Covering Up The Matzah


By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

The Rema in Siman taf ayin gimmel, seif zayin says that the matzah should be uncovered when one says the haggadah until Lefichoch when one picks up the cup of wine and covers the matzah. The Mishna Berurah in seif koton ayin ches explains the reason for this is so we do not embarrass the bread.

The Mishna Berurah in seif koton ayin gimmel quotes the Shela who said when one says Vehi She’amda, one should lift the cup of wine and cover the matzah.

The concept of covering bread while wine is being held is found in siman resh ayin alef in hilchos Kiddush. Regarding the concept of kadima, we should really make the bracha on bread first since it is mentioned first in the posuk. However, since we may not eat without Kiddush being said, we cover the bread so as not to embarrass it from being passed over.

The question arises: If one has cake or bread that they would like to eat right after havdala, would one be required to cover it up? If he intends to eat from the cake or bread right away he is required to cover it, but in the event that one will not eat right away, one does not need to cover it.

The question then arises: why do we need to cover the matzah when we say Vehi She’amda if one is not planning to eat matzah right away?

The matzah, the symbolic lechem oni, is integral to the seder experience and to the reciting of the haggadah. When one is saying the hagaddah it is as if he is saying a bracha on the matza. Therefore, when one says parts of the haggadah and a bracha is being made on the wine, it may be disrespecting the matzah which comes first in the posuk. Because of this one needs to cover the matzah during the recitation of the bracha on wine. This applies even if one does not plan on eating the matzah until later.

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