Bread

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Chazal considered bread to be a very important food as it is one of the primary sustenance of man. There are special laws in regards to Brachot and respecting food which are specific to bread, as outlined below. Other related topics include Brachot on foods that are part of a meal, Netilat Yadayim, and Birkat HaMazon.

HaMotzei

  1. There is no minimum requirement and one must make Hamotzei even if one is eating less than a Kezayit of bread. [1] The amount of bread necessary in order to make Netilat Yadayim and Birkat HaMazon are discussed in the articles specific to those topics.
  2. Bread of any size is HaMotzei, even if it's crumbled into small pieces. [2]
  3. There's three ways that bread can loose it's status of bread and become a food which requires Mezonot. The three ways include cooking bread, frying bread, and mixing it with a liquid, the details of which are delineated below.[3]

Details in Making the Beracha

  1. As with any Beracha, if others intend to be Yotzei, they must intend to be Yotzei and respond Amen [4]. Additionally, the person making the Beracha should concentrate on the listeners' Amen [5].
  2. One must put a space between "lechem" and "min", when one says "hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz" [6]. The same applies to any Beracha where the letter at the end of one word is the same as the letter at the beginning of the next word [7].
  3. One should grasp the bread with both hands and all 10 fingers, corresponding to several symbolisms associated with the number 10, such as the number of words in the bracha hamotzei or aynei kol eylecha.[8].
  4. It is proper to ask permission from the others at the table before making hamotzei with the words "birshut mori v'robotay". Even if one is the household owner it is still a sign of humility to do such.[9]
  5. One should try to bring salt to the table before making a hamotzee, because our table is like an alter, and the eating like an offering / Korban [10]. This is because the bread one gives to the poor atones for one's sins [11].
  6. The Magen Avrohom writes that the Kabbalists write that one should dip one's bread in salt 3 times [12].
  7. The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos says that two people who eat together and don't discuss words of Torah are an assembly of scoffers [13]. One should at least try to say a psalm after bentching [14].
  8. One should never interrupt between making the Beracha and eating the food (see the page "Interruptions between the Bracha and Eating").

Cooked Bread

  1. Bagels are Hamotzei since they are made by boiling and then baking dough.[15]
  2. Bread that was crumbled to a size of less than a Kezayit and also cooked in a liquid (as opposed to baking) it takes on the bracha of Mezonot. [16]
  3. In order to be considered cooked the pieces of bread have to be in a hot pot (at least Yad Soldet Bo) on the fire or at least a pot that was removed from the fire (Kli Rishon), however, if it was heated in a Kli Sheni (a pot from which hot water was poured from a pot that was on the fire) the bread isn't considered cooked and the bracha is HaMotzei. [17]
  4. If hot water that was poured from a pot that was on the fire at one point, there's a doubt whether the bread is considered cooking and so in such a case one should make HaMotzei on real bread and eat it. [18]
  5. According to Ashkenazim who hold that Matzah is HaMotzei, if one dips Matzeh in a Kli Sheni (a cup of coffee which was poured from the water heater) the bracha is still HaMotzei. [19]

Fried bread

  1. There's a doubt regarding bread which was crumbled to pieces smaller than a Kezayit that was fried there's a doubt whether the bracha is Mezonot or is HaMotzei. [20] According to Sephardim, the bracha is Mezonot. [21]
  2. French Toast is usually HaMotzei because it remains in pieces larger than a Kezayit, however, if the bread is broken into small pieces and then fried, there's a doubt about the bracha and one should eat it in a meal. [22]

Matzah Brei

Matzah brei.png
  1. Matzah Brei, if the matzah is broken to pieces smaller than a Kezayit and then fried (with enough oil to give a taste to the Matzeh), there's a doubt about the bracha and so it should be eaten in a meal, however if it's deep fried the bracha is Mezonot. [23] Sephardim hold that the bracha on matzah brei is mezonot.[24]
  2. However, if it’s fried with a little oil, just enough to prevent it from burning, the Bracha is HaMotzei. [25]

Kneaded with a liquid

  1. If the bread is crumbled and stuck together using a liquid and now has no look of bread is considered Mezonot. [26]
  2. Therefore, according to Ashkenazim who hold Matzah is HaMotzei all year, Matzah meal that was mixed with liquid is Mezonot. [27]

Practical examples

  1. Chocolate covered Matzah is HaMotzei according to Ashkenazim who hold that it's HaMotzei all year and according to Sephardim on Pesach then it's HaMotzei. [28]
  2. Matzah balls is Mezonot because they are crumbled and then cooked. [29]
  3. Challah Kugel which is made from pieces of challah and kneaded together (and the bread is unrecognizable) and then baked, if it was just kneaded with water, the bracha is HaMotzei, if it was made with water and a little oil, sugar, honey, or fruit juice, then there's a doubt as to it's proper bracha and so it should be eaten in a meal, and lastly, if it was made with a lot of sugar, oil, honey, or fruit juice then the bracha is Mezonot. [30]
  4. Matzah meal cakes are Mezonot when the dough was made from majority of sweeteners as opposed to water (as is the usual case). [31]

Respecting bread

  1. One should show respect to bread because of it’s importance. Therefore, it’s forbidden to throw bread even if it will not get ruined. [32]
  2. One may not throw out a Kezayit of bread into a garbage. However, one should place it in a separate bag and then throw it out. [33]



Microwave or sun baked bread

  1. If bread is baked in an oven or microwave the bracha is HaMotzei, however, if it's cooked in the sun the bracha is Mezonot, however others say that one should eat the bread cooked in a microwave in a meal and exempt it with another HaMotzei. [34]

Sources

  1. S”A 168:10, 210:1
  2. Mishna Brurah 168:49
  3. Vezot HaBracha (pg 22, chapter 3)
  4. Shulchan Aruch O"C 167:2
  5. Rama 167:2. Mishna Brurah 167:20 explains that this is based on the fact that the Amen response is part of the Beracha, and the Beracha is honored/made more important by having others respond Amen, so it is proper for the Mevareich (person making the Beracha) to listen to the Amen. However, as the Be'ur Halacha shows, this requirement is extremely questionable. However, he does quote the Lechem Chamudos and Shiyarei Kenesses Hagedolah, who provide a practical reason for this in this context; since it is forbidden for one to break the bread until everyone finishes saying Amen here it is important to listen to the amen. By concentrating, then, the Mevareich will know when to break the bread.
  6. Shulchan Aruch O"C 167:2.
  7. Mishna Brurah 167:21
  8. Shulchan Aruch O"C 167:4
  9. Rama 167:14, Halacha Brurah 167:45
  10. In the Holy Temple, all offerings were accompanied with salt (Vayikra 2:13).
  11. Mishna Brurah 167:30
  12. M"B 167:33
  13. Avos 3:3
  14. (Sha'ar Hatziyun 167:25)
  15. Mieri Pesachim 3b s.v. Iysa, Shulchan Aruch 168:14, Pri Megadim (E"A 168:39), Kaf Hachaim 168:59, Vezot HaBracha p. 363
  16. Shulchan Aruch 168:10
  17. Mishna Brurah 168:52, Vezot HaBracha (pg 22 note 3, chapter 3)
  18. Vezot (pg 23 note 3, chapter 3)
  19. See Vezot HaBracha (pg 23 note 3, chapter 3)
  20. Mishna Brurah 168:56, Vezot HaBracha (pg 23, chapter 3)
  21. Yalkut Yosef (vol 3, pg 127)
  22. Vezot HaBracha (pg 23, chapter 3)
    • Many Ashkenazic poskim write that the matza which is crumbled and fried is the same as bread which is crumbled and fried and according to the Mishna Brurah 168:56 there is a dispute whether frying is like cooking and so the bracha is in doubt. Therefore, one should eat it in a meal. However, if the pieces are deep fried then certainly the bracha is mezonot (based on Rama 168:14). This is the opinion of Sh"t Rivevot Efraim 6:234, Vezot HaBracha (pg 23, chapter 3), Veten Bracha (Halachos of Brochos by Rabbi Bodner pg 475, chapter 26), The laws of Brachos (Rabbi Binyamin Forst; chapter 8, pg 266 and pg 263 note 111), Rabbi Yisrael Belsky in Halachically Speaking (vol 3, Issue 13, note 57), and Rabbi Abadi.
    • There is a minority opinion of the Chazon Ish OC 26:9, Shoneh Halachot 168:32, and Teshuvot VeHanhagot 3:143(5) who hold that frying is certainly not considered like cooking and so the bracha is Hamotzei.
    • See Sh"t Sheilat Shlomo 1:74 who holds that the bracha is Mezonot. See also Sh"t Shevet Ha’Levi 7:27(4), Minchas Osher pages 44-46, V’haish Mordechai pages 259-261, Shalmei Moed page 344, Kaf HaChaim 168:85, Avnei Yushfei 1:39:2, and http://www.mevaseret.org/mmy/searchshiurim.php?shiur=247.
  23. Yalkut Yosef (Brachot 168:4, p. 127) and Halacha Brurah 168:34 write that frying is like cooking and clarify that frying matzah or bread pieces less than a kezayit make them mezonot. Rav Moshe Halevi in Birkat Hashem 2:2:26 agrees. See Piskei Teshuvot (168 fnt. 120) who writes that Sephardim should hold it is mezonot for the fact that they usually make mezonot on it all year so on Pesach it can also be mezonot if it can't be used for the mitzvah, but Chazon Ovadia Brachot p. 65 rejects that suggestion.
  24. Rama 168:14, Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 471:5)
  25. Shulchan Aruch 168:10
  26. Vezot HaBracha (pg 24, chapter 3)
  27. Vezot HaBracha (pg 24, chapter 3)
  28. Vezot HaBracha (pg 25, chapter 3)
  29. Vezot HaBracha (pg 25, chapter 3), Veten Bracha (Halachos of Brochos by Rabbi Bodner pg 474, chapter 26)
  30. Vezot HaBracha (pg 25, chapter 3)
  31. S”A 171:1. Mishna Brurah 171:9 and Yalkut Yosef (Brachot pg 156), Halacha Brurah 9:49, Peri Megadim Eshel Avraham 167:38 add that it’s forbidden to throw even if the bread won’t get ruined (if it falls).
  32. Bayit Baruch 54:22, Vezot HaBracha pg 16 rule that one may not throw out a Kezayit of bread based on S”A 180:4 who says one may not ruin bread the size of Kezayit by letting water touch it. Rather, Vezot HaBracha quotes Rabbi Yehuda Yisrael Fisher, Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Sheinburg, and Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv who say that one should throw it out in a seperate bag. Vezot HaBracha also quotes Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu who says to throw out bread in a plastic bag and then wrap that with paper.
  33. Shulchan Aruch 168:16 writes that bread which was made for a Kutach dish and the bread was cooked in the sun has the bracha of Mezonot. Pitchei Teshuvot 168:22 explains that the bracha is mezonot because that's an unusual way of cooking it and the same is true of way bread cooked in the sun. Regarding bread cooked in a microwave the Pitchei Halacha (chapter 8 note 91) are in doubt as to whether the bracha should be mezonot or hamotzei, while the Shevut Yitzchak (Dinei Microwave chapter 8) writes that he showed Rav Shlomo Zalman and Rav Elyashiv and they agreed that the bracha is HaMotzei.