that it is customary not to knead near a window. The Shulchan Aruch states that the kneading area of a bakery should be distant from the baking area, so that the heat of the oven should not affect the dough.

[She should not] leave the dough -- The Shulchan Aruch adds "even for a moment."

and become involved in another matter -- the dough should not be left unattended. In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 3:4), the Rambam explains that preferably the preparation and baking of the matzah should be a speedy and uninterrupted process. See also the following halachah.

If she both kneads and bakes -- The Sages feared that her hands would become hot from the oven, and thus speed up the leavening process when she kneads the dough. Hence, they required that

she must have two containers of water -- the same water should not be used for both activities.

one to smooth [the matzot] -- Before the matzot are placed in the oven, the woman baking them would dip her hands in cold water and smooth and shape the loaves.

and one to cool off her hands -- from the heat of the oven. It must be noted that Rashi (Pesachim 42a) maintains that the activity of kneading the dough itself heats up the hands. Thus, he requires that a woman dip her hands in water between doughs to cool off her hands, even when she is not baking. The Shulchan Aruch (459:3) follows Rashi's interpretation.

If she violated [these instructions] and kneaded dough in the sun -- unless one can actually feel that the temperature of the dough has risen (Magen Avraham 559:15).

or did not cool off her hands, or made a dough larger than the measure for which one is obligated to separate Challah, the loaf is permitted -- In these instances, the Sages did not feel that the leavening process would necessarily be speeded up if their instructions were not followed. Hence, בדיעבד (after the fact), they did not prohibit the use of matzot baked in this manner.

What is the measure for which one is obligated to separate Challah? Forty-three and a fifth eggs of average size -- Rabbenu Manoach notes that the numerical equivalent of Challah (חלה) is also 43.

by volume and not by weight. -- A given volume of dough is much heavier than the same volume of eggs.

In Hilchot Bikkurim 6:15, the Rambam elaborates further on this subject, by giving a measure according to weight as well. In modern measure, the figure he gives equals approximately 1.7 kilograms (close to 4 lbs.).

Halacha 13

As long as a person is busy with the dough, even for the entire day, it will not become chametz. If he lifts up his hand and allows the dough to rest so that [it rises to the extent that] a noise will resound when a person claps it with his hand, it has already become chametz and must be burned immediately. If a noise does not resound and the dough has lain at rest for the time it takes a man to walk a mil, it has become chametz and must be burned immediately.

Similarly, if its surface has become wrinkled [to the extent that it resembles] a person whose hair stands [on end in fright] - behold, it is forbidden to eat from it, but one is not liable for כרת [for eating it].

Commentary Halacha

As long as a person is busy with the dough, even for the entire day, it will not become chametz. -- As mentioned previously, as long as the dough is constantly being agitated it will not become leavened.

If he lifts up his hand -- from kneading

and allows the dough to rest so that [it rises to the extent that] a noise will resound when a person claps it with his hand -- The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 459:2) mentions another sign; the appearance of cracks or folds in the dough.

it has already become chametz -- even if the time period explained below has not elapsed

and must be burned immediately -- The Rambam is describing an instance when matzah is being baked on Pesach eve or during the holiday, when the possession of chametz is forbidden.

If a noise does not resound -- when the dough is clapped, the possibility still exists that the dough has become chametz. The time the dough has been left unattended is then calculated

and -- if

the dough has lain at rest for the time it takes a man to walk a

mil -- two thousand cubits; according to most authorities approximately a kilometer in modern measure. Most authorities (including the Shulchan Aruch and many later Rabbis with regard to halachah l'ma'aseh) define eighteen minutes as the accepted period of time in which an average man would walk this distance. However, the Rambam (Commentary on the Mishnah 3:2) quotes a more lenient figure, 24 minutes.

it has become chametz and must be burned immediately -- The Shulchan Aruch and the Ramah suggest hurrying the process of kneading and baking matzah, because:

a) the heat generated by working the dough may cause it to become leavened faster.

b) though each particular hesitation may be less than eighteen minutes, the total of all hesitations may exceed that figure. (This point is not accepted by all authorities.)

c) once dough is left unattended after having been kneaded thoroughly, it will become leavened very quickly.

Similarly, if its surface has become wrinkled -- Rabbenu Manoach interprets the Hebrew הכסיפו as "whitened."

[to the extent that it resembles] a person whose hair stands [on end in fright] - behold -- this is a sign that the dough has begun to become leavened. Hence,

it is forbidden to eat from it, but one is not liable for

כרת [for eating it]. -- The commentaries question whether the Rambam's intent is to free the person from punishment entirely or whether he means that he is not liable for כרת, but receives a lesser punishment, lashes.

Halacha 14

There were two doughs which people stopped kneading at the same time and left unattended. From one, a sound [resounded when clapped]. From the other, no sound [resounded]. Both of them should be burned - behold, they are absolutely chametz.

Commentary Halacha

There were two doughs which people stopped kneading at the same time and left unattended -- for less than the time it takes a person to walk a mil.

From one, a sound [resounded when clapped] -- a clear sign the dough has become leavened, as stated in the previous halachah.

From the other, no sound [resounded] -- Nevertheless, since they both waited the same amount of time, we assume that a similar leavening process took place in both doughs. Hence,

both of them should be burned - behold, they are -- considered

Halacha 15

We should not make thick loaves with designs on Pesach, because a woman takes time making them. Thus, [the dough] will become leavened during that time. Hence, professional bakers are allowed to make [such designs], because they are skilled in their craft and quick in its execution.

[In contrast,] a private person is forbidden to make such a design, even if he does so using a [pre-cut] form. [This stringency was instituted] lest others attempt to make [the designs] without using the forms, delay in their work, and cause [the dough] to become chametz.

Commentary Halacha

We should not make thick loaves -- Pesachim 37a allows thin loaves to be made with designs. Commenting on this statement, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 460:4) suggests never making thick matzot for Pesach.

with designs -- Rav Yitzchak ibn Giat writes that it was customary to make designs of fish, doves, and other animals.

on Pesach, because a woman takes time making them -- However, there is no prohibition against making holes in their dough as is the common practice. On the contrary, this helps the matzah bake faster (Shulchan Aruch).

Thus, [the dough] will become leavened during that time. Hence, professional bakers are allowed to make [such designs] -- Pesachim (ibid.) records that Rabban Gamliel's household used such matzot, and hence was forced to make this differentiation.

because they are skilled in their craft and quick in its execution. -- Rashi (Pesachim, ibid.) adds that bakers usually have pre-cut forms.

The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 460:14) forbids all designs, whether made by private people or professional bakers, whether on thick or thin loaves.

[In contrast,] a private person is forbidden to make such a design, even if he does so using a [pre-cut] form -- which will not require time.

[This stringency was instituted] lest others attempt to make [the designs] without using the forms, delay in their work, and cause [the dough] to become chametz. -- Our Sages often instituted decrees uniformly, even though the reason for the decree did not apply in certain instances, lest people misinterpret the leniency and take total license.

Halacha 16

The water used to wash one's hands and the kneading trough after the kneading [is completed] and, similarly, the water used when kneading - behold, it should be poured out in a place which slopes downward, so it will not collect in one place and become leavened.

Commentary Halacha

The water used to wash one's hands and the kneading trough after the kneading [is completed] -- The Mishnah (Pesachim 40b) uses the expression "water used by a baker." In his commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam defines that term as above.

and, similarly, the water used when kneading -- when shaping the dough or cooling off one's hands, as mentioned in Halachah 12.

behold, it should be poured out in a place which slopes downward, so it will not collect in one place -- See Pesachim 42a. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 459:4) also gives instructions about cleaning the utensils used in preparing the matzah to ensure that no dough is allowed to remain stuck to them, and thus become chametz.

and become leavened -- This halachah applies when matzah is prepared and baked after the prohibition against chametz has gone into effect (Shulchan Aruch). However, some later authorities (Bach, Taz) forbid such water to collect even beforehand.

Halacha 17

We should not soak bran in water and leave it in front of chickens, lest it become chametz. However, we can boil bran for them, and then place it before them. Nevertheless, the majority of people have already adopted the custom of not boiling [grain products], lest the water not be boiled thoroughly.

Commentary Halacha

We should not soak bran -- The Mishnah Berurah 454:2 notes that there is a difference of opinion among halachic authorities if מורסן refers to the hard shell of the wheat kernels that falls off when the wheat is ground, or the soft shell, which is separated by sifting.

in water and leave it in front of chickens -- without supervision, in contrast to the following halachah.

lest it become chametz. However, we can boil bran for them -- As mentioned in Halachah 3, if grain products are placed directly in boiling water, they will never become chametz.

and then, place it before them. Nevertheless, the majority of people have already adopted the custom of not boiling [grain products], lest the water not be boiled thoroughly. -- as explained in the above halachah and in the Shulchan Aruch and commentaries (Orach Chayim 454:3).

Halacha 18

It is permitted to prepare bran or flour for chickens in water if they are fed immediately, or if one places [the feed] before them and stands over them to ensure that the food will not stand more than the time it takes a person to walk a mil.

As long as they peck at it or one turns it over by hand, it will not become leavened. Once they finish eating, one should wash out the utensil in water and pour it out in a place which slopes downward.

Commentary Halacha

It is permitted to prepare bran or flour for chickens in water -- Rabbenu Manoach and the Meiri state that the Rambam's statements are based on the Tosefta. However, no law of this nature is found in our text of the Tosefta.

Perhaps this lack of a clear source is the reason the Rambam's opinion is not accepted by other halachic authorities. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 465:1) forbids placing bran in water under any circumstances. The Ramah cautions against placing any grain products in a place where there is a residue of moisture.

if they are fed -- and consume the food

immediately, or if one places [the feed] before them and stands over them, to ensure that the food will not stand -- without any activity, as the Rambam continues

more than the time it takes a person to walk a mil -- 18 or 24 minutes, as explained in Halachah 13.

As long as they peck at it or one turns it over by hand -- for, like dough (see Halachah 13), as long as it is agitated

it will not become leavened. Once they finish eating, one should wash out the utensil in water and pour it out in a place which slopes downward -- as in Halachah 16. This halachah also applies only after chametz has become forbidden. Even the authorities who follow a more stringent view than the Rambam allow leniency before the prohibitions against possessing chametz take effect.

Halacha 19

A woman should not soak bran which she intends to take to the bathhouse in water [beforehand]. However, she may rub dry bran on her skin. A person should not chew wheat and then place it on his wound, for it will become chametz.

We should not place flour into charoset. If one did so, he should burn it immediately, because it will cause [the flour] to become leavened very fast. We should not place flour in mustard. If one did so, he should eat it immediately.

Commentary Halacha

A woman should not soak bran which she intends to take to the bathhouse in water [beforehand] -- The application of moist bran to skin renews the skin's natural moisture. Bran contains high quantities of Vitamin E and other natural cosmetics.

However, she may rub dry bran on her skin -- even though her skin is moist with sweat, without fear of it becoming chametz (Rashi, Pesachim 39b). The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 465:2) forbids the practice entirely.

A person should not chew wheat -- for the spittle can cause the wheat to become leavened.

and then place it on his wound -- as a poultice

for it will become chametz. -- Rabbenu Manoach notes that the Rambam writes (Hilchot Yesodai HaTorah 5:8) that, when there is danger to life or limb, it is permissible to use all substances as remedies, even if it is forbidden to benefit from them. That halachah specifically states that a sick person may be given chametz to eat as a remedy.

Furthermore, that halachah explains that if the sick person does not benefit from the forbidden substance in the normal manner, it may be used as a remedy even if there is no danger to life or limb. The Rambam gives the example of including chametz in a compress.

On that basis, Rabbenu Manoach questions why wheat cannot be used as a poultice as stated in our halachah. However, he resolves the issue by explaining that, in our case, the wheat would become chametz before it was applied to the wound.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 466:5 (and the Mishnah Berurah) emphasize that it is permitted to use grain as a remedy for a wound only if there is a question of danger to life or limb. Furthermore, this leniency is qualified as follows:

a) it must be an established medical fact that the remedy works;

b) effort must be made to reduce the chance of the grain becoming leavened to the greatest extent possible (e.g., preparing grain by boiling it in fruit juice which does not become leavened).

We should not place flour into charoset -- In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 10:3), the Rambam describes charoset as a mixture of dates, figs, spices, and vinegar.

if one did so, he should burn it - The popular texts of the Mishneh Torah use the word ישפך - "pour it out." However, most of the original manuscripts state ישרף as in our text. This version implies that it is feared that the flour has already leavened and, hence, must be burnt.

immediately -- as chametz

because it will cause [the flour] to become leavened very fast. -- In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 2:8), the Rambam explains that the vinegar in the charoset causes the flour to become leavened fast.

We should not place flour in mustard -- The Ramah (Orach Chayim 464:1) states that Ashkenazic custom forbids the use of mustard on Pesach entirely, placing it in the category of kitniyot.

If one did so, he should eat it immediately. -- In contrast to other dips, the sharpness of mustard prevents the flour from leavening (Pri Chadash).

Halacha 20

It is permissible to place spices, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and the like into dough. Similarly, it is permissible to knead the dough with water and oil, honey or milk, or to baste with them.

On the first day, it is forbidden to knead or baste [the matzot] with any other substance besides water; not because of the prohibition against chametz, but rather so [the matzah] will be "poor man's bread." It is only on the first day that the "poor man's bread" must be commemorated.

Commentary Halacha

It is permissible to place spices -- Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 455:6) advises against placing spices in dough. The Ramah forbids matzah that was kneaded with pepper, maintaining that its sharpness causes the dough to become leavened.

sesame seeds, poppy seeds -- The Shulchan Aruch HaRav explains that even the opinions which advise against using spices in matzah permit these substances to be used. They are not sharp and will not speed up the leavening process.

and the like -- Salt is not included in this category. The Shulchan Aruch (455:5) explicitly advises against placing salt into dough, and the Ramah considers matzah baked with salt as chametz.

into dough -- for this mixture will not cause the dough to become chametz. In describing the meal offerings which cannot become leavened (Hilchot Ma'aseh HaKorbanot 12:17), the Rambam also states that they may be seasoned in a similar manner.

The Tosefta (Pesachim 2:13) and the Jerusalem Talmud (Pesachim 2:4) go further and state that such matzah may even be used at the Seder. Though some halachic authorities accept this opinion, the later authorities counsel against using such matzah on that occasion.

Similarly, it is permissible to knead the dough with water and oil, honey or milk, or to baste with them -- This statement has raised controversy. In Halachah 2, when the Rambam described the use of מי פירות, he explained that they will not cause grain products to become leavened when used alone. However, if they are mixed with water, they can cause the grain products to become leavened. Indeed, the commentaries relate that the mixture of these liquids with water speeds up the leavening process.

Therefore, the Ra'avad and other authorities question the leniency granted by the Rambam. In practice, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 462:2) advises against, but does not forbid, mixing these liquids with water. The Ramah (and accordingly, Ashkenazic custom) prohibits such a mixture entirely.

It must be noted that the Maggid Mishneh's text of the Mishneh Torah substitutes the word יין (wine) for מים (water). According to such a rendition, there is no difficulty.

On the first day -- more particularly, for the matzah used to fulfill the commandment of eating matzah on Pesach night;

it is forbidden to knead or baste -- even though basting the dough with other substances will not change its taste appreciably, the Rambam forbids this. See Or Sameach.

[the matzot] with any other substance besides water -- Note the commentary on Halachah 6:5.

not because of the prohibition against chametz -- for, as above, the dough will not necessarily become chametz,

but rather so [the matzah] will be "poor man's bread" -- Deuteronomy 16:3 states "For seven days eat matzah, poor man's bread." In contrast, dough mixed with these liquids is considered matzah ashirah, "rich matzah."

It is only on the first day that the "poor man's bread" must be commemorated -- to recall the "poor man's bread" eaten by our ancestors when they were slaves in Egypt.

Halacha 21

All earthenware vessels that were used for chametz while cold may be used for matzah while cold, except for the utensils in which yeast and charoset were placed, for their leavening effect is powerful. Similarly, a kneading trough in which chametz is kneaded and left to become leavened is considered as a place where yeast is soaked, and we do not use it on Pesach.

Commentary Halacha

All earthenware vessels -- In this and the following five halachot, the Rambam discusses how dishes and cooking utensils that were used for chametz during the entire year may be prepared for Passover use. It must be emphasized that in many communities, it is customary not to consider these options and to use separate sets of pots, dishes, and cutlery for the holiday.

that were used for chametz while cold -- Utensils absorb substances only when used together with both heat and liquid. Thus, in this instance, there is no fear that chametz is absorbed. Nevertheless, the utensil

may -- only

be used for matzah while cold -- lest its use cause people to err and permit use of earthenware vessels that were used for chametz while hot (Maggid Mishneh). This safeguard was only instituted for earthenware vessels, since the chametz absorbed in substances of metal or wood may be purged through הגעלה.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 451:22) does not recognize this prohibition at all and allows such utensils to be used for matzah even when hot. However, this is merely from an abstract halachic perspective. In practice, that text continues to explain, Jews are accustomed not to use any earthenware utensils or dishes that had been previously used for chametz on Pesach. This custom was already accepted in the days of Rav Yitzchak Alfasi and Rabbenu Asher.

except for the utensils -- Leavening agents were placed directly in these utensils. Accordingly, even if they were made of other substances besides clay, more severe laws than usual apply regarding purging them from the chametz they absorbed. (See Magen Avraham 451:42.)

in which yeast and charoset -- This does not refer to the charoset used at the Seder, but to a similar mixture which was used throughout the entire year. The latter would frequently contain flour.

were placed, for their leavening effect is powerful -- Yeast is a powerful leavening agent. Similarly, the vinegar in the charoset will cause leavening. Even though the utensil was cleaned thoroughly of these substances, we regard that some was absorbed in the utensil's walls and will have an effect on food placed within it on Pesach.

Similarly, a kneading trough in which chametz is kneaded and left to become leavened is considered as a place where yeast is soaked, and we do not use it on Pesach -- lest the leavening agents that are absorbed cause the Matzah to become chametz.

Halacha 22

An earthenware roasting pan on which loaves of chametz are baked during the entire year should not be used to bake matzah on Pesach. If it was filled with coals and kindled on the place where chametz was cooked, matzah it is permitted to be cooked on it.

Commentary Halacha

An earthenware roasting pan on which loaves of chametz are baked during the entire year should not be used to bake matzah on Pesach -- The prohibition is obvious. It appears that this statement was included only as an introduction to the following halachah, which describes how such a utensil may be prepared for Pesach use.

If it was filled with coals and kindled on the place -- This practice, referred to as ליבון, burns up any chametz that may have been absorbed in the pan.

Halacha 23

Metal and stone utensils in which chametz was boiled in water as a כלי ראשון - e.g., pots and stew pots - should be placed inside a large utensil. They should be covered with water, and the water should be boiled with them inside until they release [what they absorbed]. Afterwards, they should be washed off with cold water, and [then] one may use them for matzah.

Similarly, [with regard to] knives, the blade and the handle should be boiled in a כלי ראשון. Afterwards, one may use them for matzah.

Commentary Halacha

Metal and stone utensils -- In Hilchot Ma'acholot Asurot 17:3 and in his commentary on the Mishnah (Avodah Zarah 7:12), the Rambam equates glass utensils with those made of these substances.

in which chametz was boiled in water as a כלי ראשון -- The term כלי ראשון is a fundamental concept in the laws of kashrut and the laws of Shabbat. It refers to a pot or cooking vessel that was directly exposed to the heat of an oven or range. Such a pot is still considered as a כלי ראשון even after it has been removed from the cooking surface.

e.g., pots and stew pots -- The Ramah (Orach Chayim 451:5) requires that the surface of the pot be smooth and free of nicks or cracks for this manner of purging to be effective.

should be placed inside a large utensil -- The process described below can be carried out only before chametz becomes forbidden. Once that prohibition takes effect, even the slightest amount of chametz can cause a larger mixture to be prohibited. (See Halachah 1:5.) Hence, were the process carried out at that time, the residue of chametz absorbed in the walls of the utensils would cause all the water to be considered as mixed with chametz.

They should be covered with water, and the water should be boiled -- The commentaries stress how the water must be bubbling because of the heat.

with them inside -- This process is referred to as הגעלה (purging) and is also used to prepare utensils that had been used for non-kosher food for kosher use. Thus, a similar description of this process is found in Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 17:4.

The basic principle governing the kashering of utensils is כבולעו כך פולטו - "In the same manner as a [forbidden substance] is absorbed [by a utensil], so, too, is it released." Thus, since these utensils were used in hot water, the process of boiling is employed to cause them to release any chametz they might have absorbed.

until they release [what they absorbed] -- This phrase is taken from the halachot of Rav Yitzchak Alfasi. However, it is omitted in some of the Yemenite manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah. In practice, there is also debate about this issue. In his responsum, the Rashbah explains Rav Yitzchak Alfasi's view, stating that a person should leave the utensil submerged until he feels that all the absorbed chametz has been released. However, the Tur (Yoreh De'ah 121) and the Pri Chadash do not require waiting any substantial amount of time. Their view is accepted by the later authorities. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Orach Chayim 452:4.)

Afterwards, they should be washed off with cold water -- in order to cleanse them of any forbidden matter that might remain on their surface (Rabbenu Manoach). The source for this requirement is the description (Zevachim 97a) of the way the priests would purge the Temple pots used to cook the sin offerings after the previous day's service. Though some authorities do not require this stage, the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (452:5) states that it is customary to follow this practice.

and [then] one may use them for matzah.

Similarly, [with regard to] knives, the blade -- Hilchot Ma'achalot Asurot 17:7 states: "A person who acquires a knife from a gentile must burn it out in fire." A similar decision is rendered by the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 121:7). Nevertheless, the authorities suggest that chametz may be purged from knives by boiling. However, they do not permit this leniency in the following instances:

a) when the knives are rusty;

b) when they have serrated edges;

c) when the handle is separate from the blade and enclosed around it, allowing for the possibility for residue to collect between them.

In the latter instance, even ליבון (exposing the knife to open fire) is insufficient. Since most knives today are made in this manner, they should not be kashered for Pesach or for ordinary use after having been used with prohibited foods. Both the Mishnah Berurah and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav state that purchasing new knives for Pesach is the most desirable manner of fulfilling the mitzvah.

and the handle should be boiled in a כלי ראשון -- as described above.

Afterwards, one may use them for matzah.

Halacha 24

Utensils of metal, stone, and wood which were used for chametz as a כלי שני - e.g., bowls or cups - should be placed in a large utensil, and boiling water poured over them. They should be left in [the large utensil] until they release [the chametz they absorbed]. Afterwards, they should be washed off. [Then,] they may be used for matzah.

Commentary Halacha

Utensils of metal, stone, and wood which were used for chametz as a כלי שני -- a utensil into which one pours water that had been cooked over a fire.

e.g., bowls or cups -- can also be purged of chametz following the principle כבולעו כך פולטו - "In the same manner as a [forbidden substance] is absorbed [by a utensil], so, too, is it released." Thus, since these utensils absorbed chametz in a שני כלי, in order for them to release the chametz they absorbed, they

should be placed in a large utensil and boiling water poured over them -- from a utensil that was heated on the fire. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 451:6) states that, at present, it is customary to boil all utensils on the fire itself (i.e., in a כלי ראשון), even though they were generally used as a כלי שני.

They should be left in [the large utensil] until they release [the chametz they absorbed] -- See the explanation of the similar phrase in the previous halachah.

Afterwards, they should be washed off -- as explained in the previous halachah.

[Then,] they may be used for matzah.

Halacha 25

All earthenware utensils that were used for chametz in hot water, whether as a כלי ראשון - for example, pots - or as a

כלי שני - for example, bowls - whether they were glazed and coated with lead so that they became like glass, or they were of simple earthenware: we do not use them for matzah. Rather, we put them aside until after Pesach, and then we may cook with them.

Commentary Halacha

All earthenware utensils that were used for chametz in hot -- See Halachah 21 with regard to earthenware vessels that were used for chametz while cold.

water -- In contrast to utensils made of other substances, the process of הגעלה cannot remove the forbidden matter absorbed in the walls of an earthenware vessel. Instead of all the absorbed matter being purged at once, it is released a small amount at a time, and there will always be a certain quantity of the previous substance contained in its walls.

Pesachim 30b explains that this concept is derived from the Torah itself. Leviticus 6:21 states that any pot in which meat from a sin offering has been cooked must be broken. A sin offering can only be eaten for one day. Once that time has passed, the taste of the meat absorbed in the pot is considered as נותר (sacrificial meat which has been kept past its required time), and thus forbidden. Hence, the pot itself must be destroyed.

whether as a כלי ראשון - for example, pots - or as a כלי שני - for example, bowls - whether they were glazed and coated with lead so that they became like glass -- i.e., china. Based on these principles, the authorities have stated that china can never be kashered. However, they have suggested certain leniencies when the china is very expensive.

or they were of simple earthenware -- As mentioned in Halachah 22, the Sages also forbade the use of ןוביל (exposing the utensil to fire), to remove chametz absorbed in most earthenware vessels, lest a person hesitate to expose them to the required heat out of fear that they would break. Thus, there is no way to prepare these utensils for Pesach use. Therefore,

we do not use them for matzah -- There would be no halachic difficulty against using these dishes on Pesach for cold foods. Nevertheless, our Sages forbade their use entirely, lest a person err and use them for hot substances as well.

Rather, we put them aside until after Pesach -- Though the taste of chametz is absorbed in the walls of these utensils, keeping them does not cause a person to violate the prohibition against possessing chametz on Pesach. Nevertheless, at present, when it is customary to sell chametz to gentiles, the Rabbis in charge of the sale usually sell this chametz as well.

and then we may cook with them -- This line was added to negate the opinion of Rav (Pesachim 30a), who maintains that each Pesach, a person was required to destroy any earthenware vessels he possessed which were used for chametz while hot.

Halacha 26

[A person possesses a utensil which is] a כלי ראשון and desires to boil it [in order to prepare it for Passover use], however, he cannot find a larger utensil into which [to place it] to boil it: Behold, he may place a border of clay around its [top] edge from the outside and fill it with water until the water overflows its edge. [Then,] he may boil the water in it, and this is sufficient. Afterwards, he washes it off and may use it for matzah.

Commentary Halacha

[A person possesses a utensil which is] a כלי ראשון and desires to boil it [in order to prepare it for Passover use] -- and hence must be kashered by boiling water inside of it, as explained in Halachah 23.

however, he cannot find a larger utensil into which [to place it] to boil it -- Thus, were he to boil water in the utensil itself, its entire top edge would not be exposed to the boiling water.

Behold, he may place a border of clay around its [top] edge from the outside and fill it -- the utensil

with water until the water overflows its edge -- but is delayed in pouring out by the clay border.

[Then,] he may boil the water in it, and this is sufficient -- for the entire utensil will have been exposed to the boiling water. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 452:6) offers an alternative suggestion. After boiling the water thoroughly, placing a very hot stone into the water will cause the water to flow over the edges of the utensil on all sides. Thus, the entire utensil will be exposed to the boiling water.

Afterwards, he washes it off -- with cold water, as explained in Halachah 23.

and may use it for matzah.

Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Six

Halacha 1

It is a positive commandment of the Torah to eat matzah on the night of the fifteenth [of Nisan], as [Exodus 12:18] states: "In the evening, you shall eat matzot." This applies in every place and at every time. Eating [matzah] is not dependent on the Paschal sacrifice. Rather, it is a mitzvah in its own right. The mitzvah may be fulfilled throughout the entire night.

Throughout the other days of the festival, eating matzah is left to one's choice: If one desires, one may eat matzah. If one desires, one may eat rice, millet, roasted seeds, or fruit. Nevertheless, on the night of the fifteenth alone, [eating matzah] is an obligation. Once one eats the size of an olive, he has fulfilled his obligation.

Commentary Halacha

in order that one will approach eating matzah with appetite. However, one may eat some fruit or vegetables -- or other similar foods that do not satiate one's appetite

but should not fill up on them -- for then, one will not eat the matzah with relish.

The Sages of the former generations would starve themselves on Pesach eve -- Pesachim 108a relates that Rav Sheshet would fast the entire day even though he was not a firstborn.

so that they would eat matzah with appetite, and thus hold the mitzvot as dear. In contrast -- greater leniency applies on the eve of Sabbaths or other festivals -- The Rambam's statements require some explanation: In Hilchot Yom Tov 6:16, the Rambam states:

It is proper for a person not to dine on the day before a festival from the time of Minchah onward, as on the day before the Sabbath.

The latter phrase is a reference to Hilchot Shabbat 30:4, which states:

A person may eat and drink [on Friday] until nightfall. Nevertheless, as part of the honor given to the Shabbat, a person should refrain from scheduling a meal from the time of Minchah onward.

Thus, on the day before the Sabbath and other festivals, a person should not schedule an important meal. However, he may partake of a casual meal and continue eating. On Pesach, even the latter is forbidden.

one may continue eating until darkness. -- at which time one is required to cease eating. However, a person who desires to continue eating may cover his food with a cloth, recite Kiddush, and return to his meal, as explained in Hilchot Shabbat 29:12.

Halacha 2

A person who swallows matzah [without chewing it] fulfills his obligation. A person who swallows maror [without chewing it] does not fulfill his obligation. A person who swallows matzah and maror together fulfills the obligation of matzah, but not that of maror, for the maror is secondary to the matzah. If he wrapped them in fibers or the like and swallowed them, he does not even fulfill the obligation of matzah.

Commentary Halacha

A person who swallows matzah -- gulping it down, without chewing or tasting it

fulfills his obligation -- for as long as the matzah touches his throat and is ingested, it has been eaten. Nevertheless, it is not desirable to fulfill one's obligation in this manner (Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 475).

A person who swallows maror -- in the same manner

does not fulfill his obligation -- The Rashbam, Pesachim 115b explains that the maror was instituted to recall the bitterness with which the Egyptians afflicted our ancestors. Therefore, a person who does not taste that bitterness does not fulfill his obligation.

Alternatively, certain texts of the Mishneh Torah (and Pesachim, ibid.) read "A person who swallows maror fulfills his obligation." The proponents of this text maintain that it is impossible to swallow a piece of maror the size of an olive without feeling some bitterness. Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (475:3) quotes the former text.

A person who swallows matzah and maror together fulfills the obligation of matzah -- as above. There is an added undesirable factor in eating matzah in this manner. Preferably, no other substances should be eaten with the matzah, so that only its taste will be sensed. (Indeed, were he to chew both the matzah and the maror, he would not fulfill his obligation (See Pesachim 115a). To insure that nothing negate the taste of the matzah, in many communities it is customary not to dip the matzah in salt when eating it at the seder).

but not that of maror, for the maror is secondary to the matzah. -- The Ra'avad raises a question, noting that the latter phrase is not an explanation why one does not fulfill the mitzvah of maror.

The Maggid Mishneh explains that the Rambam's intention is to explain why the person fulfills the mitzvah of matzah. One might argue that the maror, like the fibers mentioned in the following clause, would prevent one from fulfilling the mitzvah of matzah. Therefore, the Rambam explains that "the maror is secondary..."

It must be noted that according to the second version of the text mentioned above, the passage reads with no difficulty whatsoever.

If he wrapped them in fibers or the like and swallowed them -- the matzah, maror, and fibers

he does not even fulfill the obligation of matzah -- for unlike the maror, the fibers are considered as an interruption between the person's digestive system and the matzah. The fibers are placed in this category because they are not food in their own right. (A similar concept is stated in Hilchot Sha'ar Avot HaTum'ah 3:5.) In contrast, all other foods are considered secondary to the matzah and, hence not an interruption (Pri Chadash).

Halacha 3

A person who eats matzah without the intention [to fulfill the mitzvah] - e.g., gentiles or thieves force him to eat - fulfills his obligation.

A person who ate a כזית matzah in delirium, while possessed by an epileptic fit, and afterwards recovered, is obligated to eat another [כזית]. The consumption of [the first כזית] took place while he was free from the obligation to perform any mitzvot.

Commentary Halacha

A person who eats matzah without the intention [to fulfill the mitzvah] -- This halachah touches on a question left unresolved by the Talmud (see Pesachim 114b), and which has become a source of debate and discussion among the Rabbis in subsequent generations. Does a person who performs the deed of a mitzvah, without the intention to carry out God's command, fulfill his obligation, or not?

e.g., gentiles or thieves force him to eat -- The source for the Rambam's statements is Rosh HaShanah 28a, which states that when "Persians force a person to eat matzah, he fulfills his obligation."

fulfills his obligation -- It appears that the Rambam does not require a person to have the intention to fulfill a mitzvah, for in this instance the only reason the person ate the matzah was the coercion of the gentiles. Nevertheless, the commentaries qualify the Rambam's statements, based on Hilchot Shofar 2:4:

A person who occupies himself with blowing shofar to learn does not fulfill his obligation... one does not fulfill his obligation until both the person hearing [the shofar] and the one sounding it intend to fulfill the obligation.

In resolution, the Maggid Mishneh states that to fulfill his obligation, the person being forced to eat the matzah must know that today is Pesach, that he is obligated to eat matzah, and that it is matzah which he is eating. Rabbenu Nissim, the Kessef Mishneh, and Rabbenu Manoach follow a different line of reasoning. They differentiate between eating matzah and hearing a shofar. In the former case, a person's body benefits from the activity regardless of his intention. To support this thesis, they draw a parallel to the following passage from Keritot 19b.

Generally, the Torah frees a person from liability if he commits a transgression while being only מתעסק (performing a deed without any thought). However, a person who eats forbidden foods or engages in forbidden sexual relations in this manner is liable, because he derived pleasure from his activities.

Similarly, in the present context, since the person derived physical satisfaction from eating the matzah, even though he was forced to do so, the action is attributed to him. In contrast, since his body did not benefit from hearing the shofar, he does not fulfill his obligation until he hears the shofar blown in the proper manner.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 475:4) quotes the Maggid Mishneh's opinion as regards halachah l'ma'aseh, and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav adds the explanation mentioned in the name of the Kessef Mishneh. (It must be noted that the Pri Chadash and other commentaries do not accept this decision). In Orach Chayim 589:8, the Shulchan Aruch quotes the Rambam's decision concerning blowing the shofar, stating that a מתעסק does not fulfill the mitzvah. Similar decisions are rendered concerning kriat shema (Orach Chayim 60) and lulav and etrog (Orach Chayim 651).

A person who ate a

כזית matzah in delirium, while possessed by an epileptic fit, and afterwards recovered -- This does not imply that he was necessarily healed of epilepsy entirely, but rather that the seizure was concluded and he was able to return to normal functioning.

is obligated to eat another [ כזית] -- to fulfill the mitzvah because

the consumption of [the first כזית] took place while he was free from the obligation to perform any mitzvot -- because he was not in control of himself. Thus, his actions in that state do not obligate him for any transgressions he violates, nor does he receive full credit for any mitzvot he performs.

Halacha 4

A person does not fulfill the obligation of eating matzah unless he partakes [of matzah made] from one of the five species [of grain], as [Deuteronomy 16:3] states: "Do not eat chametz upon it... eat matzot for seven days."

[From the verse's association of chametz and matzah, we may derive:] substances which can become leavened may be eaten as matzah to fulfill one's obligation. In contrast, other substances - e.g., rice, millet, and kitniyot - cannot be used to fulfill the obligation of matzah, for they can never become leavened.

Commentary Halacha

A person does not fulfill the obligation of eating matzah unless he partakes [of matzah made] from one of the five species -- wheat, rye, barley, oats, and spelt, as stated in Halachah 5:1.

[of grain] -- The Ramah (Orach Chayim 453:1) states that it is customary to use matzot made from wheat.

as [Deuteronomy 16:3] -- In his commentary on the Mishnah (Challah 1:2), the Rambam cites two verses while explaining this principle: Exodus 12:18, "in the evening, you shall eat matzot" and the verse cited here. Similarly, certain manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah contain both verses. The fact that the mitzvah to eat matzah is derived from the verse in Exodus and not the verse in Deuteronomy tends to support the text which quotes both verses. However, Pesachim 35a, the source for the exegesis of this verse, only mentions one verse.

states: "Do not eat chametz upon it... eat matzot for seven days." From the verse's association of chametz and matzah, [we may derive:] substances which can become leavened -- that would become leavened if left unattended for the required period.

may be eaten as matzah to fulfill one's obligation -- as evident from the following halachah, the actual dough used to make the matzah need not have the potential to become leavened. However, the species of grain used as flour must be fit to become leavened. (See Lechem Mishneh, Halachah 5.)

In contrast, other substances - e.g. rice, millet, and kitniyot - cannot be used to fulfill the obligation of matzah, for they can never become leavened -- rather they spoil, as stated in Halachah 5:1.

Halacha 5

A person who makes dough from wheat and rice: if it has the taste of grain, one may fulfill his obligation with it. Dough made as food for dogs: if the shepherds also eat from it, one may fulfill his obligation with it. If the shepherds do not eat from it, one cannot fulfill his obligation by eating it, for it is not watched for the sake of eating matzah.

Matzah that was kneaded with fruit juice, one may fulfill one's obligation with it on Pesach. However, [the dough] should not be kneaded with wine, oil, honey, or milk, because of the requirement for poor man's bread, as explained above. A person who kneaded [dough with one of these liquids] does not fulfill his obligation.

One cannot fulfill his obligation with matzah made from thin bran or coarse bran. However, one may knead flour together with its bran and make it into a loaf and fulfill one's obligation with it. Similarly, a loaf made with very fine flour is permitted, and a person may fulfill his obligation with it. We do not say: this is not poor man's bread.

Commentary Halacha

A person who makes dough from wheat and rice -- combining the two species in one matzah

if it has the taste of grain -- Based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Challah 3:5), the Ramban and Rabbenu Asher maintain that as long as the matzah tastes of grain, one may fulfill one's requirement even though the amount of wheat flour is not sufficient to produce a כזית (size of an olive) of wheat flour in כדי אכילת פרס (a quantity equivalent in volume to three eggs according to the Rambam, two eggs according to other authorities; see the commentary on Halachah 1:6).

They explain that when mixed with wheat, rice takes on the taste of the wheat to the point that its own flavor is not noticeable at all. Hence, there is no limit to the quantity of wheat required. In contrast, other kitniyot do not "accept" the flavor of wheat so easily (nor does rice "accept" the flavor of the other four species of grain). Hence, if they are mixed with wheat, there has to be a sufficient quantity of wheat (a כזית within פרס כדי אכילת) for one to fulfill his obligation.

The Ra'avad and the Rashbah do not accept the principle explained by the Ramban, and require a כזית in פרס כדי אכילת even when a dough is made of rice and wheat. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 453:2) quotes the Rambam's words exactly. The commentaries infer that this implies acceptance of the Ramban's view. The later authorities quote the Ra'avad's opinion and suggest adhering to it, though theoretically, they find the Ramban's view more acceptable.

one may fulfill his obligation with it -- as if it were made of wheat alone.

Dough made as food for dogs -- In his commentary on the Mishnah (Challah 1:8), the Rambam describes this as coarse bread mixed together with bran.

if the shepherds also eat from it -- and thus, it is also considered human food

one may fulfill his obligation with it. If the shepherds do not eat from it -- and use it merely to feed the animals, it is not forbidden. Were it to be chametz, it would not be permitted to be used for that purpose since no benefit may be derived from chametz during Pesach. Nevertheless,

one cannot fulfill his obligation -- to eat matzah the first night of Pesach

by eating it, for it is not watched for the sake of eating matzah -- as explained in Halachah 5:9, the matzah used to fulfill the mitzvah must be "watched" so that it does not become chametz. Furthermore, every stage of its preparation should be carried out with the intent that it be used to fulfill the mitzvah. Since this dough was made to be used only as food for dogs, surely this intent was lacking.

Matzah that was kneaded with fruit juice -- Fruit juice itself will not cause flour to become leavened, as stated in Halachah 5:2; nevertheless,

one may fulfill one's obligation with it on Pesach -- because the species of grain can become leavened. As mentioned above, it is Ashkenazic custom not to use such matzah on Pesach unless the person is incapable of eating ordinary matzah.

However, [the dough] should not be kneaded with wine, oil, honey, or milk, because of the requirement for poor man's bread, as explained above -- in Halachah 5:20. There is a slight difficulty with this statement. The halachah cited states that only water should be used for the matzah. The Radbaz (Vol. III, Responsum 1074) states that only the four liquids mentioned here may not be used, for only they change the taste of the matzah appreciably. However, the Ra'avad and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 462:1) forbid the use of matzah made with any liquid other than water for use at the seder.

A person who kneaded [dough with one of these liquids] does not fulfill his obligation -- Pesachim 36a relates that Rabbi Yehoshua told his sons to make him matzah kneaded with milk throughout Pesach, except on the first night.

One cannot fulfill his obligation with matzah made from thin bran or coarse -- as mentioned above, there is a debate among the Rabbis which Hebrew term is appropriate to which type of bran.

bran -- It is abnormal to make bread from bran alone. Therefore, Challah need not be separated from such a loaf, nor may it be used for the mitzvah of matzah. See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 454:1.

However, one may knead flour together with its bran and make it into a loaf and fulfill one's obligation with it -- for then, the flour is considered of primary importance.

Similarly, a loaf made with very fine flour -- Pesachim 36b states "even if it is like King Solomon's matzah."

Halacha 6

[One may fulfill his obligation] with matzah baked in either an oven or a roasting pot. This applies whether the dough was stuck to the roasting pot and then the [pot] was heated, or whether the [pot] was heated and then the [dough] stuck to it. Even if the dough was baked in the ground, one may fulfill his obligation with it.

Similarly, even if the matzah was not thoroughly baked, one may fulfill his obligation with it, provided strands of dough will not extend from it when broken. A person may fulfill his obligation with a cake [of matzah] soaked [in other substances], so long as it has not dissolved. However, a person cannot fulfill his obligation with matzah that has been cooked, for it does not have the taste of bread.

Commentary Halacha

[One may fulfill his obligation] with matzah baked in either an oven -- as is usually done

or a roasting pot -- as is occasionally the case. The dough is prepared as if for baking in an oven, and then placed in a roasting pot or frying pan. In his commentary on the Mishnah (Challah 1:6), the Rambam explains that even when bread is baked in this fashion, one is obligated to separate Challah. Hence, such a loaf is also considered as bread with regard to matzah.

This applies whether the dough was stuck to the roasting pot and then the [pot] was heated -- The Rambam uses the word הרתיח, which is generally translated as "boiled." However, in this instance, all commentators agree that no water can be used.

or whether the [pot] was heated, and then the [dough] stuck to it. -- In the latter instance, the Ra'avad agrees with the principle that such matzah is considered as bread and is able to be used for the mitzvah of matzah. However, he objects to this manner of preparation out of fear that perhaps the dough will become chametz. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 461:2) suggests adhering to his opinion.

Even if the dough was baked in the ground, one may fulfill his obligation with it -- Berachot 38a describes the process of baking bread in a pit in the ground and states that one may use it as matzah for the seder.

Similarly, even if the matzah was not thoroughly baked -- Within the context of this law, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 461:3) counsels against removing dough prematurely from the oven and then returning it. During the time it is outside the oven, it can become chametz.

one may fulfill his obligation with it, provided strands of dough will not extend from it when broken. --

פורסה usually means sliced. Our translation follows Rabbenu Manoach's commentary and Rashi, Pesachim 37a.

A person -- This law is relevant to a person who is old or sick and cannot eat the required amount (כזית) of matzah in the normal manner, as mentioned in Halachah 10. Nevertheless, its application is not solely restricted to these persons. None of the commentaries has placed any restrictions against healthy people fulfilling their obligation in this manner. (As mentioned in Halachah 5:5, some Ashkenazi authorities forbid soaking matzah in water after it has been baked.)

may fulfill his obligation with a cake [of matzah] -- which after being baked, has been

soaked -- As mentioned in Halachah 5:5, once matzah has been baked thoroughly, it will not become chametz even when exposed to water.

[in other substances] -- In his commentary on Pesachim 41a, the source for this law, Rashi allows one to soak matzah in cooked foods with a taste of their own. Similarly, Rabbenu Manoach mentions matzah dipped in wine. Nevertheless, the Ra'avad and others maintain that other foods would nullify the taste of matzah, and they permit soaking the matzah only in water. They draw support from the Rambam's statements in Halachah 10 and maintain that he also accepts this restriction.

The Magen Avraham and the other Ashkenazic authorities favor the latter opinion. However, they do maintain that a sick person who could not eat a sufficient quantity of matzah soaked in water may soak his matzah in wine.

so long as it has not dissolved -- at which point it would no longer be considered as bread, and the HaMotzi blessing would no longer be recited over it.

However, a person cannot fulfill his obligation with matzah that has been cooked -- even if cooked in water alone,

for it does not have the taste - or the form

of bread.

Halacha 7

A person cannot fulfill his obligation by eating matzah which is forbidden to him; for example, a person who ate [matzah made from] tevel, [matzah made from] the first tithe from which terumat [ma'aser] had not been separated, or [matzah] that was stolen.

This is the governing principle: All [matzah] upon which the grace after meals is recited may be used to fulfill one's obligation. If the grace after meals may not be recited upon it, it may not be used to fulfill one's obligation.

Commentary Halacha

A person cannot fulfill his obligation by eating matzah which is forbidden to him; for example, a person who ate [matzah made from] tevel -- produce from Eretz Yisrael from which the agricultural requirements -- separation of the terumah (a portion given to priests), ma'aser rishon (the first tithe), and ma'aser sheni (the second tithe) -- have not been fulfilled.

[matzah made from] the first tithe from which terumat [ma'aser] had not been separated -- After receiving the tithe from the Israelites, the Levites were obligated to separate a second tithe, as commanded in Numbers 18:26.

or [matzah] that was stolen -- The Jerusalem Talmud, Challah 1:9, states:

Matzah that was stolen: one may not recite a blessing upon it. Rav Oshiah states: This is derived from Psalms 10:3: "The greedy's blessing revolts God."

However, one might think this is true only in the beginning; ultimately (i.e., after eating the matzah), he is obligated to pay him money (and thus the matzah itself is no longer the property of the original owner.)

Rabbi Yochanan states: "A mitzvah is not a sin." Rabbi Yossi states: "A sin is not a mitzvah." Rabbi Illa said: "Only when the mitzvot are performed as prescribed are they mitzvot."

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 454:4) quotes the Rambam's statements exactly. Nevertheless, Rabbi Akiva Eiger maintains that since the stolen object no longer belongs to the original owners once it has been eaten, one may fulfill the mitzvah of matzah in this manner. All authorities agree that a person who stole grain or flour can fulfill his obligation with matzah made from it.

Rabbenu Manoach maintains that this instance is not dependent on the general rulings governing mitzvot performed with forbidden objects. Rather, Pesachim 38a draws an analogy between the mitzvot of matzah and Challah. Since there is an explicit teaching requiring a person to own the dough he uses for Challah, it thus follows that the matzah he uses must also be his undisputed property.

This is the governing principle: All [matzah] upon which the grace after meals is recited -- even though there are certain halachic difficulties regarding eating it, as explained in Hilchot Berachot 1:20.

may be used to fulfill one's obligation -- to eat matzah on Pesach.

If the grace after meals may not be recited upon it, it may not be used to fulfill one's obligation -- In Hilchot Berachot 1:19, the Rambam states: "Anyone who eats a forbidden food, whether intentionally or unintentionally, does not recite a blessing over it." This includes even foods prohibited by Rabbinic law alone.

Halacha 8

The priests may fulfill their obligation with [matzot made from] Challah or terumah even though it is matzah which is not suited to be eaten by all people. Similarly, a person may fulfill his obligation with matzah [made] from ma'aser sheni [if he is] in Jerusalem. However, one may not fulfill his obligation with matzah made from bikkurim even [if he is] in Jerusalem.

[The difference is] because there is no permissible way of eating bikkurim in all [Jewish] settlements. [In contrast,] ma'aser sheni can be redeemed and eaten in all [Jewish] settlements. [Our Sages interpreted Exodus 12:20,] which states: "Eat matzot in all of your settlements," [to imply that] only matzah that is fit to be eaten in all settlements may be used to fulfill one's obligation.

Commentary Halacha

The priests -- and their households

may fulfill their obligation with [matzot made from] Challah -- Numbers 15:20 commands that a portion of every dough be separated and given to the priests. This portion of dough is called Challah and is governed by all the rules pertaining to Terumah.

or terumah -- Numbers 15:19, 18:12 commands that before tithes are given to the Levites, a certain portion of the grain should be separated and given to the priests. This portion, referred to as terumah, may be eaten only by the priests and their households.

even though it is matzah which is not suited to be eaten by all people -- Thus, Israelites cannot fulfill their obligation by eating such matzah. Pesachim 35b states that matzot whose consumption involves any prohibition may not be used to fulfill the mitzvah of matzah. (See the previous halachah.)

Similarly, a person may fulfill his obligation with matzah

[made] from ma'aser sheni -- Deuteronomy 14:22-23 commands: "Take a [second] tithe of all the crops... You must eat this before God, your Lord, in the place that He will choose (Jerusalem)."

[if he is] in Jerusalem -- but not outside the holy city. It must be noted that certain Talmudic Sages do not accept this principle. The Rambam's statements follow the opinion of Rabbi Akiva, whose statements are generally accepted as halachah.

However, one -- a priest, for only the priests are allowed to partake of the bikkurim,

may not fulfill his obligation with matzah made from bikkurim -- Numbers 18:13 requires that the first fruits be given to the priests. Deuteronomy 26:2-10 explains more details of that obligation, among them that the first fruits must be taken to Jerusalem and given to the priests in the Temple.

even [if he is] in Jerusalem - and the wheat from which he made matzah had been properly given to him as bikkurim.

[The difference is] because there is no permissible way of

eating bikkurim in all [Jewish] settlements -- rather, they may be eaten only by the priests within the limits of Jerusalem.

[In contrast,] ma'aser sheni can be redeemed and eaten in all [Jewish] settlements -- Deuteronomy 14:24-26 states:

If the journey is too great for you... you may redeem this tithe in silver... which you can bring to the place God, your Lord, will choose. You may spend the money on anything you desire [to eat]...

Thus the actual produce separated as ma'aser sheni need not be taken to Jerusalem, but may be eaten elsewhere.

[Our Sages -- Pesachim 36a

interpreted Exodus 12:20,] which states: "Eat matzot in all of your settlements," [to imply that] only matzah that is fit to be eaten in all settlements may be used to fulfill one's obligation. -- Thus, bikkurim are excluded, but not ma'aser sheni.

Halacha 9

Loaves from the thanksgiving offering and cakes from the Nazirite offering, which an individual made for his personal use, may not be used to fulfill one's obligation, [as can be implied] from the statement [Exodus 12:17]: "And you shall watch the matzot." Matzah which is watched with the sole intention [that it be used to fulfill the mitzvah] of matzah may be used to fulfill one's obligation. However, this matzah is also watched with the intention of [being used for a] sacrifice. Those that were made to be sold in the marketplace, [the baker] has the intention that if they are not sold, he will eat them. Therefore, while he was making them he [also] watched for the sake of matzah.

Commentary Halacha

Loaves from the thanksgiving offering -- as explained in Leviticus 7:12 and commentaries, the thanksgiving offering was accompanied by forty loaves of bread. Thirty were matzah, and thus were kosher for use on Pesach.

and cakes from the Nazirite offering -- Numbers 6:15 specifies that a Nazirite must bring a basket of matzot as part of the sacrifices associated with the completion of his vow.

which an individual made for his personal use -- i.e., to offer as a sacrifice.

may not be used to fulfill one's obligation -- to eat matzah on Pesach night.

[as can be implied] from the statement [Exodus 12:17]: "And you shall watch the matzot." -- Halachah 5:9 states that this verse teaches that matzah must be prepared with the intention that it be used to fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzah. Pesachim 38b extends the scope of that requirement, stating:

Matzah which is watched with the sole intention [that it be used to fulfill the mitzvah] of matzah may be used to fulfill one's obligation. However, this matzah -- from the thanksgiving or Nazirite offerings

is also watched with the intention of [being used for a] sacrifice -- Hence, it may not be used to fulfill the mitzvah of matzah.

Those -- matzot made for the thanksgiving or Nazirite offerings

that were made to be sold in the marketplace -- for others to use

[the baker] has the intention that if they are not sold, he will eat them. Therefore, while he was making them -- implicit in his intention was that

he [also] watched for the sake of matzah. -- Therefore, they may be used to fulfill the mitzvah of matzah.

Rabbenu Manoach and other commentators note that the matzot for these sacrifices would have to be prepared before the thirteenth of Nisan. (A thanksgiving sacrifice could not be brought on the fourteenth, because of the ten breads that were chametz.) From this, he draws support for the practice of preparing matzot before Pesach, even though the common custom in his day was to bake them on the afternoon of the fourteenth. The need to find support for this practice may seem strange for members of many communities today whose matzot may be prepared in the heart of winter.

Halacha 10

All are obligated to [fulfill the mitzvah to] eat matzah, even women and slaves. A minor [old enough to eat bread] should be trained in [the fulfillment of] mitzvot and be given an olive's size of matzah to eat. [For] a sick or elderly person who cannot eat, we can soak a cake [of matzah] in water and feed it to him, provided it does not dissolve.

Commentary Halacha

All are obligated to [fulfill the mitzvah to] eat matzah -- As mentioned above, the Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 10) notes that even though the Torah restricted an uncircumcised person or someone who is impure from bringing a Paschal sacrifice, they must partake of matzah on Pesach night.

even women and slaves -- Though these individuals are usually relieved of the observance of mitzvot limited to a specific time, Pesachim 43b makes an exception in this case. Deuteronomy 16:3 states: "Do not eat chametz upon it... eat matzot for seven days," establishing an analogy between the two mitzvot. Since women are obligated to fulfill the prohibition against eating chametz (for they are liable for the observance of all the Torah's prohibitions), they must also fulfill the positive commandment of eating matzah.

A minor old enough to eat bread] should be trained in [the fulfillment of] mitzvot -- From the Rambam's phraseology, we learn that the mitzvah of training one's children to fulfill mitzvot is incumbent upon the parents. Neither the Torah nor the Sages placed any responsibilities on the children themselves. Rather, the parents are charged with teaching their children to follow the Torah's guidelines (Kessef Mishneh).

and be given an olive's size of matzah -- the same measure given an adult.

to eat. [For] a sick or elderly person who cannot eat -- a full כזית of matzah in any other fashion,

we can soak a cake [of matzah] in water and feed it to him, provided it does not dissolve. -- See Halachah 6 and commentary.

Halacha 11

It is a Rabbinic ordinance that nothing at all is eaten after the matzah, not even roasted seeds, nuts, or the like. Rather, even though one ate matzah and afterwards, ate other foods, fruit, and the like, one returns and eats a second olive's size of matzah at the end [of the meal] and ceases [eating].

Commentary Halacha

It is a Rabbinic ordinance that nothing at all is eaten after the matzah -- As explained in Halachah 8:9, the Rambam is referring to the afikoman, which was instituted in place of the Paschal sacrifice.

not even roasted seeds, nuts, or the like -- The Mishnah (Pesachim 119b) states: "No afikoman is served after the Paschal sacrifice." In his commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam defines afikoman as "fruits served as dessert after the meal, such as roasted seeds, figs, raisins, almonds, and the like."

Rather, even though one ate matzah -- to begin one's meal and to fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzah

and afterwards ate other foods, fruit, and the like -- in the course of the meal

one returns and eats a second olive's size of matzah at the end [of the meal] -- as the afikoman

and ceases [eating]. -- so that the taste of the matzah will remain in one's mouth. See Halachah 8:9.

Halacha 12

The Sages forbade a person from eating matzah on Pesach eve, in order for there to be a distinction between [partaking of it as food] and eating it on the evening [of the fifteen as a mitzvah.] Whoever eats matzah on Pesach eve is given "stripes for rebellion" until his soul expires.

Similarly, it is forbidden to eat on Pesach evening from slightly before the time of Minchah, in order that one will approach eating matzah with appetite. However, one may eat some fruit or vegetables, but should not fill up on them.

The Sages of the former generations would starve themselves on Pesach eve so that they would eat matzah with appetite, and thus hold the mitzvot as dear. In contrast, on the eve of Sabbaths or other festivals, one may continue eating until darkness.

Commentary Halacha

The Sages forbade a person from eating matzah -- This applies only to matzah that is fit to be used at the Seder. However, matzah that is made with wine, oil, or honey may not be used to fulfill the mitzvah, and hence may be eaten at this time. (As mentioned above, such matzah is generally not eaten in the Ashkenazic community.)

on Pesach eve -- the fourteenth of Nisan. Some authorities explain that this prohibition only applies from midday, the time when chametz becomes forbidden. However, the Rambam appears to consider the prohibition as applying during the entire day (Maggid Mishneh).

in order for there to be a distinction between [partaking of it as food] and eating it on the evening [of the fifteen as a mitzvah.] -- The Jerusalem Talmud (Pesachim 10:1) states that a person who eats matzah on the day before Pesach can be compared to a man who has relations with his betrothed in her father's house before the wedding.

Whoever eats matzah on Pesach eve is given "stripes of rebellion" --

מכת מרדות, the punishment given those who break a Rabbinic commandment. The Jerusalem Talmud (ibid.) explains that such a punishment is given to a man who acts immodestly with his betrothed. Hence, it is appropriate that a person who eats matzah on Pesach eve be given a similar penalty.

until his soul expires -- This phrase has provoked much controversy among the commentators. The Tashbaytz (Vol. II, Responsum 51) states:

This is a wondrous statement... If the intention is that after he eats, he should be beaten... a Rabbinic prohibition will be punished more severely than a Torah prohibition... for such a penalty is not found with regard to a Torah prohibition.

Indeed, some commentaries advise striking this phrase from the text, maintaining that it was a later addition which was not made by the Rambam himself. Nevertheless, Rabbenu Manoach justifies this phrase, explaining that it refers to a situation where a person obstinately refuses to accept the prohibition. As long as he does not promise to obey the Sages' decree, the authorities must continue administering punishment.

Similarly, it is forbidden to eat -- a meal with matzah (even matzah kneaded with wine, which is not included in the prohibition mentioned above)

on Pesach evening from slightly before the time of Minchah -- The Sages defined this time as nine hours after the beginning of the day. (The time of Minchah is nine and a half hours after the beginning of the day.)

Chometz U'Matzah - Chapter Seven

Halacha 1

It is a positive commandment of the Torah to relate the miracles and wonders wrought for our ancestors in Egypt on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, as [Exodus 13:3] states: "Remember this day, on which you left Egypt," just as [Exodus 20:8] states: "Remember the Sabbath day."

From where [is it derived that this mitzvah is to be fulfilled on] the night of the fifteenth? The Torah teaches [Exodus 13:8]: "And you shall tell your son on that day, saying: 'It is because of this...'"FS" [implying that the mitzvah is to be fulfilled] when matzah and maror are placed before you.

[The mitzvah applies] even though one does not have a son. Even great Sages are obligated to tell about the Exodus from Egypt. Whoever elaborates concerning the events which occurred and took place is worthy of praise.

Commentary Halacha

It is a positive commandment of the Torah -- Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 157), Sefer HaChinuch (mitzvah 21)

to relate -- Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:3 mentions that it is a mitzvah to recall the Exodus from Egypt twice daily. The Rambam makes no further mention of that mitzvah in the Mishneh Torah, nor does he mention it in Sefer HaMitzvot. There is a basic difference between these two obligations. Throughout the year, a brief recollection is all that is required. On Pesach night, we must elaborate, relating the entire story of the Exodus.

the miracles and wonders wrought for our ancestors in Egypt on the night -- In Sefer HaMitzvot (ibid.), the Rambam states "the beginning of the night," implying that we should begin telling the story of the Exodus in the first portion of the night.

of the fifteenth of Nisan -- the night of the plague of the firstborn, when Pharaoh gave the Jews permission to leave Egypt.

as [Exodus 13:3] states: "Remember this day -- the fifteenth of Nisan

on which you left Egypt" -- implying that we are commanded to commemorate the day of the Exodus.

just as [Exodus 20:8] states: "Remember the Sabbath day." -- This addition is a quote from the Mechiltah and Shemot Rabbah. Nevertheless, the commentators have questioned its necessity. Some explain that the word זכור does not follow the grammatical form usually used for commandments, and hence the comparison with the Sabbath is valuable.

Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 21, explains that Shemot Rabbah states that the remembrance of the Sabbath is זכר למעשה בראשית, "a commemoration of the work of creation." The remembrance of the exodus, it continues, must also emphasize the wonders and miracles that God performed.

What is the common point between the Sabbath and the exodus? Both emphasize how God is above nature and, hence, can change nature according to His will.

This quality is also reflected in our service. At the very beginning of Hilchot Shabbat, the Rambam emphasizes how the observance of the Sabbath is connected with a positive mitzvah: rest. A Jew steps beyond his weekday activities and devotes his energies to spiritual activites bond with God.

Similarly, the recollection of the exodus from Egypt must take us beyond our everyday activities to the extent that as stated in Halachah 7:6 "He presents himself as if he, himself, is leaving the slavery of Egypt."

From where [is it derived that this mitzvah is to be fulfilled on] the night of the fifteenth? The Torah teaches [Exodus 13:8]: "And you shall tell your son on that day -- relating the story of the Exodus

saying: 'It is because of this...'"FS" -- The Mechiltah interprets this as a reference to matzah and maror. Thus, the verse is

[implying that the mitzvah] -- of relating the story of the exile

[is to be fulfilled] when matzah and maror are placed before you -- i.e., on the night of the fifteenth of Nisan, when it is a mitzvah to eat matzah, as explained in Halachah 6:1.

[The mitzvah applies] even though one does not have a son -- This clause is necessary because from the expression "and you shall tell your son," one might imply that the mitzvah only applies to a person with children.

Even great Sages are obligated to tell about the Exodus from Egypt. -- to quote the Haggadah: "Even if we are all wise, all men of understanding, all Sages, all knowledgeable about the Torah, it is a mitzvah incumbent upon us to relate the Exodus from Egypt." Many commentaries explain that the story the Haggadah quotes concerning Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, and the other Sages is brought to demonstrate and prove this point.

Whoever elaborates concerning the events which occurred and took place is worthy of praise -- Sefer HaMitzvot (ibid.) praises: "Whoever adds further statements and elaborates more on the greatness of what God did for us and the wickedness and violence with which the Egyptians treated us, and how God took His revenge upon them..."

Halacha 2

It is a mitzvah to inform one's sons even though they do not ask, as [Exodus 13:8] states: "You shall tell your son."

A father should teach his son according to the son's knowledge: How is this applied? If the son is young or foolish, he should tell him: "My son, in Egypt, we were all slaves like this maidservant or this slave. On this night, the Holy One, Blessed be He, redeemed us and took us out to freedom."

If the son is older and wise, he should inform him what happened to us in Egypt and the miracles wrought for us by Moses, our teacher; everything according to the son's knowledge.

Commentary Halacha

It is a mitzvah to inform one's sons even though they do not ask, as [Exodus 13:8] states: "You shall tell your son." -- Though Exodus 13:14 states: "And it shall come to pass that your son will ask you:...," the verse quoted demonstrates that the father's explanations need not necessarily come in response to his son's questions (Mechiltah d'Rashbi).

A father should teach his son according to the son's knowledge -- Commenting on this statement, the Ramah (Orach Chayim 473:6) relates that if a person's family is unable to understand the Haggadah in Hebrew, he should translate it into a language they do understand.

How is this applied? If the son is young or foolish, he should tell him: "My son, in Egypt, we were all slaves like this maidservant or this slave. On this night, the Holy One, Blessed be He, redeemed us and took us out to freedom." -- To this author's knowledge, this phraseology is the Rambam's original choice of words. He attempts to provide us with an easily applicable example of how to fulfill this mitzvah.

If the son is older and wise, he should inform him what happened to us in Egypt and the miracles wrought for us by Moses, our teacher -- The Haggadah (based on the Mechiltah) also explains that a wise son should be taught the halachot of Pesach.

everything according to the son's knowledge -- The latter phrase, a quote from Pesachim 116a, is interpreted differently by some other commentators. They maintain that the father teaches the son how to ask relevant questions, whose nature depends on the son's ability to understand. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (473:40,42) combines both these interpretations.

Halacha 3

He should make changes on this night so that the children will see and will [be motivated to] ask: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" until he replies to them: "This and this occurred; this and this took place."

What changes should be made? He should give them roasted seeds and nuts; the table should be taken away before they eat; matzot should be snatched from each other and the like.

When a person does not have a son, his wife should ask him. If he does not have a wife, [he and a colleague] should ask each other: "Why is this night different?" This applies even if they are all wise. A person who is alone should ask himself: "Why is this night different?"

Commentary Halacha

He -- the father or person conducting the seder

should make changes on this night so that the children will see -- have their curiosity piqued

and will -- thus, remain awake and

[be motivated to] ask: "Why is this night different from all other nights?" -- The question מה נשתנה and, similarly, three of the four questions asked by the children are mentioned in the Mishnah, Pesachim 116a.

until he replies to them: "This and this occurred; this and this took place." -- relating the story of the Exodus by reciting the Haggadah.

What changes should be made? He should give them roasted seeds and nuts -- Pesachim 109a notes that Rabbi Akiva would follow this practice.

the table should be taken away before they eat -- Pesachim 115b relates that one Pesach, Abaye was sitting before Rabbah, and the latter suddenly picked up the table as if he had finished eating. Abaye exclaimed: "We have not begun to eat and you have already picked up the table!" (See also Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 473:6. See Halachah 8:2.)

matzot should be snatched from each other -- The Rambam's statements are quoted from Pesachim 109a. However, Rashi, the Ra'avad, and others interpret חוטפים מצות to mean that the matzot are eaten hurriedly. The Rambam's interpretation is the source for the custom of stealing matzah at the Seder.

and the like -- The custom of pouring the second cup of wine directly after reciting הא לחמה עניא is cited by the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.:7) as another practice instituted to arouse curiosity.

When a person does not have a son, his wife should ask him. -- The Sages stressed that the Haggadah should be recited as a response to questions. We show greater interest in learning about a subject when questions have first been raised in our minds.

If he does not have a wife, [he and a colleague] should ask each other "Why is this night different?" This applies even if they are all wise -- as mentioned in the previous halachah.

A person who is alone should ask himself: "Why is this night different?" -- Since the question and answer approach is the most desirable way to recite the Haggadah, everyone must follow this pattern, even if he must ask himself the questions.

Halacha 4

One must begin [the narrative describing our ancestors'] base [roots] and conclude with [their] praise. What does this imply? One begins relating how originally, in the age of Terach, our ancestors denied [God's existence] and strayed after vanity, pursuing idol worship. One concludes with the true faith: how the Omnipresent has drawn us close to Him, separated us from the gentiles, and drawn us near to His Oneness.

Similarly, one begins by stating that we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and [describing] all the evil done to us, and concludes with the miracles and wonders that were wrought upon us, and our freedom.

This [implies] that one should extrapolate [the passage beginning] from [Deuteronomy 26:5]: "An Aramean sought to destroy my ancestor..." until one concludes the entire passage. Whoever adds and extends his extrapolation of this passage is praiseworthy.

Commentary Halacha

One must begin [the narrative describing our ancestors'] base [roots] and conclude with [their] praise. -- This principle is taken from the Mishnah, Pesachim 116a. The commentaries offer several rationales in its explanation. Among them:

a) The contrast between our nation's humble roots and the majestic level they reached through the Exodus make us more conscious of God's great kindness (Tosefot Rid).

b) Mention of our roots prevents us from becoming overly haughty (Maharshah).

What does this imply? One begins relating how originally, in the age of Terach -- Abraham's father

our ancestors denied [God's existence] -- The Rambam is alluding to the passage "Originally, our ancestors were idol-worshipers."

and strayed after vanity, pursuing idol worship -- See Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 1:1-3.

One concludes with the true faith -- The redemption from Egypt representing the birth of the Jews as a nation and the beginning of their service of God as a people.

how the Omnipresent has drawn us close to Him, separated us from the gentiles, and drawn us near to His Oneness -- by giving us the Torah.

Similarly, one begins by stating that we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and [describing] all the evil done to us -- The Rambam's statements are based on Pesachim 116a, which mentions a debate between Rav and Shmuel concerning the interpretation of "One must begin [the narrative describing our ancestors'] base [roots] and conclude with [their] praise."

Rav maintains that it is proper to begin from "Originally, our ancestors were worshipers of idols," placing the emphasis on our degrading spiritual roots. Shmuel (according to the Maggid Mishneh, Ravvah) maintains that we should begin from "We were slaves to Pharaoh, stressing the humble material origins from which our people stem. Customarily, we follow both opinions in our recitation of the Haggadah (Rav Yitzchak Alfasi), and hence the Rambam includes both opinions in this halachah.

There is, nonetheless, a certain difficulty with the Rambam's statements. All texts of the Haggadah begin with "We were slaves," and then relate the passage "Originally, our ancestors were idol worshipers." Here, the Rambam reverses that order. Perhaps he made this choice because the Talmud uses this order when mentioning these two opinions. Alternatively, chronologically, our ancestors' worship of idols preceded the Egyptian exile.

and concludes with the miracles and wonders that were wrought upon us, and our freedom -- relating the story of the Exodus.

This [implies] that one should extrapolate -- bringing other verses to explain and clarify the statements of this passage as found in the Haggadah.

[the passage beginning] from [Deuteronomy 26:5]: "An Aramean sought to destroy my ancestor..." -- This passage served as the statement of thanksgiving recited by the farmers bringing bikkurim (the first fruits) to the Temple. The Mishnah (Pesachim 116a) mentions that it was instituted as the basis of the Haggadah.

until one concludes the entire passage. -- i.e., until Deuteronomy 26:8.

Whoever adds and extends his extrapolation -- beyond the accepted text

of this passage is praiseworthy.

Halacha 5

Whoever does not mention these three matters on the night of the fifteenth has not fulfilled his obligation. They are: the Paschal sacrifice, matzah, and maror.

The Paschal sacrifice: [It is eaten] because the Omnipresent passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt as [Exodus 12:27] states: "And you shall say: 'It is the Paschal sacrifice to God.'"FS"

The bitter herbs: [They are eaten] because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt.

The matzah: [It is eaten] because of the redemption. These statements are all referred to as the Haggadah.

Commentary Halacha

Whoever does not mention these three matters on the night of the fifteenth has not fulfilled his obligation -- to relate the story of the Exodus. The commentators question if a person who does not mention these three concepts is not considered to have fulfilled the mitzvah at all, or rather, is the intent that he has not fulfilled the mitzvah in a desirable manner?

They are: the Paschal sacrifice, matzah, and maror. -- From the verse quoted below: "And you shall say: 'It is the Paschal sacrifice to God,'"FS" Tosefot, Pesachim 116b, derives that the Paschal sacrifice must be among the things spoken about on Pesach. Since the Paschal sacrifice must be eaten "with matzot and bitter herbs," there is also an obligation to mention them.

the Paschal sacrifice: [It is eaten] because the Omnipresent passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt -- saving them from the plague of the slaying of the firstborn

as [Exodus 12:27] states: "And you shall say: 'It is the Paschal sacrifice to God.'"FS"

The bitter herbs -- Here and in Halachah 8:4, the Rambam changes the order found in our text of the Mishnah and in the Haggadah (including even his own text of the Haggadah). Rabbenu Manoach maintains that this was the order found in the Rambam's text of the Mishnah.

[They are eaten] because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt. The matzah: [It is eaten] because of the redemption. These statements -- the questions asked in Halachah 3 and the explanations referred to in this and the previous halachah.

are all referred to as the Haggadah.

Halacha 6

In each and every generation, a person must present himself as if he, himself, has now left the slavery of Egypt, as [Deuteronomy 6:23] states: "He took us out from there." Regarding this manner, God commanded in the Torah: "Remember that you were a slave [Deuteronomy 5:15]" - i.e., as if you, yourself, were a slave and went out to freedom and were redeemed.

Commentary Halacha

In each and every generation, a person must present himself -- Pesachim 116b explains that the mitzvah of relating the story of the Exodus cannot remain on the intellectual level alone. Rather, it must affect a person to the extent that he personally feels that he is leaving Egypt.

There is a slight difficulty with the Rambam's statements. Pesachim (ibid.), the commonly accepted text of the Haggadah, and even the Rambam's own text of the Haggadah, read לראות (see himself), and not להראות (present himself) -- i.e., show others that he feels this way. Why does the Rambam alter the text here?

Likkutei Sichot, Vol. XII, notes that the following halachot emphasize how the obligation of recalling the Exodus applies, not only to the recitation of the Haggadah, but to all the practices performed on Pesach. Since we must recite the Haggadah to others, as implied by the question-and-answer approach required by Halachah 3, the manner in which a person performs all the other Passover practices must also demonstrate to others his personal experience of the Exodus.

as if he, himself, has now -- the words, "himself" and "now" are also additions to the Mishnah.

left the slavery of Egypt -- Here, also, the Rambam alters the text, adding the words "the slavery." Since the Rambam is addressing people who may never have seen the physical land of Egypt, it is not possible to demand that they feel as if they left that country, but rather, that they left backbreaking slavery as experienced by our people in Egypt.

as [Deuteronomy 6:23] states: "He took -- This and the verse quoted below were stated forty years after the redemption from Egypt, to the Jews who were prepared to enter Eretz Yisrael. They had not tasted Egyptian slavery.

us out from there." -- This verse is quoted by Ravvah, Pesachim 116b. However, the Mishnah (and our text of the Haggadah) derive this concept from Exodus 13:8: "And you shall tell your son...: 'It is because of this, that God acted for me...'"FS" Nevertheless, the Rambam's text of the Mishnah and the Haggadah do not include that verse.

Regarding this manner, God commanded in the Torah: "Remember that you were a slave [Deuteronomy 5:15]" -- It is necessary to quote this verse in addition to the one mentioned previously. The previous verse teaches us that the redemption from Egypt is a continuous activity, affecting us at present as well. This verse emphasizes that we are obligated to recognize and recall that fact.

i.e., as if you, yourself, -- even though physically, you did not experience this slavery.

were a slave and went out to freedom and were redeemed.

Halacha 7

Therefore, when a person feasts on this night, he must eat and drink while he is reclining in the manner of free men. Each and every one, both men and women, must drink four cups of wine on this night. [This number] should not be reduced. Even a poor person who is sustained by charity should not have fewer than four cups. The size of each of these cups should be a quarter [of a log].

Commentary Halacha

Therefore, when a person feasts on this night -- The meal served at the Seder should be festive. The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 472:2, states that a person should set the table with the most attractive utensils he can afford.

he must eat and drink -- The Talmud mentions two practices as characteristic of freedom: reclining and drinking four cups of wine. The Rambam mentions the general principles applying to these obligations in this halachah, and explains each of the practices in particular in the following halachot.

while he is reclining -- on couches

in the manner of free men -- In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 10:1), the Rambam relates that this was the practice of "kings and great people."

The commentaries quote the Rambam's expression as a proof that reclining (הסיבה) is not merely a particular law, describing the manner in which the matzah and the four cups of wine must be eaten and drunk, but rather a unique requirement on its own. Therefore, as explained in the following halachah, it is praiseworthy for a person to eat the entire Seder meal while reclining.

each and every one -- Even a person who has difficulty drinking wine must observe this practice. Nedarim 49b relates that Rabbi Yehudah bar Illai would have to bind his sides from Pesach to Shavuot because of the aftereffects of the four cups of wine he drank at the Seder. Nevertheless, each year he fulfilled the mitzvah.

both men and women -- Generally, woman are not bound to fulfill any mitzvot that have a specific time limitation. However, an exception to this principle is made regarding the mitzvot associated with the Seder night. Since the women had a full share in the miracles of the Exodus - indeed, Sotah 11b states that the redemption came about because of their merit - they must participate fully in the commemoration of the Exodus (Pesachim 108b).

It is curious that the Rambam does not mention whether wine should be given to children below Bar-Mitzvah age. Many authorities maintain that it is unnecessary for the Rambam to mention this fact, for we can assume that the all-encompassing obligation to educate one's children in Torah practice applies in this regard as well. (See Shulchan Aruch 472:15 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 472:25)

Other commentaries, however, maintain that the omission is significant. They note that in Hilchot De'ot 4:12, the Rambam writes that wine is harmful to young children. Hence, they maintain, the Rabbis would not require a father to train his children in Torah practice at the expense of their health.

must drink four -- The Jerusalem Talmud, Pesachim 10:1 explains that these four cups of wine are associated with the four promises of redemption given to the Jews in Egypt (Exodus 6:6-7). Alternatively, it is suggested that they refer to:

the four cups mentioned in the narrative of Pharaoh's butler;

the four exiles in which the Jews will suffer;

the four cups of retribution God will force the gentiles to drink in the Messianic age; and,

the four cups of consolation He will offer to the Jews after their redemption.

In Halachah 8:10, the Rambam also mentions a fifth cup of wine. See the commentary on that halachah.

cups of wine -- Most halachic authorities require that this wine have some alcoholic content. Hence, grape juice alone should not be used.

on this night. [This number] should not be reduced -- However, during certain portions of the Seder, it is possible to drink additional cups of wine.

even a poor person who is sustained by charity should not have fewer than four cups. -- Just as the Jewish community must supply him with his physical needs, they must also provide him with the necessities required to fulfill his halachic obligations.

The size of each of these cups -- i.e., the amount of liquid they must contain

should be a quarter [of a log] -- There is some controversy about the conversion of that figure into modern measure. The most commonly accepted figure is 3.35 fluid ounces. Some authorities require even larger cups.

Halacha 8

Even one of Israel's poor should not eat until he [can] recline. A woman need not recline. If she is an important woman, she must recline. [Even] a son in the presence of his father or an attendant in the presence of his master must recline. However, a student before his teacher should not recline unless his teacher grants him permission.

Reclining on one's right side is not considered reclining. Neither is reclining on one's back or forwards.

When must one recline? when eating the כזית of matzah and when drinking these four cups of wine. While eating and drinking at other times: if one reclines, it is praiseworthy; if not, there is no requirement.

Commentary Halacha

Even one of Israel's poor should not eat until he [can] recline. -- The word "even" is used to include people who one would presume would not be obligated. Tosefot, Pesachim 99b, explains that it obligates even a poor person who cannot afford a couch or pillows to lean on. He also must try to recline to the best of his ability - e.g., leaning on a colleague's side. See Magen Avraham, Orach Chayim 472:3.

A woman need not recline. -- Rabbenu Manoach and other commentators explain that this refers only to a woman in the presence of her husband. The Sh'eltot d'Rav Achai (Tzav 77) states that it applies to all women, since women do not generally recline.

If she is an important woman, she must recline. -- The Ramah, Orach Chayim 472:4, and other Ashkenazic authorities write: "All our women are considered important. Nevertheless, it is not customary for them to recline."

[Even] a son in the presence of his father or an attendant in the presence of his master must recline. -- A son is obligated to honor his father, and thus it would not be respectful to recline in his presence. However, we may assume that the father foregoes his honor in this regard. This applies even if the father is also his tutor in Torah studies.

Though an attendant is bound to fulfill the duties required of him by his master, the obligations required of him by God take precedence.

However, a student before his teacher -- i.e., one who teaches him Torah

should not recline -- for a person's fear of his teacher must parallel his fear of God (Pesachim 22b).

unless his teacher grants him permission. -- Should he desire to do so, a teacher may forego the honor due him. In such an instance, a student must recline.

Reclining on one's right side is not considered reclining. -- This refers to a right-handed person. Since he must eat with his right hand, it would be uncomfortable for him to recline on that side (Rashbam, Pesachim 108a). Alternatively, this refers to all people for reclining in this manner is dangerous, lest the food go down the windpipe rather than the esophagus (Ramah 472:3).

Neither is reclining on one's back or forwards. -- Pesachim 108a explains that פרקדן is not considered as a desirable manner of reclining. Most commentaries explain that refers only to leaning on one's back. However, even leaning forward is not acceptable, since this is not a comfortable manner of eating and cannot be regarded as a symbol of freedom and liberation.

When must one recline? when eating the כזית of matzah -- At present, this obligation applies also to eating the korech (sandwich of matzah and maror) and the afikoman.

and when drinking these four cups of wine. -- for these were ordained particularly to celebrate the redemption from Egypt.

The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 472:7, writes that a person who ate matzah or drank from the four cups of wine without reclining is not considered to have fulfilled his obligation and must repeat the act.

The Ramah qualifies this law, explaining that since, in the Ashkenazic community, certain opinions do not require reclining at present, one need not drink another cup of wine if the third and fourth cups of wine were drunk without reclining. However, he suggests that a person repeat the eating of matzah and the drinking of the first two cups of wine if they were consumed without reclining. The Magen Avraham (and the subsequent authorities) declare that the drinking of the first cup should also not be repeated.

While eating and drinking at other times -- during the Seder meal

if one reclines, it is praiseworthy -- for, as mentioned in the previous halachah, reclining is one of the signs of freedom and liberation, and thus, has an importance of its own, independent of its connection to the eating of matzah and the drinking of the four cups of wine.

if not, there is no requirement. -- for, in particular, reclining was obligated only for those acts that were specifically instituted as symbols of our liberation. One should not recline while eating the maror, for it was ordained as a remembrance of our people's oppression and not of their liberation (Pesachim 108a).

Halacha 9

These four cups [of wine] should be mixed with water so that drinking them will be pleasant. [The degree to which they are mixed] all depends on the wine and the preference of the person drinking. [Together,] these four [cups] should contain at least a quarter [of a log] of pure wine.

A person who drank these four cups from wine which was not mixed [with water] has fulfilled the obligation to drink four cups of wine, but has not fulfilled the obligation to do so in a manner expressive of freedom.

A person who drank these four cups of wine mixed [with water] at one time has fulfilled the obligation to drink wine in a manner expressive of freedom, but has not fulfilled the obligation of four cups of wine.

A person who drank the majority [of the cup] from each of these [four] cups has fulfilled his obligation.

Commentary Halacha

These four cups [of wine] should be mixed with water so that drinking them will be pleasant. -- In Talmudic times, the wines were very strong and had to be mixed with water before being drunk. At present, most commercially produced wines have already been diluted with water. Nevertheless, in many communities, it is customary to mix a small amount of water with the wine when pouring the cup, to fulfill the obligation of mixing the wine with water oneself.

[The degree to which they are mixed] all depends on -- the strength of

the wine and the preference of the person drinking. -- Nevertheless, the Sages placed some limits on the extent to which wine may be diluted.

[Together,] these four [cups] should contain at least a quarter

[of a log] of pure wine. -- i.e., the sum total of pure wine contained in all four cups must be at least a quarter of a log at least 3.35 fluid ounces, as explained above. A person may thus add three times this quantity of water to the wine to produce four cups, each containing a quarter of a log of mixed wine.

We may not dilute the wine any further. Shabbat 77a states: "Any wine that is less than a third of the quantity of the water [mixed in] is not considered wine."

This factor is significant at present, when the wines commercially produced are substantially diluted with water in the factories. Hence, when adding water to them at the table, one must take care not to exceed the above limits.

A person who drank these four cups from wine which was not mixed [with water] -- In Hilchot Mamrim 7:4, the Rambam writes that drinking wine in this manner is considered as an accidental occurrence, and no one, not even a glutton, will continue doing this.

has fulfilled the obligation to drink four cups of wine, but has not fulfilled the obligation to do so in a manner expressive of freedom. -- i.e., he has not fulfilled the mitzvah in its proper manner. However, as stated above, at present many commentaries do not require further dilution with water.

A person who drank these four cups of wine mixed [with water] at one time -- without waiting to drink them as prescribed in the Haggadah

has fulfilled the obligation to drink wine in a manner expressive of freedom, but has not fulfilled the obligation of four cups of wine. -- The Rabbis ordained that the cups be drunk in the prescribed order. (Note the following halachah.) A person who does not drink them in this order does not fulfill his obligation.

A person who drank the majority [of the cup] from each of these [four] cups has fulfilled his obligation. -- The Taz (472:7) explains that it is desirable for a person to drink the entire cup of wine if possible. Accordingly, the Magen Avraham suggests using smaller cups, so that it is easy to drink the entire contents. Some opinions maintain that even if a person is using a very large cup, he is obligated to drink the majority of the cup. However, the prevailing opinion (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 472:19) is that for the first three cups, it is sufficient to drink the majority of a quarter of a log (i.e., at least 1.68 fluid ounces of wine). For the final cup, one should drink an entire quarter of a log.

The source of the latter law is Pesachim 108a, which mentions a person who drinks wine from his cup and then gives to his children and the members of his household. The Talmud concludes that he fulfills his obligation if he drinks the majority of the cup. The Rambam quotes only the conclusion of this statement, for he maintains that all adult members of the household, both men and women, should be given their own cups of wine and he does not mention the obligation of giving wine to children. (See Halachah 7.)

Halacha 10

On each of these four cups, one recites a blessing of its own. In addition:

On the first cup, one recites the kiddush pertaining to the day;

On the second cup, one reads the Haggadah;

On the third cup, one recites the grace after meals;

On the fourth cup, one concludes the Hallel and recites the blessing for songs [of praise].

Between these cups, should one desire to drink, one may. Between the third and the fourth cup, one should not drink.

Commentary Halacha

On each of these four cups, one recites a blessing of its own -- i.e., one recites the blessing בורא פרי הגפן, blessing God for creating wine, before partaking of each cup of wine. Generally, when one continues drinking wine in one sitting, only one blessing is recited in the beginning. However, in this instance, since each of the four cups was ordained as a specific mitzvah, it requires a blessing of its own.

The Ma'aseh Rokeach quotes Rav Avraham, the Rambam's son, as stating that after each of the four cups, his father also required the recitation of the blessing על הגפן (the blessing recited after drinking wine). Nevertheless, both Sephardic and Ashkenazic custom today is to recite על הגפן only once, at the end of the Seder (Ramah 474:1).

Also, -- each of the four cups is associated with another blessing(s).

on the first cup, one recites the kiddush pertaining to the day -- as on every Sabbath and festival, as stated in Halachah 8:1.

On the second cup, one reads the Haggadah -- and concludes with the blessing אשר גאלנו, which praises God for redeeming us, as stated in Halachah 8:5.

On the third cup, one recites the grace after meals -- which, throughout the year, should be recited over a cup of wine, as the Rambam writes in Hilchot Berachot 7:14 and as stated in Halachah 8:10 below.

On the fourth cup, one concludes the Hallel -- which is begun before partaking of the meal, as stated in Halachah 8:5.

and recites the blessing for songs [of praise]. -- i.e., the blessing יהללוך, generally recited after the Hallel, as stated in Halachah 8:10.

Between these cups, should one desire to drink, one may. -- However, the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 473:3, recommends not drinking between the first and second cups. The Darchei Mosheh states that this is the accepted Ashkenazic custom. See also Mishnah Berurah 473:13-15.

No restrictions are placed on drinking between the second and third cups, since this is the time of the Seder meal.

Halacha 11

The charoset is a mitzvah ordained by the words of the Sages, to commemorate the clay with which [our forefathers] worked in Egypt. How is it made?

We take dates, dried figs, or raisins and the like, and crush them, add vinegar to them, and mix them with spices, as clay is mixed into straw. This is placed on the table on [the first two] nights of Pesach.

Commentary Halacha

The charoset is a mitzvah ordained by the words of the Sages -- This statement represents a change of opinion by the Rambam. Pesachim 10:3 states: "The charoset is not a mitzvah. Rabbi Eliezer ben Tzadok declares: 'It is a mitzvah.'"FS" In his commentary on that Mishnah, the Rambam writes:

According to Rabbi Eliezer ben Tzadok, who maintains that charoset is a mitzvah, one is obligated to recite a blessing "...who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us regarding the eating of charoset." This is not the halachah.

A change of opinion of this nature is not extremely uncommon. However, the question can be raised: why does the Rambam not require a blessing to be recited over the charoset? Among the answers given is that the charoset is considered secondary (טפל) to the substances which are dipped in it. Hence, we follow the principle of reciting a blessing upon the essential item (the maror or the matzah) and not on the charoset (Lechem Mishneh).

to commemorate the clay -- i.e., mortar. Pesachim 116a offers a second opinion: "to commemorate the apple trees" - i.e., the manner in which the Jewish women made themselves attractive to their husbands and convinced them to continue rearing children. They would then hide in the apple orchards and give birth to their children without difficulty (Rashbam).

with which [our forefathers] worked in Egypt -- making bricks.

How is it made? We take dates, dried figs, or raisins and the like and crush them -- The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (473:32) suggests using apples, nuts, or pomegranates and fruits used as metaphors for the Jewish people in the Bible.

add vinegar to them -- The Ramah (473:5) suggests using red wine to recall the Jewish blood spilled by the Egyptians.

and mix them with spices -- ginger or cinnamon (However, in certain communities, it is customary not to use these spices on Pesach). Pesachim (ibid.) quotes Rabbi Eliezer ben Tzadok as saying "the spice-merchants of Jerusalem would call out: 'Come and get spices for the mitzvah.'"FS"

as clay is mixed into straw -- to commemorate the making of bricks.

This is placed on the table -- according to our custom, on the Seder plate

on Pesach nights.

Halacha 12

According to the Torah, the eating of bitter herbs is not a mitzvah in its own right, but rather is dependent on the consumption of the Paschal sacrifice. It is one positive commandment to eat the meat of the Paschal sacrifice together with matzah and bitter herbs. According to the words of the Sages, [it is a mitzvah] to eat the bitter herbs alone on this night even if there is no Paschal sacrifice.

Commentary Halacha

According to the Torah, the eating of bitter herbs is not a mitzvah in its own right -- In contrast to matzah, concerning which there is a separate commandment (Exodus 12:18): "On that evening, eat matzot," there is no specific Biblical commandment to eat bitter herbs alone.

Rav Chayim Soloveitchik explains that, accordingly, when eating the maror together with the Paschal sacrifice, there is no obligation to eat a

כזית. That measure is required only according to the Sages, who established a separate mitzvah to eat maror. Therefore, as in all other cases where eating is required, one must consume a כזית. However, since there is no Torah mitzvah to eat maror, merely that one should use it to embellish the Paschal sacrifice, that measure is not required by the Torah.

[Perhaps, this thesis may be questioned on the basis of Halachah 8:6, which requires a separate blessing for maror when it is eaten alone. As in Halachah 8:2, a blessing would not be required on a measure less than a כזית.]

but rather is dependent on the consumption of the Paschal sacrifice -- as Exodus 12:8 commands: "eat it together with matzot and bitter herbs." (See Halachah 8:6.)

It is one positive commandment to eat the meat of the Paschal sacrifice together with matzah and bitter herbs. -- Just as the four species taken on Sukkot are one mitzvah, similarly, although the Paschal sacrifice should be eaten with these three elements, it is considered only one mitzvah.

Furthermore, in Sefer HaMitzvot (positive commandment 56), the Rambam explains that if it is impossible to obtain bitter herbs, it is still a mitzvah to partake of the Paschal sacrifice. However, there is no mitzvah to partake of bitter herbs alone. (See also Hilchot Korban Pesach 8:2.)

According to the words of the Sages, [it is a mitzvah] -- and thus, as mentioned in Halachah 8:8, we recite a blessing praising God for commanding us "concerning the eating of maror."

to eat the bitter herbs alone -- in contrast to our practice of eating them together with matzah (see Halachah 8:8), which is only a custom

on this night even if there is no Paschal sacrifice.

Halacha 13

The bitter herbs referred to by the Torah are Romaine lettuce, endives, horseradish, date ivy, wormwood. All of these five species of vegetable are called maror. If a person ate a כזית of any one of these [species] or of all five [species] combined, he has fulfilled his obligation.

This applies while they are still moist. One may fulfill one's obligation with their stem even if it is dry. One cannot fulfill one's obligation if they are boiled, pickled, or cooked.

Commentary Halacha

The bitter herbs referred to by the Torah are Romaine lettuce -- Pesachim 39a explains that even though the leaves of this species are sweet, it is preferable to fulfill the mitzvah of bitter herbs with this species than with any other. Just as the Egyptian exile began in a favorable way and ended in bitter oppression, similarly the leaves of this plant are sweet, but its root bitter. Furthermore, its Aramaic name, חסא, also means compassion and alludes to God's mercy for our people. From a halachic perspective, it is easiest to consume the required measure of maror when using this species.

endives, horseradish, date ivy -- the precise English term for the latter species is a matter of question. In his commentary on the Mishnah (Pesachim 2:6), the Rambam identifies it with the Arabic "Kretzanah."

wormwood -- an extremely bitter tasting herb.

All of these five species of vegetable are called maror. If a person ate a כזית -- As mentioned in the commentary on Halachah 1:1, there is a debate between the commentators if a כזית is considered as one third the size of a ביצה, or one half. Hence, in regard to questions of Torah law, the more stringent opinion should be followed. However, in questions of Rabbinic law, the more lenient opinion can be relied upon.

Since the consumption of maror is a Rabbinic commandment, the more lenient view - in terms of modern measurements, between 16.6 and 24 grams, depending on different halachic opinions - may be relied upon.

of any one of these [species] or of all five [species] combined, he has fulfilled his obligation.

This applies while they -- their leaves

are still moist. One may fulfill one's obligation with their stem -- The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 473:5, excludes the use of roots. However, the Magen Avraham (473:11) maintains that the main root extending from them stem may also be used. Indeed, the most common custom in European communities where Romaine lettuce was difficult to obtain, was to use a horseradish root.

even if it is dry. One cannot fulfill one's obligation if they are boiled, -- these three activities detract from the vegetable's bitter taste

pickled -- in vinegar; alternatively, left in water for more than a day. Many have the custom of using horseradish as maror, but soak it before the Seder to minimize its sharpness. Based on this halachah, it is preferable for them to use one of the less bitter species of bitter herbs than to follow this practice.

or cooked.

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