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Eating a Meal with Bread

Eating a Meal with Bread


The blessing hamotzi, said at the beginning of a meal, is all inclusive and exempts one from saying additional blessings over the other foods eaten at the meal. (For exceptions, see below.)

Washing One's Hands: Before eating bread, we wash our hands in a specific ritual manner. Be sure your hands are clean and free of rings or anything else which might intervene between the fingers and the flow of water. It is preferable to use a special two-handled cup, although any large cup can be used. The water is poured first on the right hand, two or three times according to your custom, then on the left hand the same number of times. If you will be eating at least two ounces of bread, say the blessing:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the
Universe, Who has sanctified us with His
commandments and commanded us concerning
the washing of the hands

Then rub your hands together and dry them, and say the blessing hamotzi (see Blessings before Eating) over the bread. Do not speak or engage in other activities between washing the hands and saying the blessing.

Other Blessings During The Meal: After the blessing of hamotzi is said, we do not say blessings on the other foods in the meal, with the following exceptions:

  • A blessing is said on wine, unless the meal was preceded by Kiddush.
  • A blessing is required for some mezonot desserts, depending on the ingredients.
  • A blessing is said on all other desserts (e.g. ice cream, compote).

If in doubt, one can first say Bircat Hamazon (Grace After A Meal) and then eat the dessert, saying the appropriate blessings before and after the dessert.

After concluding a meal in which at least one ounce of bread was eaten, we say Bircat Hamazon.

NOTE: Some breads and rolls require the blessing mezonot because of their ingredients. See the first note in Blessings before Eating.

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Menachem Posner for April 24, 2009

RE: HaMotzi over a new additional loaf According to tradition, unexpected food brought to the table in the middle of a meal would not covered by the blessings made since the diners only had in mind that which they were expecting to be served. However, in practice, a second blessing is not recited on such foods these days since virtually nothing can be considered to be truly unexpected, and when the meal begun it was understood that something else not on may just show up on the table. Reply

Ronald Sevenster April 23, 2009

HaMotzi over a new additional loaf I have the following question. Is a new blessing HaMotzi required if, in a meal that contains bread, an addional loaf that was not formerly intended to be eaten is unexpectedly brought to the table? This seems to be a dilemma: Saying HaMotzi in this situation has the appearance of beginning a meal within another meal. But on the other hand seems to be necessary because the new loaf seems not to be "covered" by the blessing that was recited before, because it was not intended to be part of the meal. Reply

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