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 person’s 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.