Who Can Eat Egg Matzah?

Rabbi Eli Gersten

Egg & Grape Matzot: According to the Shulchan Aruch, dough made from flour mixed with fruit juices or eggs will not become chametz no matter how long it stands, provided no water is added. Despite this ruling, according to Ashkenazic practice, matzah made with fruit juice or eggs is permissible on Passover only for the elderly, the sick or young children who cannot digest regular matzah. (Egg Matzah, Chocolate Covered Egg Matzah and White Grape Matzot fall into this category.) Furthermore, all the precautions associated with ordinary Passover matzot apply to egg matzot. The egg matzah must be baked thin, in specially heated ovens for less than eighteen minutes and must be carefully guarded from becoming chametz during production. (Sephardic custom commonly permits different varieties of flour-juice mixtures even when not produced as matzah. Sephardim should consult their Rabbi.) As with the permitted use of kitniyot, when serving an individual who needs to consume egg matzot, care should be taken to use separate or disposable utensils.

Although the allowance to eat egg matzah over Passover applies in the above-mentioned cases, one cannot fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzah on Seder night with egg matzah. The Torah refers to matzah as “lechem oni” poor man’s bread, because it is made solely from flour and water, the simplest of ingredients. Egg matzah is called “matzah ashirah,” rich man’s bread, for it contains more complex ingredients and is unacceptable for the mitzvah of matzah. Therefore, even the elderly or infirm should (if they are able) eat a kezayit of shmurah matzah on the night of the Seder.

Passover is about the transmission of our rich heritage to the ‘next generation’. Maintaining and teaching family minhagim is a vital part of that legacy—linking us to the generation of the Exodus. May this Passover lead us to our nation’s long-awaited, final redemption. Le-shanah haba’ah bi-Yerushalayim.

Rabbi Eli Gersten
Rabbi Eli Gersten serves as OU rabbinic coordinator and recorder of OU policy.

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