Halacha for Sunday 13 Sivan 5782 June 12 2022

Interrupting by Speaking During Shabbat Meals

Question: During the Shabbat meal, my husband made a blessing on the bread, tasted some of it, and then began to pass it around to the rest of the people at the table. At this point, one of my children began talking before actually eating some bread himself. Must he recite the “Hamotzi” blessing again?

Answer: We have discussed in the past that one may not interrupt between reciting a blessing and eating. For instance, if one recites a “Boreh Peri Ha’etz” blessing on an apple, and then interrupts by speaking before eating the apple (with words not related to eating), one must recite the blessing again. Only after tasting the food, one is blessing on may one speak as much as one wishes.

“Hearing is Like Reciting”
We have also discussed in the past that if one hears a blessing recited by another and the listener intends to fulfill his obligation and the one reciting the blessing has in mind to include those listening in his blessing, both individuals fulfill their obligation of reciting this blessing. This rule stems from the concept of “hearing is like listening,” which means that by most Mitzvot related to speaking, such as blessings, one can fulfill one’s obligation by listening to the recitation of another. Thus, although everyone is obligation to read the Megillah on Purim, most of the congregation does not actually read the Megillah on their own. Rather, they fulfill their obligation by listening to the Chazzan read it.

It is for the same reason that during the Shabbat meals, the head of the households recites the “Hamotzi” blessing on the bread and includes everyone else in his blessing; after doing so, he begins passing around the bread to everyone seated at the table. It is obvious that no one at the table may speak until they taste some of the bread being passed around. The same applies to the “Boreh Peri Ha’Gefen” in that no one may speak until the drink some of the wine being passed around after Kiddush.

When the One Reciting the Blessing Has Already Eaten
Regarding the above scenario where the head of the household has already tasted some of the bread before one of the children spoke, we must analyze whether the fact that the one who recited the blessing has already eaten is considered a conclusion of the blessing for everyone at the table which would allow them to speak even though they have not yet tasted any bread or perhaps it is considered as if they recited the blessing themselves, in which case, speaking before eating would be considered an interruption and they would not fulfill their obligation with this blessing.

Indeed, the Rokeach (quoted by the Bet Yosef, Chapter 167) writes that if the head of the household ate some bread and then those at the table continued to speak before actually eaten bread themselves, they have fulfilled their obligation since they intended to be included in the blessing of the head of the household and they need not repeat the blessing. Nevertheless, Maran Ha’Bet Yosef rebuffs this opinion and writes that they have not fulfilled their obligation in this manner, and they must repeat the blessing, for when they hear the blessing recited by the head of the household, it is as though they recited the blessing themselves and thus, this constitutes an interruption.

Although in general, we rule in accordance with the opinion of Maran Ha’Bet Yosef, whose rulings we have accepted, nevertheless, in this case, since there is a disagreement among the Poskim regarding a doubtful blessing, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules (in his Halichot Olam, Volume 1, page 347) that in the above scenario where someone at the table spoke after the head of the household tasted the bread but before the speaker had tasted some bread himself, one would not repeat the “Hamotzi” blessing and one would merely rely on the blessing recited by the head of the household. (It is preferable though to think the blessing in one’s mind without uttering it verbally.)

Summary: When the head of the household recites a blessing and those assembled answer Amen, they may not speak until after tasting some bread themselves. If someone mistakenly spoke after the head of the household already ate some bread, one need not repeat the “Hamotzi” blessing, and one should just rely on the blessing recited by the head of the household.

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

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

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

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5782, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"- The Year 5782

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. Nevertheless, the Sephardic custom is not as string......

Read Halacha

Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. Next Shabbat will mark Tisha Be’av, however, since fast days are prohibited on Shabbat (besides for Yom Kippur), Tisha Be’av will be observed next Motza’ei Shabbat and Sunday. May Hashem soon switch this month to one of joy and celebrat......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av on Shabbat

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal.  Nevertheless, this year, 5782, since the fast of T......

Read Halacha

Tisha Be’av Which Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat- Clothing for Tisha Be’av

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha