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Just freakin wash for the pizza already

People always kind of give me looks when I wash in a pizza store, yes I can deny the folks around me and claim I’m just eating at as a snack and invoke the “just a snack therefore I don’t have to wash even though pizza is bread” rule, but am I fooling God?

I myself prefer to wash when I’m about to eat any meal, this way I don’t eat any foods without making the right bracha and if I actually remember to say a bracha achrona (after bracha) I will actually know it by heart. The sad fact is that I rarely say my bracha achrona’s – I know benching by heart, but none of the others because I never say them – pathetic I know.

I wonder if someone wanted to eat a piece of challah or toast as a snack if they would not wash hamotzi? They for sure would, but somewhere along the way someone decided that pizza, despite the fact it is a form of bread, did not mandate folks to wash for it, how the heck did this happen? Is it thin enough to be considered a more like a cracker, than bread? But most kosher pizza is thicker and bread like than real good thin crust pizza.

I haven’t actually been in a pizza store in 6 months…

Search for kosher pizza on 4torah.com

{ 34 comments… add one }
  • John August 24, 2011, 7:49 AM

    If you are curious about the issue regarding pizza.
    I’ll sum it up for you. Pizza is not bread, rather it falls into a category of food s called “pas haba bekisnin” There are three shitahs as to what that is, we accept all of them. One shita is a bread like product that is made with a filling, such as a pie. Pizza is exactly that. The bracha of pas haba bekisnin is mezonos (this is why pies, cakes and pretzels while having the main ingredients of bread are mezonos and not hamotzi, as they all fall into one of the dwefinitions of pas haba bekisnin) However if pas haba bekisnin is eaten as a meal, then the halacha is it is hamotzi and requires washing. Thus if pizza is being eaten as a snack it is mezonos. However bread is not pas haba bekisnin and is hamotzi no matter what.
    Hope this helps

    • feivelbenmishael August 25, 2011, 5:46 PM

      “We” being people who’s minhag it is to follow the psak of The Mishneh Berurah?

      • John August 25, 2011, 5:58 PM

        No, It is beis yosef (siman 168) and i am not aware of anybody who argues.
        Keep in mind that this is a leniancy not a chumra (we are leniant because safek brachos lehakel) According to those who hold pas haba bekisnin is hard brittle products like pretzels, then you wash on pizza snack or no snack while making mezonos on pretzels unless it is eaten as a meal. According to those who define pas haba bekisnin as a pie then you wash on pretzels (again snack or no snack) and would make mezonos on pizza unless it is eaten as a meal.
        We (read: followers of shulchan aruch, ie all religous jews with absolutly no exception) are LENIENT and accept all three views. Thus Pizza, cake and pretzels are all meznons unless eaten as a meal. Cake and Pretzels arent eaten as a meal, so there is no confusion there, however according to everybody if pas haba bekisnin is eaten as a meal (as pizza often is) you have to wash

        • Anonymous September 27, 2013, 1:04 AM

          “all religious Jews with absolutely no exceptions”. Tell that to Ashkenazim (who generally follow the Rema where he disagrees with the Beit Yosef). Tell that to the Baladi Yemenites (who follow the Rambam). And let’s not forget cases here and there where acharonim rule against the Beit Yosef.
          I don’t mean to argue about this specific case, but you can hardly claim that the opinion of the Beit Yosef is universally accepted to be Halacha…

    • Constance October 2, 2011, 7:48 AM

      Brilliance for free; your parents must be a swteeheart and a certified genius.

  • Yossi August 24, 2011, 8:08 AM

    Why are people hanging out buying pizza instead of learning? These pizza eaters, who love to claim “pas haba bekisnin” to get out of benching are probably the same people who support gay marriage and brought the earthquake on us all. Pizza should be assur (just like the internet). I hope the yeshivas start requiring a pledge from parents that their kids wont eat pizza but only bread so they can bench (without the harachamans so they can get back to learning quickly) and stop making excuses.

  • New BT August 24, 2011, 8:14 AM

    “Pizza” means “pie” in Italian, right? So seems like it should be mezonos. But it won’t be a problem for long. After the Thursday night cholent ban crisis, I’m sure motzei shabbos pizza will be banned, then “we don’t know if pizza gets hamotzi or mezonos so we’ll ban it all the time until the Sanhedrin is reconvened to posken on it”

  • zach August 24, 2011, 8:35 AM

    People rarely eat pizza as a “snack”. A slice of pizza is a meal, certainly more than a single piece of bread which would always require hamotzi. In this case, the pas habah b’kisnin issue qualifies as a halachic loophole used to justify people that don’t want to spend the time on hamotzi, just like so-called mezonos bread on airplanes. It’s nonsense. Make a hamotzi like Heshey says.

  • ysh August 24, 2011, 8:50 AM

    Next time you’re in Teaneck, try Mocha Bleu. Good thin-crust pizza, good toppings.

  • AstroTheSpaceDog August 24, 2011, 9:20 AM

    You take challah from pizza dough, hence its hamotzie.

    Yep, home pizza freak here. Stone, peel, and all.

  • Steven August 24, 2011, 9:35 AM

    There’s kosher pizza in Rochester now. If you ever make your way back here you should check it out.

    • john August 24, 2011, 9:36 AM

      is it any good?

      • Steven August 24, 2011, 9:06 PM

        Yeah, it’s great. It’s actually inside the Chabad center.

        • Heshy Fried August 24, 2011, 9:32 PM

          There’s been crappy kosher pizza at chabad for 15 years now

  • Ima2seven August 24, 2011, 9:39 AM

    We wash for pizza. But this is actually a secondary problem. What about “I don’t have a Rav I check with” crisis. We wash, b/c it is our psak from our Rav. Shouldn’t one get psak and that be the end of it? Make sure to add it to your crisis list…

  • Anonymous August 24, 2011, 10:03 AM

    at j2 in manhattan, they have a sign saying their pizza is hamotzi.

  • kishmir August 24, 2011, 10:31 AM

    and God laughs at the bunch of schmucks who think this stuff is important.

    • Gadol Hador August 24, 2011, 9:11 PM

      Right, God laughs at people that follow halacha but adores people who live a life of sin.

    • Heshy Fried August 24, 2011, 10:02 PM

      I totally agree

    • Anonymous September 27, 2013, 1:07 AM

      Take it easy, kishmir. No, which bracha you say on pizza is not the most critical issue there is. But a Jew can’t just concern him/herself with the major issues. As long as you keep it in perspective, the small stuff is also important.

  • Philo August 24, 2011, 12:45 PM

    Here’s the thing. I’m not always careful about washing before bread if the bread is an afterthought. But before ANY meal that I’ll be eating (unless it’s a snack on the go like a candy bar) I ALWAYS wash my hands with water & soap. It’s just basic hygiene. So if I’m already washing my hands, and I AM planning to eat bread, I’ll try to wash ritually as well and say the brachot.

    • danielGA August 24, 2011, 8:17 PM

      this is pretty much what i do. regardless of what many rabbis have said, i do think the original intention of washing was to clean your hands of bacteria, and was presented in the torah as a ritual ceremony. of course hashem isn’t going to go to all the trouble to explain microbiology to moshe, so he said “just do it”, and they did. so i go ahead and wash with soap, then do nesilas yadayim before i eat pretty much anything.

      • Synapse August 24, 2011, 9:08 PM

        Well for one they didn’t know about bacteria and washing is from the rabbis, not the Torah, and is about ritual purity, not per say physical purity. The water isn’t required to be clean, and you could even get around it and grab bread with a cloth and not touch it with your hands.

        • some1 August 25, 2011, 8:59 AM

          the mishna brerura disagrees with u the morning is bec u r ritually impure by bread he writes the reason is so your hands should be clean(thats also why a cloth is fine)and that is also why you must dry your hands for bread but for the morning washing with more water instead of drying is fine

          • Anonymous September 27, 2013, 1:13 AM

            some1 is basically correct. The original point of hand-washing (somewhere in the first chapter of Mst. Shabbat) is a decree that if one has not been careful to keep one’s hands clean, and one touches Terumah, then the Terumah is forbidden to be eaten AS THOUGH it were impure. The commentators there say that this was a matter of respect for the Terumah. Hence, one washes one’s hands before eating Terumah. No actual impurity can be removed just by washing one’s hands.
            As for how it became a custom to do so for all bread, it may have developed after kohanim stopped eating Terumah. It also may have developed out of treating all food with the same stringencies applied to Terumah.

  • couldnthelpasking August 24, 2011, 1:46 PM

    Are you apologizing for washing ritually? (i’m not telling you what to do but i would think a choice to do or not do a religious/spiritual act should be something you are proud of)

  • Lirehagi August 24, 2011, 6:19 PM

    Pizza is eaten for the cheese and sauce and topping, not the breadcrust. Same way you eat a pie for the filling. Pizza is defined by the stuff on top of the bread. On the other hand, the bread is the base, so who knows?

    That being said, if I eat 5 large snacks a day, but no technical “meals”, if I make one of the snacks a slice of pizza, is that a snack? Or am I just kidding myself and really eating 5 meals a day?

    • Synapse August 24, 2011, 9:09 PM

      Generally when you have mezonos, it’s automatically considered the primary ingredient with only a few exceptions. Principles of what’s considered primary are definitely taken account in brachas.

  • New BT August 24, 2011, 8:04 PM

    Or just eat non-kosher pizza so you don’t have to make any bracha

  • Woodrow/Conservadox August 25, 2011, 11:27 AM

    Getting back to the first comment: what I’ve read is wash for more than one slice, not for just one. An admittedly arbitrary line, but easy to follow.

    • Yochanan August 25, 2011, 2:10 PM

      I did that for a while. But, what if you have two or more small slices? Or one really big one. Now I wash on one slice.

  • zalmie August 26, 2011, 12:54 PM

    lol i can rattle off the whole bentching by heart but if i try al hamichya i’ll start mumbling halfway through.

  • Yannai Segal August 26, 2011, 12:59 PM

    Note – per my Rabbi pizza made from a par-baked crust, pita pizza, etc is always hamotzi

  • Mo August 26, 2011, 2:38 PM

    I still think those “mezonos” rolls they give on airline meals are absurd, since their proper bracha is basically always hamotzi (see http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-issues-pashabah.htm).

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