What is Chametz?

Chametz is made from one of these five grains: wheat, barley, oats, spelt or rye.  Matzah MUST be made from one of these five grains.                           The word  chametz  חָמץ is derived from the common Semitic root H-M-S, relating to bread, leavening and baking. It is cognate to the Aramaic חמע, "to ferment, leaven" and the Arabicحمض  amu a, "to be sour", "to become acidic".

The Torah has several commandments governing  chametz  during Passover:

  • The positive commandment to remove all chametz from one's home. Exodus 12:15
  • Not to possess  chametz  in one's domain. Exodus 16:4
  • Not to eat chametz, or mixtures containing  chametz. Exodus 13:3, Exodus 12:20, Deuteronomy 16:3


Exodus 12:15 "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; howbeit the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel."
טו שִׁבְעַת יָמִים, מַצּוֹת תֹּאכֵלוּ--אַךְ בַּיּוֹם הָרִאשׁוֹן, תַּשְׁבִּיתוּ שְּׂאֹר מִבָּתֵּיכֶם: כִּי כָּל-אֹכֵל חָמֵץ, וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל--מִיּוֹם הָרִאשֹׁן, עַד-יוֹם הַשְּׁבִעִי


From the moment that water touches the flour made of these grains, the matzah must be rolled out and baked within 18 minutes.

haggadah Section: Introduction