Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…