[Avodah] What is the origin of the custom of not eating gebrochts (matzah dipped in water)?

Professor L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Fri Apr 12 06:46:12 PDT 2019

>From yesterday's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. What is the origin of the custom of not eating gebrochts (matzah dipped in water)?

A. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 463:3) rules that flour made from roasted wheat kernels may not be mixed with water on Pesach. Even though wheat that is fully roasted cannot become chometz, we are concerned that perhaps some kernels were not properly roasted, and subsequently, the flour might become chometz when mixed with water.

The same concern applies to matzah with flour on its surface. It is forbidden to mix such matzah with water because the flour may not be fully baked and would be susceptible to becoming chometz (MB 463:8).

Where there is no perceptible flour in or on the matzah, is there a concern that some of the dough may not have been thoroughly mixed, and within the matzah there may be raw flour that was not fully baked? There are two different customs; Mishnah Berurah (458:4) notes that there are anshei ma’aseh, scrupulous individuals, who act stringently and do not allow matzah to come in contact with water, as perhaps it may contain unbaked flour. Many Chassidim have this custom. However, Mishnah Berurah (ibid., citing Shaarei Teshuva 460) maintains that this stringency is not halachicaly mandated, since there is no evidence of raw flour in matzah. In addition, our matzos are thin-like crackers, and it is highly unlikely they will contain flour. This was the opinion of Chazon Ish (OC 121:19) as well. Shaarei Teshuva, (OC 460:10) notes that both groups, are meritorious. Those who do not eat gebrochts are motivated by yiras shomayim (fear of heaven), lest they inadvertently transgress the laws of Pesach. The ones who are lenient are concerned that not eating gebrochts will limit their simchas (joy of) Yom Tov. Shaarei Teshuva concludes: “Both groups are pursuing paths for the sake of Heaven, and I declare: And Your people are entirely righteous (Yeshaya 60:21).”

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