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Av 19, 5768

Where do you cut the Challah?


Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff

Question:
1. Should one cut the loaf before reciting Hamotzi?
2. How much should one cut before Hamotzi?
3. Where should one begin to cut?

Answer:
I am including the prepublication parts of a book I am editing, authored by Rabbis Barclay and Jaeger:

1. It is considered an honor to the Bíracha if one is able to recite it on a whole loaf. On the other hand, if the cutting is postponed until after Hamotzi, there will be too long a delay between the Bíracha and the eating. Therefore, one should begin to cut a slice from the loaf before Hamotzi, and only finish the cutting after reciting the Bíracha.

2. In order for the loaf to retain its status of being whole, the partially cut slice must remain sufficiently attached that one could raise it in the air and the loaf would not tear off. If the slice is not capable of supporting the weight of the loaf, it is considered detached and the loaf is no longer considered whole.

3. At the part of the loaf that formed a crust first, when the dough was baked. According to some opinions, this is the top side, but according to other opinions, this is the bottom side. It is therefore correct to begin cutting on the side of the loaf, so that both the upper and lower surfaces are cut, thereby satisfying both opinions.


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