Fact or myth-May one eat the ends of the bread/Challah or must one throw it out:
Many people are accustomed to cut off the ends of a loaf of bread and not to eat it. Others, however, are not accustomed to avoid eating the ends of the bread, and on the contrary, some are accustomed to specifically eat it as a Segula for children and for good memory. Below we will discuss the details of this tradition of not eating the ends of the bread, its sources, reasons, Halachic pushback’s, and whether its practice is to be encouraged or discouraged from being followed.
A. Does it have a source?
While this custom is recorded in some Sefarim [of the last century] as a general custom of the world, no mention of it is made in any of the classic works of Jewish law such as the Talmud, Shulchan Aruch, or Achronim. It is not recorded even amongst the writings of the Achronim who list hundreds of hazards and customs of such nature, hence implying not only that it does not have a source, but also that it was also not very widespread. Furthermore, from the fact that the section in Shulchan Aruch which deals with which part of the bread to break for Hamotzi specifically directs one to cut from the most burned part, and does mention any restrictions regarding the ends of the bread implies that not only does such a custom not exist, but furthermore that it may run contrary to Halacha, if that is the most burned part of the bread.
B. The reason for the custom:
- Forgetfulness: The widespread reason quoted for not eating the ends of the bread is due to that eating the ends of the bread causes forgetfulness. [This reason does not have any record in Sefarim, including even those Sefarim who record the custom.]
- Cut off the evil: An alternative reason recorded is due to that evil it states in Sefarim that evil forces reside on bread and hence we cut off the edges of the bread to nullify their power. Alternatively, the reason is because evil tends to reside on the corner of an item and hence just as it is customary to cut off the corner of the heart [i.e. Arlas Halev], so too we cut off the corner of the bread.
- Leave leftovers for after the meal: Another reason entertained behind the custom is that it is done in order to fulfill the Halachic directive which instructs one to leave over some bread throughout the meal, and not to suffice with a few leftover crumbs. Hence, we cut and set aside the ends of the bread in order to guarantee this leftover bread requirement. [This reason however does not explain a) why any significance is given to specifically the ends of the bread; b) why we need to cut both ends and not suffice with simply one; c) why we throw out the ends and don’t eat it in a later meal.]
C. Should it be practiced:
The Halachic pushback against the custom and its defense: Due to the fact that the custom does not have any explicit source, as stated above, one can argue to prohibit the custom of throwing out the ends of the bread on the basis that it is considered Bal Tashchis. On the other hand, those who follow the custom can argue that since it is a widespread custom amongst certain segments of Jewry, it therefore has the status of Minhag Yisrael Torah Hi, and is therefore not subject to Bal Tashchis, just as we rule regarding other food restrictions that are a result of a Chumra or Hiddur.
The practical ruling-Must one abide by this custom: Being this adherence is not an established custom by all families, and many are not particular in it, therefore one who does not have such a tradition is not to adapt it [especially in light of the above Halachic issues surrounding it and the fact that some have a counter custom to specifically eat the ends of the bread]. Nonetheless, those who received such a tradition are to continue doing so in the spirit of Minhag Yisrael Torah Hi.
The Chabad custom: While there are many Chabad Chassidim who may adhere to the above practice as do others of the world, this adherence is not an established Chabad custom, and there are also many amongst Anash who are not particular in it. Harav Eliyahu Landa Shlita stated to us that he has not witnessed this Minhag by his family or amongst Anash. Likewise, it is told of certain Chabad Mashpi’im of the previous generation that they would specifically eat the ends of the bread in order so it doesn’t go to waste.
Some people are accustomed to cut off the ends of a loaf of bread and not to eat it. This adherence has no source, and is not a universal Jewish or Chabad custom, and many are not particular in it, with some negating the custom and others having a contrary custom to specifically eat the ends of the bread. Practically, each family should follow their tradition and while there is no need to abolish the custom from being practiced amongst those who are particular, there is likewise no need to adapt to it by those who are not.
 See Minchas Yitzchak 9:8-7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 167:3 footnote 29; Nitei Gavriel Pesach 2 4:32; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 31:4 footnote 5; Sefer Cham Hashemesh [Yaakov Chaviv]; Birurei Chaim 4:474 footnote 106; Yismach Yehuda Devarim p. 190; Maanah Lashon 6 p. 73; Zechor Asah p. 334; Minhag Yisrael Torah p. 53; Madanei Melachim Teshuvah 40; Bechukosecha Eshtasheia 48
 Taamei Haminhagim, Minchas Yitzchak ibid and Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid all record this as a custom follow throughout the world, however, in truth, as we have proven not everyone abides by it.
 See Maanah Lashon ibid that so was Minhag Tunis; Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar 139 p. 312 that Rav Chaim Kanievsky claims that his father would eat the ends of the bread and that so was followed in his household
 Taamei Haminhagim 176 in Kuntrus Achron there; Minchas Yitzchak 9:8-7 defends the custom despite not knowing of a source and states that so is his custom; Nitei Gavriel Pesach 2 4:32
 See the following Sefarim who explicitly write that it has no source in any Sefer: Minchas Yitzchak ibid; Rav Chaim Kanievsky in various quoted works, as brought in Maanah Lashon ibid;
 Admur 167:2; Michaber 167:1; Rambam Brachos 3
 Maanah Lashon ibid
 Minchas Yitzchak 9:8-7; Nitei Gavriel ibid; Yismach Yehuda Devarim p. 190 [causes forgetfulness just like the heart causes forgetfulness due to its Arla corner]; See Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 31:4 footnote 5
 Taamei Haminhagim 176 in name of Yearos Devash, however, as many have pointed out this is inaccurate as he states the exact opposite in Derush 1:11 that bread is free of Kelipos, and not that it is most exposed to them. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 29; Birurei Chaim ibid] However, see Siddur Im Dach on Netilas Yadayim where it is explained that there are Kelipos associated with bread and hence we are required to wash hands before eating bread.
 Taamei Haminhagim 176 in Kuntrus Achron there
 Rama Y.D. 72:2; Shach 72:14 in name of Rikantiy Lech Licha that it is done in order to remove the powers of impurity of the heart, which is similar to the impurity of the foreskin of a Bris.
 Yismach Yehuda ibid
 Admur 180:1-2; Michaber 180:1-2; Sanhedrin 92a; See Mili Dechasidusa 50 regarding custom not to eat entire loaf
 Eitz Hasadeh 19:10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 180 footnote 4
 Mishneh Halachos 11:148; Sefer Cham Hashemesh [Yaakov Chaviv]; Bechukosecha Eshtasheia 48
 See Maanah Lashon ibid
 See Shevet Halevi 9:120; Piskeiy Teshuvos 171:6
 Maanah Lashon ibid that it is even best to nullify the custom altogether and certainly one has no obligation to follow it and is not encouraged to do so; Shulchan Aruch Hamekutzar 139 p. 312 that Rav Chaim Kanievsky claims that his father would eat the ends of the bread and that so was followed in his household; Minchas Yitzchak ibid and Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid both record this as a custom follow throughout the world and rule in a way that implies that it is to be done by all. However, in truth, as we have proven not everyone abides by it, and hence it cannot be considered a Minhag Yisrael that is binding upon all Jewry.
 Minchas Yitzchak ibid based on Shiltei Hagiborim Avoda Zara 9a, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 179:3; Yerushalmi Terumos 8:3 that one needs to suspect for that which people worry of danger; Sefer Chassidim 261 that there is danger involved in matters that people believe to be dangerous; This also follows the famous ruling of the Rashba that the Minhag of women is holy and is to be abided. [See Rashba 1:9 and 413; Chavos Yair 134; Heishiv Moshe 13; Aryeh Dbei Ilai Y.D. 19; Darkei Teshuvah 179:23 in name of Shaar Shlomo 47; Beis Avi 2:78; Minchas Yitzchak 9:8]