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At Kosherfest this year, a company introduced a line of monogrammed matzot. From the description the owner says:

We’re a 75-year-old ink manufacturer, we make edible inks as well as kosher inks, and I came up with the idea about a year and a half ago because we have this equipment that will print on uneven surfaces like matza,” said Barry Brucker, the former politician and current CEO of Independent Ink. “I thought, what a great idea for my synagogue.” And so Brucker printed up monogrammed matzos for the second seder of his Reform Temple in Beverly Hills. They were a huge hit.

I know that there is a preference to use Shmura matzot for Seder. But, is there any problem with using monogrammed matzot, or do they have to be plain with no ink on them? The article doesn't mention if the ink adds any flavor; I assume it doesn't. But, is there anything wrong with having some type of flavor on the matzot (say salty or sweet) where the amount of flavor is minute?

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    Is this done post baking or beforehand? – user6591 Nov 27 '17 at 21:46
  • @user6591 I have no idea. I assume it's done afterwards. Please explain why this matters. – DanF Nov 27 '17 at 22:03
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    If done before baking, there is a prohibition to make shapes out of or letters into the matzah as this might delay the baking leading to chametz. That would probably apply to ink as well. – user6591 Nov 27 '17 at 22:05
  • It's a little excessive, but this could be used to mark which Matza should be on top or bottom, per the Rama 475:7 – Double AA Nov 27 '17 at 22:17
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You're required to taste טעם מצה. If flavor of the ink is undetectable, it will not compromise טעם מצה and should not be a problem, but I'd hold off, nonetheless:

Is Egg Matzah Kosher For Passover?

The matzah used at the Seder must be made of only flour and water. This is because the Torah (Deuteronomy 16:3) refers to this matzah as lechem oni, which can be translated as “poor bread.” As you point out, matzah made with juice or eggs is much tastier, and is by definition “rich bread.” So egg matzah is out for fulfilling the mitzvah of eating matzah at the Seder.

IMO there's a good case to be made that such matzah is not lechem oni, due to the added ingredients, or perhaps even because of the monogram itself.

See the discussion about salt and טעם מצה and in the comments below.


Regarding when the writing was applied, @user6591 is correct to be concerned. See more there:

But is it kosher for consumption during the rest of the holiday?

On Passover we are forbidden to eat chametz. Now, what constitutes chametz? A mixture of flour and water that has leavened, whether through the addition of yeast or the passage of time (18 minutes). However, flour mixed with other liquids, such as fruit juice, oil, wine or eggs, does not constitute chametz.

So far, it would seem that there would be no problem whatsoever with eating egg (or juice) matzah.

However, there is a caveat: If the flour was mixed with both water and any of those other liquids, it can become chametz. Not only that, it actually becomes chametz at a much faster pace than an ordinary flour and water. Because of this concern, it is forbidden to make matzah for Passover with a mixture of water and other liquids.

Another potential issue here would be erasing the letters on Yom Tov while you eat the מצה. Here's an interesting discussion of the issue: The Melacha of Erasing on Shabbat

He cites the MB there that concludes it's OK:

..Mishna Berurah 340:17, permits one to eat a cookie that has letters written on it based on the fact that it is a pesik reishei d'lo nicha lei whose result is only a rabbinic violation and it is performed in an irregular manner (see Sha'ar HaTziyun 340:22).

There is also this in O-Hach, 460-4:

We do not make designs, like drawing the shape of an animal or a bird on the matzo. However, everything done with the comb so that it doesn't swell is permitted, as is putting holes in the matzos.

That seems to apply when baking the matza, because the designs could cause it not to bake properly. This again raises @user6591's question about when the ink is applied.

  • The whole Matza Ashira and Ta'am Matza issue only comes into play if the the ink is added before it is baked. If it's juts a layer on top of a baked Matza, that shouldn't be a problem. – Double AA Nov 28 '17 at 1:42
  • @DoubleAA - is added before it is baked.. If it's juts a layer on top of a baked Matza, that shouldn't be a problem Can you source that - it does not sound correct: We must eat matza separately from maror for the mitzva, because the maror detracts from taam matzah, even though the maror is not baked in but layered on. For the same reason, you're not supposed to put salt on the matza shel mitzva. It occurs to me now that "lechem oni" and "taam shel matza" are two different things: "lechem oni" would apply only in the baking - "taam shel matza" at the time of eating. – user4736 Nov 28 '17 at 1:58
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    The Shulchan Arukh says to dip the matza shel mitzva in salt... – Double AA Nov 28 '17 at 1:58
  • @DoubleAA - source that please as well. I don't have soferim with me now - on the road - every source I've seen says we don't put salt on matza shel mitzva and that has been the minhag in my family forever and with everyone else I know. I vaguely recall that perhaps the R'MA says not like the SHaruch there - not sure. – user4736 Nov 28 '17 at 2:18
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    It's OC 475:1. ShA says to dip in salt. Rama says the custom is not to, because of Maharil that not needing salt shows Chibuv Mitzva, but the Arukh haShulchan says the custom is to dip it in salt as tasting good is a Hiddur Mitzva. The Ari also dipped in salt. The Levush writes that avoiding salt makes it more like Lechem Oni, but this is difficult because salt is the most "poor-person" of spices anyway. No one at all says it's prohibited MiDina. The Rambam and R Amram Gaon even say to dip the Matza in Charoset!! – Double AA Nov 28 '17 at 2:22

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