Follow up to this answer. Excerpt (my bolding, here):

According to Rashi and the Rashbam: The main Matza and Maror were eaten right at the end together with the kezayit piece of Pesach lamb/kid in the time of the Beis Hamikdosh, and no Matza or Maror was eaten beforehand. So nowadays the pesach is not availlable and the marror is no longer a Mitzva Deoraisa, so the Afikomen at the end is a representation of the actual Matzas Mitzva which accompanied the Pesach offering. This is why Rashi and the Rashbam say Pesachim 119b: אין מפטירין אחר מצה אפיקומן - שצריך לאכול מצה בגמר הסעודה זכר למצה הנאכלת עם הפסח וזו היא מצה הבצועה שאנו אוכלין באחרונה לשם חובת מצה אותה שלאחר אכילה - The Afikomen should be eaten as the main Mitzva of Matza on Seder night as a rememberance to the Matza that was eaten together with the Pesach Offering at the end of the meal al hasova (i.e not being stuffed but almost full).

If, according to this opinion the Afikoman is the "main" mitzvah of matzah eating, why isn't the barcha al achilat matzah made then instead of together with the hamotzi before Shulchan Orech? Or, is it just a question that we are not following Rashi's / Rashbam"s opinion for some reason? If so, why not?

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    Allegedly, there are some Briskers who don't talk during Shulchan Orech to allow the Al Achilat Matza to last all the way till the Afikoman (the same way many don't talk until after Korekh) – Double AA Apr 10 '18 at 14:45
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    Is your question that we should make the beracha before the afikoman instead of before the first eating of matzah, or is your question that we should make a beracha twice? – Alex Apr 10 '18 at 15:26
  • Hi @Alex. Instead of. I think that I clarified that in my last paragraph, below the citation. – DanF Apr 10 '18 at 17:15
  • @DanF your question is an opinion if you look at my answer you have good grounds to your assumption – user15464 Apr 12 '18 at 17:19

Rashi himself asks your question on Pesachim 119b!

His answer (quoting a principle of Rav Chisdah regarding maror from Pesachim 115a) is:

לאחר שמילא כריסו הימנו היאך חוזר ומברך עליו

After he has filled his stomach with it, how can he then go and make a blessing on it?

The idea seems to be that although the main mitzvah of matzah is performed with the afikoman, nevertheless you will eat matzah at the start of the meal as well, so you must make the blessing then. After all, it would look very strange to make the bracha on matzah after having eaten a sizable amount of it.

  • Doesn't חוזר imply Rashi agrees that there needs to be a blessing at the beginning since that is a Mitzva too, and the question is just should you say the blessing again? – Double AA Apr 10 '18 at 15:24
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    @DoubleAA I don’t think you can make that diyyuk in Rashi. He’s quoting Rav Chisdah from 115b more or less verbatim, where he’s attacking the suggestion of making ha’adamah on the first maror (in place of karpas) and al achilat maror on the second. I don’t think anyone there was suggesting saying al achilat maror twice. – Joel K Apr 10 '18 at 15:30
  • @DoubleAA This is the full Rashi: אין מפטירין אחר המצה אפיקומן. שצריך לאכול מצה בגמר סעודתו זכר למצה הנאכלת עם הפסח בכריכה וזו היא מצה הבצועה שאנו אוכלין באחרונה לשם חובה ועל כרחינו אנו מברכין על אכילת מצה בראשונה (הואיל ו) [אע"פ שאינה] לשם חובה כדאמר רב חסדא לעיל גבי מרור דלאחר שמילא כריסו ממנו היאך חוזר ומברך עליו הלכך מברך אתרוייהו ברישא והדר אכיל מצה באחרונה ואחר אותה מצה אין נפטרין ממנה באכילת דבר אחר שלא לשכח טעמה ובמצה בזמן הזה מיירי דליכא פסח בהדה דאי בזמן דאיכא פסח הא בהדיא תנן אין מפטירין אחר הפסח אפיקומן והיינו אחר פסח ומצה הנאכלת עמו – Alex Apr 10 '18 at 15:33
  • @doubleaa In fact Rashi’s question is phrased as ‘why make the bracha the first time’ rather than ‘why not make a bracha on afikoman’. – Joel K Apr 10 '18 at 15:34
  • @DoubleAA As you can see the textual discrepancy is precisely on whether the first matzah is leshem chovah or not. – Alex Apr 10 '18 at 15:34

Rambam seems to hold that the afikoman is not the "main mitzvah" and is simply a rabbinic institution to ensure that the taste remains in one's mouth.

Hilchos Chametz U'matzah 6:11

מדברי סופרים שאין מפטירין אחר מצה כלום ואפילו קליות ואגוזים וכיוצא בהן אלא אף על פי שאכל מצה ואכל אחריה מאכלות אחרות ופירות וכיוצא בהן חוזר ואוכל כזית מצה באחרונה ופוסק

It is a Rabbinic ordinance that nothing at all is eaten after the matzah, not even roasted seeds, nuts, or the like. Rather, even though one ate matzah and afterwards, ate other foods, fruit, and the like, one returns and eats a second olive's size of matzah at the end [of the meal] and ceases [eating]. (Chabad.org)

Hilchos Chametz U'matzah 8:9

ואחר כך נמשך בסעודה ואוכל כל מה שהוא רוצה לאכול ושותה כל מה שהוא רוצה לשתות ובאחרונה אוכל מבשר הפסח אפילו כזית ואינו טועם אחריו כלל ובזמן הזה אוכל כזית מצה ואינו טועם אחריה כלום. כדי שיהיה הפסק סעודתו וטעם בשר הפסח או המצה בפיו שאכילתן היא המצוה

Afterwards, one continues the meal, eating whatever one desires to eat and drinking whatever one desires to drink. At its conclusion, one eats from the Paschal sacrifice, even [as small a portion as] a כזית, and does not taste anything afterwards.

At present, one eats a כזית of matzah and does not taste anything afterwards, so that, after the completion of the meal, the taste of the meat of the Paschal sacrifice or the matzah will [remain] in one's mouth, for eating them is the mitzvah. (Chabad.org)

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    Are you claiming we Paskin like Rambam here and that's why there is no blessing? – Double AA Apr 10 '18 at 16:23
  • @DoubleAA I'm claiming that according to Rambam it makes perfect sense why we wouldn't make a beracha. If we in fact don't make a beracha it's possible that it's because we paskin like Rambam. – Alex Apr 10 '18 at 16:30
  • Please refer to the end of OP - " Or, is it just a question that we are not following Rashi's / Rashbam"s opinion for some reason? If so, why not?". It seems that this is a synopsis of what Ramba"m stated in the linked answer, but doesn't answer this question. You've assumed that we don't follow Rambam's ruling, but haven't confirmed that this is so or explained why that is. – DanF Apr 11 '18 at 15:54
  • Suggestion - The focus of my question is regarding the timing of the bracha. If you can prove that a birkat hamitzvah need not be made immediately prior to its performance, and that rule applies, here, then, that could be a valid answer. – DanF Apr 11 '18 at 15:58
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    @DanF And it's not about whether a beracha can be made well before the mitzvah. It's that the simple understanding is that the mitzvah is the first eating of the matzah, and thus we make the beracha then. I think it is a big chiddush to say that the first part is not the real mitzvah (what's the point of it?) and I don't think it's a question why we don't follow a chiddush of Rashi against the simple understanding which was codified by the Rambam. – Alex Apr 11 '18 at 16:43

The Beis Yosef Orach Chaim 475 brings 2 opinions when eating Matza and specifically not wanting to fulfill his obligation of doing the Mitzva.Here is a summary of what is written.*

The Rambam holds that if an idol worshiper force feeds him matza on Seder night he has fulfilled his obligation even though he specifically doesn't want to do the Mitzva. This is perplexing as he says in hilchos Shofar that one needs intention when blowing the Shofar to fulfill his/others obligation on Rosh Hashana. The Ran answers that one who benefits from something cannot have negative intention in his mind, as his body is clearly benefiting (note that if he so full he'll be sick if he eats matza he is not fulfilled). This is not the case with a regular Mitzva e.g Blowing Shofar where there is no intention and no benefit for the body his mind comes first.
This is also the opinion of Rashi pesachim 119b who says לאחר שמילא כריסו הימנו היאך חוזר ומברך עליו - after he has filled his stomach (i.e benefitted from eating the matza) has he not already fulfilled the Mitzva and therefore can't make a Brocho after he has already eaten even though he has negative intention not to fulfill the Mitzva untill Aphikomen.

Rabeinu Yerucham in the name of Tosfos however argues and says that if he knows its Matza and does not want to eat it and is forced to eat it even though he is hungry his negative intention can negate the Mitzva so he would be able to make a Brocho at Afikoman if he specifically does not want to fulfill his Mitzva (and Tosfos 115b holds like Rashi and the Rashbam that the aphikomen is the main Mitzva although tosfos is saying is that as long as there is no hesech hadaas between the motzi matza and Afikomen then you can even make a brocho on the first matza with כוונה and only be Yotzei the mitzva later on during the "continuation of eating" afikomen later in the meal , (no idol chatter distractions during the meal otherwise repeat Brocho of al Achilas Matza befor Aphikomen, Rav Neverzal ) so its the same result just Rabeinu Yerucham allows you to chat during the meal as bircas Mitzva is before Aphikomen. ).

Since The Rambam (Chomeitz Umatza 8), Rashi, Rashbam (pes. 119b),Ran,Tur and Shulchan aruch (O.C 475) (it could be even rabeinu Yerucham and Tosfos also hold like the Rambam that the Afikomen merely represents the paschal lamb and is not the main mitzva of Matza which is at Motzi matza) clearly say to make a bircas hamitzva at Motzi matza that is what we do lehalacha.


*הרמב"ם פסק בהל' חמץ ומצה כדשלחו ליה לאבוה דשמואל דכפאוהו עו"ג יצא ובפ"ב מהלכות שופר פסק כר' זירא ותמהו הר"ן וה"ה שנראה שדבריו סותרין את דבריו והר"ן בס"פ ראוהו כתב דאיכא למימר דלא פליגא דידיה אדידיה דס"ל דבתקיעת שופר כיון דחזינן דר' זירא אמר לשמעיה איכוין ותקע לי נקטינן דצריך כוונה אבל בכפאוהו ואכיל מצה כיון דלא חזינן בגמרא מאן דפליג עליה בהדיא לא דחינן ליה דאע"ג דבתקיעת שופר לא יצא הכא יצא כדאמרינן בעלמא (כריתות יט.) המתעסק בחלבים ובעריות חייב שכן נהנה ובגמרא נמי עבדינן צריכותא ממצה לשופר הלכך אע"ג דשופר מידחיא דקי"ל צריך כוונה בכפאוהו ואכל נקטינן דיצא: ובהא דכפאוהו עו"ג ואכל מצה יצא כתב דדוקא כה"ג יצא שיודע הוא שעכשיו פסח וזו מצה אלא שאינו מתכוין לצאת אבל כסבור חול הוא ואכל מצה או כסבור לאכול בשר ואכל מצה ודאי לא יצא דאם איתא למה לי למינקט כפאוהו עו"ג לינקוט חד מהני גווני אלא ודאי כדאמרן עכ"ל וכ"כ ה"ה ג"כ ובהכי אתי שפיר שכתב שאם אנסוהו עו"ג לאכול מצה יצא ולא כתב שאם אכלן בלא מתכוין יצא דבלא מתכוין בכל גוונא דלאו מתכוין משמע. אבל רבינו ירוחם כתב בשם התוספות דכפאוהו ואכל מצה מיירי שהיה סבור שהוא חמץ ונמצא שאכל מצה אבל אם ידע שהיא מצה ולא רצה לאכלה וכפאוהו ואכלה לא יצא ואפי' למ"ד דמצות אין צריכות כוונה אם מתכוין שלא לצאת לא יצא עכ"ל:

  • It’s not so clear cut that this question depends on whether you can have negative kavvanah the first time you eat the matzah. It might be that you can be not yotzei the first time, but would still need to make the brachah then. See tosafot on 115a where he compares it to the brachah on tekiat shofar. – Joel K Apr 12 '18 at 17:52
  • @JoelK i already mentioned that Rabeinu Yerucham in the name of Tosfos that says you can have negative cavana, which means that you can make a brocho later on, all this tosfos is saying is that as long as there is no hesech hadaas between the motzi matza and Afikomen then you can even make a brocho on the first matza with cavana and only be Yotzei the mitzva later on during the "continuation of eating" afikomen later in the meal , (no idol chatter distractions during the meal) so its the same result just the former allows you to chat during the meal as bircas Mitzva is later on. but good point – user15464 Apr 12 '18 at 18:18
  • I asked Rav Neversal Posek of Yerushalayim old city 3 years ago about this and he said that accoring to tosfos 115a you would need a second brocho of Al Achilas Matza if you spoke idol chatter before the afikomen. – user15464 Apr 12 '18 at 18:25
  • Very interesting. That would not be my take on the sugya at all. According to R Yerucham, why does R Chisdah say to make a brachah the first time you eat maror? Just have negative kavvanah and then you can make the brachah in the correct place? – Joel K Apr 12 '18 at 18:33
  • See this shiur for a number of approaches etzion.org.il/he/קיד-קטו-מצוות-אכילת-מרור – Joel K Apr 12 '18 at 18:33

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