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What cracks disqualify a hand-baked (typically Shmurah) Matzah as whole for the purposes of lechem mishneh and the Seder?

I've been told that:

  1. Cracks in the center of the matzah that do not reach the edge are ok.
  2. Cracks beginning from the edge of the matzah inward are not acceptable.
  3. Whole matzah with a very small piece chipped off the edge are a problem.

Are any or all the above correct? Thank you.

  • 1
    Note that, even if such matzos are not good for lechem mishne, you can put them in the oven for a bit and they are then considered whole again (שמירת שבת כהלכתה נה:י בשם שו״ת שאלי ציון או״ח ט:ו). Note also that, as always, you should ask your rabbi practical questions rather than relying on what you read on this site! – msh210 Apr 18 '16 at 3:23
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    The law is if "you can hold it by the peace that is cracked off and it will not brake off it is whole" what that means practically I have no idea – hazoriz Apr 18 '16 at 10:28
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    Dan, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing this important question here! Don't miss Hagada - Mi Yodeya? - a booklet full of great Seder Q&As. Maybe this question will make it into the next edition, if it gets good answers. I wish you the best of success with your matza integrity, and a worry-free holiday! – Isaac Moses Apr 18 '16 at 18:53
  • @hazoriz right. so a simple crackle is nothing – kouty May 9 '16 at 20:10
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The answer is like the one proffered by Hazoriz, only it's a little muddled because he misquoted some details.

The halacha about what is considered whole regarding a Matza is no different than the question about how much can a bread be cut through and still be considered whole for the purpose of "Lechem Mishna" - the mitzvah of making a blessing over whole bread and eating from it on Shabbos. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch states that even if a loaf is cut part of the way through, it is still considered whole for the purpose of the Mitzvah, as long as you can hold one end of the loaf and the other end will not break off. So too with Matza, it doesn't matter if it has a crack - even a large one, as long as the rest of the Matza would not break off if you were to hold it on either side of this crack, the Matza is still considered whole for the purpose of the Mitzva on Pesach.

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