Friday, April 18, 2008

A question about Gebrokts

First, some background for those who don't know, courtesy of our friends at Chabad:

Many communities, chassidic ones in particular, have the custom to refrain from eating gebrokts -- matzah that came in contact with water after it was fully baked -- on the first seven days of Passover. Although such matzah is kosher-for-Passover, this stringency is kept by many as a higher level of safeguarding for the matzah.

In order to refrain from wetting the matzah, the matzah must not come in contact with any water. This affects cooking: those who are careful with gebrokts don't eat matzah balls, matzah brie, or matzah anything -- in short, they do not cook at all with matzah. Also, they are very careful to keep the matzah on the table covered, and away from any food that may have water in it. Drinks, soups, vegetables that have been washed and not thoroughly dried, etc., are all kept far away from any matzah.

..."Gebroktz" is the Yiddish word which refers to matzah that has come in contact with water. "Gebroktz" literally means "broken," and it has come to mean wet matzah because matzah is usually ground or broken up into crumbs before it is mixed with water.

Those who refrain from eating gebroktz on Passover do so for fear that during the baking process there may have been a minute amount of flour which did not get kneaded and mixed into the dough and remained dry. If that is the case, upon contact with water the flour will become chametz.

...A situation in which this stringency comes into play is during the Korech step of the Seder. This step requires that we take maror -- lettuce and horseradish -- and put it between two pieces of matzah to make a sandwich. Because the lettuce will be actually touching the matzah, it must be absolutely dry. Many families spend much time preparing the maror for the Seder; these preparations include careful washing of the lettuce, and then very meticulous drying.

Of course, anything to give our wives ourselves more work. Sure it's a sacrifice, but that's what being a pious Jew's wife Jew is all about.

So here's the question: how can one be so concerned with not eating matzah that has come into contact with liquid when...

A- At the same meal, you drink FOUR CUPS OF WINE, and soup, and hopefully a little water,

B- The process of digestion involves everything you've chewed being deposited into LIQUID stomach acid.

If A doesn't make everything you're eating gebrokts, B certainly should.

In conclusion: WHAT?

(I think I just broke Judaism. Sorry.)


Sam said...

Digestion has no bearing on kashrut, except for the facile two/three/six hours thing after eating meat.

Gebrokts is stupid. But then, so is nearly every other dietary custom in Judaism.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Something having no bearing on kashrut? Impossible! How can people so worried about contact with hametz (or, ahem, other things) be overlooking such an obvious potentiality for breaking a mitzvah? (And anyway, I still think my point about A verges on brilliant.)

Incidentally: if people are worried about possibly eating a cow that ate hametz, what do they do about fish? Who knows what mysterious food they could be chowing down on? (Kitniyot?)

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