During the Meal
• One should not talk during a meal, i.e. while he has food in his mouth, for
it can prove dangerous should it go down the windpipe. Even saying "bless you"
to one who has sneezed should be avoided. However, if he pushes the food to the
side of his mouth, there is no concern about talking.
• When a number of people are eating together and using the same loaf of bread,
the others are not allowed to eat from that bread until the one who said the
blessing over the bread eats first. For example, they cannot take the loaf from
which he cut, cut a slice for themselves and eat it before the first person
started eating his. Likewise, he cannot cut them slices until he eats first,
otherwise it would be considered an interruption. However, if each one has his
own bread, they are permitted to eat before the first one eats.
• It is proper for one to learn some Torah during a meal. At a minimum, one
should say at least one chapter of Psalms, preferably chapter 23 (and better
yet, if he says this chapter after saying the Hamotzi blessing and eating some bread).
• When one is distributing pieces of bread to those that are eating with him (e.g.
on Friday night), one should not throw the bread to the recipient, nor hand it
to him directly. Rather, the piece should be placed before them and they should
• It is improper to eat or drink while standing. Neither is it proper to wipe
one's plate clean while eating in such a manner that nothing is left on the
plate; rather some food, even a small amount, should remain. It is also
improper to lick one's fingers.
Pets or Animals
• If one has pets or animals that he is responsible to feed, he may not sit
down to eat his own meal without first providing them with their meal.
According to some opinions, one is permitted to eat a snack prior to providing
his animals with their food.
• When a person comes into a home as a guest, he should not say to the host
"give me to eat" but rather should wait until he is offered to eat.
• One should not offer to another individual a cup of any liquid from which he
had started drinking so that the second person should drink what is left, since
the second person may be too embarrassed to refuse the offer and it is stated
that for health reasons one should not drink from the same cup that another
person drank from. There is no problem if he puts the cup down and the other
individual takes it from there.
• If two people are eating together from the same plate (e.g. eating potato
chips from a bowl that is between them) and one of them stops eating in order to
drink or to do another minor act, the second person needs to stop eating from
the plate and wait until his friend is ready to resume eating. If however, three
people are eating from the same plate or bowl and one interrupts his eating, it
is not necessary for the other two to stop their eating.
• If there is bread remaining on the table at the end of the meal, it should
not be removed until after Grace after the Meal. Likewise, one should not remove
the tablecloth from the table until after one has said the grace. However, it is
not necessary to bring bread to the table if there is none left.