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The Torah (Shemot 16; Parashat BeShalahh) details the miracle of the mahn ("manna"), which HaShem brought down from the Heavens to sustain 'Am Yisra'el in their journey through the desert.

In a shi'ur of his, HaRav Zamir Kohen SheLIT"A explains that we eat two hallot/pitot during Shabbat meals in order to commemorate the miracle of the mahn that HaShem performed (specifically, that a double portion was provided on Friday to sustain us throughout Shabbat).

This is brought down as Halakhah in Mishneh Torah (Hilkhot Shabbat 30:9), Rabbeinu Asher on Masekhet Shabbat 117B, Halakhot HaRI"F (Shabbat, 16:132B), Shulhhan Arukh (Orahh Hayim 274:1), Mishnah Berurah (Orahh Hayim 274:1, Note 1), and Qitzur Shulhhan Arukh - Yalqut Yosef (Orahh Hayim 274:4). The matter is discussed in the Talmud Bavli, Masekhet Shabbat 117B (near the end of the page).

If that is the case, since HaShem brought down two portions of mahn on Friday (Shemot 16:5, ibid. 16:22), why don't we simply have Lehhem Mishneh for the first of our three Shabbat meals? Why must we commemorate the double portion of mahn at every meal when the double portion itself only arrived on Friday?

  • Why not Friday morning as well? – Double AA Apr 26 '15 at 5:19
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    @DoubleAA Did you mean to add to the question by asking why we're not also required to have Lehhem Mishneh when eating on Friday morning? If so, that's an awesome question which I think could stand on its own. – Lee Apr 26 '15 at 5:23
  • FYI - This is brought down as Halakhah by HaRI"F, HaRaMBa"M and HaR"Osh. It is relatively unsurprising, therefore, that it is also brought down as Halakhah by HaShulhhan Arukh. This matter is discussed in Masekhet Shabbat 117B (near the end of the page). – Lee Apr 26 '15 at 13:01
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The Tur (orach chaim 291) quotes an opinion that 2 loaves are unnecessary for the third meal. The explanation offered is that from the double portion of Friday, four loaves were made. One was consumed on Friday itself, one was consumed on Friday night, and one was consumed at the first daytime meal. This means that only one loaf remained for the third meal. According to this view, we require 2 loaves as long as the people in the desert still had 2 loaves remaining. The other opinion, which the Rama (291:4) cites as the primary one, is that every meal of shabbat requires 2 loaves, presumably in commemoration of the manna, and not based on how much bread remained. The Perisha (291:12) spells this out explicitly, commenting on the view that 2 loaves are required at every meal:

הרי נשאר לו אחד שלם לסעודה שלישית. ומכל מקום לא קשיא מידי להנוהגין לבצוע על שתי ככרות די"ל דאין בוצעין על שתי ככרות רק לזכר נס, דהא בליל כניסת שבת ובשחרית נמי אין בוצע על שתי ככרות אלא משום זכר נס בעלמא, ה"ה גבי סעודה שלישית

Here is the quote from the Tur:

וכתב הרמב"ם ז"ל שגם בסעודה שלישית קובע על היין ובוצע על שתי ככרות וא"א הרא"ש ז"ל לא היה מברך על היין קודם משום דאיתקש יום ללילה לענין קידוש מה לילה סגי בחד זימנא אף ביום נמי בחד זימנא אבל היה בוצע על ב' ככרות ואיתא בירושלמי במכילתא דבסעודה שלישית צריך לפחות ככר אחד שלם משום דביום ו' ירד לכל אחד שני עומרים ומכל עומר עשו שתי ככרות הרי ד' לשני עומרים אכל אחד בע"ש ואחד בליל שבת ואחד בבקר הרי נשאר לו אחד שלם לסעודה שלישית

Here is the Rama:

הגה: ואם סועד הרבה פעמים בשבת צריך לכל סעודה ב' ככרות (אבודרהם ומיימוני) ולפחות לא יהיה לו בסעודה שלישית פחות מככר אחד שלם (טור ומרדכי פרק כל כתבי) ומזה פשט המנהג להקל לבצוע בסעודה שלישית רק בככר אחד שלם אבל יש להחמיר ליקח שנים

  • While the Tur's approach is unique, I don't understand the RaM"A's stance. Why should we need to commemorate the mahn at every Shabbat meal? – Lee Apr 28 '15 at 16:31
  • Perhaps we're not reading the same Arba'ah Turim. All I see him saying is "Se'udah Shelishit yakhol la'asotah belo pat", which actually sounds like you don't need bread at all for Se'udah Shelishit. From which source(s) did you compile your answer and can you link to it/them? – Lee May 1 '15 at 13:38
  • Sorry, should have said orach chaim 291. Added the quote – wfb May 1 '15 at 14:56
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See the Aruch Hashulchan או"ח רעד-ג: who quotes the Maharshal who had the practice to use one loaf at night and two loafs by day, for the honor of the day is greater than the honor of the night. However, the practice had become in accordance with the opinion of the Vilna Gaon that we use two loafs at every meal.

והמהרש''ל נהג בלילה לבצוע אחד וביום שני ככרות, משום דכבוד יום קודם לכבוד לילה. (ב''ח ומג''א) ועתה יש הרבה מדקדקים במדינת ליטא ורייסין וזמוט, שנוהגין זה מכמה דורות על פי הגר''א לבצוע שתים בכל סעודה. ואיני מבין זה, דנהי דהפירוש ברב זירא כהגאון והרשב''א, מכל מקום הא רב אשי ורב כהנא לא סבירא ליה כן, והמה בתראי נגד רב זירא. ואם נאמר דגם רב אשי ורב כהנא אין חולקים על רב זירא, אלא דסבירא ליה דגם באחד יצא, ורב זירא סבירא ליה דווקא בשנים - מנא ליה לומר כן, דהא משמע דדווקא קאמרי נקט תרתי ובצע חדא, מדיוקו של 'לקטו' כפירוש רש''י כמ''ש. ועוד, דאי מצוה מן המובחר כרב זירא - למה לא עשה רב כהנא מצוה מן המובחר. ועוד, שהרי המכילתא אומרת שכן עשו אבותינו במדבר כמ''ש, ולכן לדידי צע''ג בזה. (והמקובלים נהגו בי''ב חלות כמו הלחם הפנים, וכן הוא בפרי עץ חיים שער השבת פרק י''ז, וכתוב שם לנשק ידי אמו והביאו המג''א ר''ס זה)

  • I can see how this answer brings differing opinions, which is important. Nevertheless, "Lehhem Mishneh" (specifically, a double portion) is brought down as Halakhah by the Shulhhan Arukh (HaRav Yosef Karo) Orahh Hayim 289:1 and, respectfully, I don't think this answer sufficiently addresses why that is. – Lee Apr 26 '15 at 6:35
  • I agree it does not explain why. But you're question as to why we should only have לחם משנה on Friday night is incorrect, as the Eben according to the Maharshal who accepts your questions line of reasoning still took for granted that shabbos day had precedence and that Friday night would only have one loaf. The Vilna Gaon disagrees and rejects you're line of reasoning (ie. Thehe Maharshals) – Shoel U'Meishiv Apr 26 '15 at 7:32
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    @Mefaresh "you're question is incorrect"? What does that even mean? He asked why the law is X and not Y. I don't understand how this answers the question. – Double AA Apr 26 '15 at 14:09
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    The maharshal does not mean that you only use one loaf at night, but that you only cut one loaf at night – wfb Apr 26 '15 at 20:04
  • @wfb exactly right, which means the common minhag nowadays is like none of these opinions. – user6591 Apr 27 '15 at 0:08
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[excuse my English, I am not native to it]

It is only reasonable that we will remember the Manna's extra portion on every meal that is being had thanks to it.

BTW, according to some, such as Ha'ARI Hakadosh, you should make the blessing on 12 loafs (instead of the common 2). And another BTW, according to some, as portrayed in the Mekhilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, the Lehhem Mishneh applies also to Yom Tov, not only Shabes.

  • You are correct that Shabbat meals are being had thanks to the extra portion. Why, then, the need for two portions of bread at every meal? If we are commemorating the extra portion, should we not need only the one? The other parts of your answer are interesting; but, not immediately pertinent to the question. – Lee Apr 26 '15 at 13:08
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    @Lee - if we would have had one, who would have noticed anything? It would be just as usual. Having two as opposed to one marks the difference. We find such symbolic behaviour in Passover customs as well. – Einbert Alshtein Apr 26 '15 at 13:52
  • While you may have a point as regards Friday night, why should we need to remember and be thankful for the mahn at every single meal had because of it? Isn't once (on Friday night) enough? – Lee Apr 28 '15 at 16:25
  • @Lee If someone would have saved your life, would you have thanked him once only? – Einbert Alshtein Apr 29 '15 at 6:00
  • Did we commemorate the miracle of the mahn only once or do we commemorate it weekly? – Lee Apr 29 '15 at 7:01

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