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Recently, I watched a youtube video showing how hand shmurah matzot are baked. I think it was from the pupah tzelem factory.

The narrator showed an explained that after the matzot exit the oven and are stacked, each is individually inspected for folded over pieces and chametz "bubbles" (I'm not sure I followed what this meant; perhaps someone can explain).

Some questions I have about this:

  • I understood that folded over matzot and bubbles rended the matzah chametz? That correct? Why? What's the concern?

  • Do they dispose of the entire matzah or just the bad part and keep the rest for shevarim (broken matzah pieces - I was surprised how popular these are. Costs almost as much as the shleimim - whole ones! Why???)

  • If the disposable part is chametz, how can they now keep the "chametz" next to the non-chametz matzot?

    • If it's chametz, do they include this as part of their chametz selling?

    • Do they resell these "chametz" pieces to the public after Pesach?

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Shulchan Aruch O.C. 461:5 discusses Matzah baked together with Chametz. The case here, when it is bent over, is that the Matzah may not have baked properly, and that section is now Chametz. The Mechaber allows the Matzah at all times, minus a thumb-width (Magain Avraham there) of the part that touches the Chametz.

The Ramo allows this for Matzah baked before Pesach, but not on Pesach. On Pesach he requires the whole Matzah to be regarded as forbidden, but never anything else baked in the oven.

So the answer to your question is they would dispose only of the bad part plus a bit. This leaves a broken Matzah to sell. But Matzah's break for other reasons as well in handling. (Regarding price, the Matzah bakery I went to the other day was about 29% cheaper for the broken ones, but given the price of the Matzah, perhaps that isn't such a deal :-)). I have never heard of it being sold for Chametz rather than just being disposed of (e.g. burnt with Biur Chametz).

  • Good answer! I viewed the OP as asking about practice, not halacha - "Do they do X" rather than "Can they." Still, good answer that fleshes out the halchic theory side of things. :) – Isaac Kotlicky Mar 27 '15 at 16:15
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Two important points:

  1. The issue is one of chashash chametz. They can't be certain that folded parts and bubbles were cooked fully (but they might have been), leaving some small amount of uncooked dough/flour inside still subject to leavening.

I can't speak to whether they engage in "matzo surgery" (which would be far easier to do without breaking them when they're fresh out of the oven, btw) or to the popularity of shevarim. It might just be what the market can bare.

  1. Chametz is not a "bio-hazard." It doesn't magically infect non-chametz items just by proximity. It would still take at least 18 minutes from the initial mixing of water for it to become chametz gamur (by the most stringent shitos), and most matzos are baked in a fraction of that time.

Technically if you ate them right out of the oven on Pesach you would be fine. Plenty of time left to remove the "not yet but potentially soon to be in chashash status" matzot away from the "perfect without any chashash whatsoever" ones.

If they were to decide to keep these folded matzot for whatever reason, then yes, they would have to sell them for Pesach. I have never seen "shmurah matzo chametz" for sale, though I have seen shmurah matzo meal. I suppose they could grind it up for the latter and slap on a "not for passover use" sticker on it like they do for Tam Tams. Not sure they'd want to - too many people might use it on Pesach without checking...

  • Pretty thorough answer - thanks. Many grocery stores (non-Jewish, of course) have the non-Pesach Tam Tams & Matzot avail. during Pesach. I can't say what confusion it may cause, as many Gentiles love matzot. (Many churches, BTW, use tea matzot for "hosts", BTW. We should be charging them a mark-up!) I think Satmar and Pupa matzot leftovers are sold throughout the year, as a while ago, IIRC, I saw them in a Chassidish supermarket. – DanF Mar 27 '15 at 16:03
  • @DanF the concern is that marketing chametz matzo (meal) as shmurah might be problematic, since the entire concept of shmurah revolves around an extra stringency to ensure that the matzo ISN'T chametz. There's nothing wrong with leftover matzo. Or year old matzo. People are weird about them, though... – Isaac Kotlicky Mar 27 '15 at 16:06
  • I can't say that I have ever seen chametz Shmurah matzah sold anywhere. Makes no sense. But the broken chametz matzot, I think were sold in the same box as the other ones, but appeared in the stores after Pesach and only in the Chassidish stores, anyway. I think, there, people know. My son was "squeamish" when I told him that I sued year old shmurah matzah that I put in the oven for 2 minutes to re-crisp. I reminded him that B'nai Israel ate partially exposed desert matzot for about a month and they had no problem until the supply ran out. And they complained about mahn, not matzot! – DanF Mar 27 '15 at 16:14

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