Sunday, 2 April 2017

Eating Sefardi Matza

Question: I have a hard time digesting so much matza on seder night. Am I allowed to eat the softer ‘sefardi matza’?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (OC 460:5) writes that one must ensure not to bake one’s matza as thick as a tefach. The Rema (OC 460:4) writes that one should bake them thin (rekikin) which don’t leaven quickly.
Similarly, the Shulchan Aruch Harav (OC 460:10) writes that one shouldn’t make matzos too thick as the inside won’t bake as well as the outside of the matza. While one may bake a matza less than a tefach thick, it is ideal to make it thin. The Chasam Sofer (OC 121) likewise writes that thick matza does not bake as well as thin matza.
While these poskim don’t define what is considered thin, the Baer Heitev (460:8) quotes the Beis Hillel (YD 97) who explains that the custom was to bake matza thinner than regular bread, and to make them the thickness of a finger. Thus, the Aruch Hashulchan (OC 486:2) writes about matza that is soft and bendy like a sponge.
This is even thicker than most ‘sefardi matza’ today. Based on this, it would seem that even the Rema would allow eating the softer ‘sefardi matza’.
R’ Asher Weiss (Minchas Asher 3:44; 45) demonstrates that olden day matzos were far thicker than ours. Our thin cracker-type matzos developed for commercial purposes as they last much longer. Nonetheless, he concludes that it is ideal for ashkenazim to eat thinner matzos (See Halichos Shlomo, Pesach 9:41:80).
In conclusion, it is clear that this ‘sefardi matza’ was the standard matza throughout the ashkenazi communities. While there is a preference among some poskim for ashkenazim to eat cracker-type matzos, one may eat ‘sefardi matzos’ if necessary.

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