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Swollen matza?
The Rama forbids using a 'swollen' matza. The Mishnah Berurah explains that there are two types of swollen matzos. The first is when the top of the matza lifts off the bottom and a large bubble (see below) forms inside the matza. The second is when a section of the matza fluffs up like bread. In either case, the entire matza is assur. (There is an opinion that in the latter case, only the affected section of the matza becomes assur.) This rule applies even if the affected area is small and the good side is 60 times larger.
The size and shape of the bulge
A matza is considered swollen if the bubble or fluffy section is the size of a hazelnut. (A hazelnut is equivalent to a 'thumb-measure,' i.e. ¾-1 inch). The Steipler explains that this measure is not just in the length or height of the bubble. Rather, a nut must actually be able to fit inside the bulge.
The bubbles on our thin matzos
The Mishnah Berurah cites Acharonim who hold that bubbles were only problematic with the thick matzos of the olden days. The common matzos of today are too thin to be affected by bubbling. Although there are many little bubbles on the surface of the matzos, these are caused by the heat of the oven, not chimutz. The Aruch Hashulchan adds that the occasional fluffiness of thin matzos is also caused by the heat. He concludes by saying, "In our careers we have never forbidden a swollen matza."
(סעיף ה וס"ק לג-לה; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 73, 75, 79)

 Hilchos Tefilla 122-123 (page 292)
 מסימן קכב אמצע סעיף א ומיהו עד סימן קכג אמצע סעיף ב והשץ

Reciting Yehiyu L'ratzon Before Responding to Kaddish or Kedusha
Taking Three Steps Back After Shemoneh Esrei
Returning to One's Place After Shemoneh Esrei

Reciting yehiyu l'ratzon before responding to kaddish or kedusha
According to the Mechaber, at the conclusion of Shemoneh Esrei one must recite the pasuk yehiyu l'ratzon before responding to kaddish, kedusha, barechu and the Ameins after HaE-l Hakodosh and Shomea Tefilla. According to the Rama, only those who customarily recite this pasuk after completing Shemoneh Esrei are required to recite it before responding to the above.  However, those who customarily say Elokai nitzor before reciting the pasuk are permitted to respond immediately (although it is preferable that even they recite the pasuk before responding). Someone who adds extra supplications [that he does not say regularly] may answer to any Amein in the middle of saying them. In all cases, it is preferable to take the three steps back (see below) and recite Oseh Shalom before responding, even if that means interrupting in middle of Elokai nitzor or other supplications.
( סימן קכב, סעיף א-ב, ס"ק א, ד, ה, ו ו־ז, וביה"ל ד"ה ולקדיש; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 10)
Taking three steps back after Shemoneh Esrei
Upon completion of Shemoneh Esrei, one should bow and take three steps backwards with his back bent. While still bent over, he should turn to his left and recite the words oseh shalom bimromov, turn to his right and recite hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu, complete the pasuk while facing forward, and then straighten out. During this time, he should keep his feet together as though he is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei. The custom is to recite yehi ratzon... sheyibaneh Beis Hamikdash after completing oseh shalom. This passage can be said during chazaras hashatz, although there was a gadol who would refrain from saying it during the first beracha of chazaras hashatz.
( סימן קכג, סעיף א, וס"ק ג, ה ו־ו; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 4)
Returning to one's place after Shemoneh Esrei
After taking the three steps back, one should remain in place until the chazan reaches kedusha -- or at least until he begins the repetition. The Acharonim write that it is best to wait for kedusha and return to one's place earlier only if there is some need or if the chazan is reciting piyutim. According to some, in the case of Ma'ariv, when there is no repetition, one should wait until kaddish or -- on Friday night --until Vayechulu. If by the time he finished Shemoneh Esrei the congregation had already begun tachanun, he can say it along with them while seated before returning to his place. The chazan can return to his place after waiting the span it takes to walk four amos, even if he is not ready to begin the repetition.
( סימן קכג, סעיף ב וס"ק ט-י; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 5 ו־7)

  • Chazal chose to conclude the eighteen berachos of Shemoneh Esrei with the pasuk yehiyu l'ratzon which appears after the eighteen chapters of Tehillim.
  • According to the Mechaber, one may not respond to kaddish or kedusha between completing Shemoneh Esrei and reciting the pasuk yehiyu l'ratzon.
  • A person who completed Shemoneh Esrei but cannot take the three steps back because someone behind him is still davening can respond to every davarsheb'kedusha, Amein and even baruch hu u'baruch shmo.

  • The order of the three steps back after Shemoneh Esrei
  • How to take three steps back when something is blocking the way
  • Waiting after taking the three steps back




PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.