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    Bread as a meal – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why is it that a meal containing bread is considered a proper meal, requiring a Grace After Meals?

    A. Psalm 104:15 lists bread, wine and oil as the three principal sources of nourishment.

    Bread-making was known in ancient times. The use of yeast to make the bread rise probably derives from the Egyptians. The Israelite slaves presumably yearned for leavened bread like high-class Egyptians and it was a disappointment when their dough was baked hard by the sun.

    There is a narrow divide between bread and cake; the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayyim 168) reports the debates. To obviate the need for a ritual washing of the hands and a full Grace After Meals there are times when “bread” is baked with ingredients that are associated with cake.

    This is useful if you are eating in an aircraft, but it is a confidence trick at a formal meal such as a wedding reception.

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