A comment below this M.Y. answer says that one of the requirements to make a blessing of "Hamotzi" is that the item must have "tzurat hapat" (the form / shape of bread.)

I am unclear as to what the halachic definition of this in terms of practical halacha. My notion of bread is that it is usually shaped like a loaf and is a bit thick or high. The few exceptions of flat bread that I can think of include pita, laffa, wraps, chappati, poori, and naan (the last three being Indian type breads. Although, poori is fried, so I don't know if that qualifies.) I've excluded Matzah, because as I understand, Sefardim say mezonot on this throughout the year except on Pesach (please correct my assumption if incorrect.)

Soft Bavarian twisted pretzels look like the counterpart of the hard version. It doesn't have the shape of "bread" to me, yet, the answer in the linked question claims that it qualifies for "Hamotzi".

So, I'm trying to get a sense if there are any general rules in terms of practical halacha as to what qualifies as "tzurat hapat".

  • Matza is definitely bread according to everyone! (It's just those Pesach-crackers that are popular nowadays that some don't say Motzi on.) Something doesn't need to have risen to be Pat.
    – Double AA
    Mar 15, 2017 at 20:36
  • @DoubleAA I thought I had seen some opinion that Sefardim say "mezonot" on matzot. I've seen "matzah crackers", but I'm not sure what would make them "mezonot" vs. the regular matzah. The only difference to me seems to be that the crackers are smaller. Why would that, alone, make them mezonot?
    – DanF
    Mar 15, 2017 at 20:44
  • Who said anything about smaller? Most crackers I see on Pesach are full size. Many nowadays even use them at the Seder and generally even exclusively as Matza on Pesach.
    – Double AA
    Mar 15, 2017 at 20:45
  • 1
    When we learned berachos this was one of the most frustrating halachos, riddled with unclear definitions and disputes. Mar 16, 2017 at 4:19
  • 1
    @Yez Even providing a source to these unclear definitions would be a useful answer.
    – DanF
    Mar 16, 2017 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


I will explain the halachic definition of "tzurat hapat" in terms of requiring birkat hamotzi and Birkat Hamazon. This concept concerns varying degrees in degradation of bread.

The suggia is in Gemara Berachot 37b , see also Tur and SA with comments. The halacha regards bread which has lost its appearance. This change can affect first and last blessing. But the appearance is not the only criterion of the "Halachic bread form". The Aramic "תוריתא דנהמא", in Hebrew "צורת לחם" can be translated as "appearance of bread", and the size of bread pieces is also addressed in Halacha.

The Halacha in Shulchan Aruch OC 168, Sayif 10 is based on the conclusion of Rabbenu Yona:

על כן נראה למורי הרב נר"ו ששלשה דינין חלוקים הם היכא שהוא מבושל אם יש בו פרוסות כזית מברך עליהן המוציא ושלש ברכות ואם אין הפרוסות כזית אף על גב דמיחזי דאיכא תוריתא דנהמא אינו מברך עליו אלא בורא מיני מזונות דכיון שהוא מבושל לא תואר לחם לו והיכא שאינו מבושל אלא שהוא מחובר על ידי דבש או מרק בלא שום בישול אם יש בפרוסות כזית מברך עליו המוציא אין בפרוסות כזית ואין בהם תואר לחם מברך עליהם בורא מיני מזונות אבל אם יש בהם תואר לחם אף על פי שאין בהם כזית מברך עליהם המוציא והיכא שאינו לא מבושל ולא מחובר אלא שהוא פירורים לבדם אף על פי שאין בהם כזית ואין בהם תואר לחם שהן דקין ביותר מברך עליו המוציא ושלש ברכות שכיון שהוא פת בפני עצמו אינו יוצא לעולם מתורת פת

  1. Cooking bread in water can alter it. The criterion for Bread regarding blessing Hamotsi and Birkat Hamazon is lost when the pieces are small than the size of an olive bulk.

  2. Small parts of bread which are not cooked, but agglomerated by an binder as honey or soup, if they have an appearance of bread, the status of bread is not lost, despite their size is less than the size of one olive bulk. {But if they have the size of an olive bulk, we need not to look if they have an appearance of bread, SA OC 168, 10}

  3. When the bread is not cooked and not mixed to anything, only bread, even reduced to powder and is unrecognizable, the status of bread remains.

There are other opinions, Rabbenu Chanan'el and Rashi. Rabbenu Chanan'el has a pshat in pat tsenuma bakeara which addresses a non mixed dry bread.

  • @downvoter I am interested to know if there is an error in halacha in my post
    – kouty
    Mar 20, 2017 at 19:38
  • I'm not the downvoter, but I can't understand this answer at all.
    – Daniel
    Mar 21, 2017 at 20:33
  • @Daniel Thank you very much for the feed back. I will try to improve it. Is the English the problem? the logical structure. thanks again.
    – kouty
    Mar 21, 2017 at 20:41
  • In this case it's mostly the English, although from what I do understand it doesn't really seem like you've addressed the question.
    – Daniel
    Mar 21, 2017 at 20:54
  • I'm not sure if this answers the question or not. It mainly talks about how the bread i smade and if it is cooked, etc, I'm mostly addressing the actual shape of a full loaf or a piece of "bread". If a person had to crumble the bread or determine what ingredients went into a challah roll that was on the plate, he'd probably not want to bother eating bread at all. It's confsuing enough that we have to deal with "mezonot rolls" that already look like hamotzi rolls.
    – DanF
    Mar 22, 2017 at 1:43

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