We should not be allowed to eat מצה on פסח! After all, it's made with מים שלנו ("our water"; that is, water that's been sitting out for hours and hours), and חז״ל say there's a risk of poisoning, ר״ל, from water that's been sitting out for so long. What gives?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

  • The translation of שלנו is part of the joke, right? – Dave Feb 18 '11 at 13:11
  • Dave, yes. This entire thing is very, very heavily tongue-in-cheek. NOTICE THE PURIM-TORAH-JEST TAG!! – Shalom Feb 18 '11 at 13:55
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    What do people think the practice should be with regard to normal tags on Purim Torah questions (e.g. matza here). Should we add them along with the p-t tag for cross-referencing and exploration, or just say that PT posts should have only the p-t tag to make it extra clear that these questions aren't serious? – Isaac Moses Feb 18 '11 at 16:04
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    @Isaac, yeah good question. I think leave it with p-t only. Otherwise someone's going to Google "matza" a week before Pesach and get very, very confused. – Shalom Feb 18 '11 at 16:31
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    Also any good Purim Torah cross-links a gazillion different tags, which would make a mess. – Shalom Feb 18 '11 at 16:31

Okay here goes: normally issurim are batel b'shishim and venom is not. (See Magen Avraham with regards to fish-and-meat). But on Pesach, chametz isn't, so the halacha of Batel B'Shishim complained bitterly to Hashem "what about me!?" (his normally-bored kid brother, Batel B'rov, was having a grand old time playing with kitniyos galore, though he had to do so very quietly). So Hashem told Batel B'Shishim that it could spend Pesach dealing with snake venom.



The answer is that on ערב פסח we say "כל חמירא דאיכא ברשותי... ליבטל", which includes even the חמירא סכנתא מאיסורא; thus, there's no need for concern about the water.

This also explains why we don't eat the מצה until פסח. If it were allowed even ערב פסח, people would err and eat it before the ביטול, which is dangerous, so a לא פלוג was instituted to cover the whole day. (The לא פלוג was not extended into פסח itself, because if it were then we wouldn't be able to do יחץ, which is a פלוג.)


Another answer is that indeed the שלנו in מים שלנו is significant. Since it's "our water," then it's not subject to the law about poisoning, because אין אדם אוסר דבר שאינו שלו.

But, you'll object, a snake is not an אדם. The answer is that once it emits venom it has the status of one, as it says, אם נשך הנחש - את איש, "If the snake bites - [it is] a person" (Num. 21:9).

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    8^D Way to riff! I did not expect that we'd get multiple high-quality answers from different sources to purim-torah questions, but I guess I momentarily forgot how cool this community is. – Isaac Moses Feb 18 '11 at 15:55

Actually, the only issur is by mayim megulin, water of exiled people. Water used to celebrate geulah is exempt from this prohibition.

In fact, it is in recognition of this freedom from our Egyptian masters and our newly found rights to ownership that we call this water "mayim shelanu".


The truth is we can not eat the Matza for a few reasons.

1 - It is called Lechem.

2 - It is Lechem Oni and Oni did not give us permission to eat his bread.

3 - The problem mentioned of Mayim Shelanu.

However we have a Klal "Ain Isur Chal Al Isur" therefore we are allowed to eat it.

In addition the Gematria of מים שלנו = נרצה עונה so Hashem forgives us for doing this.

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    But I can shlug up some of these points. (1) We must eat bread on Pesach, to commemorate how our ancestors bred beyond all norms despite Pharaoh's decrees. (2) The Torah outlaws yid-oni, so the Jew named Oni doesn't have the power to prevent us from eating his bread. (3) You're reading the rule wrong. It's "ein" - in Aramaic, "yes" - "issur chal al issur." (4) מים שלנו is also the same gematria as פרא אדם ידו בכל ויד כל בו, and of עשו בנו הגדול, so using it is tantamount to having Yishmael and Eisav at our seder. – Alex Feb 21 '11 at 21:42
  • עשו בנו הגדול does not = מים שלנו – Gershon Gold Feb 23 '11 at 3:29
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    Sorry, הגדל (as it's spelled in Gen. 27:1). But since יש אם למסורת, then we have to also account for the gematria of the full spelling, and then you're right that it doesn't match. A good thing, too, because if he were at our seder then the wine would become yayin nesech! Also, he'd eat all of the charoses, because it's "red, red stuff." – Alex Feb 23 '11 at 22:26
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    Yes, we already knew (Rashi to 27:9) that the exclusion of Esav from the seder is due to the אם. – msh210 Feb 24 '11 at 4:46

The danger is with uncovered water, the water used for Matzos is left covered.

  • Thanks for this answer. When I read the question, I was actually wondering. – Isaac Moses Feb 18 '11 at 14:42
  • Gershon, it is the Matzos that must remain covered until Magid, not the water;-) BTW, give us the source that Mayim Shelanu is covered. – Yahu Feb 20 '11 at 22:51
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    @R'Yahu, Aruch Hashulchan 455, end of :5, cites an opinion (seems to be the Chok Yaakov, but I'm not seeing it there) that the water specifically not be covered when indoors. Perhaps according to that opinion it is kept company, which guards from snakes?? – msh210 Feb 21 '11 at 15:49
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    msh210, I wrote that because I remembered seeing somewhere that it should not be covered and you led me back to where I learned it. I wrote then in my margins (just re-discovered it because of you!) there that Bipashtus it could be that since Matzah baking is normally done in the winter and the snakes are not shachiah in the winter we need not be concerned. Maybe. Thank you cousin! – Yahu Feb 23 '11 at 2:09
  • I'm glad this Purim torah question has led to some real learning. – msh210 Feb 24 '11 at 19:22

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