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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Parshas Noach


Hilchos B'rachos part XIII

Consuming Cake During a Bread Meal Part I

In the previous shiur we commenced discussing partaking of cake during a meal and whether it requires a . To appreciate the deliberation we must understand the concept of .

literally means pocket shaped bread. We recite the bracha boreh minei mezonos on cake, cookies and biscuits as opposed to hamotzi, even though these items are grain based.

The reason mezonos is recited is because Chazal did not require washing hands and hamotzi for items not normally eaten as a meal. [1]

What defines cake and cookies?

We find three opinions in halacha:

Kneaded [2]

The Mechaber (Sephardim): dough kneaded with fruit juice, sugar, oil and other substances, which produce a noticeable taste in the final product.

The Rama (Ashkenazim): dough kneaded with more fruit juice, oil, sugar etc. than water.

Since bread is not usually made this way, this product in called and its bracha is mezonos.

Filling [3]

A pastry baked with a filling comprised of honey or sugar, nuts or flavor. [4] Certain criteria must be met such as: the filling can be tasted in the dough, [5]and the filling was baked with the dough and not merely added later. [6]

This is true even if the dough is comprised of only water and flour. [7]

Crusty [8]

Dough baked into a crusty substance such as crackers, baigelach and cookies (biscuits) are not bread and the required bracha is . It is for this reason that Sephardim recite mezonos over matzo eaten during the year. On Pesach Sephardim do recite hamotzi on matzo.

Do these three opinions disagree with each other?

The Shulchan Aruch writes [9] that the halacha is in accordance with all three opinions, which means that one recites a mezonos for each category. [Indeed we cannot say that all three opinions agree with each other, but we do not have evidence of any disagreement. The result is that one recites a mezonos for these categories]. [10]

When do we recite a mezonos? During or at the end of a meal?

If cake or cookies are eaten to satiate, i.e. one is still relatively hungry and cake etc. is eaten in lieu of bread or other meal foods, one does not recite a mezonos on cake. [11] This, in most part, is true when eating doughnuts or at the conclusion of a meal.

If cake or cookies are consumed as dainties or dessert one recites a mezonos, on condition that they are according to all opinions. [12]

Although we recite mezonos over items that belong to each one of the above categories, nevertheless, according to several poskim, it is due to doubt whether the opinions argue, and if they do, it means that according to one opinion a particular item will require a mezonos and according to another opinion it will be hamotzi. So although we recite mezonos on all categories, when one recited hamotzi at the onset of the meal, it will include all items, unless a particular item satisfies all definitions, in which case everyone will definitely agree that the bracha is mezonos.

            Crackers crackers satisfy the definition of according to one opinion, not according to the other two, consequently one normally recites a mezonos, but when consumed during or at the end of a meal, one will not recite a mezonos.

            Sponge cake sponge cake satisfies the condition of being tasty and sweet but not the other two opinions, because it does not contain a filling, nor is it crusty. Consequently one normally recites a mezonos, but when consumed during or at the end of a meal, one will not recite a mezonos.

            Apple cake apple cake might contain a filling but it is not crusty. Sometimes the dough will be very sweet, but it still lacks one of the opinions. [13]

            Apple pie apple pie fulfills all three conditions; it has a crust, it contains apples and the dough is sweet. So when eaten as dessert one recites mezonos.

[1] See MB siman 168:23, .

[2] Rambam.

[3] R Chananel, Oruch, Tur and Rashba.

[4] Siman 168:7.

[5] MB siman 168:28.

[6] MB siman 168:27, .

[7] MB ibid.

[8] Oruch citing Rav Hai.

[9] Siman 168:7.

[10] cited in Biur Halacha siman 168:7 " .

[11] Based on MB siman 168:41.

[12] An opinion reiterated by many poskim, see Biur Halacha siman 168:8 " .

[13] It appears from the Biur Halacha that one may recite mezonos on cakes with fillings, and Rav Sternbuch indeed says that one makes a mezonos on apple cake.


Vort on the Parsha

The possuk says , which literally means that Noach first planted a vineyard, but Rashi says that it means mundane as opposed to holiness. R Itzaleh of Volozin explained this with a parable. A father said to his son before going out into the world, I bless you that the first thing you turn to will have tremendous success. If the son is , he has fear of heaven, he will turn to something spiritual such as learning Torah. If he is not he will turn to mundane matters.

Hashem had just blessed Noach, as it says , and he wasted it on a mundane matter, the vineyard.


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