7

The Gemara in Masechet Sukkah says that you need to own the matza that you eat at the Pesach Seder in order to fulfill your obligation.

Tosafot there elaborates on this and says that matza has the same halacha of לכם that an esrog has.

It should follow that just as we are careful to own the esrog that we use for the mitzva (at least on the first day), we should be obligated to do a kinyan to acquire the matza that we eat at the Seder. This has practical ramifications for someone who is a guest at a seder, who should have to be קונה the matza before eating it (and the host should need to have דעת מקנה).

I have never seen this done in practice. Do the poskim discuss such a halacha? Why is this almost universally ignored?

  • 2
    If your host is giving you matzah to eat, is it not yours once you take it? – magicker72 Jul 22 at 5:31
  • Some people do that. It's not universally ignored. – Double AA Jul 22 at 12:36
  • look at the sfas emes in sukkah & harerei kedem – wfb Jul 22 at 15:51
  • I remember that in Halichos Shlomo, hilchos pesach they bring a decent discussion from kisvei Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach on this topic. (I don't have the sefer on hand to give you an exact page or summary.) – Binyomin Jul 22 at 20:57
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See this piece by R. Zvi Ryzman (Hebrew).

His bottom line conclusion is:

לכתחילה ודאי ראוי לנהוג כדברי השפת אמת והאמרי בינה שבעל הבית יקנה את המצות לכל מי שיתארח על שולחנו בליל הסדר, מבעוד יום, כדי שיתקיים דין 'לכם' ... אמנם במידה ולא הקנה להם את המצות מבעוד יום, נתבארו לעיל לימודי הזכות שיצאו האורחים ידי חובתם, ואינם צריכים לחזור ולאכול כזית מצה.‏

Ideally, it is correct to act in accordance with the opinion of the Sefat Emet and the Imrei Binah, in that the host should transfer ownership of the matzot, while it is still day, to those guests who he will be hosting for the Seder, so that the matzot are considered to belong to them ... Nevertheless, if this was not done, we have listed above justifications by which we can understand that the guests have still fulfilled their obligation, and they do not need to eat a further kezayit of [their own] matzah.

Some of those justifications he refers to are:

  • Food served to a guest is considered to belong to the guest.
  • The matzah is considered to belong to the guest once he puts it in his mouth.
  • The guest acquires the matzah by chewing it prior to swallowing it.
  • One does not need to fully legally own the matzah; mere permission to eat it is good enough.
  • The guest automatically acquires the matzah when he picks it up.
  • The host presumably wants the guest to be able to fulfill his obligation, so when he gives the matzah to him we understand that he is actually transferring ownership of the matzah to the guest.
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Rabbi Glucksman, zatzal, a dayan from Washington Heights wrote an article about this in 1988. His conclusion was no, we don't have to, despite the sfas emes to Sukah 35 saying yes.

Rabbi Glucksman argues the answer is no for the following reasons:

  1. On the gemora in pesachim 38 where the idea that matzoh might require 'lachem,' only the Rosh paskens that way l'helacha. Rabenu Channel, Rashba, Meiri argue that the conclusion of the gemora is not like that, and Rif/Rambam don't bring it as a requirement.

  2. Even if it was required, the Rama to even haezer 28:17 paskens that a guest can mekadesh with food from the host, so this demonstrates that the halacha is that food before a guest is considered his, anyhow.

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