#PesachPrep: T minus 12 Days: Matza

Over the years, there has been a lot of talk about how much the amount of matza we are required to eat at the seder has increased. I have even joked that the word zayis, which used to mean olive, now means watermelon. Rabbi Natan Slifkin wrote a very well-researched article on how the required amount has grown, and the halachic evolution of this growth. First, the volume of an olive grew from a generous third of an egg into HALF the volume of an egg under the regime of the Baalei Tosafos. Then the halachic requirement doubled, under the Tur’s regime, from one olive to two. Then the Noda B’Yehuda doubled the size of a Halachic egg! The net effect at its most generous interpretation is that the amount of matza one eats at the Seder right after Hamotzi is now 600% its size in the days of Hillel.

I used to resent all this Matza. Then someone pointed out to me that nowadays, Matza at the Seder is only food left whose consumption is a Mitzvah D’Oraissa. And all agree that while the minimum requirement is a K’Zayis, every bite is a mitzvah. It’s not as if there is no more mitzvah after that initial amount. All the other foods we eat, such as Shabbos and YomTov meals, and Erev Yom Kippur, and Seudas Mitzvah meals, fulfill a mitzvah, but it’s not as if the food itself is the Mitzvah. Munch away. Don’t listen to all those cynics who talk about…uh, blockage and digestive humor. Every morsel consumed, whether one olive or six, or twelve, connects us to our trust in our Redeemer.


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