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I've been reading several articles that dsicuss the vague definition and debate on the exact definition of the term pat haba bekisnin, and how this affects, specifically what are called "mezonot rolls". Of specific interest is this article.

Of particular focus is:

There is an easier solution to the problem, one that does not require a knowledge of the ingredients of mezonot rolls. As we said above, one always makes a HaMotzi on pat haba b'kisnin if one is eating it as a meal. Mezonot rolls were invented mainly out of convenience - so people do not have to wash their hands before eating at affairs or on airplanes. As such, their entire purpose is to be part of a regular meal! As such, the entire institution of mezonot rolls collapses on itself - regardless of the ingredients, the general usage of such rolls obligates one to say HaMotzi on them.

So, there seems to be a general agreement that regardless of how one defines the physical nature of "mezonot rolls", if one uses it as his meal, then one must wash and say hamotzi.

Well, this makes me wonder of a somewhat common phenomenon. I've seen many Orthodox shuls serve "mezonot rolls" during Seudah Shlishit in shul. People do not wash (which, BTW, includes the rabbi). There is no question, in my mind that Seudah Shlishit is in the category of kove'a seudah. It is a meal!

Is there something else not mentioned in that article that I'm unaware of that might allow saying mezonot, here? Or are all these people in error?

  • The article that you cited seems to say that they are mistaken. You would need to ask the rabbi involved about this. – sabbahillel Nov 7 '17 at 0:26
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    Been to many Shuks and never seen Mezonos rolls at Seuda Shlishi. – Gershon Gold Nov 7 '17 at 0:29
  • R Ari Enkin wrote at length on the topic aligned with what you write above. See here for an attempted defense of the mezonot rolls although he doesn't believe one can eat them – mbloch Nov 7 '17 at 5:53
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Update

This question and answer uses the full amount of the mezonos eaten as the basis for the answer. This would also seem to apply, though you should ask the rabbi involved. Note that this also leads to the question if seudah shlishis requires a kevias seudah or not, something that should probably be a separate question. The practice cited in your question, implies that this rabbi says not, but that is a different issue.

Mezonot Rolls Rabbi Ari Shvat

Question:

What is the status of mezonot rolls? I have seen very conflicting opinions - some stating that they are a halachic fallacy and others saying that the concept works (most notably on airplanes). Can this opinion be relied upon even when you are having a meal with a mezonot roll (kovea seudah)?

Answer:

Shalom David,
You're right, there are different opinions regarding "mezonot rolls". For sfaradim it's simple, for the Shulchan Aruch (Or. Ch. 168, 7) holds that as soon as the fruit juice is tasted in the roll (which I imagine is the case), its bracha is mezonot and doesn't need washing or benching. For Ashkenazim, the Rama writes that it's mezonot unless there is so much honey or spices that it's almost the ikar (the main ingredient). The basic understanding would indicate that those rolls which taste like rolls more than they taste like cake, are hamotzi, and accordingly, there's no such thing as mezonot rolls. On the other hand, others (Chabad, Maharsham) say that according to th Rama, it's enough for the amount of fruit juice to be more than the amount water in the batter. This does not set well with the wording of the Rama and therefore is better not to rely upon. On planes or when it's difficult to wash, there is on whom to rely, nevertheless this is less preferable. Kviat Seuda on mezonot is when eating about 4 k'beitzim, about 8 slices of bread (some say even more), something which isn't that common, so that hardly comes into play here, even according to the lenient opinion.
With Love of Israel,
Rav Ari Shvat


Original

There are those who defend the use of Mezonot rolls on a number of different issues. Rabbi Ari Enkin a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of the “Dalet Amot of Halacha” series (8 volumes), Rabbinic Director of United with Israel and a RA"M at a number of yeshivot. www.rabbienkin.com posted an article with an explicit caveat. As a result, you should speak to the Rav involved to understand how he approaches this issue. Note that this article also cites the kevias seudah definition.

The above is intended to serve as a “limud zechut” only. It remains the opinion of this writer that Ashkenazim should always consider mezonot rolls to be like any other bread requiring netilat yadayim, hamotzi, and birkat hamazon, regardless of any other considerations.

His first point is that there is indeed a difference between sefardim and ashkenazim. Additionally, since your question involves seudah shlishis, which would seem to be kvias seudah, the issue would be more complicated than the plain usage.

In Defense of Mezonot Rolls

The main difference between bread dough (“hamotzi”) and cake dough (“mezonot”) is that the latter is sweeter and enjoyed far more often as a snack rather than as a meal. According to the Mechaber, as long as the sweetness of the dough is merely discernable it is sufficient to render the product a “mezonot” item.[1] According to the Rema and most other Ashkenazi authorities, however, the sweet taste has to be the most dominant feature of the product.[2]

The opinion the Mechaber is unequivocal. Therefore, with the exception of the issue of “keviat seuda” which will be discussed below, Sefardim and others who follow the rulings of the Mechaber are certainly entitled to enjoy the convenience that mezonot rolls have to offer. It is unclear, however, upon exactly what basis Ashkenazim who use mezonot rolls rely.

There are those who interpret the ruling of the Rema in a manner which would allow bread to be declared “mezonot” as long as the liquid component of the dough consists of more fruit juice than water.[3] This is true even if one does not taste the fruit juice in the dough.[4]

[1] OC 168:7

[2] Rema, OC 168:7.

[3] Daat Torah 168:7, Shulchan Aruch Harav, OC 168:7.

[4] See Shevet Halevi 8:32, 9:44 for more on this.

However as mentioned in your question and in the cited article, kvias seudah is a more complicated matter. It appears according to the cited article below, that the mezonot rolls may be used as a result of the amount of food actually consumed at the seudah shlishit. This would imply that the situation that you are referring to may be regarded as not kvias seudah. This would depend on the actual situation there and if seudah shlishis requires a kevias seudah or not.

There is, however, another issue which must be dealt with before mezonot rolls can be comfortably consumed, and that is the issue of “keviat seuda“, establishing a meal. According to the principles of keviat seuda, one is required to perform netilat yadayim and recite birkat hamazon when eating a quantity of mezonot items (“pat haba b’kisnin”) that one would consume if such items were in place of a meal. However, there are many different interpretations as to what is defined as “a quantity” and “a meal”.

According to the most lenient interpretation of keviat seuda, only one who eats an amount of mezonot products which is equal to the quantity of bread one would eat at a normal meal is required to perform netilat yadayim and recite birkat hamazon. Eating an amount of mezonot products less than this will allow for one to simply recite “mezonot” and “al hamichya” according to this approach.[7] Such conduct is even better justified if the mezonot products are not eaten together with any meal-type foods.[8] Therefore, one who is served an airline meal which contains a mezonot roll should eat the mezonot roll separately, with its own bracha rishona and achrona, and only then proceed to eat the other foods which are served along with it.[9]

Eating mezonot rolls together with meal-type foods is slightly more complicated due to the principles of keviat seuda, the details of which are beyond the scope of this paper. With regards to the common mezonot roll sandwich, the mezonot roll is already packaged and served with the “meal-type” food, as a sandwich should be. Removing these items (tuna, egg, salami?) in order to eat them separately from the roll as advised above is usually impractical and unappetizing. Therefore, it is preferable for one who is going to eat a mezonot roll sandwich (or pizza for that matter) to eat less than the total quantity of food that is normally consumed at a meal in order to better justify reciting “mezonot” on such sandwiches. However, according to the lenient interpretation of keviat seuda cited above, as long as one eats less than the total quantity of bread that is normally consumed at a meal, there will still be some justification for the use of mezonot rolls along with other foods as a bread substitute.[10]

[7] Aruch Hashulchan, OC 168:17; Shulchan Aruch Harav, OC 168:8; Kaf Hachaim, OC 168:47; Igrot Moshe, OC 3:32;Yabia Omer 8:22:21. For more on this see Vezot Habracha p. 28-36 and p. 219-226.

[8] Mishna Berura 168:24. See also Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 54 note 132 and Vezot Habracha p. 32.

[9] Az Nidberu 5:33; Mishneh Halachot 7:26.

[10] Shevet Halevi 8:32.

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  • Thanks. This looks very comprehensive. I'll have to "digest" this for a while, and, I'll try not to digest any mezonot rolls while doing so :-) – DanF Nov 7 '17 at 14:58

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