Exodus 12:17:

וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם֮ אֶת־הַמַּצּוֹת֒

You shall watch the matzot

Ibn Ezra on Exodus 12:17:1:

ושמרתם. הנה צוה להיות המצות שמורים מימות הקציר

My translation, which I hope is accurate:

"Here, we see the commandment that the matzot must be guarded from the days of the harvesting"

If my translation is correct, Ibn Ezra states how long the matzot themselves must be guarded; he doesn't state that the wheat has to be guarded. I also don't see how Ibn Ezra derives this as being a Mitzvah.

Thanks to @Ze'ev's comment and link to [this source],1 Shulchan Aruch appears to state that the main reason deals with chimutz - when and how the dough becomes chametz. There is a debate as to whether chametz concerns begin from the time that the wheat is ground or it starts earlier, from the time it is harvested.

OK, I got that. But my question is why the debate at all? Where from the Torah's verses does anyone derive that there even needs to be any type of guarding from harvesting? It appears that this is not just a chumra, but, the Shulchan Aruch makes this a requirement to eat only shmurah matzot at the seder!

How do they derive this as a requirement from the Torah verse, or any other place?

Where and why did this extra stringency arise?

  • 1
    Why are you so shocked that a rule isn't written out word-for-word in the verses? Many laws are learned from extra letters, funny phrases, etc. We call it the Oral Torah.
    – Double AA
    Apr 2 '15 at 16:48
  • @DoubleAA - I'm not shocked. But the Gemarah in particular tends to explain how they derive something, and I'm asking how. It's not obvious to me. Perhaps it may only be a chimutz problem. I don't know.
    – DanF
    Apr 2 '15 at 16:55

Edit : I hope 'tis close to the question now
Not from the Torah but close enough. R' Asher Pesachim Perek 2 Siman 26

אפילו הכי לא הדר ביה ומחמיר על עצמו היה לשמור מצה של מצוה משעת קצירה. וכן משמע דחומרא בעלמא הוא מדקאמר מר בריה דרבינא מנקטא ליה אימיה בארבי משמע דאיהו לבד היה מחמיר וכל שאר החכמין לא נהגו כן

Even so, [Rava] didn't change his opinion and 'Hechmir' to guard Matza d'Mitzva from the time of harvest. And it sounds to be 'Chumra' and no more since it is said Mar son of Ravina, his mom guraded the Barley from the time of harvest, only he did, other Chachamim didn't

ונהגו באשכנז וצרפת לשומרן משעת טחינה ללפי שאז מקריבין אותן אל המים שטוחנן ברחים של מים. רב אלפס כתב ומיבעי ליה לנטורי קמחא דפסחא משעת קצירה דכתיב ושמרתם את המצות

And it was used in Ashkenaz and France to guard them [Barley] from time of grinding since at that time they are brought close to water, as they are grinded by a Water-wheel. Rav Alfas wrote And he is needed to guard flour of Pesach from the time of harvest as said And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread

So R' Alfas does somehow directly infers from the Torah they must be guarded from time of harvest. Rava(Pesachim 40a) has a logical Shakla Ve'Tarya for his opinion that it must be guarded from time of harvest as well (Didn't learn it so cannot write a good explanation).

Rambam Hametz U'matza Perek 5 8,9

ח תבשיל שנתבשל ונמצאו בו שעורים או חיטים אם נתבקעו הרי כל התבשיל אסור שהרי נתערב בו החמץ ואם לא נתבקעו מוציאין אותן ושורפין אותן ואוכלין שאר התבשיל שאין הדגן שנבלל או נתבשל ולא נתבקע חמץ גמור של תורה ואינו אלא מדברי סופרים [ט] משום שנאמר "ושמרתם את המצות" (שמות יב,יז) כלומר היזהרו במצה ושמרו אותה מכל צד חימוץ.

ט לפיכך אמרו חכמים, צריך אדם להיזהר בדגן שאוכל ממנו בפסח, כדי שלא יבוא עליו מים אחר שנקצר, עד שלא יהיה בו שם חימוץ.

Since grains that didn't split are not Chametz by Tora only by Chachmim as said And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread,That is - Guard the Matza as to not let it any type/slight possiblity of Himutz. Therefore Chachamim said to be careful of grains eaten during Pesach that no water would come on them from time of harvest so as to not let even the slightest Himutz

I guess it is possible to infer the Pasuk to guard from any type of Chimutz, even one that does't make the grain to be Chametz.

  • Thanks for the good research! Rambam's comment, though, seems to indicate that this is a general chimutz problem. However, it doesn't quite clarify why the opposition doesn't seem to be concerned with chimutz until after it's ground. Water is water regardless of when it touches the wheat, no?
    – DanF
    Apr 2 '15 at 19:11

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