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What Is Matzah?

What Is Matzah?


Matzah, the “Food of Faith”

When our forefathers left Egypt, they were in such a hurry that there was no time to wait for the dough to rise. They therefore ate matzah, unleavened bread. With only this food (but with great faith), our ancestors relied on the Almighty to provide sustenance for the entire Jewish nation—men, women and children. Each year, to remember this, we eat matzah on the first two nights of Pesach, thereby fulfilling the Torah’s commandment, “Matzot shall you eat . . . (Exodus 12:15)

The Humblest of Foods

Matzah symbolizes faith. In contrast to leavened bread, matzah is not enriched with oil, honey or other substances. It consists only of flour and water, and is not allowed to rise. Similarly, the only “ingredients” for faith are humility and submission to G‑d, which come from recognizing our “nothingness” when compared with the infinite wisdom of the Creator.

One of the holiday’s primary obligations is to eat matzah during the Seder. It is strongly recommended to use shmurah matzah to fulfill this commandment.

When and How?

Matzah is eaten three times during the Seder:

  1. After telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt (Maggid), washing our hands for bread (Rachtzah) and reciting the blessings (Motzi Matzah), 1¾ ounces of matzah are eaten.
  2. For the sandwich (Korech), ¾ of an ounce of matzah is eaten.
  3. For the afikoman at the end of the meal (Tzafun), a minimum of ¾ of an ounce (and ideally 1½ ounces) of matzah are eaten.

In each instance, the matzah should be eaten within 4 minutes.

How much is one ounce of Matzah?
Half a piece of shmurah matzah is generally one ounce.

Before the onset of the holiday, weigh of the box of matzot. Divide the weight by the amount of pieces in the box, and you'll know how much you need to eat.

Please note: Making matzah is extremely complex and very difficult to do properly at home.

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Anonymous NY May 3, 2016

attn Lim Hui Chuan because the laws are complex, and the details require study. Reply

Angela Baltimore April 26, 2016

That is correct Reply

Levi April 20, 2016

When Yisrael were slaves in Egypt they were known as Hebrews and not Jews. Reply

Lim Hui Chuan Malaysia June 30, 2013

I am puzzled by the last line. When G-d gave instructions for unleavened bread, the Jews were slaves. These loaves would have been made in very simple slave homes. How is it now that "Making matzah is extremely complex and virtually impossible to do properly at home."? Reply

Anonymous Raleigh, NC March 28, 2013

If the dough is not constantly kneaded what is the undesired enzyme that will form before the matzah is baked? Reply

levi rapoport brooklyn, ny March 30, 2012

Time? You forgot an important detail; it must be eaten AFTER nightfall! Reply

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