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While shopping in my local store last year during Hol Hamo'ed, I saw a brand of cakes called "shmubrokhts". Being curious about this interesting name, I realized that this was essentially gebrokhts made from shmura matzah.

I eat gebrokhts during Pesach. But, perhaps I am misunderstanding the concept of this "shmubrokhts" vs. "regular" gebrokhts.

My understanding is that those who don't eat gebrokhts have a minhag to intentionally eat this on the last day of Pesach. Do those who do not eat gebrokhts also have the mionhag to eat ONLY Shmurah matzot during the week and vice versa (those who eat shmurah only also do not eat gebrokhts), or are these completely separate minhagim? Essentially, beyond the clever name, I'm trying to determine if this concept is necessary or is this just a marketing "gimmick"?

  • Why would you think those two issues have anything to do with each other? A brand name with a punny portmanteau? – Double AA Apr 11 '16 at 16:24
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    "doesn't the permissibility to eat gebrokhts on the last day automatically allow eating non-shmurah gebrokhts?" Why would that follow? – Double AA Apr 11 '16 at 16:25
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They are nothing to do with one another. Eating only shmura matzah is a chumra (stringency) to be absolutely sure the flour is not chometz. Not eating gebrokts is a minhag (custom), mainly adopted by - although not exclusively - chassidic Jews. I think hotel etc. marketing is primarily responsible for convincing everyone that it is a chumra - since many places proudly proclaim that they have no gebrokts as if it is the highest level of kashrus, when it is actually a minhag. Therefore, there are many very stringent Jews who happily eat gebrokts, although they may be extremely stringent about what matza is used to make those gebrokts.

Although many who avoids gebrokts on the first seven days eat it on the last day, there are those who avoid it even on the eighth day. Mainly, they are concerned about having it on their Pesach keilim (utensils) even though nearly a year will pass before the next Pesach. Some others have a special utensil just for the last day.

  • If you can source your claim, this helps. The 2nd sentence, in particular, doesn't sound right. I don't think the stringency to stick to Shmura Matzah is a concern of chametz. If anything, I think that applies more to gebrokhts. Re hotels - many of them need to cater to the highest stringency possible in order to attract the largest group of people. If they served gebrokhts, they would immediately eliminate a significant crowd. – DanF Apr 11 '16 at 20:52
  • Some (like the Gemara judaism.stackexchange.com/a/36514/759) are also concerned with disgracing Yom Tov Sheni by not treating it seriously. – Double AA Apr 11 '16 at 20:55
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Everyone eats "shmura" (guarded) matza. The question arises at what point the wheat or the flour must be guarded to ensure that it has not become wet and possibly turned into chametz. Once someone determines that they are following a particular level of shimur, then they can determine if they will or will not eat "gebrochts" because of the possibility that some flour was not cooked enough and can become chametz.

These are two different problems and are treated completely independently.

The three levels of shimur are

WHEN DOES SHIMUR START?

There are three opinions discussed in Halacha as to the level of guarding that is required. The most lenient opinion states that this requirement is satisfied as long as care is exercised from the time the flour is mixed with water to ensure that the matzah is baked before it can become chometz (Shmurah mi’Sh’as Lisha). This approach is based on the assumption that flour is generally stored away from water, and chometz concerns only begin at the point of kneading the dough, where water is added to the flour. This opinion, however, should only be followed in cases of extreme necessity, and none of the matzah sold today follows this approach. [Indeed, most wheat today is soaked (tempered) in water before milling, which raises the concern that it may be true chometz].

The second opinion holds that the grain must be guarded from the time it is milled into flour. This approach is based on the assumption that whole grains are not susceptible to becoming chometz even if they were to become wet, since the hard, unbroken kernels are normally resistant to water. Once milled, however, the grains lose this protected status, especially where flour mills were powered by running water and the flour was thus exposed to moisture. Such flour is called Shmurah mi’Sh’as Techina. The grain is inspected before milling to ensure that it has not begun to sprout or exhibit other signs of chimutz, and by doing so we are assured that even if the whole grain had become wet it had nevertheless not become chometz. Most machinemade matzah uses such flour, and such matzah is commonly referred to as matzah p’shutah—“regular matzah”.

The third approach requires supervision of the grain from the time of its harvesting until the actual baking of the matzah to ensure that it did not come into any contact with water at any point whatsoever prior to making it into a dough. This approach is concerned that the kernels may have cracked after harvesting and become wet, creating a chometz concern. Indeed, care is taken to harvest the grain before it is fully ripe, since fullyripened grain—even if still on the stalk—could potentially become chometz under the right conditions. There is even a discussion in the Poskim about whether a Jew must actually harvest the grain, and whether one must supervise the transport of the grain to ensure that it does not come in contact with water! Flour that is “guarded” to this extent is known as Shmurah mi’Sh’as K’tzirah, and this is the flour that is used to bake all hand and some machine matzah. Such matzah is referred to as “Shmurah Matzah,” although all other matzah is also, technically, “shmurah” according to many opinions.

  • Hi Sabbahillel. I think you misunderstood the focus of my question. I understand what Shmurah matzah is about. What I am asking is regarding the minhag of eating ONLY Shmurah matzot during the week, which some people do. Do those who follow this minhag also not eat gebrokhts and vice versa, o are these separate minhagim? – DanF Apr 11 '16 at 18:32

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