Lot : 19

The Machine Matzah Controversy 



Handwritten Essay by the Admor Rabbi
Yoel of Satmar 

Start price: $10,000
Est. Price: $15,000 - $20,000

The Machine Matzah Controversy 



Handwritten Essay by the Admor Rabbi
Yoel of Satmar 

Clarifying the Ruling of the Admor Divrei Chaim of Sanz to Forbid Machine Matzah

Handwritten leaf by the Admor Rabbi Yoel of Satmar from his sefer Vayoel Moshe in which he elucidates the Admor Rabbi Chaim of Sanz’s reasons for prohibiting machine matzah.

In his landmark teshuvah regarding machine matzos, the Divrei Chaim wrote (part 1, chapter 23) “In my opinion there are many reason to forbid it according to halachah, but I am keeping them secret as I was instructed by my esteemed father-in-law [the Baruch Taam], not to reveal the reason regarding these sorts of things, but to conclusively rule on the matter, so those who will heed, will heed it. Thus, I am categorically instructing you that one who produces matzos in this machine is making absolute chametz.”

“Many wonder, ” writes the Admor of Satmar, “why didn’t he reveal his reason? Many great people tried to understand his reasoning and have presented various theories.”

In the present leaf, the Admor of Satmar reveals the Divrei Chaim’s reasoning, which is, fascinatingly, the same reason that he forbade using machine-made tzitzis. He explains that even if one could create a machine that manufactures matzah in strict accordance with halachah, future machines would likely conflict with halachah.

However, many would nonetheless rely on the opinions that permitted the machines in past generations, even if the reasons for permitting them were no longer relevant.

He concludes, “And in these times they create all sorts of machines, and there are some machines that everyone can see that they are producing chametz, yet people rely on the leniency of previous Gedolim.”

  [1] leaf. Page size: 25 x 20 cm. Entirely handwritten by the Admor. Good condition. Printed in Vayoel Moshe #143-144.

The Machine Matzah Controversy
The invention of a machine to bake matzah stirred great controversy regarding the kashrus of the matzah produced. The following are just several of many reasons forbidding machine matzah:
A) The labor of a machine is similar to the labor of a minor, and the halachah stipulates that the matzah baking process must be performed completely by an adult.
B) Concern that some dough will get stuck in the machine.
C) Machines will eliminate the livelihood of poor people who sustained themselves by baking matzah.
Rabbi Shlomo Kluger spearheaded the Rabbinical campaign opposing machine matzos along with the Admor of Sanz, Chiddushei HaRim, Rabbi Avraham of Chechnov and the Imrei Binah.

The author of the Sho’el U’meishiv led the Rabbis who supported use of machine matzah, and the Ksav Sofer, Aruch Laner, and the Tiferes Yisrael and others concurred with him, and even maintained that there were certain benefits and hiddurim to matzah produced by machine.

The opinion forbidding machine matzah was published in Moda’a L’Beis Yisrael (Breslau, 1859); the opinion permitting it was published in Bitul Moda’a (Lvov, 1859).
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