Thursday, March 24, 2011

PESACH: Matza Shemura and regular Matza

Today is the 18th day of Adar II, 5771

Matza is a special unleavened bread, made of a flat dough. The dough is prepared with flour and water, but without yeast. The flour must come from one of the following five grains: wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt. The whole process, from the time the flour gets in contact with water until the Matza is baked, takes less than 18 minutes.

There are different types of Matzot, that people, according to their traditions and possibilities, might use for Pesach.

First, there is regular Matza and Matza Shemura. The difference between these two Matzot is the type of supervision (shemira) they have.

Regular Matza: Regular Matza is supervised during the process of mixing the flour with the water, and before: making sure that the flour was kept on a dry place (humidity can make the flour Chametz!) and that the water was at room temperature (warmer water will accelerate the process of Chimutz!) etc.

Matza Shemura: in addition to all the regulations of regular Matza, the grain is meticulously supervised and protected from humidity from the time of harvesting, all throughout the process of making the flour, up to the baking of the actual Matzot. We use Matza Shemura during the first two nights of Pesach, when we say the Berakha Al Akhilat Matza. Matza Shemura is a tradition which everyone who can afford it should follow, in attention to a special Biblical instruction Ushmartem et haMatzot. During the rest of the Holiday there is no need to use Matza Shemura, because technically there is no obligation to eat Matza, but only to refrain from eating Chametz.

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Rabbi Yosef Bitton. YMJC | 130 Steamboat Rd. | Great Neck | NY | 11024