I read a disturbing article by Rav Menahem Eizenberg in Techumin (26, page 123). The one of the many issues raised in the article is that the hechser for machine mazah does not apply to today's machines which are very different that those delineated in halacha. Specifically, today's matzas are baked for two minutes on a conveyer belt that begins on a very low temperature (Hand matzot are baked in a very hot oven for 15-30 seconds). This process he claims, and goes on to prove quite well in my opinion, causes the matzots to be chametz beyond reasonable doubt. Tchumin has another article, which is a letter of endorsement of this article from Rav B"Z Yaakov Vasner who basically says: machine matzah is chametz. So my question is, do you know of any literature on the subject (this was written over 15 years ago). Do you know any other opinions that argue this case.

Here is the full article: http://www.zomet.org.il/?CategoryID=257&ArticleID=321&Page=1

Here is an insufficient response i found: http://www.zomet.org.il/?CategoryID=257&ArticleID=322&Page=1

I spoke to Rav Machpood* last night. He thinks that the fact that the matzot are in the oven the whole time is enough. but if you look in the article I think he shows that that is an insufficient argument.

[*] A very big rabbi in the Kashrut sector in Israel: http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%A9%D7%9C%D7%9E%D7%94_%D7%9E%D7%97%D7%A4%D7%95%D7%93

  • I am aware that this is not an easy question to answer, but I would like to get some sources or insight is possible Mar 20, 2013 at 7:15
  • Is this what it's talking about? yudelstake.blogspot.com/2010/03/…
    – Ariel
    Mar 20, 2013 at 9:15
  • there is very little info there. see note below in reply the the answer. also I have found a reply, but it is very מגמתי, see amended question Mar 21, 2013 at 15:15
  • The gemara gives some signs of what chametz is, and our matzahs are very far from that.
    – Ariel K
    Mar 21, 2013 at 21:04
  • @Ariel, those issues are addressed, with pictures, it the article, check it out, zomet.org.il/?CategoryID=257&ArticleID=321&Page=1 Mar 22, 2013 at 8:25

1 Answer 1


The greatest argument against what you are saying is from the Shulhan Arukh itself, namely OC 459:2 which says:

לא יניחו העסה בלא עסק ואפילו רגע אחד, וכל זמן שמתעסקים בו, אפילו כל היום, אינו מחמיץ ואם הניחו בלא עסק שעור מיל הוע חמץ, ושעור מיל הוע רביעית שעה Do not allow the the dough to sit without working it for even a minute, and all the time that one is working it, even all day, it will not become chametz, and if it was let sit for without working for for time of mil it is hametz, and the time of a mil is a quarter hour.

Also see the Shulhan Arukh OC 461:3 and the adjoining Mishnah Berura that explain that the Matzah, so long as it is not removed from the oven, may bake for up to a shiur mil without worry of it becoming Hametz. Which is precisely why we are not allowed make matza as thick as a tefach(8cm/3.2in) OC 460:5(see adjoining MB as well) Again because there we are worried that perhaps because it is so thick, and the time it will take to bake it, that maybe the very center may become Hametz, but less than that, there are no worries.

Aside from that I know of various Teshuvot in Rav Ovadia Yosef's books that state that machine matzah are fine but should not be used for the seder itself, unless nothing else if available. My Havruta brought me a sefer from the Belzer Rebbe(printed two years ago) which claims the opposite, that hand made matzah is all Hametz and only machine matzah can be relied upon, unfortunately none of these are available online.

However, from the Stam Halakhah in the Shulhan Arukh and Mishnah Berurah, it would appear to me that most of the "problems" with either machine matzah or hand made matzah are more a result of a people's accumulated humrot instead of any valid halakhic reasoning.

  • 1
    Thank you for your reply but it is not sufficient. The writers of the article show that when the temperature rises it no longer takes 15 to become chometz, furthermore, he brings sources to show that we cannot trust the kula of saying that so long s it is in the oven it cannot become chamez, since those sources speak of very hot ovens (temperatures above libun chamor - over 420C) in which that is true because the whole matzza is baked extremely quiclly, even in the folds. I note also that we cannot count on those old sources when dealing with different kind of ovens. Mar 21, 2013 at 15:12
  • I have added sources to the question Mar 21, 2013 at 15:15
  • I don't think you can call it a kula that as long as it is in the oven will not become chametz. Like I said look at the Mishnah Berura who says, even if it takes a mil to bake, so long as it crusts over, it will not mechametz. Further your assertion about the temperature of matzah ovens is not correct. The Eida, and various other kashrut agencies will allow a matzah oven to fall to 450F(233C). You also are under the assumption that only cracker matzah(i.e. no moisture) is matzah. Again not so, that is a newer innovation. Mar 21, 2013 at 15:17
  • A very hot oven is a Chumra, not the Stam Halakha, hence the Rema says regarding fast baking, "Tov L'hachmir" it is good to be additionally stringent. Mar 21, 2013 at 15:20
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    I did not say he doesn't know what he is taking about, i just think the the writer gives a stronger argument on the subject. Mar 21, 2013 at 15:25

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