Drinking a little water to help swallow the Matzah

09.04.19

Question

Question:
I have  a chronic dry mouth so I find the Mitzvah of matzah by the Seder to be very very hard. My mouth dries up and I can barely swallow the shiur needed. Will be allowed to drink a little water or soda with matzah to make it easier to swallow?

 

Answer

Answer:
One who has a hard time swallowing the Matzah may drink water in order to make it easer to swallow. He may even soak the matzah before hand to make it wetter. However, he should not drink other liquids before he swallows, he Matzah.

Explanation:
The Gemara in Pesachim 115b: Rava said if you swallowed Matzah (without chewing) you fulfilled your obligation. If you swallowed Maror without tasting you did not.
On Daf 41a it says: You fulfill your obligation with soaked Matzah and with cooked matzah that didn’t break apart, R’ Meir. R’ Yossi said you do not fulfill your mitzvah with cooked Matzah.
The Gemara continues that cooked matzah loses the flavor of Matzah and you ne dot taste the matzah.
It seems there is contradiction in the Gemara whether you have to taste the Matzah or not. The Gemara in Brachot 38b rules like R’ Yossi and we rule like Rava.

The Meiri writes (Brachot 38) The Matzah has to have the flavor of the Matzah even you don’t have to taste it. Based on the concept of Kol Harauy L’bilah, Ein Bilah Meackevet (anything that is able to fulfill the mitzvah with, even if doesn’t happen is fine) Cooked matzah loses its flavor=or so one may not fulfill his mitzvah with it.
Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah in Brachot quote the French Rabbis one does not need to taste the matzah, the problem is that Matzah must have  name of Lechem Oni, and boiled matzah does not have that name. Rashi and the Behag write that one does not need to taste the matzah, it just needs to be ‘lechem’ bread, and boiled matza is not ‘Lechem’
Therefore, there are three opinions what the obligation is :The Meiri requires the taste of Matzah. Rabbeinu Yonah says it needs to be Lechem Oni and Rashi say sit need so be Lechem.

Everyone agrees that ideally one must taste the matzah and not just swallow it. As the Rashbam 115 says one must taste the matzah. An so rules the Shulchan Aruch 461:4: one fulfills his obligation with soaked Matzah that dint dissolve, but cooked no.
The Magen Avraham explains: eating soaked matzah is only Bdiavad but is it better not to and so rules the Mishna Berura.
The Mishna Berura writes for a sick person or an old person they can soak their matzah Lechatchilah in water to make it easier to eat.
What about soaking the matzah in other drinks is that problem?

According to Rashi the issue is the that the matzah needs to be Lechem and boiled matza isn’t bread and it loses its shape. Soaking in other drinks does cause the matzah to lose its name of bread so it might be permitted  according to them  so says Rashi (Pesachim 41a Dh Yotzin) that one may soak the matzah n soup or gravy.) So too other drinks.
So explains the Magen Avraham (461:7) the Shulchan Aruch says one fulfills is obligation with smoked matzah but he doesn’t specify in what.

The Rif, Rambam Rosh and Raavad all says this is forbidden to soak matzah in other liquids and only in water. Since other drinks lessen the flavor of Matzah its forbidden. This would be the understanding of the Meiri.
So ruled R’’ Ovadia Yosef (Chazon Ovadiah pg 72) One who suffrs while eating main matzah my soak it not before eating as long as it does not dissolve, but not in other liquids like juice or gravy.
One should no think that drinking while eating since it is in your mouth it is more lenient since you’d not fulfil the mitzvah until you wallow it so there is not difference.

 

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