Halacha for Wednesday 9 Kislev 5784 November 22 2023

“Double Bread”

Today's Halacha is dedicated for the merit and protection of
All Our Dear Soldiers
May Hashem give them strength and courage to vanquish our enemies and may they return home safe and sound amid health and joy. May Hashem protect all the captives and have mercy upon them so that no harm befalls them and may they be released quickly, Amen!
* * * * * * * * * *

In the previous Halacha, we have explained the laws of Seuda Shelishit and would also like to discuss the laws of women regarding Seuda Shelishit. However, since this issue is connected to the laws of women and “double bread” on Shabbat, let us first discuss the basic laws of “double bread” on Shabbat after which we shall return to our discussion regarding women and Seuda Shelishit.

The Words of Rabbi Abba
The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (117b) states: “Rabbi Abba said, one must break two loaves of bread on Shabbat, as the verse states (regarding the Manna which fell in the desert) ‘And they shall collect (a) double (portion) of bread.’ Rav Ashe said, I have seen Rav Kahana who would take two loaves of bread in his hands during the Hamotzi blessing, but he would only break one of them.” His reasoning was based on the verse which states that they “collected double bread,” meaning that they only held both loaves in their hands, but they would initially only break one of them.

Based on this, every Jewish individual is obligated to hold two loaves of bread at the time bread is broken during the Shabbat meals in commemoration of the miracle of the Manna which fell in the desert. (The loaves of bread must be covered on top with a cloth and there must be a tablecloth under them as well.)

How Rabbi Zera Broke Bread
The Gemara exclaims that Rabbi Zera would break off a piece from the loaf which would last him the entire meal. Although one should not do so on a regular weekday, for this makes one look ravenous as he initially takes such a large piece for himself and constitutes a lack of etiquette, nevertheless, on Shabbat when this is being done to endear the Mitzvah of feasting and making Shabbat enjoyable, there is no concern that one may look like a glutton; on the contrary, it is actually a Mitzvah to do so.

Behavior During the Blessing
While reciting the Hamotzi blessing on the bread, one should hold both loaves in one’s hands such that one is on top, and one is on the bottom. When one breaks the bread, some say that it is better for one to break the bottom loaf while others say it is better to break the top loaf. Maran Ha’Bet Yosef (Chapter 274) writes in the name of the Kol Bo, “Some have the custom to break the bottom loaf and not the top one. However, our custom is to break the top one.” The Bet Yosef adds, “However, I have seen great scholars who break the bottom loaf and I have heard that this is indeed the correct way according to Kabbalah.” Maran indeed rules likewise in his Shulchan Aruch that one should break the bottom loaf.

Nevertheless, this opinion is not uncontested for Rabbeinu Ha’Ari z”l writes that one should break the top loaf, not the bottom one. The Rashba writes likewise in one of his responses that the top loaf should be broken. Thus, every individual should follow his own custom in this regard, for each custom is well-founded.

Maran zt”l’s practice was not to hold both loaves of bread in his hands; rather, he would leave them on the table and place both hands on them. At the conclusion of the Hamotzi blessing, he would take the bottom loaf and place it on top of the top loaf after which he would begin slicing it. (Halichot Olam, Volume 3, page 86)

8 Halachot Most Popular

Parashat Ki Tetze

Gathered from the teachings of Maran Rebbeinu Ovadia Yosef ztzvk”l (from the years 5744-5772) (written by his grandson HaRav Yaakov Sasson Shlit”a) (translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK) Ellul is the Time to Engage in Battle Against the Yetzer Hara, ......

Read Halacha

Eating Cake on Shabbat Morning

Today's Halacha is dedicated for the merit and protection of All Our Dear Soldiers May Hashem give them strength and courage to vanquish our enemies and may they return home safe and sound amid health and joy. May Hashem protect all the captives and have mercy upon them so that no harm befalls......

Read Halacha

 The “Shehecheyanu” Blessing

Our Sages teach us (Eruvin 40b) that one should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon seeing a new fruit that renews once a year. Even if one sees this fruit in the hands of another person or on the tree, one should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing. Nevertheless, the P......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Blood Found in Eggs

Blood in Eggs Blood found in eggs is forbidden for consumption, for this blood indicates the beginning of the embryotic development of the chick and this chick has the halachic status of “fowl” whose blood is forbidden for consumption by Torah law; thus, the opinion of the Rosh and Tosa......

Read Halacha


Parashat Terumah

From HaGaon Rav Zevadia HaCohen Shlit”a, The Head of the Batei Din in Tel Aviv (translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK) The Difference Between Moshe and Betzalel [Understanding Why Betzalel Was Able to Make the Menorah, Whilst Moshe Couldn’t] This Sh......

Read Halacha

The Proper Method for Reciting Blessings

During the days preceding Tu Bishvat, we have discussed some laws of blessings. We shall now discuss the law that the food must be in front of the individual before reciting a blessing, for this is the first law in reference to the laws of blessings. Waiting Until the Food is Brought Before the I......

Read Halacha

The Scent of Lemon

Question: If one smells the pleasant scent of a lemon, which blessing should one recite? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 43b) states: “Mor Zutra said: One who smells the fragrance of an Etrog  (citron), or a quince recites the blessing of ‘Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’......

Read Halacha

Parashat Vayechi

From HaGaon Rav Zevadia HaCohen Shlit”a, The Head of the Batei Din in Tel Aviv (translated by our dear friend Rav Daniel Levy Shlit”a, Leeds UK) The Power of a Good Word In the weekly Parashah, Yaakov Avinu gathered his sons and blessed them before he passed away, as the Torah sta......

Read Halacha