The haggadah instructs us to eat specific matzot from the three on the plate at different times in the seder. Haggadot I've seen offer various explanations of the symbolism, and seem to treat these actions as halacha.

Generally, when you say hamotzi you can then eat any bread (after taking a bite of the bread that you held during Bracha). On this question about whether you're required to eat from the challot on Shabbat (or if any bread at the meal suffices), the answers say that it's preferable but not required.

Is this true for Pesach as well? Do we fulfill the obligations of the seder with any matzot but we prefer the three set out on the seder plate, or are we required to eat those specific ones? If we're required, why is this case different from Shabbat?

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    You just notice it on Pesach more because modern thin dry Matza have fewer Kezayits per "loaf". The idea of three Matzot on Pesach is to have Lechem Mishneh, just like Shabbat. See judaism.stackexchange.com/a/70342/759
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2018 at 15:57
  • @DoubleAA right, but, for example, for the Hillel sandwich we specifically use those matzot, and we set aside half of one of those in particular for the afikoman. If somebody used other matzah instead, would he fulfill his obligation? If not, what's the difference? (Sorry, my question isn't about three versus two, but about using the designated ones versus any.) Jan 22, 2018 at 16:00
  • Using the third Matza for Korekh is like using the Eruv Tavshilin for Lechem Mishneh and Seudah Shelishit (are you familiar with that custom? It's about preferring using leftovers from one Mitzva for another). It's a dated practice built on the assumption that the top Matza will have enough for everyone to have a Kezayit which is almost never true with modern dry thin matza.
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2018 at 16:03
  • @DoubleAA I didn't know that custom, no. And yeah, nobody can have a kezayit with those; what I've seen is that everybody takes a piece of that one and then supplements. I'm wondering if taking a piece of that one is actually required. It sounds like you have the ingredients of an answer. Jan 22, 2018 at 16:07
  • (eruv tavshilin custom source example halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Eruv_Tavshilin#cite_ref-17 )
    – Double AA
    Jan 22, 2018 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


We require 3 Matzos according to the (Shulchan Aruch OC 473,4).
The Tur Orach Chaim 475 explains that 3 matzos signify the 3 matzos of the Lachmei Todah where there were 3 types of matzos (there was also a chameitz loaf but we can't have that on Pesach). This is to signify our thanks to Hashem for saving us from slavery in Egypt:

זכר ללחמי תודה, שהיוצא מבית האסורים מביא תודה, ותודה היה בה ג' מינין של מצה, חלות רקיקין ורבוכה

The Tur also quotes the opinion of the Rif and Rambam which is the preffered opinion of the Gra as well who say one has 2 matzos like a regular Shabbos the only difference being that one is boken because of Lechem Oni to signify a poor person in prison saves half for later. The Gra explains that having 2 full Matzos defeats the point of having "Bread of the poor", to split the third Matza does not show poverty, Rather one needs to break 1 matza out of 2 to show the difference between a regular Yom tov meal which has 2 full loaves.

דעת הרי"ף פ' ע"פ והרמב"ם בפ"ח מה' חמץ ומצה דא"צ אלא ב' מצות וכ"ד המ"מ והרבה גאונים וכ"ד רמ"מ וכן משמע לישנא דמתניתין הביאו לפניו מצה כו' וכן ממה שנאמר לחם עוני משמע כן דאל"כ אין זה דרך עניות כיון שיש לפניו ב' מצות וגם יש לפניו חצי מצה

For old/unwell people who cannot swallow dry Matza, even with a soaked matza that has fallen apart one can fulfill ones obligation with on Seder night, so long as one doesn't rebake it and it hasn't completely disintegrated. Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 461,4: (see Mishna Brura there)

יוצא אדם במצה שרויה והוא שלא נימוחה אבל אם בשלה אינו יוצא בה

  • "so long as one doesn't rebake it" Can you source this? I'd think rebaking it makes it mehuddar again.
    – Double AA
    Mar 21, 2023 at 12:40

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