Halacha for Tuesday 9 Iyar 5778 April 24 2018

“Sweet Challah”

We have explained in the previous Halacha that there is an obligation to eat an egg’s volume of bread (fifty-four grams) during each of the Shabbat meals. We shall now discuss the status of “Sweet Challot” which many customarily use as bread for the Shabbat meals. Are they considered bread and hence one eating them would fulfill his obligation to eat bread during the Shabbat meals and would be obligated to recite Birkat Hamazon after eating them or is “Boreh Minei Mezonot” the appropriate blessing for them, like cake and the like, and one eating them would not fulfill his obligation of eating bread during the Shabbat meals and their after-blessing would be “Al Ha’Michya”?

Maran writes in his Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 168): “Kisnin bread (which is the bread that the Gemara says requires the Mezonot blessing): Some say that this refers to dough in which honey, sugar, oil, or spices were mixed and the taste of the item mixed in the dough is recognizable in the dough.” This is indeed the Halacha and such an item is given the halachic status of Kisnin bread on which a “Boreh Minei Mezonot” blessing is recited. The Rama notes: “Some say this is considered actual bread (on which a “Hamotzi” blessing is recited) unless there was a copious amount of honey mixed into it similar to a sweet baked good which we call “Lekach” (Yiddish for honey cake) in which the honey and spices are primary. This is indeed the prevalent custom (in Ashkenazi countries).”

We must now determine the status of the “Sweet Challah” present nowadays, for although the sweetness can most definitely be tasted, nevertheless, we certainly cannot say that “the honey and spices are primary”; rather, the honey or sugar are only present to give the Challah a good taste. Thus, according to the Rama’s opinion and the Ashkenazi custom, the blessing on such Challah is “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz” and one eating them would fulfill one’s obligation of eating bread during the Shabbat meals. Indeed, the Rama in his Darkei Moshe (Section 2, ibid.) writes “that on Shabbat and Yom Tov we recite ‘Hamotzi’ and Birkat Hamazon on Challot which are heavily spiced and the spices (such as sugar and the like) are noticeable in them by taste and appearance.” However, according to the opinion of Maran Ha’Bet Yosef, our Sages enacted that the “Hamotzi” blessing and Birkat Hamazon are to be recited only on bread which was made of dough with only water mixed into it; nevertheless, if fruit juices (such as orange juice) or spices (such as sugar or honey) are mixed into the dough and the foreign taste is detectable in the dough, the blessing on such bread is “Boreh Minei Mezonot.” Nevertheless, it is clear that even according to Maran, if only a small amount of oil or sugar was mixed into the dough such that their taste is completely undetectable, which is indeed the case with many breads we have today, their blessing is certainly “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz.” Only if their taste is actually discernible, as is the case with “Sweet Challah,” is their blessing “Boreh Minei Mezonot.”

Thus, according to the opinion of Maran Ha’Bet Yosef, whose rulings we have accepted, one should not recite the “Hamotzi” blessing on “Sweet Challah”; rather, the blessing on such Challah is “Boreh Minei Mezonot,” like cake. This is not considered bread at all and one does not fulfill one’s obligation of eating bread during the Shabbat meals at all by eating them. According to the Ashkenazi custom, such Challot are considered bread for all intents and purposes and one would fulfill his obligation of eating bread during the Shabbat meals by eating them.

We shall, G-d-willing, broaden our discussion on this topic in the following Halacha.

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

A Negligent COVID-19 Patient

Question: If one becomes ill with the Coronavirus due to one’s own negligence to the extent that one becomes bedridden, must this individual recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing upon recovering? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that one who becomes ill to the po......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the “Ha’Gomel” Blessing

Our Sages enacted that one who has experienced an event in which there was some danger involved must thank Hashem for the goodness which He has bestowed upon him in front of ten men, as we shall soon explain. The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (54a) states: “Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav:......

Read Halacha

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

The “Ha’Gomel” Blessing for One Who Has Recovered from the Coronavirus

Question: If one was sick with the Coronavirus but was not in any life-threatening danger and the illness merely caused one to be bedridden, must one recite the “Ha’Gomel” blessing? Answer: In the previous Halacha we explained that there are four types of people that must recite......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Motza’ei Tisha Be’av and the Tenth of Av

----------------------------- By Popular Request: According to the Sephardic custom, it is permissible to shave, take a haircut, and do laundry immediately at the conclusion of the fast tonight. Ashkenazim customarily rule leniently in this regard. However, this year (5780), when the Tenth of Av fa......

Read Halacha

Eating a Meal on Erev Shabbat

Question: Is one permitted to eat a bread meal after halachic midday on Erev Shabbat (Friday afternoon)? Answer: The Gemara (Gittin 38b) states that there were two wealthy and important families in Jerusalem and both of them sinned to the extent that they were eventually uprooted from the world. ......

Read Halacha

Some Detailed Laws Regarding the Mitzvah of Making a Railing

Approximately two years ago, we have discussed the general parameters of the verse, “And you shall make a railing for your roof and you shall not place blood in your home.” This refers to building a gate or fence around the roof of one’s home so that one does not fall off of it. Th......

Read Halacha