Holding on to the bread when saying Hamotzi

Holding on to the bread when saying Hamotzi:[1]

A. The Law:

One is not to say the blessing of Hamotzi over bread until the bread is in one’s hands.[2]

If said the blessing prior to the bread being in his hand:[3] If one said the blessing of Hamotzi and only afterwards took the bread in his hands, he is not required to repeat the blessing, so long as the bread was in front of him at the time of the blessing. If however he said the blessing and only afterwards the bread was brought in front of him then he must repeat the blessing. [This applies even if one had in mind to have the bread brought to him after reciting the blessing.[4]]

B. How to hold the bread during Hamotzi:[5]

Which hand?[6] One is to hold to the bread with his right hand.[7]

Both hands:[8] It is proper to place both hands [i.e. ten fingers[9]] on the bread while saying Hamotzi, as they contain ten fingers corresponding to the ten Mitzvos that are associated with bread.[10] [This law does not apply to Mezonos, unless one is Koveia Seuda on it.[11] This law applies even to a slice of bread.[12]]

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[1] Admur 167/6; Michaber 167/3; Rokeiach 329; Ketzos Hashulchan 37/6

[2] The reason: As one may only recite a blessing over a Mitzvah in close approximation to the Mitzvah, when the Mitzvah is prepared in his hand for him to fulfill it and not prior, as explained in 25/17. [Admur ibid; M”A 167/9]

[3] Admur 167/6 in parentheses; 206/9 regarding all foods; Seder 9/4 regarding all matters that a blessing is said over

[4] Seder ibid

[5] Admur 167/7

[6] 167/7; Seder 9/4; Michaber 206/4; Brachos 43b

[7] The reason: As all matters which one says a blessing over must be held in the right hand during the time of the blessing. [ibid]

[8] Admur 167/7; Michaber 167/4; Rokeiach 329; Shivlei Haleket 141

[9] Some Poskim rule one is to hold it in a way that one places eight fingers on top of the bread, and the two thumbs under the bread. [Maharil brought in M”A 167/2]

[10] The ten Mitzvos: These ten Mitzvos are: 1) Not to plow with a ox and donkey together; 2) Not to plant Kiolayim; 3) Leket; 4) Shicha 5) Peiah; 6) Bikurim; 7) Terumos; 8) Maaser Rishon; 9) Maaser Sheiyni; 10) Challah. [Admur ibid; Tur in name of Rokeiach]

The ten words in Birchas Hamotzi: It is for the above reason that there are ten words in Birchas Hamotzi, and ten words in the verse Matzmiach Chatzir Labeheima, and ten words in the verse Einei Chol Eilecha Yisabeiru, and ten words in the verse Eretz Chita. [Admur ibid; Michaber ibid] And ten words in the verse of Vayiten Lecha. [Michaber ibid; omitted in Admur ibid]

Kabbalistic reason: The ten fingers represent the ten Sefiros that draw Elokus into Malchus. [Kaf Hachaim 167/32 and 34]

[11] Piskeiy Teshuvos 167 footnote 39

[12] Piskeiy Teshuvos 167/4

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