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If someone (e.g old people) can't eat a kzais (about 20 grams according to volume) of matza on seder night (within the required amount of time of about 4-9 min) because its too dry, then one usually wets it to make it softer so that he can eat it and fulfill the mitzva of achilas matza (eating Matza).

This is a problem for people who don't eat gebrocht how can they loose out a mitzva?

If they think its ok to miss out, Kesubos 86a says the Beis din smite someone constantly refraining from mitzvos asei until he agrees or dies. ואם יזהירו את האיש לעשות סוכה או לולב ואינו עושה, מכים אותו עד שתצא נפשו,

Rosh hashana 17a says constant refraining from a Mitzva can amount to more iniquity then someone who transgresses Chayvei krisus (sins which one dies under 60) and misos beis din (sins which one gets killedfor)
האנשים אשר לא הניחו על ראשם תפילין מעולם הם הנקראים פושעי ישראל בגופם, ועונשם חמור מן העובר פעם אחת על חייבי כריתות ומיתות בית דין

And if they soak Matza in grapejuice or mei peiros which might not be gebrocht because it can't cause leaven (mei peirot einom machmitzim),then there is no lechem oni which is required for seder night as part of the Mitzva(Shulchan Aruch O.C 462,1)

So what do old/unwell Chasidim/Chabad do on Seder night eating matza?

  • Just get softer Matza. – Double AA Mar 29 '18 at 17:02
  • Ignoring the fact that eating gebrochts is probably a very trivial matter to circumvent (as @DanF mentioned regarding the fact that it's a Minhag), why would this be any different than any other case where one is an Oneis? A person isn't held responsible for something outside his control. – Salmononius2 Mar 29 '18 at 17:07
  • @Salmononius2 If a person can't eat Matza at all even through soaking e.g hes severely allergic to gluten then your right hes oneis and potur. But here a Minhag does not override a Mitzva if it is possible for someone to soak the matza and eat it. I am trying to confirm that this is the case with lubavitchers and other nongebrocht eaters. – user15464 Mar 29 '18 at 19:08
  • I heard you're yotzei with ground up matza (turn it into matza meal). Not sure how easy that goes down the throat though... – robev Apr 25 at 14:58
  • This is only applicable if they eat the cracker-style Matza. For those who eat Soft Matza, like the Alter Rebbe discusses in his Shulchan Aruch, it’s a lot easier to eat and to consume the proper quantity. – Yaacov Deane Apr 25 at 19:30
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There is a story with the previous Belzer Rebbi that his mother was elderly and could not eat Matza without dipping it in liquid. She originally refused to eat it that way. In order for her to eat the Matza as required the Rebbe himself dipped his own Matza into liquid and ate it even though he was generally careful not to eat Gebrochts.

Thus one who has no other choice can definitely eat Gebrochts even if their Minhag is not to.

  • This could be greatly improved by citing the story. – DonielF Mar 29 '18 at 18:10
  • @DonielF: I read this story in one of the Artscroll books years ago. I do not remember which one. When i find it I will cite it. – Gershon Gold Mar 29 '18 at 18:26
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O.C. 461:4 says that bedi'eved (See M.B. #17 that defines outright a sick or elderly person who can't eat dry matzah) may soak the matzah in water and he fulfills the mitzvah of eating matzah.

Gebrochts is a minhag. It is based on a stringency that matzah soaked in water might become chametz. Check with your rav. But, generally, given a lack of choice to fulfill a mitzvah, I'm quite sure that a rav would say that fulfilling the mitzvah of eating matzah has priority. There is certainly support to it from O.C., here.

You might also want to check if one fulfills his obligation by eating less than the minimum amount mentioned if he is an oneis. That may be another option.

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