SECTION 180 The Laws [Governing Treatment] of Breadcrumbs. (1–6)

קפ דִּין פֵּרוּרֵי הַפַּת, וּבוֹ ו' סְעִיפִים:

1 Anyone who does not leave bread on his table [at the conclusion of his meal] will never see a sign of blessing,1 as [implied by] the verse:2 “There was no remnant from his food, therefore, his prosperity will not endure.” With regard to blessing, by contrast, what is stated? “They will eat and they will leave over.”3

א כָּל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְשַׁיֵּר פַּת עַל שֻׁלְחָנוֹ – אֵין רוֹאֶה סִימַן בְּרָכָה לְעוֹלָם,א,1 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ב,2 "אֵין שָׂרִיד לְאָכְלוֹ, עַל כֵּן לֹא יָחִיל טוּבוֹ",ג אֲבָל בִּבְרָכָה מַהוּ אוֹמֵר? ד "אָכֹל וְהוֹתֵר": ה,3

2 It is proper not to remove the tablecloth, or the bread until after the Grace after Meals, so that it will be evident that he is blessing G‑d for His great kindness and goodness in preparing sustenance for all His created beings.

ב וְנָכוֹן שֶׁלֹּא לְהָסִיר הַמַּפָּה וְהַלֶּחֶם עַד אַחַר בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן,ו כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא נִכָּר שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ ה' עַל חַסְדּוֹ וְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל, שֶׁהֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו: ז

3 If no bread remains on one’s table, [a person who desires to fulfill the above directive] should not bring a whole loaf and place it on the table,4 because it appears as if he is setting a table for a false deity, as [implied by] the verse:5 “You who prepare a table for the deity of fortune.”1 If, however, a whole loaf had already been placed on the table — for example, on Shabbos, when bread is broken over two loaves — it is desirable not to remove [the second loaf] until after Grace.6

ג אִם לֹא ח נִשְׁאַר לוֹ לֶחֶם עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן – לֹא יָבִיא פַּת שְׁלֵמָה וְיִתְּנֶנָּה עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן,4 מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה כְּעוֹרֵךְ שֻׁלְחָן לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב: ט,5 "הַעֹרְכִים לַגַּד שֻׁלְחָן" וְגוֹ'.י אֲבָל אִם הָיְתָה שְׁלֵמָה מֻנַּחַת כְּבָר עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן, כְּמוֹ שֶׁבְּשַׁבָּת בּוֹצְעִים עַל לֶחֶם מִשְׁנֶה – טוֹב שֶׁלֹּא לַהֲסִירָהּ עַד אַחַר בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן: יא,6

4 In the Talmudicera, when it was customary to remove the small tables that had been placed before all of the participants in the meal before they washed [their hands] prior to Grace,7 they would [then] wash in the place where the tables had stood. [Therefore,] it was necessary to sweep the floor where the tables had stood before washing so that there would be no breadcrumbs there, [lest] they become repulsive because of the water with which one would wash [that might fall on them].8 Although it is permitted to destroy [bread]crumbs that are less than the size of an olive, [stringency is advised in this instance]. There is concern that the attendant will be unlearned — for it is permitted to employ an attendant that is unlearned — and he will also leave crumbs that are the size of an olive on the table when he removes the [larger pieces of] bread from it. Afterwards, when he removes the tables, [the olive-sized pieces] will fall from the table and become repulsive from the water with which one washed.7 Therefore, [it was said that] one should sweep [the floor] before washing.

We, by contrast, do not remove the table and we wash in a place where there are no crumbs.9 Hence, it is not necessary to sweep [the floor] before [washing].

ד בִּימֵי חַכְמֵי הַתַּלְמוּד שֶׁהָיוּ מְסַלְּקִים אֶת הַשֻּׁלְחָנוֹת הַקְּטַנּוֹת שֶׁלִּפְנֵי כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד יב קֹדֶם מַיִם אַחֲרוֹנִים,7 וְהָיוּ נוֹטְלִים מַיִם אַחֲרוֹנִים בִּמְקוֹם הַשֻּׁלְחָנוֹת – הָיוּ צְרִיכִים לְכַבֵּד קַרְקַע הַבַּיִת בִּמְקוֹם הַשֻּׁלְחָנוֹת קֹדֶם הַנְּטִילָה,יג שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׁאֲרוּ שָׁם פֵּרוּרֵי פַּת וְיִמָּאֲסוּ בְּמֵי הַנְּטִילָה.8 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמֻּתָּר לְאַבֵּד פֵּרוּרִים שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶם כַּזַּיִת – חוֹשְׁשִׁים שֶׁמָּא יִהְיֶה הַשַּׁמָּשׁ עַם הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁמֻּתָּר לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בְּשַׁמָּשׁ עַם הָאָרֶץ, וְיַנִּיחַ עַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן גַּם פֵּרוּרִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם כַּזַּיִת יד כְּשֶׁמֵּסִיר הַלֶּחֶם מֵעַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן, וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִפְּלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ כְּשֶׁמְּסַלְּקִין אוֹתָן מִשָּׁם טו וְיִמָּאֲסוּ בְּמֵי הַנְּטִילָה,7 לְכָךְ יְכַבֵּד תְּחִלָּה.

אֲבָל אָנוּ שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ מְסַלְּקִין הַשֻּׁלְחָן, וְאָנוּ נוֹטְלִים הַיָּדַיִם בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין שָׁם פֵּרוּרִים טז,9 – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְכַבֵּד תְּחִלָּה: יז

5Although it is permitted to consciously destroy [bread]crumbs that are less than an olive in size,8 they should not be cast in a place where people will tread on them, for when people trample on breadcrumbs, this can lead to poverty.10 License is given to destroy breadcrumbs only by casting them into water or the like.

ה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמֻּתָּר לְאַבֵּד פֵּרוּרִים שֶׁאֵין בָּהֶם כַּזַּיִת8 בַּיָּדַיִם יח – לֹא יִזְרְקֵם בִּמְקוֹם דְּרִיסַת רַגְלֵי בְּנֵי אָדָם, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁקָּשֶׁה לַעֲנִיּוּת יט,10 כְּשֶׁדּוֹרְסִים עַל פֵּרוּרֵי לֶחֶם,כא וְלֹא הִתִּירוּ אֶלָּא לְאַבְּדָם, כְּגוֹן לְהַשְׁלִיכָם לַמַּיִם וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה: כא

6 It is customary to cover the bread-knife11 during the recitation of the Grace after Meals. [The rationale:] Our tables resemble the Altar [of the Beis HaMikdash]12 and concerning [the stones of] the Altar, it is written:13 “Do not raise an iron [blade] upon them.” For iron shortens man’s lifespan, while the Altar prolongs man’s lifespan. It is not appropriate that an entity that shortens [life] be raised against one that prolongs it.14 A person’s table also lengthens his days15 and atones for his sins16 because [it enables] hospitality to be shown to guests, for great is the power of providing refreshment, for it causes G‑d’s presence to rest.17

In many places, the custom is not to cover [the bread-knife] on Shabbos and festivals. [The rationale:] During the week, the bread-knife is covered because it represents the power of Esav, and on Shabbos and festivals, neither Satan nor evil mishaps have any [power]. And the custom of Jews is Torah.

ו נוֹהֲגִים לְכַסּוֹת הַסַּכִּין11 בִּשְׁעַת בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן,כב כִּי הַשֻּׁלְחָן דּוֹמֶה לְמִזְבֵּחַ,כג,12 וּבַמִּזְבֵּחַ נֶאֱמַר: כד,13 "לֹא תָנִיף עֲלֵיהֶם בַּרְזֶל", לְפִי שֶׁהַבַּרְזֶל מְקַצֵּר יָמָיו שֶׁל אָדָם וְהַמִּזְבֵּחַ מַאֲרִיךְ יְמֵי הָאָדָם, וְאֵינוֹ בְּדִין שֶׁיּוּנַף הַמְקַצֵּר עַל הַמַּאֲרִיךְ,כה,14 וְגַם הַשֻּׁלְחָן מַאֲרִיךְ יָמָיו שֶׁל אָדָם כו,15 וּמְכַפֵּר עֲוֹנוֹתָיו כז,16 בְּהַכְנָסַת אוֹרְחִים,כח שֶׁגָּדוֹל כֹּחָהּ שֶׁל לְגִימָה שֶׁמַּשְׁרָה שְׁכִינָה.כט,17

וְנָהֲגוּ בִּמְקוֹמוֹת הַרְבֵּה שֶׁלֹּא לְכַסּוֹתוֹ בְּשַׁבָּת וְיוֹם טוֹב,ל כִּי בְּחֹל מְכַסִּין אוֹתוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא כֹּחוֹ שֶׁל עֵשָׂו, וּבְשַׁבָּת וְיוֹם טוֹב אֵין שָׂטָן וּפֶגַע רַע.לא וּמִנְהָגָן שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל תּוֹרָה הִיא: לב