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Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayyim 177:1 states

Food that you want to eat during a meal: if they are things that are connected to the meal (באים מחמת הסעודה) - that is, things that are people normally make a meal from them, to eat them with bread - such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fish, porridge, and different types of salted foods: Even if they are eaten without bread, they do not need a new ברכה (a ברכה ראשונה or ברכה אחרונה) because ברכת המוציא covers them.

I observe that people do not eat normally eat meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fish, porridge, and different types of salted foods with bread, especially if potatoes, pasta or rice is available.

Do the Rabbis speak about the change in eating practice and the role of the hamotzi blessing?

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The food doesn't actually have to be physically put in the bread. Things that can usually be eaten with bread e.g eggs vegetables are considered no doubt "באים מחמת הסעודה". Apples grapes etc. are practically never eaten with bread so they need their own bracha.

As for certain foods that used to be eaten with bread but nowadays not as much (bananas for example), it's a good question.

As for the role of bircath hamotzi, the Torah gave importance to certain foods e.g bread wine shiv'at haminim, for spiritual and/or symbolic reasons. We could investigate the meaning thereof but must accept it as apriori knowledge - not to come to new conclusions based on our assupmtions.

Consider this theory:

The Torah is well aware that people in different times and cultures eat different food, and despite of that chose certain foods to be important.

Bread is plant-based, processed food - on one hand the core matter is given by HaShem, on the other hand it requires immense human intervention to sow, reap, process, etc.; it requires immense effort to acquire ("לחם" similar to "מלחמה"); whilst animals may eat meat, fruit, the Midrash says that Adam asked HaShem to make his food different from that of other animals, and was thus given bread; it symbolises agriculture, civilisation, as opposed to hunter-gatherer lifestyle;

Throughout the Torah "eating bread" idiomatically means "having a meal". "לחם" means bread, but also the general notion of food (you can check the corcondance);

Therefore, unlike other foods, bread can represent other types of food, which are of lesser importance, that is if they have some connection to it - can be eaten together, as part of a meal - but not if they are completely unrelated, like sweet fruit or candy, or not part of the meal.

This is merely a hypothesis, although it could be further developed, the main point is that understanding this halacha as merely based on bread's popularity in the middle east 2000 years ago, is most likely not the sole explanation, and thus halacha shouldn't be changed acc. to this theory, as much as it shouldn't be changed acc. to any more elaborate theory.

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    You say I should not come to new conclusions based on my assumptions. This is not my assumption – that is why I quoted Shulchan Oruch. Your say that the Torah knew that food was based on culture. But blessings and their associated rules are Rabbinic. I think Chazal made rules about bread according to their times. Do you think that the ritual of eating a olive's bulk of bread at the beginning of the meal is what Chazal had in mind when they said that foods which people normally make a meal from to eat them with bread, even if they are eaten alone, do not need a new ברכה ? Mar 26, 2023 at 20:51
  • Rashi says explicitly that porridge and beets are not באים מחמת הסעודה unlike what you said
    – Double AA
    Mar 26, 2023 at 23:26
  • @AvrohomYitzchok The Shulchan Oruch that you quoted explicitly says that you can in fact eat that olive bulk of bread in order to לפטור the rest from ברכה. You claim: a. Chazal's rules reg. ברכות are based on culture thus can change accordingly. b. Shulchan Oruch's conclusion doesn't look like Chazal's intention. This is speculation that could be countered with counter-speculation. Perhaps eating that bulk of bread has some symbolic meaning - I have no idea. In any case acc. to Orthodox Judaism halacha, while allowing for different opinions, accepts only halachaic reasoning that comes from 1/2
    – daniel
    Mar 28, 2023 at 19:56
  • 2/2 within itself. @DoubleAA Please see Tosfot ברכות מא ב, in any case Shulchan Oruch has a different opinion. But again back to the original questions if you look closely both opinions are striving to interpret halacha from within itself. And even if one opinion sounds more reasonable, we don't "choose" halacha based on that but based on strict rules of פסיקה. Halacha can change acc. to time in some cases if the reasoning is halachaic i.e comes from within halacha itself (see חלה מתוקה acc. to some opinions) but it is case by case and not meta-halachaic approach
    – daniel
    Mar 28, 2023 at 20:06
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I think there is a misunderstanding either by me or you.

Well there are debates about ice cream is it eaten with a meal or not, is it dessert or not, for example:

Halachos of Brachos (chap 5 , pg 87) quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman, Vezot HaBracha (chap 8, pg 74 note 8) quoting Rav Elyashiv and Rav Pinchas Sheinburg, and Shevet HaLevi 1:205:174 all hold that ice cream in a meal requires a bracha since it is clearly a snack. However, Vezot Habracha (chap 8, pg 74 note 8) quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein as holding that no bracha is made on ice cream as dessert in a meal. Similarly, Vayishma Moshe v. 2 p. 79 quoting Rav Elyashiv writes that dessert doesn't require a bracha since it is commonly brought at the end of the meal. However, it is better to eat them with a little bread to exempt them.

But many people eat fish, meat, etc.. with bread. Just because one person does not does not invalidate the mechanics of the Beracha. We say "Battul Dato Esel Kol Adam" that his opinion is invalidated by others. So Tuna sandwhiches, BLTs etc.... Even porridge people dip their bread into these things, like Humus etc....

But it is possible to have things that can change the Beracha. Why do we even make Berachas and the ramifications in Halacha is a nuanced debate. It usually only affects the rare cases. Although I think the Rambam and Rosh see eye to eye there are nuances, like what takes precedence: fruit that has honour in the Torah or what you want to eat most. (ie: you have two fruit you will eat, one you want to eat more, but one the Torah honours more which should you eat first).

My only point is that Halacha balances many opinions and so to "change" the ramifications of a Beracha is usually not so simple as addressing only one opinion.

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