Korech according to Jastrow (see image below) means to wrap. The Rambam mentions wrapping the Matzah during Korech (Laws of Chametz Umatzah 8:6), and indeed most Talmuds describe the act of Korech as wrapping the bread around. Since most Jews eat Hard Matzah that can't be used to wrap anything, why don't they use a different word? Isn't it lying to keep saying you're fulfilling korech when in actuality you aren't?

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    "when in actuality you aren't" This is obviously false. Hard Matza eaters fulfill the minhag/mitzva whose common title is "Korekh" just as well. Way to use informal fallacies.
    – Double AA
    Apr 4, 2016 at 18:23
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    @DoubleAA i know that hard matzah eaters technically fulfill the mitzvah, but why don't they change to a more accurate word? We fulfill our prayers without prostration, but we know we aren't fulfilling the act of prostration, whereas it seems to me most people don't know korech means to wrap
    – Aaron
    Apr 4, 2016 at 18:29
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    @DoubleAA I don't have access to Jastrow. But assuming Jastrow uses the word "wrap", even the English definition of that word allows for the concept that "surrounding" is "wrapping". This is just fine semantics, IMO. That's what often happens when translating into another language. Unless someone can describe exactly what Hillel did, we're all guessing, here, I think.
    – DanF
    Apr 4, 2016 at 18:41
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    @DanF Added Jastrow. The word doesn't seem to mean simply surrounding. Seems to have the idea of tying around closely, like wrapping a string around a pole or a finger. Surrounding wouldn't really fulfill the meaning.
    – Aaron
    Apr 4, 2016 at 18:47
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    Aaron - Aha! Now that you have included Jastrow's commentary, I'd like you to re-read the last parenthetical portion. I think that the way we have been doing it using the hard matzah fits the exact Jastrow explanation of "korech". It does not need to be completely surrounded by the Matzah, even according to Jastrow's explanation.
    – DanF
    Apr 4, 2016 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


At the very least, the title of the Seder step is the same as the active word in the Hagada text that justifies it and is recited in it:

זֵכֶר לְמִקְדָּשׁ כְּהִלֵּל. כֵּן עָשָׂה הִלֵּל בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָּם: הָיָה כּוֹרֵךְ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר וְאוֹכֵל בְּיַחַד, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְרוׂרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ.‏

In memory of the Temple according to Hillel. This is what Hillel would do when the Temple existed: He would wrap the matsa and marror and eat them together, in order to fulfill what is stated, (Exodus 12:15): "You should eat it upon matsot and marrorim."

There's no point in changing the text, so there's no strong impetus to change the title. The food remains a memorial to the wrap. There's also no Korban Pesah meat in it, but it's still a memorial to that wrap.1

1. Some reasoning thanks to a comment by DoubleAA.


There are a number of rishonim and acharonim who explain korech as wrapping the maror around the matza.

Rabbeinu Chananel (Pesachim 115a) writes:

מאן תנא דאמר מצות אין מבטלות זו את זו הלל דתניא אמרו עליו על הלל שהיה כורך המרור על המצה ואוכלו בבת אחת כו' אמר ר' יוחנן חלוקין עליו חבריו על הלל דתניא יכול לא יהא אדם יוצא ידי חובתו בפסח אלא אם כן כורכן בבת אחת מצה ומרור ואוכל כדרך שהלל אוכלן ת"ל על מצות ומרורים יאכלוהו [אפי'] זה בפני עצמו וזה בפני עצמו השתא דלא אתמר הלכתא לא כרבנן ולא כהלל מברך אמצה לחודיה ואכיל ומברך אמרור לחודיה ואכיל והדר כריך ליה למרור אמצה ואכיל להו בבת אחת בלא ברכה זכר למקדש כהלל

The Sefer Hapardes towards the end of Hilchos Pesach writes:

ולאחר שיאכל המרור חוזר ובוצע מן המצה השלימה התחתונה כדי לקיים מצוה בשלשתן וכורכה בחזרת

The Sefer Hachinuch writes (Mitzvah # 21) that it is the maror that gets wrapped around the matza:

ואחר שאוכלין מן המרור בטיבול כורכין ממנו על גבי מצה ואוכלין

R. Mordechai Yaffe (O.C. 475:2) writes:

ואח"כ המרור לחודיה ומברכין עליו ואח"כ כורכין את המצה ואת המרור יחד ואוכלין אותן יחד לקיים דעת הלל שסובר כן ועושין אותה עם המצה שלישית שכורך עליה את המרור ואומר זכר למקדש כהלל כלומר שכך היה הלל עושה בזמן שהיה בית המקדש קיים ואוכלם ביחד

Thus, even using hard matza one can fulfill the term "wrap".

Indeed, R. Hershel Schachter has said on a number of occasions (e.g. starting at approximately 30:50 of this lecture) that R. Joseph Ber Soloveitchik could not visualize "wrapping" matza around the maror, so he maintained that the simple explanation is that the maror is wrapped around the matza. (He did not quote the above sources, so R. Soloveitchik may have come to this conclusion independently.)

However, R. Aryeh Lebowitz has said (starting approximately at 31:30 in this lecture) that because it is impossible to "wrap" with hard matza, for korech he uses Sefardi matza.


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