Modern Commentary

Torah & Spirit
Family Life






Pesah - Making Massah

Unleavened bread, as its name obvious implies, is bread made without leaven.

It may be made of wheat, barley, spelt, oats, rye, or millet. It may not be made of anything else. The kneading of the dough of the Massah should be done with cold water, kept overnight in a vessel, guarded from its drawing to its use from contamination by leaven. The dough must not be kneaded with hot or warm water.

The place where the Massah is made should be away from the sun and its heat, so that the heat may not cause the dough to leaven.

The Massah should be made as thin cakes, in order to prevent the cakes from leavening.

There should be no less than three people involved in the making of the massah. One person is to carry the dough from the kneading trough to the place where the baker takes it up, and must see to it that no leaven gets mixed with it. The second person should flatten the dough into cakes. The third person should bake the Massah. The more people involved in making the Massah, the better. These men should be pious men in the community.

A gentile must not be involved in the work of making the Massah, unless this is unavoidable, as in the case of an emergency. Even in the event of an emergency, one should see that a Jew is assigned to the Gentile as an overseer. This duty cannot be assigned to one who is unable to carry it out (i.e., one who cannot see, or speak, or one who lacks understanding [Editors note: a retarded person].

The baker should have at hand a container of cold water to moisten the cakes of bread one at a time. If at any time he notices the water has become warm, it should be replaced with cold water. The warm water should be disposed of in an area outside of where the Massah is being made so that it will not accidentally cause any dough to be leavened.