Dear Rabbi, I was just wondering what is the correct way to make Hamotzi on Shabbos. I have seen different customs, most people make a small cut first and then cover the bread again and put the one with the cut on the top and some put the one with the cut on the bottom. What is the correct way? Thank you!
ב"ה Shalom There are indeed different customs, so if you know the custom of your father that is the one you should follow. According to the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna B'rura at night the bottom Challa should be taken and during the day meal the upper Challa should be taken.The reasoning behind this is Kabbilistic. The Bach disagrees and says that one may not skip over a mitzvah and therefore at night as well the upper Challah should be cut. To avoid that problem some say to pull the bottom Challa a bit closer so as not to skip over a mitzvah, while others say that the challa which was on top during the Bracha should then be placed at the bottom when cutting. According to Shlah and the Vilna Gaon, both Challot are cut. However, most peope cut one Challa. There is an additional custom of making a shallow superficial cut before the Bracha on Shabbat to attempt to fulfill two mitzvoth at one time. That is, to keep the challa whole on one hand without deeply cutting it, but at the same time having it ready to eat so as not to delay the Bracha by making this "perforation." See Shulchan Aruch 174 and Mishna Brurua) By now, you may have heard more customs than you planned, so therefore follow the custom of your family and if it is not known follow the custom of the community you belong to. Those who follow the mishna Brura or those who follow Chassidic customs or whatever it may be. All the Best