At my request, my father asked Rav Schachter about it as last year's SOY Seforim sale. And his reply was that in theory, it is fine. It is not chametz and one could use it lechatchila for the mitzvah of achilat matza. He did not see any reason specifically to do so, but it is fine. However, he noted, one has to find out about the particular manufacturer to make sure that they are selling you matza which is kosher lePesach. He did not know about the person selling it, but suggested I ask a Sefardic rabbi, such as Rabbi Ben-Haim, about the person baking and selling the matzahs.
And so I did. I went to Rabbi Ben-Haim's Bet Midrash in Queens, and waited around to ask him. While waiting, I served as a member of a three-person bet Din for hatavas chalom. Interesting. And I learned some interesting sefarim while there. Finally, I asked Rabbi Ben-Haim, and he said that the fellow who runs this is to be relied upon, but if I am looking for matzas, I (being Ashkenazic) should buy Shatzer matzas. Of course, I was not asking him for a pesak on whether these matzot were valid for Ashkenazim, but just about the reliability of the person baking and selling the matzos. So I ordered them online and, since they did not deliver to Queens, my father picked them up for me.
Here is the important thing about these matzos. They come frozen, and you are not supposed to let them defrost until 5 minutes before you are going to eat them, or else they will go stale. So keep them in your freezer. If your oven has a Yom Tov mode, then just put them in the oven for 5 minutes before eating them. If not -- as was the case by my in-laws -- you could come up with more creative ways. I put a matzah in a large pot, over a flame-spreader, and put some crumpled-up tinfoil at the bottom of the pot so as to prevent the matza from getting stuck.
I would note -- if you are eating at someone else's house for Pesach, it is a mean thing to do to impose your position upon them. It may well be that your host is uncomfortable with soft-matzas, and would consider them to be chametz, despite this pesak. I asked permission beforehand, and clarified several matters before receiving permission for this.
I only bought whole-wheat matzahs, which were the same price as white flour ones. And I would agree with the chocolate lady's comment that they are not very tasty (at least the whole wheat ones). Last year, there was a matzah shortage in Chicago, and my friend Eliyahu, who was going to his sister's, was requested to bring a bunch of this matzah. This was their assessment as well. (Eliyahu still felt uncomfortable enough about it to not eat it, though.) However, I must stress that they taste 20 X better when just out of the oven, when hot. (Even then, they are not that great.) Once they cool, they are not very good. So reheat them if necessary. My impression is that they did not keep them frozen, and did not heat them up immediately before use, as per the instructions (see below). I could be wrong.
Oh, and you cannot really bend these all the way for korech. It bends a lot, but after a certain point, it breaks.
One pound is approximately three or four matzas, depending on the diameter of the matza. But they are not going to be burnt, or not broken.
The benefits of such matzas:
- So that the children, and adults, should ask. It is good to keep things new. And it is good to show that different things are acceptable within the framework of halacha. This is an important lesson in and of itself.
- I would guess that there would be no problems in terms of Rabbi Tendler's concern: that regular hand-made matzot nowadays are bakes for 25 seconds in 2000-degrees ovens (as a chumra), and so they take them out before the outside gets burned, but the inside did not finish baking and goes on to become chametz. These soft matzos are baked at lower temperatures for a longer period of time.
- It is much easier to get a handle on a kezayit with these somewhat bendy, and thicker matzot. If you go for such things (I don't), the laminated matza shiur guide will not work for this matza, because you need volume measure, and they assume the thinnest white matza. Indeed, I think it is not a good estimation for whole wheat matza in general, which is about twice as thick.
I was a bit worried to do so because, due to technical reasons, the matzas look much darker than they really are. So please, do not look at the pictures and think that the matzas are all burnt. Rather, I specifically bought whole wheat matzas, so they started somewhat dark. Furthermore, the icicles from being in the back of my freezer caused some smudges. And especially on the first matza picture (the obverse side), the darkness is due to shadow, since the matza was not entirely flat. The matza is really much lighter. Also, these images are scaled down.
On the other hand, the flip side of this particular matza really did have those black areas, but from what I recall eating these matzas in general, even if this is there it does not taste burnt, and as you can see, the blackness is shallow, and does not go through the entire matza.
Note the instructions which are designed to keep the matzas from going stale. Keep frozen. Then defrost 1/2 hour before use. And then 2 minutes in the oven will make them hot.
You can also see some pictures on their website. But these really look like matzas, just somewhat thicker, and soft.