Proper Conduct of a Meal

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Saying Divrei Torah at the meal

  1. There's an obligation to say Divrei Torah at every meal [1] before Birkat Hamazon. [2]
  2. Some say that saying "Mayim Achronim Chovah" counts as divrei torah at the meal. [3]
  3. There's a minority opinion that one fulfills one's obligation by benching. [4]
  4. Some say that one fulfills the obligation by saying the mizmor of tehillim of Al Naharot Bavel or Shir HaMaalot BeShuv even though it's preferable to actually say Divrei Torah during the meal. [5]

Other laws of proper conduct of a meal

  1. It’s forbidden to take in one’s hand a piece of food the size of a KeBeitzah. [6] However, many are lenient to permit holding a large piece of bread if that’s the way it’s normally eaten such as pizza, pita, or a sandwich. [7]


  1. Pirkei Avot 3:3, Chaye Adam 45:4, Aruch HaShulchan 170:1, Mishna Brurah 170:1
  2. Sh"t Rivevot Efraim 1:134 writes that one should make sure to say the divrei torah before Birkat HaMazon.
  3. Ben Ish Chai (Shelach #7), Shulchan Aruch HaMekusar (pg 245 note 12)
  4. Rav Ovadyah MeBartenura on Avot 3:3 writes that one fulfills this obligation by saying Birkat HaMazon. Rivovot Efraim 1:134 argues and does not accept this as halacha. Anaf Etz Avot (Rav Ovadyah Yosef, 3:3, pg 176) defends the Bartenuro from the question of the Tosfot Yom Tov (who asked why would the mishna be dealing with Reshayim who don't say Birkat HaMazon). [However, Anaf Etz Avot isn't one of Rav Ovadyah's halachic works and this may be just what he would suggest in learning.]
  5. Aruch HaShulchan 170:1
  6. Derech Eretz Rabba 6:30, Tur and S”A 170:7, kitzur S”A 42:2, Mishneh Halachot 15:61
  7. Yalkut Yosef (vol 3 pg 150), Or Letzion vol 2 chap 46:7, and Halacha Brurah 170 are lenient to permit holding in one’s hand bread the size of a KeBeitzah if that’s the normal way of eating it (for example pizza, sandwich, pita). See Alehu Lo Yibol pg 107.