Halacha for Wednesday 28 Shevat 5784 February 7 2024

Throwing Bread

Question: While distributing pieces of bread to the members of one’s household during the Shabbat meals, some have the custom that the head of the household throws the pieces of bread to those who are sitting far from him. Is this practice correct or not?

Answer: Yesterday, we have explained generally the basic laws of the prohibition of treating foods in a degrading manner.

The Prohibition to Throw Food
The Baraita in Masechet Berachot (50b) states that one may not throw bread. The Gemara explains further that regarding all types of food, the prohibition to throw them depends on whether or not doing so will ruin the food. For instance, soft figs will surely be damaged or ruined if they are thrown, even on a clean table. However, if it seems that throwing the food will not cause it to be ruined, such as throwing candies on a groom when he goes up to the Torah on Shabbat, there is no such prohibition, for this does not constitute disrespect to the food.

Throwing Bread
Regarding bread, however, the Rishonim disagree: According to the Tosafot, even if the bread will not become ruined as a result of throwing it, such as by throwing it from side to side on a table, it is still forbidden to do so, for bread has special significance and throwing is considered demeaning. The Rosh, Tur, and other great Rishonim rule likewise. (The commentary Tziyun Le’Nefesh Chaya, ibid, indeed infers this from the language of the Baraita.)

On the other hand, the Rashba and Rabbeinu Yonah (quoted by the Bet Yosef in Chapter 171) write that there is no distinction between bread and other foods and as long as the food is not ruined by throwing it, it is permissible to do so.

Based on this, according to the Tosafot, throwing pieces of bread from one end of the table to another is absolutely forbidden whereas according to the Rashba, it is permissible.

The Bottom Line
Halachically speaking, it seems from the wording of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch that he rules in accordance with the view of the Tosafot that one must act stringently and not throw bread, even on the table. Many Acharonim rule likewise. Hagaon Harav David Yosef Shlit”a rules accordingly in his Halacha Berura, Volume 9, page 49.

Although there are Poskim who justify the custom of throwing bread from one end of the table to another, one should nevertheless abstain from throwing bread completely. This applies especially to the bread eaten during the Shabbat meals upon which the head of the household recites a blessing in order to fulfill the Mitzvah. In such an instance, the Peri Megadim (Chapter 167, Eshel Avraham, Subsection 38) writes that even according to the Rashba, it will be forbidden to throw the bread, for this constitutes “degradation of a Mitzvah.” Several other Acharonim rule likewise.

Summary: One should not throw bread from one side of the table to the other. One should be especially careful regarding the bread used during the Shabbat meals upon which one recites the Hamotzi blessing.

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