Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: How Ha'Motzi Works

In case this wasn't obvious till now, let me state explicitly: Don't bet your soul and what you read in a blog.  Case in point: I discussed the case of having a grape, kiwi, and strawberry for a snack and needing to decide which to bracha to make first and what to eat first.  Right after I sent it out, I realized I had made a mistake, so I sent out a correction.  I re-double checked this morning and discovered that I was wrong about being wrong.  (Note 18 to siman 211.)  I have fixed the blog and added some details.  I feel it is worth discussing these cases because brachos are complicated, but we tend to learn brachos early in our development as Jews.  It is therefore a good idea to review, especially fun cases like these.  See?  Its not that I don't like to have fun, its just that I have a different definition of "fun" than most people...

First, its a good idea to know why when you sit down to a snack without bread you make all sorts of brachos, but include bread and "Shazam!  Prest-O Chang-O!", only one bracha needed (more or less).  Its really not magic (I know, you are shocked).  Chazal (who predate Atkins and South Beach by centuries) determined that a real meal means you are having bread.  Moreover, the bread is so important, that everything else -- meat, kugels, salads, sauces, etc -- are all subordinate (tafel) to the bread.  That's why you only need make the one bracha of ha'motzi.  A word of caution: you need to eat enough bread for it to be honestly the ikar of the meal.  If you eat one little bite of bread that might not be true.  Which means you might need to make a bracha on everything else.  That gets you into safeik bracha territory; which is very uncomfortable because if you don't have to make a bracha you aren't allowed to, but if you need to make the bracha you can't eat till you do.  Better to eat a reasonable portion of bread with the meal.  The Mishna Brura actually recommends eating a k'zayis of bread at the conclusion of the meal just to be sure.

That's why "oh, just wash" doesn't really work to get you out of bracha sh'eilos.  If you are washing just to get out of a bracha sh'eila, you may have just made the bread automatically tafel!  At that point you are really stuck... now its not even clear whether you need to wash before eating the bread.

See how fun brachos are?  Starvation on one side, chillul HaShem on the other.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…