Halacha for Thursday 5 Nissan 5781 March 18 2021

Measuring the Appropriate Amounts of Matzah and Maror for the Seder Night

We have explained previously the amount of Matzah and Maror every individual is obligated to eat on the Seder night. Some say this amount must be determined by volume of the Matzah, not its weight. (For instance, by inserting Matzah into a baby bottle until it reaches the twenty-seven-milliliter mark, which would indicate twenty-seven grams of volume.) Indeed, this is the correct way to measure the amounts of Matzah, Maror, and any other food for that matter based on volume and not weight, for this is the method of measuring handed down to us by our Sages throughout the entire Talmud.

Nevertheless, the great Rishon Le’Zion Hagaon Rabbeinu Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a writes (in his Yalkut Yosef- Pesach, Chapter 486) that already from the times of the Geonim (over one-thousand years ago), people were instructed to measure by weight since there is not usually that great of a distinction between a given food’s volume and weight, among other reasons. Similarly, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l replied to us ten years ago when we asked him this question that although in theory one should measure by volume, nevertheless, since this is difficult to do, it is already the prevalent custom to measure by weight. Thus, whether with regards to hard Matzah, soft Matzah, or Maror (romaine lettuce) eaten on the Seder night, one should measure these amounts by weight. (A weight of twenty-seven grams of Matzah or lettuce certainly contains a twenty-seven-gram volume within it since both hard and soft Matzah as well as lettuce are lighter than water. One who wishes to act stringently should take approximately thirty grams of soft Matzah.)

The question therefore becomes: Is it permissible to keep a mechanical (non-digital) food scale next to the table on the Seder night to measure the appropriate amounts of Matzah and Maror for all those present?

Indeed, our Sages forbade measuring or weighing anything on Shabbat or Yom Tov, for these acts resemble acts resemble weekday actions of merchants conducting business. It is therefore forbidden for one to weigh a piece of cake on Shabbat in order to ascertain how much it weighs. It would seem then that it should be forbidden to measure or weigh amounts of Matzah or Maror for the Seder.

Nevertheless, our Sages (Shabbat 126b) taught that it is permissible to measure things in the context of a Mitzvah on Shabbat. For instance, one may measure a Mikveh on Shabbat in order to ascertain whether or not it is lacking water. The Poskim therefore write that it is permissible to weigh Matzah and Maror on Yom Tov or Shabbat (when the Seder night coincides with Shabbat). Maran zt”l rules likewise in his Chazon Ovadia- Shabbat, Volume 6, page 26. Needless to say, this applies only to a mechanical scale, not a digital one.

Summary: The Kezayit of Matzah and Maror for the Seder night should be measured by the weight of these foods. There is no need to measure based on volume. It is permissible to weigh the Matzah and Maror with a mechanical scale during the Seder.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Customary Order of the Night of Shavuot

The Source for the Order of the Night of Shavuot The widespread custom among the entire Jewish nation is to stay awake the entire night of Shavuot and immerse one’s self in Torah study until dawn. Indeed, the holy Zohar states: “The earlier righteous individuals would not sleep on this ......

Read Halacha

Blessings of Enjoyment and Keri’at Shema on the Night of Shavuot

In the previous Halacha, we have discussed the order of learning for the night of Shavuot during which it is customary to remain awake all night and study Torah. Reading the Order of the “Keri’eh Mo’ed” Let us first discuss that which we have mentioned that it is proper t......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Praying Repeatedly-A Spark of Ruach Ha’Kodesh

Question: Is it correct for one to plead and beseech Hashem for the same thing every single day or is it more proper to pray for a certain matter only several times and if one sees that one has not been answered, one should cease praying for that specific matter? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 32b)......

Read Halacha


Donating Tzedakah (Charity) in Order for One’s Son to Recover From an Illness

Question: Is it permissible to donate a sum of money to charity in the merit of which someone should become healed or for any other personal request or is it improper to do this since the Mitzvah is not being performed for the sake of Heaven, rather, for one’s personal purposes? Answer: The......

Read Halacha

Walking a Dog on Shabbat

Question: If one has a pet dog at home, either for leisure or as a seeing-eye dog for a blind individual, may one move it on Shabbat? Similarly, may one walk the dog in the street on Shabbat? Answer: We have explained in the previous Halacha that all animals are considered Muktzeh on Shabbat as M......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Chazzan’s Repetition of the Amida

-------------------------------- Along with the rest of the Jewish nation, we are heartbroken and mourn the loss of those who passed in the horrific Meron tragedy on Lag Ba’Omer. May their souls be bound in the binding of eternal life and may Hashem send consolation to their families and ma......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Bedtime Keri’at Shema Regarding Women and Following Halachic Midnight

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one should recite the “Hamapil” blessing before reciting the bedtime Keri’at Shema. This blessing should be recited along with Hashem’s name like all other blessings. We have also explained that although one should preferably ta......

Read Halacha