“Mezonos” Bread

During many wedding meals there is bread available for all the guests. Many caterers offer “Mezonos” bread for the occasion. This allows the guests to eat without washing and reciting Birchas Hamazon. The question is are these “Mezonos” bread really Mezonos or must we wash on these forms of bread and recite Hamotzei?

1. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 168) says, (based on the opinion of the Rambam), “if dough is kneaded with honey, milk or fruit juice, and the fruit juice is recognizable in the bread, the beracha on the bread is mezonos.” The Rama disagrees, and says such bread is still called “bread” (and the Beracha is Hamotzei) unless there is a lot of fruit juice or spices, in which case the Beracha would be mezonos. The Mishnah Berurah, as well as many other poskim, maintain that the fruit juice, etc has to be most of the mixture, and one has to actually taste it in the bread in order for the Beracha to be a mezonos.

2. The average “Mezonos” bread has a similar taste to that of regular bread. And thus according to the aforementioned poskim one would be required to wash and recite Hamotzei when eating them.

3. There is an opinion of the Daas Torah (Harav Sholom Schwadron zt”l, commonly known as the Maharsham 168:7) who maintains that if a mixture has mostly fruit juice then one does not need to taste it in the mixture. Those who recite the Blessing of Mezonos on “Mezonos” bread are relying on the opinion of the Maharsham. Since there is a lot of fruit juice in the “Mezonos” bread one need not wash on it, even if the bread is no sweeter than any other form of bread.

4. However, Harav Yisroel Belsky shlit”a (Mesorah vol. 1) writes at length that one should not rely in the opinion of the Maharsham, for numerous reasons. Firstly, many Rishonim explain that 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. The fact that there is fruit juice in the dough is irrelevant if it does not affect the manner in which they are eaten. Furthermore, the Maharsham seems to imply that his ruling only applies according to the view of the Shulchan Aruch. However, according to the Rama one would still be required to taste the sweetness in the roll. Moreover, the Sefer Daas Torah was printed postmortem, accumulated from the unpublished notes and letters left over from the Maharsham. It is likely, argues Harav Belsky shlit”a, that he may not have wanted this ruling to be printed as normative Hallacha. Therefore he concludes that one must wash and recite Hamotzei on “Mezonos” bread.

5. Even those who follow the opinion that dough kneaded entirely with fruit juice automatically qualifies as “mezonos” should be aware that this refers only to 100% fruit juice. It does not include fruit juice from concentrate or a combination of pure fruit juice with some water added. (Minchas Yitzchak 9:17, opinion of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l in Vsein Bracha)

6. In addition if one were to make an entire meal out of this bread he is required to recite Hamotzei and Birchas Hamazon. To properly elucidate how much bread is required to be eaten to be considered “a meal” is far beond the scope of this work and would require the consultation of a Rav.

7. In conclusion, some poskim feel that “Mezonos” bread is as it seems mezonos and does not require the blessing of Hamotzei and Birchas Hamazon (unless enough is eaten to be considered a meal).[The Sefer Vzos Habracha page 20 reports that this is the opinion of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l and the rabbanim of the Badatz Eida Hachareidis. However, a different opinion of Harav Auerbach zt”l is cited in the Sefer Vsein Bracha.]

Most authorities, however, maintain that one must treat “Mezonos” bread as regular bread and one must recite Hamotzei and Birchas Hamazon. This is indeed the view of Harav Moshe Stern zt”l (the Rav of Debreczin Beer Moshe 8:37:6), Harav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l (cited in Vzos Habracha), Harav Yitzchak Liebes zt”l (Beis Avi 5:7),Harav Shmuel Wosner zt”l (cited in Vzos Habracha), ybc”l Harav Nissam Karelitz shlit”a (cited in Vzos Habracha),  Harav Yisroel Belsky shlit”a (Mesorah vol. 1), Harav Dovid Feinstein shlit”a (Vedibarta Bam page 81), Harav Rueven Feinstein shlit”a and Harav Moshe Heinemenn shlit”a.

ואעתיק כאן כרוז רבני ארצות הברית בענין לחמניות מזונות (מתורגם מאנגלית) וכמו שנדס בסוף ספר וזאת הברכה: “נהוג כיום לאפות לחמניות כאשר העיסה נילושה במיץ פירות ורשום עליהן ברכתן בורא מיני מזונות. העובדה היא שרוב בני אדם קובעים סעודה על לחמניות אלו, וכל הכוונה באפית לחמניות אלו היא לשמש תחליף לכריך גדול, הלכך אף אם דין העיסה יהיה כדין עיסה של מזונות (אשר ברוב הפעמים אינו כן), עדיין הלחמניות חייבות בנטילת ידים, המוציא וברכת המזון, מכיון שיש בהן שיעור שרוב בני אדם קובעים עליהן סעודה. הנוהג להגיש לחמניות אלה שרשום עליהן בורא מיני מזונות בארוחות כגון: חתונות, מלוה מלכה או במטוסים, כאשר כולם בודאי קובעים עליהם סעודה הוא מכשול לרבים! באנו על החתום: הרב אברהם ביק, הרב ראובן פיינשטין, הרב משה היינמן, הרב ישראל בעלסקי [ולהבדיל בין חיים לחיים] הרב משה שטערן, הרב אברהם בלומנקרנץ”.



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