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Q&A from the Bais HaVaad Halacha Hotline

Cracked Wheat

May 23, 2024

Q May a very small roll be used for lechem mishneh? What about a challah or matzah with a partial break?

A The mitzvah of lechem mishneh is fulfilled by reciting hamotzi on two challos or rolls that are shaleim (complete; O.C. 274:1). The minimum size is a kezayis, but it should preferably be a kebeitzah (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:258). Some authorities allow smaller rolls, but that view should only be relied on if no alternative is available (see Kaf Hachaim ibid. 8).

If a challah has an incomplete break—i.e., the parts are still attached—if when you lift the smaller segment the whole challah comes along without breaking, it is considered shaleim (Chasam Sofer teshuvah 43).

If a piece breaks off, the challah is no longer shaleim. But the Chacham Tzvi (62, cited by Sha’arei Teshuvah ibid.) cites the Rosh, who says that a loss of 1/48 or less is insignificant and the challah retains its shaleim status. The Aruch Hashulchan (ibid. 5), however, requires perfect shleimus. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach sides with the Chacham Tzvi and allows a small piece to be missing, so long as the general appearance of the challah is shaleim (Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasah 55 note 24).

A challah that is broken into two may be repaired by reattaching the broken segments (e.g., with a toothpick), provided the repair is seamless and the challah looks whole (O.C. 168:2), and the repair may be done on Shabbos (Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasah 55:10). This solution should not be relied upon if the challah is broken into three or more pieces (ibid. note 36).

Two challos that became attached in the oven should be carefully pulled apart; the damaged edge doesn’t affect the challah’s shleimus (Machatzis Hashekel 274:1).

If no whole challos are available, use broken pieces of at least a kezayis (Mishnah Brurah 274:2). In order to fulfill the mitzvah of lechem mishneh, use two (Meishiv Davar 1:21).

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