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Author:  Yossi
E-mail:  yossiaz@aol.com
Date:  8/21/2002 6:14:00 PM
Subject:  Mezonot Roll Revisited
Message:  Rabbi Abadi:

I wanted to thank you for your reply to my mezonot roll question. Forgive me for writing such a lengthy response, but I was unclear of the basis of your answer.

I have long been puzzled about the mezonot roll argument as it applies to Sepharadim. Specifically, I'm bothered by the simplistic argument that if a food substance is treated like bread, then it is Hamotzee. Though this may be a convenient way of looking at the issue, it is by no means that clear cut. As you know, the Shulhan Aroukh gives specific criteria for the distinctions between lehem, pat haba'a bekisnin, and other foods. In Rabbi Forst's Laws of Brachos (p.253-254), the arguments against mezonos rolls are presented in a clear way, so I will quote these arguments one by one, then give my counter arguments.

..eating "mezonos bread" presents the following major halachic difficulties:

a) The "mezonos bread" itself"
We have learned earlier about the three types of pas ha'ba b'kisnin: Pie, a cracker and a sweet cake. "Mezonos bread", however, is neither filled with fruit as a pie nor is it thin and brittle as a cracker. The only claim "mezonos bread" has to a mezonos is the fact that it is kneaded with apple juice instead of water. As we have seen above, however kneading bread with fruit juice is effective only when the taste of the fruit juice is clearly distinguishable. "Mezonos bread", however, has no noticeable taste of apple juice. Indeed, if it were to taste of apples, it would not be used as bread. We did, however, mention above, that in the opinion of some Poskim, whenever the pas contains more juice than water, one may recite a mezonos even though the juice taste is not noticeable. In their opinion, the above-mentioned objection is not valid whenever the "mezonos bread" contains more juice than water. Let us, however, proceed:

The argument Rabbi Forst is referring to is the one between Maran and the Rama. Maran is the one who holds of this latter opinion, that once the fruit juice is the majority of the liquid, even though its taste is not noticeable, it is mezonot. Thus, Sepharadim can obviously disregard this argument.

b) Again, regarding the "mezonos bread" itself:
We have noted above that the custom of Ashkenazic Jews is to recite a hamotzee on matzo. The reason given for this is the fact that customarily people eat matzo as a meal not a snack. Apparently, being classified as one of the types of pas ha'ba b'kisnin is, in itself, not an adequate reason to recite mezonos if the pas ha'ba b'kisnin is usually eaten as a meal. All varieties of "mezonos bread" are undoubtedly made to be eaten as bread, as their name confirms, and are therefore inappropriately classified as pas ha'ba b'kisnin. Thus, even if we concede that the amount of apple juice in "mezonos bread" is of sufficient quantity to render it the status of pas ha'ba b'kisnin, it should, nevertheless, require a hamotzee. Thus the term "mezonos bread" is self-contradictory.

This is the argument to which I assume you were referring when you replied simply, "Hamotzie. It looks like bread, it tastes like bread, it smells like bread, and it's eaten like bread." But consider the fact that Sepharadim indeed make a mezonot on matza during the year, even though it would be treated as bread. (Believe me, I would love to take out two sheets of matza to fulfil my lehem mishne on Shabbat, but, unlike Ashkenazim, I can't.) Matza is treated like bread, yet all major Sephardic Poseqim agree to recite a mezonot. Obviously, according to Maran, there are certain objective criteria for what is considered pat haba'a be'kisnin regardless of how individuals treat it. There are also objective criteria for when a mezonot or hamotzee is made on pat haba'a be'kisnin. But let's leave that for the upcoming arguments.
c) "Mezonos bread" is normally used for sandwiches, for example: salami sandwich, a frank on roll or a falafel pita. We learned above that whenever the amount of pas ha'ba b'kisnin eaten with other foods equals the amount of bread that would be eaten with a meal of those foods, the pas ha'ba b'kisnin becomes lechem. Thus, even if we disregard the previous arguments, the fact that the "mezonos bread" is eaten as a sandwich (in an amount appropriate for a bread meal) effects a k'vias s'udah.
Look in the Mishna Berura (O"H 168, 24) who brings down a mahaloqet aharonim whether the amount needed to render hamotzee is 3 - 4 eggs worth (quite a substantial amount in its own right - one that an entire airline meal certainly would not add up to) or the amount necessary to completely satiate someone. The Mishna Berura concedes that the mashma'out of the Shulhan Aroukh is of the latter opinion.
d) Even when the "mezonos bread" is eaten alone, one who eats "mezonos bread" usually eats it as a meal. We have noted above that when pas ha'ba b'kisnin is eaten alone, as a meal, in the quantity that would suffice for bread eaten with a meal, it is considered k'vias s'udah. Thus, one must avoid eating "mezonos bread" equal to the amount of bread that is eaten with a meal.
Rabbi Forst's language is a little confusing here but what he means to say (as he states explicitly on p. 250) is that if one eats the amount of pat haba'a be'kisnin necessary to constitute a meal, if that was all he was eating for his meal, then he makes a hamotzee. In other words, if it would take 5 or 6 mezonos rolls to fill someone up if that were all he was eating for a meal, then he makes a hamotzee. I don't think this would be the case on an airplane (I would hope such a person would have one of those sanitary bags in front of his seat, just in case.)
So, to conclude, for Sepharadim to consider "mezonos bread" as actual pas is, shall we say, pas nisht.
Thank you,

Yossi Azose

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