We use two loaves of bread at Shabas and yom tov meals. Some people cut into both loaves, but some only cut into one, merely holding the other with it while reciting the b'racha. Rav Chayim Pinchas Scheinberg is paraphrased (in The Radiance of Shabbos by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen) as saying that, even if one will not cut into the second loaf, he should hold it unwrapped. However, Rabbi Cohen gives no reason for this rule. Why should the second loaf be unwrapped? (I'm looking for any valid reason, not necessarily Rabbi Scheinberg's.)

(I'm not asking whether the second loaf should be unwrapped. Opinions to the contrary wouldn't address this question. I'm asking why it should be unwrapped, according to those who hold it should be.)


1 Answer 1


The Yerushalmi (Challah 1:6) records:

עשר מצות אדם עושה עד שלא יאכל פרוסה משום לא תחרוש בל תזרע בל תחסום לקט שכחה ופיאה תרומה ומעשר ראשון ומעשר שני וחלה ר' יצחק בידו אתי מיסב לידוי הוא פשט עשרתי אצבעתי ואמ' הרי קיימתי עשר מצוות.‏
A man does 10 Mitzvot [in preparation] until he can eat a piece [of bread]: not plowing [with an ox and donkey together], not planting [multiple species together], not muzzling [an ox on the threshing floor], [leaving] the dropped stalks [for the poor], [leaving] the forgotten sheaves [for the poor], and [leaving] the corners [of the field for the poor], giving the priestly tithe, and giving the Levite's tithe, and giving the second tithe, and giving Challah. R' Yitzchak when he would take bread to eat, he would spread his 10 fingers on it and say "Behold I fulfilled 10 Mitzvot."

Such a practice of placing all 10 fingers on bread when saying the blessing prior to eating it is recorded in Shulchan Aruch (OC 167:4). Magen Avraham, there, records earlier authorities who recommend removing any gloves when doing this to ensure the hands directly touch the bread. A similar logic should apply here for those who have a Challah encased in a "glove."

  • Nice source, but I'm not seeing how you know it applies also to the chala one isn't eating and is merely using as lechem mishne.
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 14:56
  • @msh210 You said "merely holding the other". How do you intend to hold it without any of your 10 fingers?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 15:00
  • DoubleAA, this Y'rushalmi talks about "עשר מצות אדם עושה עד שלא יאכל פרוסה": maybe the hand-spreading thing applies only to the פרוסה he יאכל.
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 15:04
  • @msh210 Perhaps. Though the Shulchan Aruch does not use that language.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 17:07
  • 2
    If your custom on Friday night is that you place the one you plan to eat on bottom, you can get away with all ten fingers holding the bottom one with the top one resting on top. But on Shabbos day, it would be awfully difficult to lift the top challah with all ten fingers and lift the bottom challah at the same time.
    – Yahu
    Commented Jun 17, 2013 at 6:31

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