May One Eat Bread Loaf’s Ends?

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Q. I have heard that some have the minhag (custom) not to eat the end slices of a loaf of bread. What is the reason for this?

A. Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l said that he did not know of any source for this minhag, and presumably he was not concerned about this. This was also reportedly the response of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlit”a. However, the Minchas Yitzchak (9:8) writes that he personally was careful not to eat the ends of a loaf of bread, because people say that it causes one to forget their Torah learning. Although he writes that he too does not know of any source for this minhag, he advises that the minhag be continued. He quotes a Yerushalmi (Terumos 8:3) which says that when it comes to matters of sakana (danger), one must be concerned for what people say, even if it appears to be without merit. He suggests that forgetting Torah knowledge might be comparable to a sakana.

Some have suggested that the source for this minhag is the Gemara in Horiyos (13b). The Gemara lists 10 things that can cause one to forget their learning. One of them is if one eats from a loaf of bread that is not fully baked. It could be that in some communities the loaves were crammed into an oven and this led to the ends not baking fully. However, today the ends of the challah are often the crustiest part of the bread, and therefore this concern no longer applies.

This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to grossmany@ou.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.

{Matzav.com}

6 COMMENTS

  1. I heard from my roshi yeshivot that some people don’t eat the end of the matzo? Has anyone heard this? Which end should I avoid? Will I forget my little learning? Can anyone help me? What did they do in Europe?

  2. And if you place those challah ends under your pillow and wake up exactly at midnight, you will see your predestined wife in a mirror. What do you do after seeing her, if you are already married? You run to your nearest mekubal, who will lovingly hold your hentaleh, while calling the nearest psychiatric hospital to invite you over.
    Let’s not forget that all breads baked in time of chazal had a round shape of pita, and were baked in a tanur, in which out kinds of loaves would simply fall down on the coals. This supposed segula, or, better yet, superstition, could not have originated in Chazal’s time. There is an untold number of latter day segulos and nonsensical superstitions that originated from misreading the text, outright inventions, or were incorporated from the surrounding nations. There are more than enough directives from Chazal and gedolei Rishonim that we should be makpid on, without unnecessary additions.

  3. Once heard the source for this being that in olden times the (non-Jewish?) bakers would lick the ends of the unbaked loaves and tuck it underneath to stick it there.

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