Halacha for Thursday 11 Iyar 5778 April 26 2018

One Who Changes His Mind in the Middle of Eating

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that if one eats 216 grams or more of “Kisnin” bread, i.e. cakes, cookies, bourekas, and other pastries, must recite the “Hamotzi” blessing before eating and Birkat Hamazon after eating. This is because one who eats such an amount of cakes or pastries is considered to be establishing this eating as a meal of an established character and the food he is currently eating retains the law of bread for all intents and purposes. In this case, one will likewise be obligated to perform Netilat Yadayim before eating these pastries just as one would before eating actual bread.

One Who Changed His Mind While Eating Cake and Decided to Establish it as a Meal
Let us now return to our discussion regarding one who has begun eating “Kisnin” bread, such as cakes, cookies, and the like, after having recited the “Mezonot” blessing because one did not to turn this eating into a meal of an established character and later changes his mind and wishes to eat the prescribed amount. What is the appropriate procedure? Should one now wash one’s hand and recite the “Hamotzi” blessing or should one not wash one’s hands and not recite the “Hamotzi” blessing at all?

Responsa Yabia Omer-Volume Eleven
Recently, the eleventh volume of Responsa Yabia Omer has been published and most of the responses in the Sefer had been written when Maran zt”l was between the ages of twenty-seven and thirty years old. The responses he wrote in this Sefer are unbelievably brilliant and they illuminate synagogues and houses of Torah study all over the world, as if Maran zt”l was still among us. The astounding thing here is that responses written by Maran when he was approximately twenty-five years old cannot be paralleled by even elderly and venerated sages in our generation in their sheer erudition, crystal clarity, and piercing analysis. Although at the time Maran zt”l penned these responses, he was knee-deep in all sorts of problems, trials, and tribulations whether it be during his rabbinical stint in Cairo where he suffered bitterly from the heads of the Jewish community’s council and from the local Arab butchers who chased him constantly and tried to kill him (they once tried to disfigure his face) and from those who tried to disclose him to the authorities on suspicion that he was spying for the Zionists (as is recounted in great length in Maran’s biography, “Abir Ha’Ro’im”-Volume 1, beautifully written in Hebrew by Maran’s grandson and founder of “Halacha Yomit”, Hagaon Harav Yaakov Sasson Shlit”a) or even when he returned to Israel where he suffered for approximately six years from terrible poverty and constant harassment from those who opposed him. In spite of all of this, Maran zt”l studied Torah diligently and consulted with the greatest luminaries of Jerusalem and compiled this treasure trove of well-springs of Torah. Who would have thought at the time that after his passing approximately seventy years later, these responsa would be published in a beautiful format and studied in depth by Jews all over the world. This serves as a great merit for his lofty soul in that Maran’s lips will move in his grave, as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai taught (Yevamot 97a), “Any Torah scholar whose teachings are mentioned in this world, his lips move in the grave (meaning that this grants him renewed life).” Similarly, the verse states, “Let the pious exult in glory, let them cry out in joy upon their couches,” (as is explained in Midrash Tehillim). In return, may much goodness and blessing be showered upon his students and those who follow his path (those who study the “Halacha Yomit” are certainly included), Amen.

The Law Regarding “Netilat Yadayim” and Birkat Hamazon
In the aforementioned Sefer (Chapter 13), Maran zt”l was posed the very question we began discussing above. Maran zt”l responded that with regards to one who began eating “Mezonot” items and then decides to eat a substantial amount such that one will reach the amount of an “established meal”, one must certainly wash one’s hands to perform “Netilat Yadayim”. The Poskim, however, disagree whether or not one should recite a blessing on this “Netilat Yadayim”; if one wishes to recite a blessing on this hand-washing or if one’s custom always to do so, one may continue to do so. (However, if this has not been one’s custom, one should preferably not recite a blessing. See Halacha Berura, Chapter 158, page 19.)

Similarly, with regards to Birkat Hamazon, after eating such a substantial amount of “Mezonot ”items, one will certainly be required to recite Birkat Hamazon as if one ate actual bread.

The Law Regarding the “Hamotzi” Blessing
Regarding the “Hamotzi” blessing, however, there seems to be room for discussion, for this individual has already recited the “Mezonot” blessing before he began eating. We can therefore claim that this blessing will exempt even what he will continue eating now.

Nevertheless, Maran zt”l rejects this opinion and rules that halachically, one should recite the “Hamotzi” blessing on what he continues eating, for when one recited the original “Mezonot” blessing, one had in mind specifically that one would not eat 216 grams worth. However, now that one has to decided to pursue eating such an amount, this continuation of eating has not been exempted by the original blessing.

Thus, halachically speaking, one who recited the “Mezonot” blessing and began eating cake and later decides to eat a substantial amount of 216 grams or more must wash “Netilat Yadayim”, recite the “Hamotzi” blessing before continuing to eat, and then recite Birkat Hamazon after concluding one’s meal.

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