- The Meal and Mezuman
Why don’t we speak after washing for bread?
There is a dispute among Poskim if talking is allowed between washing hands and the Bracha on the bread. According to the opinion of the Rambam and most Rishonim, as long as your mind is not distracted from the fact you're about to eat, it is permitted to talk about anything, and it's not considered a Hefsek. If someone was distracted, by speech or action, and he forgot he was about to eat, he needs to wash again. Many Yemenite Jews hold this Minhag and speak between washing and the meal. However, some Rishonim (Tur following the Yerushalmi, and others) hold the opinion that one mustn't have any interruption in speech between washing and Hamotzi, only for something that's urgent for the meal one is allowed to speak, for example, if he's missing salt, or a knife or bread, he can ask for them. The Shulchan Aruch (166:1) decreed that it's good to follow the stringent opinions that permit talking only if it's needed for the meal, but not for other things. The Rm"a adds that one should try not to have an intermission longer than the time it takes to walk 22 Amot (about 11 meters). Rabbi Eliezer Melamed