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Thought for the Day: Pizza, Uncrustables, and Stuff -- What Bracha?

Many years ago (in fact, more than two decades ago), I called R' Fuerst from my desk at work as I sat down to lunch.  I had a piece of (quite delicious) homemade pizza for lunch.  I nearly always eat at my desk as I am working (or writing TftD...), so my lunch at work cannot in any way be considered as sitting down to a formal meal; aka קביעת סעודה.  That being the case, I wasn't sure whether to wash, say ha'motzi, and bentch; or was the pizza downgraded to a m'zonos.  He told if it was a snack, then it's m'zonos; if a meal the ha'motzi.  Which what I have always done since then.  I recently found out how/why that works.

The Shulchan Aruch, 168:17 discusses פשטיד''א, which is describes as a baked dough with meat or fish or cheese.  In other words: pizza.  Note: while the dough doesn't not need to be baked together with the meat/fish/cheese, it is required that they dough was baked with the intention of making this concoction.  That is, even though the baked dough is just flour and water (mostly water, anyway) -- and therefore looks for all the world like regular bread -- it was never intended to be eaten separately.  The Shulchan Aruch simply, without qualification, says the bracha on this concoction is ha'motzi.  The Mishna Brura (s.k. 94) says that it means what is says and this is not like the mezonos foods (פת הבאה בכיסנין) that had been described early; you make a motzi on this whether you are eating a fixed meal or a snack.

So how did R' Fuerst come up with the snack clause?  Take a look at the B'iur Halacha.  There he brings the Taz who says that this is regular פת הבאה בכיסנין; being filled/covered with meat or cheese is no different than being filled/covered with fruit and sugar. Why is it in it's own siman?  Because it is generally eaten as a meal; after all, it's a whole meal -- bread, meat or cheese, some veggies.  If you were to eat it as a snack, though, the bracha would be m'zonos.  So says the Taz, and the Biur Halacha brings a lot of support for that opinion.  However, as we all know, when there is a disagreement between the Mishna Brura and the Biur Halacha, the halacha is like the Mishna Brura.

Well... more precisely, the Mishna Brura meant for that to be his p'sak as to the normative halacha.  In this case, R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, ztz''l paskens like the Taz.  R' Fuerst holds that one has a right to rely on R' R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in general; which is how we come to the snack/meal question for pizza.

Given that, I checked into Uncrustables.  In case you haven't taken a gaggle of little kids to the zoo, let me describe them for you.  They are little pre-packaged pockets, about the size and shape of a large sand dollar that are filled with some kid friendly goo; pb&j, hazelnut chocolate, spread, and the like.  The pocket is made white bread; they are crimped around the edges and have -- obviously -- no crust.  Being as they are about as filling as a large cookie (same calorie content also; probably slightly higher nutritional value), I would consider one (for me) to be a snack.  I contacted the company about the bread... specially made cylindrical loaves (to minimize waste when they remove the crust) that have no purpose in life except to be turned into Uncrustables.  Sounds like פשטיד''א, no?

So I took a box to mincha last night and showed them to R' Fuerst.  He agreed that they are פשטיד''א; same as pizza.  Woo hoo!  Practically speaking, they probably are a meal for the kids and they don't really tempt me... but if I was really hungry, I might eat just one.  I should also point out that I pretty much always wash on pizza, since I usually eat it with other things as part of a well balanced diet, and therefore am eating a real meal.


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