A K'ZAYIS OF MATZAH
A K'zayis of Matzah
What follows is a discussion
among Jewish list-members concerning the allowability of eating a small
amount of Matzo at Passover. In the spirit
of the great Rabbinical debates, I've included it verbatim for those who
are interested in such things.
Yes, the Hebrew word "nefesh" is usually translated into English as "soul" - however its meaning is closer to the essence of life, or the state of being alive, i.e. the intangible "life force" residing within the body which keeps the physical cells, organs, and systems functioning and the individual alive.
> Pikuach Nefesh is from
Leviticus: "You shall not stand idly by the blood of your
...I concur with you on the "life" part; the "health" part, however, warrants further clarification...
> Basically, in cases of
illness, anything that would knowingly endanger life or health
Pikuach Nefesh refers specifically to saving a
*life*: a clear-cut "life or death" scenario. Safeguarding
however, falls more appropriately under the precept of "V'nishmartem
l'nafshoseichem" (Deuteronomy 4:15) - which is also an extremely
precept in Judaism, but which, in practice, is not always on the
level as Pikuach Nefesh. While Pikuach Nefesh automatically overrides
every other commandment (with three very specific exceptions),
> Some examples are taking
an ambulance (or even just driving) to get to a hospital or
Yes, you've provided some excellent examples in which commandments (Biblical or Rabbinic) must be overridden due to Pikuach Nefesh (immediate danger to life), or Rabbinic commandments must be overridden due to V'nishmartem (safeguarding health).
> So, if you know that
Matzoh will make you ill, you should not be obligated to eat it on
The precept of consuming a
k'zayis (the minimum required quantity,
Right. Three years ago, shortly before my very first Passover as an SCDer (some 7-8 months after I'd started the diet), I faxed Elaine a long query detailing my matzah dilemma (Remember, Elaine?), and she told me to relax and not to worry about having to eat that little bit of matzah. Believe me, if Elaine believed for even one second that I would drop dead from eating it (G-d forbid), she would have urged me to skip the matzah!
Well, as Joan has already explained so beautifully, when immediate danger
> Fear, fear, fear! That
is what causes us all not to demand that we be given
Please, let's not confuse
fear-driven consumer ignorance/apathy, medical mediocrity, professional
duplicity, and intellectual dishonesty, with the
strivings of sincere religious people - of all faiths - who are seeking
infuse some spirituality into their lives...even at the cost of "being
different" and having to "swim upstream" against the
tides of apathy,
duplicity, and dishonesty that permeate the world around
us - the two
could not be more different! When it comes to good people
who care about
making a difference...people like you, Elaine, and like
all our friends
here on this list, regardless of what we believe in (or
even whether or
not we believe at all) that which unites us is so much
whatever inconsequential little differences we may have.
The book should be required reading for anyone with Crohn's disease and we wish gastroenterologists would read it as well. The diet is a real alternative to the drug based therapy from the medical community.
- Bruce Senn