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In Talmudic times, the matza was thicker and softer. It looked very much like bread. Additionally, they often baked fresh matza every day of Pesach. One day in the kitchen, the following problem occurred . . .
"Yuck, look at this piece of matza. It is all moldy."
"Moldy? How can matza be moldy? It is only the fifth day of Pesach. There was not enough time for the matza to become moldy. It must be chometz. We need to burn it."
"One second. It can't be chometz. We searched the entire house before Pesach. We found and destroyed every last piece of chometz."
"Well, you must have missed this piece because it is too moldy to be matza."
"I have an explanation. It really is matza, but the molding process was sped up."
"Because we baked fresh hot matza each day, and put it in the box. This piece of matza must have been stuck at the bottom. The warm, damp atmosphere in the box made it mold faster."
"It sounds farfetched to me."
The question is:
Who is right? Is it normally moldy bread, or matza whose spoilage was accelerated by heat and humidity?
The answer is:
The Gemora (Pesachim 7a) presents both sides of the question and concludes the following. Since a bedikas chometz was done which cleared away all the bread, and since people baked fresh matza every day, and enough days had passed that the matza could become very moldy, we can rely on these conditions to assume that it is matza. Indeed the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 446:4 rules that if all of these conditions are met, one can be lenient and assume that it is matza.
This puzzle and answer is for learning and discussion purposes only. Do not rely upon it for psak halacha! Consult a Rav to determine the correct halachic ruling.
"What's for lunch today, Yankie?"
"Chicken, rice, and string beans."
"String beans? I hate string beans. I'm going to complain to the Mashgich about the food in this Yeshiva."
The young bochur strides out of the dining room, and walks upstairs to the office of the Mashgiach. He knocks on the door.
"Yes, come in please."
The bochur enters.
"Shalom, Yehuda! How are you?"
"Not so good, Rebbe."
"Oy vey. What's the matter, Yehuda?"
"Today's lunch is the problem, Rebbe. They are serving string beans, and I hate string beans."
"I see. What are they serving along with the string beans?"
"Chicken and rice."
"Do you like chicken and rice?"
"Yes, I love it."
The Mashgiach thinks for a moment. Yehuda could have just eaten the chicken and rice and ignored the string beans. Yet he took the trouble to come up and complain. Perhaps there is more to this problem than string beans. He proceeds to investigate.
"Do you have any other complaints, Yehuda?"
"As a matter of fact I do, Rebbe."
Yehuda pulls a big piece of paper out of his pocket. Written on it is a list of over twenty items. He begins to read them off.
"The benches are too hard. The beds are too soft. My roommates are too quiet. My chavrusa is too loud..."
The Mashgiach listens patiently to the whole list. He begins to suspect that the source of Yehuda's problem is a lack of hacoras hatov (gratitude) for the good things. He does not appreciate them. His mind does not focus on them, rather only on the bad or inconvenient things. The Mashgiach decides to try a dramatic approach to change Yehuda's outlook.
"Can you come with me for a few minutes, Yehuda?"
"Sure. Where are we going, Rebbe?"
"To the hospital."
Yehuda and the Mashgiach leave the Yeshiva, flag down a taxi, and soon arrive at the hospital.
"Are we going to visit a patient, Rebbe?"
"No, we are going to the emergency room, Yehuda."
The two enter the emergency room. The see a patient who is receiving CPR.
"What is the matter with him Rebbe?"
"His heart stopped beating."
Yehuda thinks for a minute." That man's heart is not beating. My heart is beating away. Seventy-two beats per minute. I must thank Hashem for that."
Another patient's head is bandaged. The Mashgiach approaches the doctor to ask him about the injury.
"This man has a eye injury. He may never see again."
Yehuda thinks, "My eyes work perfectly. Thank You, Hashem."
Another man has pains in his stomach. They discover that he had digestive problems and can barely eat.
"I can eat everything; even string beans," thought Yehuda. "Baruch Hashem!"
Another patient comes in. And another, and another. Each one is suffering terribly.
"I have seen enough, Rebbe. I now realize how good I have it. Hashem is so kind. He takes such good care of me. I thank Him for everything! I hope to never complain again."
"Yehuda, your name means 'thanks.' May you always live up to it and be grateful for everything."
Kinderlach . . .
We see the last of the eser makkos in this week's parasha. They began last week with two makkos involving the Nile River. Moshe Rabbeinu did not carry out those makkos, because the river had once protected him when he was an infant. This demonstrates the extent of hacoras hatov. Moshe even showed gratitude to an inanimate object! How much more so should we express our gratitude to The Almighty, who provides us with everything. We do not need a visit to the emergency room (Heaven forbid!) to thank Hashem for the wonderful gifts that He has given us, and continues to gives us every moment. We have only one thing to say. "Thank You Hashem!"
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