The Laws of Pesach 

Matzah that Folds While Baking

  1. When a section of the matzah folds over during baking so that one part clings to the other, it is forbidden to eat it. In addition to the folded part, the matzah around the folded part the width of a normal sized thumb is also removed. The folded part is forbidden because it may not have baked properly. If the matzah folded but the folded parts did not actually stick together, there is no prohibition, even when the folded parts are so close together that they almost stick together. Nevertheless, if the inner surfaces of the fold did not form a crust, the folded section is prohibited.
  2. If the matzah folds over before baking while the dough is formed into matzos so that the folded parts stick together and become one, the custom is to be lenient. The matzah may be eaten. The reason we are lenient is that, in any case, there are those who hold that our matzos are so thin that there is no reason to suspect that folded sections would not be properly baked. Even though we are machmir when the matzah folds in the oven, there is no reason to be concerned when the matzah folded and formed a single unit before it was baked.
  3. In any doubtful case of a matzah that folded over in the oven, we are lenient, for the entire matter is only a chumrah. So, for example, we are not concerned with the possibility that broken pieces of matzah may have come from the part of the matzah that was adjacent to a fold and should have been removed. Also, if, when removing the section of a matzah that is adjacent to a fold, a piece falls into other matzos and cannot be identified, we should, it seems, be lenient.

The Prohibition of Benefiting from Chometz

  1. The Torah prohibits deriving benefit from chometz on erev Pesach from the sixth hour of the day, i.e., the midpoint of the day. The rabbis forbade deriving benefit from chometz one hour before that. Their prohibition also applies to the chometz of a gentile. According to this, the later poskim wrote that when passing a gentile bakery a person should avoid the pleasant odor of the bread that is being baked, for the odor of bread is one of the ways that we benefit from it. Ordinarily, we say that fragrance is insubstantial and we would not concern ourselves with it. But because even the slightest amount of chometz is prohibited, the pleasant fragrance of fresh baked bread is also to be avoided. Another reason given for avoiding the fragrance of fresh baked bread is that it might induce a person to eat it. In any case, a person who lives near a gentile bakery is not required to change is residence to avoid the fragrance, for it is impossible for him to avoid it and he has no intention of enjoying it.
  2. One of the components of fish food is chometz, and even if it is sold to a gentile, it is forbidden to use it. Therefore, owners of aquariums should find a substitute food for their fish that does not contain chometz. They also must remember to sell the all-year-round fish food along with the rest of their chometz.
  3. We hold that bitul chometz should be done by the fifth hour, for once the sixth hour comes, it is forbidden to benefit from the chometz and is no longer considered a personís property. Nevertheless, a person who has not done bitul chometz by then may and should nevertheless do it until the midpoint of the day. By doing bitul at that time a person avoids violating the prohibitions of the Torah if there is any chometz in his possession on Pesach, though he will still violate the rabbinical prohibitions.
  4. Even though it is forbidden to derive benefit from chometz, it is permitted for storekeepers and bakery owners to collect payment on Pesach for chometz sold before Pesach. This is not considered benefiting from chometz, and the money they receive is not considered to be exchanged for chometz because he has no claim on chometz but only on the money owed.


MDhalachalMaase is written by HaRav HaGaon Rí Shammai Gross
Translated by Rabbi Tzvi Abraham