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Chapter 41: 4-6
The Laws of Hamotzi

4. A person should not cut off only a small piece lest he appear miserly. Nor should he cut off a piece larger than a k'beitzoh, for then he appears gluttonous. This applies only when eats alone. When one eats with others and must give each person a piece the size of a k'zayis, it is permitted to cut as large a piece as necessary.

On the Sabbath, even when a person eats alone, it is permitted to cut as large a piece as he needs for the entire meal, in deference to the Sabbath. Showing that he desires to eat a large meal emphasizes how dear the Sabbath meals are to him.

One should eat the piece with which one opened the bread before one eats any other bread. This is a sign of the dearness of the mitzvah, for one recited a blessing over that piece. It is important to take care that no portion of it be given to a gentile, animal, or fowl.

5. Before reciting the blessing, one should place both hands on the loaf, one's ten fingers symbolizing the ten mitzvos that are associated with producing bread they are:

a)"Do not plow with an ox and an ass together" (Deuteronomy 22:10);
b)the prohibition against planting mixed species (kilayim, ibid. 22:9);
c)allowing the poor to glean (leket, Leviticus 19:9);
d)leaving forgotten shaves for them (shich'choh, Deuteronomy 24:19);
e)leaving the corners of the field unharvested (pe'oh, Leviticus 19:9);
f)the prohibition against muzzling an ox (Deuteronomy 25:4);
g)the portion of the harvest given to the priests (terumoh, Numbers 18:12);
h)the first tithe (ma'aser, Numbers 18:2);
i)the second tithe (ma'aser sheni, Deuteronomy 14:22);
j)the separation of challah, (Numbers 15:21);

Accordingly, there are ten Hebrew words in the blessing hamotzi; ten Hebrew words in the verse (Psalms 145:15): "The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food at the proper time"; ten Hebrew words in the verse (Deuteronomy 8:8) which describes the produce of Eretz Yisrael: "a land of wheat, barley, grapes, figs, and pomegranates - a land of oil, olives and honey [dates]"; and ten Hebrew words in Isaac's blessing to Jacob (Genesis 27:28): "May G-d grant you the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth, much grain and wine."

A person should lift up the loaf when he recites G-d's name in the blessing. On the Sabbath, he should lift up both loaves.

The blessing hamotzi should be recited with proper concentration, taking care to pronounce the "hey" of the word hamotzi properly. One should pause slightly between the words lechem and min so that the "Mem" will not be swallowed.

After reciting the blessing, one should eat from the bread immediately. It is forbidden to make any interruption between a blessing and partaking of the food - even to respond "Amen." It is proper to eat a k'zayis* without any interruption.**(See Chapter 50, Law 5.)

* {According to Shiurei Torah, approximately 26 grams in modern measure; according to Rav Moshe Feinstein, approximately 31 grams, and according to the Chazon Ish, approximately 36 grams.}

** {The Misgeres Hashulchon 7 and Mishnoh B'rurah (167:35) state this stringency need not be followed.}

6. It is a mitzvah to bring salt to the table before breaking bread and to dip the bread in the salt.* This was instituted because the table resembles and altar (see Chapter 44, Law 4) and our food, a sacrifice. [Leviticus 2:13] commands "On all your sacrifices, offer salt."

* {The Shulchon Oruch HoRav (167:8) and the Mishnoh B'rurah (167:33) mention, that, according to Kabbalah, it is proper to dip the bread in the salt three times.}

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