In Defense of Mezonot Rolls

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By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

A few weeks ago I posted an article against the use of “mezonot rolls” as a substitute for regular bread in order to bypass the requirements of netilat yadayim and birkat hamazon (available here: https://www.torahmusings.com/2010/12/mezonot-rolls). Following that post there were those who requested an article in defense of mezonot rolls in order to understand the halachic principles upon which those who make use of them rely.

The main difference between bread dough (“hamotzi”) and cake dough (“mezonot”) is that the latter is sweeter and enjoyed far more often as a snack rather than as a meal. According to the Mechaber, as long as the sweetness of the dough is merely discernable it is sufficient to render the product a “mezonot” item.[1] According to the Rema and most other Ashkenazi authorities, however, the sweet taste has to be the most dominant feature of the product.[2]

The opinion the Mechaber is unequivocal. Therefore, with the exception of the issue of “keviat seuda” which will be discussed below, Sefardim and others who follow the rulings of the Mechaber are certainly entitled to enjoy the convenience that mezonot rolls have to offer. It is unclear, however, upon exactly what basis Ashkenazim who use mezonot rolls rely.

There are those who interpret the ruling of the Rema in a manner which would allow bread to be declared “mezonot” as long as the liquid component of the dough consists of more fruit juice than water.[3] This is true even if one does not taste the fruit juice in the dough.[4] Although there are a number of difficulties with this interpretation we will ignore them at this time in order to maintain the “defense” nature of this paper. Additionally, other softeners and sweeteners which are added to the dough such as eggs, sugar, milk, and oil are treated like fruit juice for this purpose.[5] Therefore, if the dough contains more of such ingredients than it does water, the blessing to be recited upon the bread is “mezonot” according to this view.

There is also an opinion among Ashkenazi authorities that as long as the bread contains a significant amount of fruit juice or at least has a slightly different appearance than regular bread due to the fruit juice and other sweetener content, then it may be declared mezonot.[6] Of course, there is always the option of arbitrarily choosing to follow the Mechaber’s view in this matter even though an Ashkenazi probably shouldn’t. Rabbi Yosef Karo is, after all, a big enough halachic authority upon whom to rely. Therefore, Ashkenazim who treat the common mezonot roll as a mezonot product have chosen to rely upon one or more of the lenient considerations discussed above.

There is, however, another issue which must be dealt with before mezonot rolls can be comfortably consumed, and that is the issue of “keviat seuda“, establishing a meal. According to the principles of keviat seuda, one is required to perform netilat yadayim and recite birkat hamazon when eating a quantity of mezonot items (“pat haba b’kisnin”) that one would consume if such items were in place of a meal.  However, there are many different interpretations as to what is defined as “a quantity” and “a meal”.

According to the most lenient interpretation of keviat seuda, only one who eats an amount of mezonot products which is equal to the quantity of bread one would eat at a normal meal is required to perform netilat yadayim and recite birkat hamazon. Eating an amount of mezonot products less than this will allow for one to simply recite “mezonot” and “al hamichya” according to this approach.[7] Such conduct is even better justified if the mezonot products are not eaten together with any meal-type foods.[8] Therefore, one who is served an airline meal which contains a mezonot roll should eat the mezonot roll separately, with its own bracha rishona and achrona, and only then proceed to eat the other foods which are served along with it.[9]

Eating mezonot rolls together with meal-type foods is slightly more complicated due to the principles of keviat seuda, the details of which are beyond the scope of this paper. With regards to the common mezonot roll sandwich, the mezonot roll is already packaged and served with the “meal-type” food, as a sandwich should be. Removing these items (tuna, egg, salami?) in order to eat them separately from the roll as advised above is usually impractical and unappetizing.  Therefore, it is preferable for one who is going to eat a mezonot roll sandwich (or pizza for that matter) to eat less than the total quantity of food that is normally consumed at a meal in order to better justify reciting “mezonot” on such sandwiches. However, according to the lenient interpretation of keviat seuda cited above, as long as one eats less than the total quantity of bread that is normally consumed at a meal, there will still be some justification for the use of mezonot rolls along with other foods as a bread substitute.[10]

The above is intended to serve as a “limud zechut” only. It remains the opinion of this writer that Ashkenazim should always consider mezonot rolls to be like any other bread requiring netilat yadayim, hamotzi, and birkat hamazon, regardless of any other considerations.

 


[1] OC 168:7

[2] Rema, OC 168:7.

[3] Daat Torah 168:7, Shulchan Aruch Harav, OC 168:7.

[4] See Shevet Halevi 8:32, 9:44 for more on this.

[5] Mishna Berura 168:94

[6] Aruch Hashulchan, OC 168:22,24,25

[7] Aruch Hashulchan, OC 168:17; Shulchan Aruch Harav, OC 168:8; Kaf Hachaim, OC 168:47; Igrot Moshe, OC 3:32;Yabia Omer 8:22:21. For more on this see Vezot Habracha p. 28-36 and p. 219-226.

[8] Mishna Berura 168:24. See also Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 54 note 132 and Vezot Habracha p. 32.

[9] Az Nidberu 5:33; Mishneh Halachot 7:26.

[10] Shevet Halevi 8:32.

About Ari Enkin

Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of the “Dalet Amot of Halacha” series (8 volumes), Rabbinic Director of United with Israel and a RA"M at a number of yeshivot. www.rabbienkin.com

72 comments

  1. I’m off to solicit a ban on you at Matzav…

  2. I thank you for including a fair amount of Sepharadi perspective in this article.

  3. I agree there is a limud zchut, the question is what led those who follow that approach to gravitate to a limud zchut position (for example, one might be lead to a limud zchut position in dress based on what the outsie world deems appropriate)
    KT

  4. Joel-

    Good question.

    Also – Does anyone realize that virtually every Eruv in North America is only declared kosher by means of “conveniently” choosing poskim (like those who choose to use mezonot rolls)?

    There is hardly an eruv in North America that is kosher by )The Shulchan Aruch or b) The Mishna Berura.

    Yet people use such Eruvs all the time. Including Sefardim.

    ….just playing devil’s advocate.

    Ari Enkin

  5. Of course, it should be pointed out that this “kula” of the Sepharadim turns out to be a major “chumra” on Shabbat when having to make sure that water challah is used for the meals.

  6. R’AE,
    Yes, which is why I respect those who won’t use an eruv (but of course wonder what other generally accepted halachic stnces that fall into a similar category are being followed by the same people). But again by eruv I think it might have a sociological component as well (shhh!)
    KT

  7. Yi’yasher kochakha, R. Enkin, on the fascinating halakhic treatise. [Thank you also for granting me the “Teiku” honour in the “asher yatzar” discussion. My classmate R. Yehudah Sarna quips that Teiku = Tishtu Ya’yin Koniyac Viskey, since the gemara in Yoma 76b reports that Rava became a great Torah sage through drinking wine (and smelling spices).]

    Could you elaborate on the eruvei chatzeirot issue? This could be mizakeh et harabim for this coming Shabbat, by inspiring the public to avoid relying on a problematic eruvei chatzeirot. R. Bleich explains why pious individuals sometimes refuse to rely on an eruvei chatzeirot in Contemporary Halakhic Problems IV, pp. 354-357. [The way I read R. Bleich, he’s not saying it’s forbidden to carry; he’s just explaining why – as an extra measure of piety – some do not carry. Particularly amazing is the story he relates regarding R. Kook, who refused to establish an eruvei chatzeirot in the village of Zeimelis, which did not possess a population of sixty myriad.] If you could supplement what R. Bleich writes, and identify the problems (if any) that exist with our current eruvei chatzeirot, you would be performing a tremendous public service.

  8. Thank you for defending us

  9. We don’t conveniently choose poskim – we go like the long-standing mesora to pasken like the Beis Efrayim. Additionally, the MB allows reliance on shishim ribo where there is another tzad lehakel. And the Shulchan Aruch clearly writes that shishim ribo is dependent on the street, which is not the case for any eruvin in North America.

  10. Parenthetically, just so that I am fair and considerate to both sides of the important eruvei chatzeirot discussion, although R. Bleich writes (on p. 355) that “In a letter addressed to R. Menasheh Klein and published in that author’s Mishneh Halakhot, VIII, no. 90, R. Ya’akov Kanievski, known as “the Steipler”, presents a lengthy list of halakhic considerations militating against reliance upon eiruvin as they are generally constructed in our day”, if one looks at the Mishneh Halakhot in context, he is (respectfully) challenging the Steipler and is presenting a series of hetterim to construct eruvei chatzeirot everywhere.

  11. Rav Spira-

    I’d rather not get into an Eruv debate at this time, especially not in this forum (though I do LOVE that topic). Let’s focus on mezonot rolls here.

    …but I’m a sucker, so to be brief:

    Although I am not coming to criticize in any way, the reality is that most Eruv’s today are constructed by way of kulas upon kulas – both in the mechitzos as well as issues such as how to achieve sechiras reshus. However, there is some truth to what commentator “Anonymous” says regarding pre existing traditions to do so.

    That being said, Sefardim and Rambam followers probably should not rely on any Eruv (yes, there are exceptions..Toronto?) and all others who do so are making use of various kulas — for better or for worse.

    Chassidim are generally very meikil in eruvin and litvaks are generally machmir. I personally counsel leniency in Eruvin especially if it means the wife will be forced to remain indoors all Shabbat because she is forced to babysit.

    ….ad kan inyanei eruv.

    Ari Enkin

  12. Thank you, R. Enkin, for the illuminating exposition (-which was, in and of itself, mizakeh et harabim). My apologies to the Rav for my asking off-topic. [Biderekh derosh vikabel sakhar, one can formulate a circuitous association, since eruvei chatzeirot must be based upon bread, and thus the status of “mezonot rolls” will be of interest. I assume, since Shulchan Arukh Orach Chaim 366:8 allows using rice bread or lentil bread (though not millet bread) for eruvei chatzeirot, and – moreover – since the volume of bread must suffice for at least two meals, that “mezonot rolls” will indeed be acceptable for an eruvei chatzeirot.]

  13. re “the option of arbitrarily choosing to follow the Mechaber’s view in this matter even though an Ashkenazi probably shouldn’t. Rabbi Yosef Karo is, after all, a big enough halachic authority upon whom to rely.”
    I think there is enough material in the above statement to justify a post of its own.

    Also it seems to be more more common in Israel for Ashkenazi (Dati Leumi?) poskim to explore the Sephardic view … which leads to giving it more weight than you would find in the US.

  14. The historical precedent for relying on the mekilim re eruvin should be viewed in its historical context. The heterim were critical for those populations that lived in times predating a readily accessible indoor fresh water supply, necessitating a means of obtaining water for Shabbos. Likewise, many of us remember hearing from grandparents about the towns central oven where people kept their chulent cooking and needed to rely on eruvin to transport the food home for shabbos. These are a far cry from today’s “necessities” of taking strollers out to shul and for visiting friends.

  15. Shmuel – simply untrue. Our eruvin are far more mehudar than those of the great metropolitan towns of pre-war Europe (which certainly had runnning water and indoor ovens), such as Warsaw and Lublin, which were used by many gedolim, as testified by R. Chaim Kreiswirth in his hakdomo to Rechovos Ha’ir.

  16. As many have pointed out, Eruvin is a classic case of a minhag yisrael to be makil for hundreds of years. It also is usually a drabbanan shaila, disregardig the shishim ribbo issue.

    Mezonos rolls also have much minhag lehakel to rely on, but not like eruvin. Moreover, mezonos rolls are safek deoraysa for benching in many cases.

    Other interesting cases where there is longstanding minhag lehakel that come to mind are shaving (for litvaks), yoshon, pas palter. Of these, Shaving is the only deoraysa shaila.

    I ask R’AE respectively his reaction and personal feelings to Dr. Hayyim Soloveichik’s seminal article “On Rupture and Reconstruction”. I get the impression from his posts, that he very much is a “textual” posek (similar to almost every other posek in our generation) and therefore has great difficulty with “minhag yisrael lehakel”.

    Personal disclaimer: I wash on mezonos rolls, try not to personally use eruvin (but allow my wife to), I do shave and I am not makpid on yoshon (though maybe I should especially as there are comprehensive lists so you basically know that anything not on the list is chodosh).

  17. It seems to me from the above posts that “pick and choose” is not endemic to only the so called “modern orthodox”. Its part of the fabric of the halachic process.

  18. robert
    Bingo – and , as always, the question is who gets to pick.
    KT

  19. To support R’ Robert and R’ Joel Rich, here’s an excerpt from Contemporary Halakhic Problems, Volume 4, p.xiii [-which is repeated verbatim in CHP, Vol. 5, p. xi]:

    “Halakhah is a science in the sense that, in its pristine form, there is no room for subjectivity. That is not to say that there is no room for disagreement. Disagreement abounds in the natural sciences no less so than in Halakhah. But, in picking and choosing between contradictory and conflicting theses, the scientist acts on the basis of the canons of his discipline as understood by his quite fallible intellect, not on the basis of subjective predilections. The halakhic decisor faces the same constraints”.

  20. R Enkin – what bracha do you make on chocolate chip challah? Panettone?

  21. Chocolate chip challah? Sounds interesting. But the chocolat chips are not part of the actual dough — so why would it be anything besides hamotzi?

    Panettone might really be mezonos according to all shitot.

    Ari Enkin

  22. Former YU-

    It’s true that the written word is very compelling to me, but I do accept that concept of pre existing traditions and norms.

    Therefore, while it is ideal to keep yoshon in chutz la’aretz – those who choose not to are completely entitled to do so. etc.

    Ari Enkin

  23. Interestingly, in Dr. Frank Veith’s testimony on the HODS website, he reports that when he and others visited RMF’s apartment to discuss the definition of life, RMF served him “rolls” as “refreshments”. If it was a refreshment (which, I presume, is distinct from a meal), why did RMF serve rolls? Perhaps they were “mezonot” rolls (-sichat talmidei chakhamim tzerikhah talmud, as per Rashbam to Bava Batra 73a).

  24. Yehoshua Friedman

    Former YU wrote: Moreover, mezonos rolls are safek deoraysa for benching in many cases.
    I have not learned the subject extensively, but AFAIK al hamichya fulfills the deoraysa requirement of benching, thereby leaving this question also as derabonon. Eruv is more serious because the Rambam holds derech rabbim is deoraysa i.e. a road 16 amos wide, which is a normal city, town or yishuv street. Do I use the eruv? Yes. Am I lazy? Yes. One of my sons, who got better chinuch than I did, doesn’t.

  25. Since when is it a better chinuch to depart from your forefathers’ minhag for hundreds of years (if you are an Ashkenazi) to rely on shishim ribo, in accordance with minhag yisroel, as per the Beis Efraim and ‘kol haboim acharov’?

  26. I haven’t observed that ‘mezonot rolls’ are necessarily sweeter than, say, challah. If not, how does the view of the Mechaber make them into a mezonot item?

  27. MiMedinat HaYam

    yes, reb ari, chocolate chip challah exists. but its usually baked as a major egg product. (it wouldnt make sense as a water challah.)

    to y aharon:

    the “heavy butter” flavored roll (fake butter — its even mezonot) (its distgusting anyway) is considered hamotzie by the yeshivish / litvish community.

    and the fake wine known as grape juice is the prefered kiddush wine in yeshivish / litvish community.

    as for supposedly acceptable erub according to “impossible” rambam conditions, see http://www.erub.org. used by “charedi” syrians / sephardim on ocean parkway, brooklyn.

  28. Rav Enkin,

    Thank you for your email. I heard Rav Gigi (a Rosh Yeshiva at Har Etzion) who is sefardi, but nonetheless expressed concern about relying on the leniency discussed herein in situations such as “mezonot” rolls in an airline meal etc. His concern related to all the issues you have raised, and in particular the question of kviat seudah. Consequently, since I previously assumed that it is sub-optimal to do netilat yadayim in the airplane toilet, I have therefore refrained from eating the roll.

    Could you comment on whether there is indeed a problem with washing (for either bread or prior to davening) in an airplane toilet?

  29. R’ Avi,
    Usually on flights to israel, there is water out in the galley (at least on COntinental). I generally bring a motzi so I can wash a few minutes before they start serving.
    KT

  30. “chocolate chip challah? Sounds interesting. But the chocolat chips are not part of the actual dough — so why would it be anything besides hamotzi?”

    what are you talking about? they are no more or less part of the dough than dried fruit is part of panettone. You knead chocolate chips into dough – you can use a regular challah dough, but surely chocolate chip bread is not used to make meat sandwiches. Sometimes people add cocoa to the dough also, I don’t see what difference that really makes (Cocoa is sometimes added to rye bread too, btw, admittedly mostly for color, but sometimes one can taste it).

    “Panettone might really be mezonos according to all shitot.”

    I agree. And what about e.g. pandoro (no dried fruit)?

    There are lots of breads that are mezonot (i.e. cake! ) and some breads that are unclear and will probably stump most people. first, there are lots of sweet breads, used perhaps to make sandwiches with cream cheese or toasted w/ butter or some kind of jam, but too cakey for many sandwiches. It seems to me that those issuing statements like “there is no such thing as mezonos bread” will be forced, on confrontation with some breads, to say “oh, that’s not mezonos bread AT ALL. that’s cake” thus begging the question…

    second, there are lots of breads that one can make that will taste strongly of whatever non-water liquid is used and therefore will work as a sandwich with some fillings and not others. Again, if the logic is that the taste of mezonot bread is indistinguishable from regular bread and/or that the bread is used exactly the way regular bread is used, taking the stance that there is no mezonos bread will probably lead one to turn around and say about particular breads “that’s not really bread”…To repeat an example I’ve already given, one can make bread or flatbread with pureed tomatoes as the liquid. It will come out reddish brown, and taste of tomatoes, a little like pizza. I think this is mezonos unless you are kovea seuda on it. Why wouldn’t it be?

  31. And…by breads that are unclear by the criteria used to dismiss the whole concept of mezonot bread, I mean: breads that are sweeter than usual, but not terrifically sweet, don’t contain clear dessert elements like chocolate, etc. Also, breads that taste to most people very strongly of non-water liquid used to make them, but that might be used with a variety of fillings, even though they are distinctive tasting. By the criteria you list, I’d think you can eat a different bread every day for a year that at minimum raise questions as to whether it’s hamotzi or mezonos for ashkenazim…I am not sure there always is a clear answer or line between the two. What I am pretty sure of though is that some of the authors of various articles on this topic are better-versed in the halachic literature than they are in baking literature, since they seem to think that mezonos bread = bread that is deliberately designed to taste as much like “Regular” bread as possible.

  32. Y. Aharon-

    Im not sure what you are saying. The mezonos rolls, if they have sweetness, will be ‘mezonos’ according to the mechaber.

    Challah, even if sweet, will still be ‘hamotzi’ according to the mechaber since one is koveiah the shabbat meal on challa.

    Ari Enkin

  33. Eg-

    Shkoyach on your dissertation, most of which is accurate.

    One thing — the chocolate chips do not make the bread mezonos. The ingredients for consideration for mezonos must be an inherent part of the dough. The chocalate chips are not part of the ingredients to the dough — they are independat seperate entity.

    So no bread would be mezonos -from the perspective of declaring a dough mezonos due to tis ingredients- just because chocolate chips were added to the dough.

    Ari Enkin

  34. Avi-

    The halacha is clear that in an emergency one can wash for hamotzi in a toilet – just dry your hands and recite the bracha outside the toilet.

    Ari Enkin

  35. R’ Enkin, If eating a small piece of challah at the shabbat meal constitutes keviat seudah on the challah and, therefore, requires washing and birchat hamazon. Why, then, is a ‘mezonot roll’ different if it is part of a real meal and is no sweeter than your typical challah?

  36. Y. Aharon-

    That is exactly the official Ashkenazi position!

    But the mezonot roll usually is sweeter then challa. At least in Israel they are.

    Ari Enkin

  37. “One thing — the chocolate chips do not make the bread mezonos. The ingredients for consideration for mezonos must be an inherent part of the dough. The chocalate chips are not part of the ingredients to the dough — they are independat seperate entity.”

    WHAT are you talking about. 1. They are typically kneaded into the dough (or rolled into it). (You seem to be assuming it’s made like a jelly roll, rolled around the filling.) No different, again, than panettone – what makes panettone cake and not bread? the dough itself is not nec. that sweet, rather there is enough dried fruit and nuts and peel that it’s cake. 2. If you assume, as you seem to be, that the dough is rolled around a filling, so what? It’s still cake. To use a familiar example, take a sweetish bread dough, make a jelly roll with cinammon filling or chocolate filling, it becomes babka and one makes mezonos. To use an unfamiliar example, what bracha do you make on pain au chocolat, which is bread dough rolled around chocolate squares? There, the bread is not sweet. HOwever, it’s clearly snack bread, and you hardly eat bread with melted chocolate in the center together with pastrami or cholent.

    If you *bake* bread and then put chocolate on top, then it becomes hamotzi.

    “So no bread would be mezonos -from the perspective of declaring a dough mezonos due to tis ingredients- just because chocolate chips were added to the dough.”

    You can add anything to dough at later stages, including sugar. Do you understand how bread is made? The dough is not finished until you put it in the oven. Kneading something into dough at a late stage definitely does incorporate ingredients into dough, that’s a. B is that fillings do most certainly turn bread into pas haba bkisnin, no matter if the dough is not affected.

    If I am making some kind of mistake, please enlighten me.

  38. “But the mezonot roll usually is sweeter then challa. At least in Israel they are.”

    There are separate criteria that are conflated in discussions about mezonot rolls: 1. Is the taste appreciably different than hamotzi rolls. 2. Is the bread used in the same way as hamotzi rolls. These are separable issues. One would think that 1. is the more important, as per the Rema, but it seems that 2. is sometimes used to determine 1 (I.e. if the bread were really sweet and different than regular bread, why would it be used just as regular bread is used). This logic (using 2 to determine 1) may make sense for sweet doughs, but I’m very unclear if it applies to vegetable juices/purees, strong tasting liquids like orange juice etc. Those ingredients can create breads that really do taste very different than regular bread, even if they are put to the same uses as regular bread. I’m very unclear how to classify them. My question to R Enkin: are you clear on this? Bread where the liquid is sweet potato puree. Bread where the liquid is orange juice (stronger tasting than apple juice).

  39. R Ari-FWIW, I find Hilcos Eruvin a fascinating subject. Lineman has a wonderful blog that is must reading as a primer for anyone interested in the subject. I would also recommend R B Simon’s superb Sefer Imrei Baruch, which discusses all of the fundamental concepts and also clarifies the many areas of Machlokes in Hilcos Eruvin.

    Would you consider the CI a Chasid? Many Eruvin are constructed that incorporate the views of the CI, whose views on the subject were sought in major cities such as Paris pre WW2. FWIW, when I was recently in Yerushalayim for a family simcha, I was told that the so called “Eruvin Mhudarim” use many kulos that are not employed in the States.

    Yet,as RHS pointed out more than once, he would carry in a properly constructed eruv in Manhattan, IOW, one where there was a proper Tzuras HaPesach on the north end of Manhattan, as opposed to the east, west and south sides where the buildings form a natural mechitzah. (I have always wondered but never heard anyone discuss whether Central Park would or could be included in any properly constructed eruv. Has anyone heard any discussions, especially considering the facts that people pass through but don’t normally live in parks?) As RHS has mentioned, the famous Shitas HaRambam about any street wider than 15 amos being a Reshus HaRabim Min HaTorah is a Daas Yachid based on one reading in a Yerushalmi and really should only be relied by Tzadikim “such as R Herzog ZL”.

    Yes, some Sefardim are Choshesh for that Shita, but one can argue that such a Shitah was never accepted by Rov Rishonim and Acharonim up until the MB.

  40. The mechaber holds it is reshus harrabim if the street is 15 amos and mefulash.
    RHS does not carry in any eruv IIRC as a personal chumra, but he would personally approve of an eruv in Manhattan.

  41. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding the chocolate (or fruit) making it mezonot — i didnt say that. but i did say it’s usually (actual always, at least as far as commercial — storebought — vhallah is concerned (givewaway — i said chalah) a heavy egg product. (actually, they use a little egg wash, but it is a flavoring, where a little bit goes a long way, in providing flavor. so that would be mezonot.

    2. it doesnt have to be an integral part of the dough. just like the chocolate (or conammon) in , say, babka (i hope we’ll all agree its mezonot) is not integral part of the dough. in fact, shulchan aruch harav (and MB) both say that onion rolls (where the onion “kossess” the dough; i.e., pieces of onion are folded into the dough) are the definition of pat haba’ah bekisnin. (interstingly, it isnt even marked as mezonot by chassidim, since they fail to realize the avove. they themselves got blinded by the apple juice rule.)

    as for arline meals — i posted previously:

    i once saw a short teshuva that the lousy meal you are served on a plane is not really a meal! so the mezonot roll can really be considered mezonot, meal-speaking.

    (of course, that conflicts with the concept that airline food is really great! because its the first hot meal you’ve had in ten days (or so) of travel.)

  42. MiMedinat HaYam

    regarding babka — it is the exact same dough as challah or other “bread”

    ditto many other “cake”

  43. M.M Hayam-

    RE:it doesnt have to be an integral part of the dough. just like the chocolate (or conammon) in , say, babka (i hope we’ll all agree its mezonot)

    I certainnly agree. When I said: “One thing — the chocolate chips do not make the bread mezonos.” I meant it does not become mezonot due to the dough, but yes, due to the FINAL PRODUCT, it could become mezonot. (i.e. a real dessert looking babka.) But add 1 or 2 choc. chips to the dough — it remains hamotzie, of course.

    Ari Enkin

  44. Can anybody help me:

    I remember once seeing a teshuva regarding the entire mezonos/koveiah seuda issue that if you STAND while you eat you will never have to wash no matter how much mezonos products you eat because standing is inherently not “koveiah” (i.e. you will never have to wash at a kiddush where everyone stands).

    Thanks,

    Ari Enkin

  45. EG-

    I have never seen or even heard of this puree breads, but yes, they would be mozonos. As there is little or no water in them. Any dough that has no water is always mezonos.

    Ari Enkin

  46. Eg-

    Yes, yes, I agree with you.

    See my clarification to Midinat Hayam, above.

    Hope that explains it.

    Ari Enkin

  47. 1. “I certainnly agree. When I said: “One thing — the chocolate chips do not make the bread mezonos.” I meant it does not become mezonot due to the dough, but yes, due to the FINAL PRODUCT, it could become mezonot. (i.e. a real dessert looking babka.) But add 1 or 2 choc. chips to the dough — it remains hamotzie, of course.”

    I don’t see any difference whether they are kneaded into the dough or not. 1-2 chips (why is someone putting 1-2 chips in dough?) kneaded into the dough is still tafel, whether it’s part of the dough or a filling, surely.
    I think a better question is chips in a different type of dough, for example in rye bread. Egg challah already has eggs, and is usually sweetish, or at least neutral enough that adding chocolate to it, makes it a snack bread. But what about rye bread with chips instead of raisins?

    What about raisins themselves. In typical breads, like rye breads, the bread is still usually savory. But some cinammon-raisin breads are really quite sweet, have the cinammon and raison swirled in as filling, and look quite dessert-y to me….

    2. “I have never seen or even heard of this puree breads, but yes, they would be mozonos. As there is little or no water in them. Any dough that has no water is always mezonos.”

    But R’ Enkin, now you are getting yourself into trouble with apple juice rolls! What if you don’t use water, or use water only to dissolve the yeast, and otherwise use mild apple juice?? Result: mezonot rolls!!
    I gather some airline rolls use concentrate and/or part apple juice, part water, but surely not all of them?
    I’ve made rolls with all or almost all apple juice, and they taste mild, like airline rolls.

    Ditto, you can make a challah with sweet potato or pumpkin puree as the liquid (or almost all the liquid)along with eggs etc. and it will be only slightly sweeter/more orangey than regular challah.

    This is why the test rule that i labeled #2 in my earlier comment is so confusing, to me at least. It’s a derivative rule, as best I can make out. The halacha would seem to be that if you use all or mostly something that is not water as the liquid, you have mezonos bread. Especially if the taste can be discerned. But there’s now a new rule – how do you USE the bread, how differently is it used than regular bread. This rule strikes me as very confusing, and one that turns bread that according to the technical halacha ought to be mezonos into hamotzi. Yet we keep being told that mezonos bread is a fraud, so….how can one use the simple rule that the liquid is not water as a criterion any longer? When one psak after another says apple juice bread is hamotzi? Hence my long series of comments questioning what is going on.

  48. MiMedinat HaYam

    i dont know about rye bread with a couple of raisins / chips, but if you put many chips / raisins in any bread, you end up with a babka like product. apple juicd or not.

    ditto, if you bake a bread with chicken / meat, is it mezonot? if so, why is shepherd’s pie considered hamotzi?

    (and why the distinction between baking the meat in it, vs putting in meat after the baking, a la a sandwich?) (or choc / other filling?)

    and the bracha for fried dough (e. g., sufganiot) is ?????? (but you dont take challah from it.)

  49. re onion rolls – i wonder about them, if the amount of onions used has changed (???) or if people use them differently, since people seem to treat onion rolls like regular rolls albeit with onion flavoring, for sandwiches etc., rather than as a roll with onion filling to be eaten alone.

  50. shephards pie is meat with potatoes on top. surely you mean something else?

  51. MiMedinat HaYam

    to eg:

    yes. onion “chips” rolled in (kossess) the dough. per shulchan aruch harav, and MB, and others, quintessential definition of pat habaa bekissnin..

    shepherds pie — i mean the type of bread (pie) with meat in it. the “bread” really just covers the meat / chicken. but i am told it is definitely hamotzi.

  52. Mimdedinat-

    Sufgaiyot are always mezonos. One does not have to wash or bentch even if one is kovaya seuda on them. Ditto for anything else deep fried.

    Ari Enkin

  53. EG–

    I confess. Im dizzy from the “ping pong”. Not sure exactly what your last point is getting to.

    Ari

  54. Hi,

    I am very confused about the position of the Oruch Hashulchon. In 168, 16 he clearly states that the required quantity for Netilas Yodayim & Hamozi is half a Omer and not four eggs. End of 168, 17 he writes that the amount measured is on the bread component only. Then, he starts off the next paragraph (18) by saying that some of the gedolim are not happy with the kiddushim where mezonos + other stuff is given because most of the people eat more than 4 eggs worth of mezonos + other stuff. The Oruch Hashulchon himself seems to think that it’s a problem since he tries to find a limud zechus, also ends up by saying that a God fearing person should distance himself from this problem, etc.
    How does this square with the previous two paragraphs where he says that (a) you need a half an omer and (b) it’s estimated by the quantity of bread only?

    MK

  55. Dear TDK-

    If I understand him he is saying two things.

    1) the amount for pas haba bkisnin alone, which yes, he says if half an omer
    2) if you are eating the p.h.b. with other foods in which case you should be machmir.

    I may be wrong. But this is how I remember it.

    Ari Enkin

  56. “I confess. Im dizzy from the “ping pong”. Not sure exactly what your last point is getting to.”

    I’m making a simple point. You wrote this:

    “I have never seen or even heard of this puree breads, but yes, they would be mozonos. As there is little or no water in them. Any dough that has no water is always mezonos.”

    ok, what about a dough made entirely or almost entirely with apple juice? how can you say that any bread with no water is mezonos when you’ve argued that bread made only with apple juice is hamotzi?!

    Your posts are based on the notion, which does seem to be a consensus of the poskim, that apple juice rolls are hamotzi, and the practice of labeling them “mezonos rolls” can at best be defended with a limud zchus.

    We’ve been discussing two types of potential exceptions to “mezonos rolls are hamotzi.” The first class of “exceptions” is probably unobjectionable to label mezonos. I am referring to sweet breads, which might better be termed cakes. In this group of breads, I think the line is not always clear for when you are dealing with a sweet bread and when you are dealing with cake, but I’d say panettone is cake, and apparently so would you.

    But there’s a second group of potential exceptions, breads that aren’t necessarily particularly sweet, but are made with liquids that are not water: tomato puree, other vegetable purees, juices such as orange juice or grapefruit juice, tomato juice etc. etc etc etc
    the problem is that the halacha is based on the ingredients and potentially the taste and appearance of the bread. As you just said, a bread that is made with little or no water is always mezonos. Certainly if it tastes of the non-water liquid.

    Yet in discussions of “airline rolls” one also sees a new standard: how does one use the bread. The argument with apple juice rolls is that, while these rolls may be a bit sweeter than rolls made with water, they are still USED just like regular bread, and the apple juice taste is not that strong, etc. etc. etc. (I’ve seen claims that one cannot taste the difference at all, but that’s subjective – I can taste the difference, and from what you write, you also find them sweeter than regular rolls, just not sweet enough to term mezonos).

    Not all breads made with non-water liquids taste “Sweeter” than regular bread, but they will taste different. How different they look and taste depends on the particular mei peiros used.
    The rule – how do you use this bread and/or how strong is the taste of the non-water liquid seems to be designed to distinguish when the non-water liquid is an ikar in the bread and when not. The idea seems to be that if you use the bread for the same type of sandwich you’d use any bread for, then it’s bread and hamotzi and otherwise mezonos. Sometimes they throw in that one doesn’t really taste the apple juice in airline rolls, so therefore it’s hamotzi, yet this seems connected to the fact that one uses the rolls the same way one uses regular bread.
    But this type of reasoning leads to the conclusion that any bread you can use to make a pastrami or turkey sandwich is hamotzi, even if the only liquid is pureed vegetables, or a strong-tasting juice, and the taste and color of the bread is at least somewhat distinctive. But is bread made only with only with orange juice and peel really mezonos even if it can be used to make a turkey sandwich?? If so, the only mezonos bread is very sweet bread, but that doesn’t really jive with the halacha, which as you stated, is that any bread made entirely or almost entirely without water is mezonos unless one is kovea seuda on it.
    Or does it depend on how strong the taste of the mei peiros is, in which case it seems like a highly subjective determination – if apple juice bread is apparently not sweet enough, then is orange juice bread strong enough-tasting, how about bread made with sweet potato puree etc etc etc etc etc
    When the mishna brura says it depends on the taste and how strong it is, he is talking about what is the dominant ingredient, but how can this even apply to bread made entirely of mei peiros where one knows what the dominant ingredient is (even if this ingredient is apple juice)?

    I therefore have begun questioning whether apple juice rolls are not in fact mezonos.

  57. and just to add …because I want to be clear:

    by “I therefore have begun questioning whether apple juice rolls are not in fact mezonos.” –
    by therefore, I mean to say that even those who argue that apple juice rolls are hamotzi seem to instinctively agree that some breads made without water, such as breads where the liquid is pureed tomatoes and the color is reddish-brown from tomatoes, ought to be mezonos (unless one is kovea seuda on them).
    So what’s going on?
    If bread number one is made with mei peiros and is hamotzi and bread number two is mezonos, is it really a subjective determination of how “Strong” the taste/look of the particular mei peiros used is in the bread that is determining the bracha? Is it a determination of how “different” the bread is? Is it really a determination of how the bread is typically used?
    Perhaps it really does all rest on such subjective determinations.
    And perhaps the whole mehalech is simply wrong and bread made with mei perios is pas haba bkisnin!

    But I think examples of breads made without water but with liquid that is not apple juice serve to highlight the fact the question of bracha on any roll made with mei peiros is real. I don’t see it as a given that they are hamotzi and I think this only became a “given,” because like you, a lot of people have never thought about rolls made with anything but water and eggs or apple juice. Once you start thinking about it, you have questions on the whole approach (or I do….)

    Hope this is clear.

  58. “But is bread made only with only with orange juice and peel really mezonos even if it can be used to make a turkey sandwich??”

    should be really HAMOTZI

  59. Dear EG-

    I admire and am inspired by your determination laasukei shmatsa aliba d’hilchata. Chen Chen L’chayalei oraisa.

    I think most of this can be understood by reviewing the basics:

    1. Mechaber: It is mezonos if it taste’s sweet
    2. Rema: It is mezonos if the sweetness is most dominant
    3. 1 & 2 BOTH AGREE that if you are koveiah seuda you msut wash

    Now, of course there are nuances in the types of bread and the ingredients used, exmaples of which you have given. In these cases you must ask a posek, or possibly better yet, someone involved in the making of the bread. However, I think rules 1,2, & 3 pretty much give the layman something to work with.

    Ari Enkin

  60. R Enkin

    as a small point, the rema is not discussing sweetness per se, but rather the taste of the non-water liquid, which may or may not be sweet.

    none of this can be easily clarified by reference to SA/Rema. Indeed, as I pointed out, you said that a dough made entirely of non-water liquid is mezonos. Which leads to the conclusion that apple juice rolls are mezonos.

    There is nothing in the rema about what foods the bread is normally eaten with (only about kevias seuda or lack of such). And as for taste – the non-water liquid has to be dominant, but there’s nothing in rema about how strong/distinctive any given non-water liquid tastes, how different the resulting bread is from regular bread whether (as already stated) in what it is normally eaten with, or its taste on its own – the only requirement is dominance.

    It stands to reason that in any bread made with only mei peiros, the taste of mei peiros is dominant. This is questioned for apple juice rolls.
    Why? Perhaps one can say that some types of non-water liquids simply don’t taste strongly enough to ever dominate. When you told a previous poster that apple juice rolls are sweeter than regular rolls, but not sweet enough to qualify as sufficiently sweet to be mezonos, perhaps that is what you meant to say – that apple juice alone can never dominate. If so, what liquids do taste strong enough to dominate? that will surely be a subjective decision.
    Whereas following the rema, we had one guideline – mei peiros dominating – we now have new guidelines about what the bread is eaten with and how dramatically different it tastes from regular bread w/ only water, or regular bread that already contains some eggs and sugar, – all these guidelines appear to be aiming to distinguish when a taste is dominant and when not.
    And yet, if apple juice is the only liquid in the dough, surely it is dominant?
    Just as when tomato puree is the only liquid, it is dominant. It is only that tomato puree happens to be a form of liquid with a stronger taste than apple juice.

    Tell me, is sweet potato puree plus eggs and oil and no water sufficiently different than apple juice to make a bread mezonos? I mean, the result will not be *that* much sweeter than challah. Ok, how about all sweet potato puree. How about etc. etc. As you can see, once you accept that apple juice rolls are hamtozi, you are left with subjective judgements, even though you too share the instinct that a bread made with all non-water liquid is mezonos, end of story, unless one is kovea seuda on it.

    There are two issues.

    1. I admit it’s possible – and that contemporary poskim seem to think- that bread made only with apple juice is hamotzi, and that using apple juice as the only liquid is not enough to fulfill the rema’s qualification of dominance, despite the fact that this contradicts the proposition to which you also agree that any bread made entirely of mei peiros ought to be mezonos.

    But this is ought to be at best, a safek. It’s one thing to say that one is in doubt and that apple juice rolls might be hamotzi (even without kevias seuda). But the polemics on the topic announce that mezonos rolls are a fraud and that everyone who was/is noheg to eat such rolls as mezonos are am haaratzim WHEN SUCH WAS THE MINHAG OF A SIZEABLE PROPORTION OF ASHKENAZI JEWS FOR CENTURIES (possibly not in lite, where vegetables were things to be overboiled in soup and fruit was a delicacy for dessert if you had it) – this is all IMO a bit much.

    But I assure you my main motivation here is lemaatah me’asarah tefachim (and it’s not to justify past or present minhagim): I want to bake, and I want to be able to serve the results without putting guests into a situation in which no one – not the posek and not the layman – can say with confidence what the bracha on them is.

  61. Ari Enkin on January 11, 2011 at 10:33 am:
    “Also – Does anyone realize that virtually every Eruv in North America is only declared kosher by means of “conveniently” choosing poskim (like those who choose to use mezonot rolls)?”

    Absolutely incorrect. On the contrary all those who oppose eruvin in North America are selectively choosing poskim to follow. Follow all the statements of almost any of the earlier poskim and an eruv would be allowed l’chatchila.

    “There is hardly an eruv in North America that is kosher by )The Shulchan Aruch or b) The Mishna Berura. “

    Also incorrect. The Shulchan Aruch would allow our eruvin (even without relying on the criterion of shishim ribo which some believe that the mechaber would subscribe to) either because of mefulash or because of mechitzos. The Mishnah Berurah would allow because of mefulash (or because of mechitzos, but I will leave this for another time).

    “Yet people use such Eruvs all the time. Including Sefardim.”

    Because many eruvin today are mechitzos eruvin so even Sefardim can rely on them.

  62. Shalom Spira on January 11, 2011 at 10:56 am :
    “Could you elaborate on the eruvei chatzeirot issue? This could be mizakeh et harabim for this coming Shabbat, by inspiring the public to avoid relying on a problematic eruvei chatzeirot. R. Bleich explains why pious individuals sometimes refuse to rely on an eruvei chatzeirot in Contemporary Halakhic Problems IV, pp. 354-357. [The way I read R. Bleich, he’s not saying it’s forbidden to carry; he’s just explaining why – as an extra measure of piety – some do not carry.”

    Right and some Chassidim maintain that there is a chiyuv to make use of eruvin because they do not want to be perceived as eino modeh beruv. I believe that this is extremely pertinent today because eruvin has become political.

    “Particularly amazing is the story he relates regarding R. Kook, who refused to establish an eruvei chatzeirot in the village of Zeimelis, which did not possess a population of sixty myriad.] If you could supplement what R. Bleich writes, and identify the problems (if any) that exist with our current eruvei chatzeirot, you would be performing a tremendous public service.”

    Actually, Rav Kook changed his tune and became an advocate for eruvin when he became Rav of Yaffo.

  63. Anonymous on January 11, 2011 at 11:13 am:
    “We don’t conveniently choose poskim – we go like the long-standing mesora to pasken like the Beis Efrayim. Additionally, the MB allows reliance on shishim ribo where there is another tzad lehakel. And the Shulchan Aruch clearly writes that shishim ribo is dependent on the street, which is not the case for any eruvin in North America.”

    I would add that the Mishnah Berurah would allow our eruvin because of mefulash, as well.

  64. Shalom Spira on January 11, 2011 at 11:18 am :
    “Parenthetically, just so that I am fair and considerate to both sides of the important eruvei chatzeirot discussion, although R. Bleich writes (on p. 355) that “In a letter addressed to R. Menasheh Klein and published in that author’s Mishneh Halakhot, VIII, no. 90, R. Ya’akov Kanievski, known as “the Steipler”, presents a lengthy list of halakhic considerations militating against reliance upon eiruvin as they are generally constructed in our day”, if one looks at the Mishneh Halakhot in context, he is (respectfully) challenging the Steipler and is presenting a series of hetterim to construct eruvei chatzeirot everywhere.”

    There is a lot to say on this matter, but I will just point to this footnote http://eruvonline.blogspot.com/2009/11/part-4-meoz-umekedem-exploring.html#_ftn38

  65. Ari Enkin on January 11, 2011 at 11:34 am :
    “Although I am not coming to criticize in any way, the reality is that most Eruv’s today are constructed by way of kulas upon kulas – both in the mechitzos as well as issues such as how to achieve sechiras reshus. However, there is some truth to what commentator “Anonymous” says regarding pre existing traditions to do so.”

    It’s fiction. Most eruvin today are more kosher than the eruvin that our forefathers relied on. Sechiras reshus is lkol hadieos d’rabbanan. I, therefore, can’t understand why with this issue one would become so machmir. I suspect that the argument of sechiras reshus is only used after all other arguments are exhausted.

    “That being said, Sefardim and Rambam followers probably should not rely on any Eruv (yes, there are exceptions..Toronto?) and all others who do so are making use of various kulas — for better or for worse.”

    There are many mechitzos eruvin today. Consequentially, there is no reason why Sefardim can’t rely on them. As a matter of fact, all the Brooklyn eruvin consist of mechitzos.

  66. shmuel on January 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm :
    “The historical precedent for relying on the mekilim re eruvin should be viewed in its historical context. The heterim were critical for those populations that lived in times predating a readily accessible indoor fresh water supply, necessitating a means of obtaining water for Shabbos. Likewise, many of us remember hearing from grandparents about the towns central oven where people kept their chulent cooking and needed to rely on eruvin to transport the food home for shabbos. These are a far cry from today’s “necessities” of taking strollers out to shul and for visiting friends.”

    Show me one posek besides for Rav Moshe zt”l who argued as such. All the previous poskim maintained that an eruv should be established to save even the non-religious from chillul Shabbos. Some poskim even argued that an eruv adds to our oneg Shabbos.

  67. “shepherds pie — i mean the type of bread (pie) with meat in it. the “bread” really just covers the meat / chicken. but i am told it is definitely hamotzi.”

    I really don’t know why that would be – unless one is kovea sueda on it, sounds like you have yourself one of the definitions of pas haba bkisinin.

  68. Yehoshua Friedman on January 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm:
    “Eruv is more serious because the Rambam holds derech rabbim is deoraysa i.e. a road 16 amos wide, which is a normal city, town or yishuv street. Do I use the eruv? Yes. Am I lazy? Yes. One of my sons, who got better chinuch than I did, doesn’t.”

    The Rambam would allow many eruvin today because they consist of mechitzos. Moreover all our grandparents carried in eruvin that the Rambam would not agree to. Even Rav Moshe agreed that we don’t follow the Rambam regarding this inyan.

  69. Anonymous on January 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm:
    “Since when is it a better chinuch to depart from your forefathers’ minhag for hundreds of years (if you are an Ashkenazi) to rely on shishim ribo, in accordance with minhag yisroel, as per the Beis Efraim and ‘kol haboim acharov’?”

    Very important point. The anti-eruv campaigns have done one thing – they have created a bunch of machmirem who don’t realize that they were hoodwinked.

  70. i guess it must be considered pashtida though, since it’s served for a meal. That also is a topic that seems somewhat amorphous. There are pies that are considered snacks and ones that are not, but if I choose to eat a georgian snack bread (bread filled with cheese) in the US, am I eating a snack b/c it’s a snack in georgia? Or is it a meal food if I’m in the US?

  71. MiMedinat HaYam

    shephered pie — is the main dish at a meal. thus one “kovea seudah” on it. (similar to pizza, which is claimed to be a meal.)

    problem is that halacha BARELY recognizes a concept as snack. ppl in old times ate (meager) meals (of overcooked vegetables in soup, for example). and if they drank something, it was only one cup. no more. perhaps healthier, but …

    to this day, my father must have bread on the table for a meal (even if he’ll barely eat it) cause that was the european system. you still find that in israel, except that the bread MUST be baked that morning, otherwise its garbage.

    and i probably mean chicken pot pie, not shephered’s pie. though i’ve seen it with meat or chopped meat, not just chicken pieces.

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