As we know there are 3 different guidelines that would make a baked good a 'Pas Habah B'kusnin'. the third guideline is, if the bread is hard and dry, for example; pretzels.

With this Shit"a, the companies have produced all sorts of crackers which for decades we make on them a Mezones, assuming that this falls into the category of hard and dry.

Now, years ago (not too many), people were not so scared of washing and bentching, and the main form of a meal was to wash for bread. Being so, it made a lot of sense that crackers should be Mezones since the primary form of eating crackers would be for a snack only. However today things have changes and more people have gotten the Bentchaphobia (a medical term describing fear of bentching...), so crackers has become at least as common of a meal than bread. How many of us actually wash at work for lunch? we rather eat a whole bunch of whole wheat crackers with tuna or cheese.

I don't think that a meal can be considered, only if eating a 5 course meal. Anything that you eat B'kvius, to satisfy yourself, should be considered a meal.

We see that the Ashkenazi'm recite Hamotzi on Matzah all year round, and the simple reason is because we eat it in place of bread. Now, if we eat the same Matzah just in bite size portions then the Bracha changes?! And if so, then why if I made bite size bread, no one would even think of making a Mezonos?

The way I understood this Shit"a in Shulchan Aruch is, that the fact that it's so hard and crispy makes it inappropriate for a meal, but rather eaten as a snack. this is really the underlying reason for all other Shit"as for Pas Habah Bkusnin, the fact that no one will smear tuna onto a chocolate danish is a great explanation to the reasoning behind Pas Habah Bkusnin (chocolate danishes are Mezones due to its sweet ingredients, or the chocolate filling baked together with it), I think this should be the guideline for the other Shit"as as well.

When answering this question please have in mind that the question is asked with today's life style specifically in mind.

  • 1
    Are you asking about making hamotzi when eating a whole meal based on crackers, or even eating only a kezayit of them?
    – Joel K
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 15:31
  • 3
    Pat haba bekisnin is one of the most difficult halachot to understand, fully. I have yet to find a rav that can completely explain all the conditions to me in away that I can follow, and that's not just because I don't understand them. They are a bit confused, too.What does seem as a consensus - If you eat so much mezonot that your stomach is stuffed, then, you are eating lesova - for satiation. This is the De'Oraita definition for bentchen. Thus, several rabbis have explained that at Shabbat Kiddush if you stuff yourself with many pieces of layer cake, you should wash and bench.
    – DanF
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 15:57
  • 2
    @DanF I've had a semester long course of it. Honestly, I'm more confused than I was before... Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 16:05
  • 1
    Relevant is the halacha that one only washes on פת הבא בכיסנין if he eats an amount of that food "on which most people are קובע סעודה, even if he is being קובע on less than that amount."
    – DonielF
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 16:08
  • 1
    Welcome to MiYodeya and thanks for this first question. Can I recommend you take the tour to get a sense of how the site works? Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Pas haba bkisnin becomes hamotzi when you eat 8 k'zeisim of it, and if the crackers are eaten with tuna, the tuna counts toward the shiur (Igros Moshe OC 3:32). But I presume your question is whether crackers today are elevated to the status of bread since most people eat them for a meal (similar to pizza according to many, and "mezonos bread" and full-sized matza too), such that even a small amount requires hamotzi. In the case of flavored or spiced crackers like tam-tams I think it's clearly a snack food, but the question is about flour-and-water-only crackers. Even if you will argue that our office meals are not really meals since we don't stop working while eating, still one could argue that these crackers are the same as matza, only smaller.

In fact, I heard a story about the Debreciner Rav who gave the hashgacha on such a cracker company, and printed ברכתו מזונות on the package. Someone asked him why, and he replied that he personally followed the minhag of the Satmar Rav and the Sefardim to make mezonos on matza all year, so therefore the small crackers are also mezonos. But those who make hamotzi on matza should make hamotzi on the crackers too. I think his point was that size is not a factor in determining whether people usually eat something for a meal.


kvias seuda is not well defined. As you say it does not need to be a 5-course meal, but it also should not include snacking instead of a meal. I understand kvias seuda to generally be sitting together with others for eating, or at least sitting properly for eating in a manner which would be fitting for a group meal. For pas haba bkisnin you would need to be eating an amount that most people would prefer to sit down and eat it as a dedicated activity. If you are having a snack while working in place of a meal, I don't think that can ever qualify as kvias seuda, even if it is quite common.

As Ashkenazim, we generally only eat matza at meals, on Pesach, so if we eat Matza during the year, we consider it a meal-food, and not a snack. Pretzels and crackers are generally eaten as snacks, so that makes them different than Matza in this regard.

  • 1
    "we generally only eat matza at meals, on Pesach" Would this be true if it didn't require washing?
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 18:29
  • @DoubleAA probably, as Matza-like crackers never became a staple anywhere else either. Anyway I don't think it would make any difference. What is important is what people do, not why they do it.
    – simyou
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 20:13
  • Plain wheat crackers are actually quite popular. And that's circular. You can't say we wash because people only eat it at meals because they have to wash.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 20:25
  • It is self-reinforcing behavior, not circular reasoning. There is a clear starting point, which is matza on Pesach which eat as a meal. Therefore, matza is a "meal-food", so we wash. Therefore, it never becomes a snack food. Therefore, we continue to associate it only with Pesach and meals, and continue to wash.
    – simyou
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 6:04
  • What's the starting point? Matza on Pesach is eaten always for seven days. Then someone decided you had to wash. So people stopped snacking on it. So then someone made up that that's why we have to wash. And it continues from there. We can both make up stories here. There's no proof to any of this from current practice.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 9:22

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .