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.

א

מצות עשה מן התורה לאכול מצה בליל חמשה עשר שנאמר בערב תאכלו מצות. בכל מקום ובכל זמן. ולא תלה אכילה זו בקרבן הפסח אלא זו מצוה בפני עצמה ומצותה כל הלילה. אבל בשאר הרגל אכילת מצה רשות רצה אוכל מצה רצה אוכל אורז או דוחן או קליות או פירות. אבל בליל חמשה עשר בלבד חובה ומשאכל כזית יצא ידי חובתו:

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.

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.

ב

בלע מצה יצא. בלע מרור לא יצא. בלע מצה ומרור כאחד ידי מצה יצא ידי מרור לא יצא. שהמרור כטפילה למצה. כרכן בסיב וכיוצא בו ובלען אף ידי מצה לא יצא:

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).

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.

ג

אכל מצה בלא כונה כגון שאנסוהו עכו"ם או לסטין לאכול יצא ידי חובתו. אכל כזית מצה והוא נכפה בעת שטותו ואחר כך נתרפא חייב לאכול אחר שנתרפא. לפי שאותה אכילה היתה בשעה שהיה פטור מכל המצות:

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.

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.

ד

אין אדם יוצא ידי חובת אכילת מצה אלא אם כן אכלה מאחד מחמשת המינין שנאמר לא תאכל עליו חמץ שבעת ימים תאכל עליו מצות. דברים הבאים לידי חימוץ אם אכלן מצה יצא בהן ידי חובתו אבל שאר דברים כגון אורז ודוחן וקטניות אין יוצא בהן ידי מצה לפי שאין בהן חמץ:

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.

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.

ה

העושה עיסה מן החטים ומן האורז אם יש בה טעם דגן יוצא בה ידי חובתו. עיסת הכלבים בזמן שהרועים אוכלין ממנה יוצא בה ידי חובתו. אין הרועים אוכלין ממנה אינו יוצא בה שאין זו משומרת לשם מצה. מצה שלשה במי פירות יוצאה בה ידי חובתו בפסח. אבל אין לשין אותה ביין או בשמן או חלב משום לחם עוני כמו שבארנו. ואם לש ואכל לא יצא ידי חובתו. אין יוצאין לא בפת מורסן ולא בפת סובין. אבל לש הוא את הקמח בסובין שלו ובמורסנו ועושהו פת ויוצא בה ידי חובתו. וכן פת סולת נקייה ביותר הרי זו מותרת ויוצא בה ידי חובתו בפסח ואין אומרין בה אין זה לחם עוני:

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."

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.

ו

אחד מצה שנאפית בתנור או באילפס. בין שהדביק הבצק באילפס ואחר כך הרתיח בין שהרתיח ואחר כך הדביק אפילו אפאה בקרקע הרי זה יוצא בה ידי חובתו. וכן אם לא נאפית אפייה גמורה יוצאין בה. והוא שלא יהיו חוטין של בצק נמשכין ממנה בעת שפורסה. ויוצאין ברקיק השרוי והוא שלא נימוח. אבל מצה שבשלה אינו יוצא בה ידי חובתו באכילתה שהרי אין בה טעם פת:

[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.

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.

ז

אין אדם יוצא ידי חובתו באכילת מצה שהיא אסורה לו כגון שאכל טבל או מעשר ראשון שלא נטלה תרומתו או שגזלה. זה הכלל כל שמברכין עליו ברכת המזון יוצא בו ידי חובתו וכל שאין מברכין עליו ברכת המזון אין יוצא בו ידי חובתו:

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.

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.

ח

הכהנים יוצאין בחלה ובתרומה אף על פי שהיא מצה שאינה ראויה לכל אדם. וכן יוצאין במצה של מעשר שני בירושלים. אבל אין יוצאין במצה של בכורים אפילו בירושלים מפני שהבכורים אין להם היתר בכל המושבות. ומעשר שני אפשר שיפדה ויאכל בכל מקום. וכתוב בכל מושבותיכם תאכלו מצות מצה הראויה להאכל בכל המושבות הוא שיוצאין בה ידי חובה:

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.

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.

ט

חלות תודה ורקיקי נזיר שעשו אותן לעצמן אין יוצאין בהן שנאמר ושמרתם את המצות מצה המשתמרת לענין מצה בלבד הוא שיוצאין בה אבל זו משתמרת לענין הזבח. ואם עשאן למכור בשוק הרי זה יוצא בה ידי חובתו. שהעושה למכור בשוק דעתו שאם לא ימכרו יאכל אותן ונמצא בשעת עשייתן שמרן לשם מצה:

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.

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.

י

הכל חייבין באכילת מצה אפילו נשים ועבדים. קטן שיכול לאכול פת מחנכין אותו במצות ומאכילין אותו כזית מצה. חולה או זקן שאינו יכול לאכול שורין לו רקיק במים ומאכילין אותו והוא שלא נימוח:

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.

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].

יא

מדברי סופרים שאין מפטירין אחר מצה כלום ואפילו קליות ואגוזים וכיוצא בהן. אלא אף על פי שאכל מצה ואכל אחריה מאכלות אחרות ופירות וכיוצא בהן חוזר ואוכל כזית מצה באחרונה ופוסק:

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.

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.

יב

אסרו חכמים לאכול מצה בערב הפסח כדי שיהיה היכר לאכילתה בערב. ומי שאכל מצה בערב הפסח מכין אותו מכת מרדות עד שתצא נפשו. וכן אסור לאכול ערב הפסח מקודם המנחה כמעט. כדי שיכנס לאכילת מצה בתאוה. אבל אוכל הוא מעט פירות או ירקות ולא ימלא כריסו מהן. וחכמים הראשונים היו מרעיבין עצמן ערב הפסח כדי לאכול מצה בתאוה ויהיו מצות חביבות עליו. אבל בשאר ערבי שבתות או ערבי ימים טובים אוכל והולך עד שתחשך

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.)