Halacha for Sunday 23 Adar 5784 March 3 2024

The Laws of “Sweet Challah”-Continued

“Sweet Challah” Should not be Used for the Shabbat Meals According to the Sephardic Custom
In the Halacha published several days ago, we have established that “Sweet Challot” in which sugar or honey mixed in the dough can be tasted require the “Boreh Minei Mezonot” blessing and the “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz” blessing should not be recited on them. Similarly, such Challot cannot be used to fulfill one’s obligation to eat bread during the Shabbat meals since they do not have the halachic status of bread; rather, they have the halachic status of cake. For the Shabbat meals, one should obtain bread specifically. All this is according to the opinion of Maran Ha’Bet Yosef, whose rulings we have accepted. Nevertheless, according to the Rama and the Ashkenazi custom, such Challot do have the halachic status of bread for all intents and purposes. Thus, if a Sephardic individual is being hosted by an Ashkenazi friend on Shabbat for the Shabbat meals, one may not use such Challot to fulfill one’s obligation of eating bread during the Shabbat meals and recite “Hamotzi” on them.

The Manner in Which One Can Fulfill his Obligation With and Recite the “Hamotzi” Blessing on “Sweet Challah”
If one eats the amount of cake “which others use to establish a meal,” i.e. approximately 216 grams, one must recite the “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz” blessing on it and after eating it, one must recite Birkat Hamazon, just as one would for actual bread. Thus, if one plans on eating this amount of cake, one must wash one’s hands as though one were about to eat bread. Surely, the same would apply to “Sweet Challot,” for although according to Maran Ha’Bet Yosef their blessing is “Boreh Minei Mezonot,” nevertheless, if one eats 216 grams of such Challah, one must wash one’s hands and recite “Hamotzi” before eating them and Birkat Hamazon afterwards, as though they were bread.

Thus, if a Sephardic individual is being hosted by an Ashkenazi friend and the host serves him “Sweet Challah” as per his custom, although one surely may not recite “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz” on them and use them to fulfill one’s obligation of eating bread during the Shabbat meals, nevertheless, if one eats a large enough amount of such Challah equivalent to 216 grams (which is not so difficult when eating “Sweet Challah”), one may recite “Hamotzi” on such Challot and use them to fulfill one’s obligation to eat bread during the Shabbat meals according to all opinions.

If Different Kinds of Foods Are Included in the Amount of “Establishing a Meal”
The Poskim disagree regarding the amount of “establishing a meal”: Does this mean that one must specifically eat over two-hundred grams of bread or can other foods eaten during the meal, such as meat, fish, and the like, be included in this amount? According to the Magen Avraham, other foods may be included in this amount. However, Maran Ha’Chida writes that the Magen Avraham’s opinion is not necessarily correct and thus, the Halacha does not follow his opinion and other foods are not included in this amount of “establishing a meal”.

Summary:  The blessing on “Sweet Challah” in which the taste of honey, sugar, or egg is detectable in the dough is “Boreh Minei Mezonot” according to Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch. Thus, one should not recite the “Hamotzi” blessing on such Challot during the Shabbat meals. The Ashkenazi custom, however, is to indeed recite “Hamotzi” on such Challot.

If a Sephardic individual is being hosted by an Ashkenazi friend for the Shabbat meals and the host serves him such Challah, one would not be able to recite “Hamotzi” on such Challah unless one eats 216 grams of it, in which case such Challot retain the “Hamotzi” blessing according to all opinions.

Nevertheless, a Sephardic individual should not do this in his own home, for there is a disagreement among the Poskim (in the beginning of Shulchan Aruch, Chapter 158) whether not one may recite a blessing upon the Netilat Yadayim performed before eating such bread, even when one plans on eating 216 grams or more of it. Thus, although there are those who say the custom is to recite a blessing on this hand-washing, nevertheless, it is preferable to abstain from doing so wherever possible. One should first eat a Kebeitza of regular bread and then one may eat whatever one wishes.

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