May I Use Egg Matzo On Shabbat For Lechem Mishneh?
Written by Rabbis Eli Gersten, Yaakov Luban, and Moshe Zywica of the Orthodox Union
My house is chametz-free the week before Passover. May I use egg matzo on Shabbat for lechem mishneh? If so, what bracha is recited and how much must I eat?
Egg matzo and crackers are in the category of pat haboh bikisnin (bread that is eaten as a snack), and the bracha is Mezonot. As the term pat (bread) haboh bikisnin (used as a snack) implies, crackers are inherently a type of bread (pat), but the bracha is reduced to Mezonot because they are used as a snack. It follows that if pat haboh bikisnin is consumed as a staple item in the meal, the bracha is elevated to Hamotzi.
Under what circumstances do we view pat habo bikisnin as a staple and not as a snack, when Hamotzi is recited? The Talmud (Berachot 42a) informs us that when pat haboh bikisnin is used for “keviat seuda” (an established meal), the bracha is Hamotzi.
But how do we define keviat seuda?
One way is to eat a large volume of food, a full meal of pat haboh bikisnin. The Magen Avrohom (168:130) writes there is second way to establish keviat seuda, and that is by eating an amount of pat haboh bikisnin together with other elements of a meal (such as fish, meat, potatoes etc.) that is equivalent to the amount normally consumed at a full satiating meal. According to Rav Yisroel Belsky, zt”l, one typically eats two slices of bread at a normal meal. Therefore, if one eats two egg matzos together with other foods, there is keviat seuda and Hamotzi is recited. This presentation applies to a weekday meal. The rules of keviat seudah are somewhat different for Shabbat.
Rav Moshe Feinstein writes in the Iggerot Moshe (OC 1:155) that one who eats egg matzo for the Shabbat meal is required to wash and bentch, even if the entire meal consists only of a matzo the size of a k’beitza (the volume of an egg), which is the minimal shiur for a Shabbat meal (see Mishnah Berurah 291:20). Since there is an obligation to eat three meals on Shabbat, any time one sits down with the intention to eat a Shabbat meal, the seuda is automatically considered important, keviat seuda is established and Hamotzi is recited.