Pesachim 93 - 99
- Pesach Sheini- a second chance to offer the Pesach sacrifice a month later – for whom is it intended?
- Is Pesach Sheini a new holiday or a compensation for the first?
- What is considered being distant to exempt one from offering Pesach sacrifice?
- How large the earth, how high the Heavens
- Different views on movement of sun and constellations
- How the Pesach Rishon, the one offered in its set time, differs from Pesach Sheini
- Who can eat from the Pesach sacrifice offered when most of the community is ritually impure?
- How the Pesach sacrifice in Egypt differed from the later ones
- The need to inspect a sacrifice for four days before offering
- Who is disqualified from eating Pesach sacrifice and who from terumah?
- The lost animal which was designated as a Pesach sacrifice
- When an animal not qualified for a Pesach sacrifice is designated for such a purpose
- The Pesach sacrifice animal that became mixed up with animals designated for other sacrifices
- The company which delegated one of its members to search for the lost animal designated for their sacrifice
- When silence pays
- The limit on meals the day before Pesach
What Could We Eat Anyway?
- Pesachim 99b
One should not eat on the day before Pesach too close to evening, states the Mishna at the beginning of the last perek of Mesechta Pesachim. The reason given in the gemara is that it is important for a Jew to save his appetite for the matzah that he is obligated by the Torah to eat at night.
This is the question raised by Tosefot. We are forbidden to eat chametz after the first third of the day as we learned in the earlier part of this Mesechta, so there is no need to mention a prohibition on eating a chametz meal in the last quarter of the day. As regards eating matzah we find in the Talmud Yerushalmi a prohibition against eating matzah the entire day preceding the holiday because the time for the mitzvah has not yet arrived. The Mishna cannot be referring to foods which are neither chametz nor matzah because such foods are explicitly permitted (Pesachim 107b) up until the evening.
So what could we have eaten at this late hour if not for our Mishna?
Tosefot suggests that what can be eaten up until the last quarter of the day is matzah ashira (literally rich matzah), which is baked from flour mixed with liquids other than water (what we know today as egg matzah). Since water is not used, no leavening action takes place and it is not considered chametz. Such matzah cannot qualify for the mitzvah of eating matzah at night because matzah is described in the Torah as lechem oni – bread of poverty – which excludes such “rich matzah”. Since such matzah does not qualify for the mitzvah, the above-mentioned prohibition found in the Talmud Yerushalmi does not apply. It is therefore this sort of matzah that would be possible to eat on the day before Pesach up until the late hour mentioned in our Mishna.
(While this solves the problem it should be noted that it is the custom of Ashkenazic Jews to refrain from eating matzah baked with liquids other than water, because we respect the ruling of some authorities that even such liquids can create chametz, especially if even a drop of water is in the mixture. See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 462:4 where the Rama writes that the custom is to use such matzah for those who are too ill or too old to eat regular matzah.)
Another approach emerges from the commentary of Rambam on this Mishna. While it is permitted to eat food which is neither chametz nor matzah on the day before Pesach, one must be careful to avoid eating excessive quantities of even such food at a later hour of the day in order to preserve his appetite for the matzah at night.
What the Sages Say
“Silence is good for the wise and even more so for the fools as is written (Mishlei 17:28) ‘And even the fool who remains silent may be thought of as a wise man.’”
- A beraita lesson learned from a mishna