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Mar 16, 2021

Kashrus Alert on Soft Matza (not in Israel)

The cRc, the Chicago Rabbinical Council, sent out the following kashrus alert (via email and posted to the FB page):

A number of community members have approached the cRc about a brand of soft matzah recently advertised locally, in the Chicago area.
Please note, that for Ashkenazim, according to the predominant custom soft matzahs should not be used for Pesach (Halichot Shlomo, Hilchot Pesach 9:42, note 80).
At the same time, we recognize that while some Sefardic authorities legitimately permit and even promote its use for Sefardim, it is critical that the hechsher be of the highest standing.

To be clear, this alert is specifically for a situation in Chicago.  It might or might not apply anywhere else.

I am not going to argue about their position regarding soft matza. Most kashrus in the USA is "ashkenaz centric" as that is the majority of the consumers there. Soft matza is not common there, and Ashkenazim not eating soft matza on Pesach is definitely a valid opinion and position (not that they need my approval). There are however, plenty of rabbonim who allow it - I have personally asked rabbonim and been told it is fine to eat, and some add "even for the seder". The cRc opinion is definitely a valid one and I am fine with them saying that (again, they do not need my approval. I am just putting the issue aside).

What interests me more though is that I do not recall ever seeing a kashrus alert that does not mention the name of the product or hechsher they are warning about. Is every person out there supposed to be expected to know which product they are referring to? And this product specifically has to have a hechsher of the highest standing - but others do not? If you are careful to eat only high level hechsher foods, you will treat your soft matza like anything else and only buy one with a hechsher at that level. And if you do not require the highest of levels, why should you require it for this specific product?

As great as the cRc is, and they are, vague kashrus alerts are almost useless. 

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  1. iiuc r h schachter allows even for ashkenazim

  2. Ashkenazim ate soft matzah into the 1700's or 1800's. Saying they shouldn't eat is like saying they shouldn't eat the back of a cow (which Ashkenazim did well into the 20th century).

    Considering that soft matza usually has to be very fresh, there may be no brand name here.

    1. 1. some ashki rabbis do say you shouldnt eat the back of the cow
      2. they could still list who is selling it or who made it or who is certifying it - ie the soft matza sold by x, certified by y is not acceptable, etc


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