In Tanach/Mishna/Gemara sometimes the word Pas is used, and sometimes Lechem.

Do Chazal say anything about when and why one is used vs the other?

Edit I was asked for an example: In Mishna Brachos Chapter 6 Mishna 1 it says

"... except for bread [Pas] [where one says] 'Hamotzi Lechem min Ha'aretz' ..."

(sorry - not sure how to type Hebrew easily.)


1 Answer 1


The word פת means "piece". (As I don't believe in coincidence, I think the English word "piece" may have come from the Hebrew, in some way!)

See Radak on Genesis 18:5:1 (Sefaria English translation) - Hebrew & English excerpted by me:

ואקחה פת לחם, כי הנה אברהם אמר פת לחם שפירושו חתיכת לחם ולא אמר לחם כמו שאמר מעט מים כמו שפירשנו. ואקחה פת לחם

Avraham spoke about a piece of bread, whereas in fact he served a sumptuous meal. He had even understated the amount of bread he would serve by not saying ואקח לחם, but ואקחה פת לחם, a reference to less than a whole loaf.

Further support for the concept that the word means "piece" is Leviticus 2:6 (Sefaria English):

פָּת֤וֹת אֹתָהּ֙ פִּתִּ֔ים וְיָצַקְתָּ֥ עָלֶ֖יהָ שָׁ֑מֶן מִנְחָ֖ה הִֽוא׃ (ס)

Thou shalt break it in pieces, and pour oil thereon; it is a meal-offering.

As your question appears to be general, it seems that Tanach's use of the term refers to the term "piece". See Ruth 2:14:

וַיֹּאמֶר֩ לָ֨ה בֹ֜עַז לְעֵ֣ת הָאֹ֗כֶל גֹּ֤שִֽׁי הֲלֹם֙ וְאָכַ֣לְתְּ מִן־הַלֶּ֔חֶם וְטָבַ֥לְתְּ פִּתֵּ֖ךְ בַּחֹ֑מֶץ וַתֵּ֙שֶׁב֙ מִצַּ֣ד הַקּֽוֹצְרִ֔ים וַיִּצְבָּט־לָ֣הּ קָלִ֔י וַתֹּ֥אכַל וַתִּשְׂבַּ֖ע וַתֹּתַֽר׃

And Boaz said unto her at meal-time: ‘Come hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar.’ And she sat beside the reapers; and they reached her parched corn, and she did eat and was satisfied, and left thereof


The above example, in separating the 2 terms "pat" and "lechem" makes it pretty clear that "pat" means "piece".

I am assuming that when both Mishnah, and in your case your quoting Shulchan Aruch, they use the term "pat" when meaning eating a slice or piece of bread. I think "lechem" would be used when it refers to "bread" as a general food, for example, if they were talking about what grains would be considered "bread".

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