Recently I met someone who told me there are those that specifically only use a non serrated Challa knife at the Shabbos meal. I was wondering if there is a source that discusses this and what is the reason?

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    The table is like mizbeach ,knife shouldn't have pegimos like by korbonos. I just made this up,but wouldn't be surprised if such a reason is sourced.
    – sam
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 3:48
  • If you have a segulas Yisrael handy check page 100 os 4 ,talks about buying new knife erev RH and also sharpening it to get all the pegimos out of it,pegimos represent the bad said and when you get rid of them then it becomes good for parnassah,ayin sham,I did not post as answer since I dont think it answers ur q completely, but def worth the read
    – sam
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 4:15
  • I wish there was a way to post pic in comment
    – sam
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 4:31
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    @sam if you have a pic, then it means you have a source, which means you have an answer :->
    – mbloch
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 4:40
  • 1
    @sam You can add the picture to an answer (without posting it) which will automatically generate an imgur URL which you can post in a comment.
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 13:06

3 Answers 3


See here in Taame Haminhagim in the notes

ובספר לבושי מכלול קו"א כתב בשם ספר א' דסכין חד סגולה לפרנסה דאינו עושה פרורין דקשה לעניות. והנה סופי תיבות של "פותח את ידיך" הוא השם הממונה על הפרנסה, ועל כן טוב לחתוך בסכין חד וחלק:‏

The reason is to avoid crumbs, that is a segula for parnasa, because Chatach is sofe tevot poteach et yadecha, and the shem chatach is linked to parnasa. And if we cut the bread with a great amount of crumbs, as serrated knife this is bad for parnasa

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    Interesting answer. But, I may experiment on this. I think the reason why most bread knives are serrated is that it makes cutting easier and avoids crumbs.
    – DanF
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 15:42
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    From my experience, a straight knife tends to squeeze down the bread and makes for uneven cuts. If the bread has a hard crust, it's almost a certainty that a straight-edge knife will create far more crumbs than a serrated one. Serration is like a saw, and you really need that saw-like grip to break through the hard crust and create even slices. Proof from one article among many I've found on web - misen.co/blogs/news/best-bread-knife. So, I'm puzzled as to why Ta'amei Haminhagim makes its claim.
    – DanF
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 18:46
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    @danf my guess is that back then the flour people used was much coarser, which resulted in more crumbly loads of bread.
    – Menachem
    Commented Nov 8, 2019 at 21:53
  • It's in the לבושי מכלול קו"א at hebrewbooks.org/… in (ג) Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 13:33
  • Cute - but doesn;t fit with reality. As others have said, the non-serrated knife makes as many crumbs if not more - this after using many a serrated knife for decades and for the past few weeks using a non-serrated knife with no blemishes (almost like a shechita chalaf.) Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 13:35

according to wikipedia, it appears that the modern serrated bread knife wasn't invented until 1919 or 1893:

Serrated knives are able to cut soft bread without crushing it; one was exhibited at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 in Chicago by the Friedrich Dick company (Esslingen, Germany).[6] One design was patented in the United States by Joseph E. Burns of Syracuse, New York.[7] His knife had sections of grooves or serrations, inclined with respect to the axis of the blade, that form individual small cutting edges which were perpendicular to the blade and thus cut without the excessive normal pressure required of a scalloped blade and without the horizontal force required by positive-raked teeth that would dig into the bread like a wood saw. There were also sections of grooves with the opposite direction of inclination, separated by a section of smooth blade, and the knife thus cut cleanly in both directions in both hard and soft bread.

If so, perhaps the serrated knives that preceded that time were much more like saws, and would not do a good job cutting bread.


The Rama O.C. 250:1 writes:

הגה ויש להשחיז הסכין בערב שבת כי זהו מכבוד השבת שמכין עצמו לאכילה (כל בו וב"י בשם ספר חיי עולם):

RAMA: Additionally one should sharpen his knife on Erev Shabbat, for this honors the Shabbat and prepares him for eating. (Kol Bo; Beis Yosef in the name of Sefer Chayei Olam)

Constantly sharpening a knife will ruin the serrating.

BTW, I once ate by relatives in Meah Shearim, and it was clear that they sharpen their challah knife at home.

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