Ethics

For the week ending 11 July 2009 / 18 Tammuz 5769

Leaving Bread on the Table

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Question: I have noticed that people are careful to leave some bread on the table till they finish saying Grace after the meal. Is it sufficient to just leave crumbs? What is the right thing to do?

Answer: Two explanations are offered by the commentaries for the Talmudic statement "one who does not leave bread on his table will never see a sign of blessing" (Sanhedrin 92a).

One is that we must anticipate that perhaps a hungry poor man may come along and so we must be prepared to give him some bread.

A second reason is that we wish to thus demonstrate our appreciation of the bounty with which G-d has blessed us so that we have more food than we needed for our sustenance.

While even crumbs would seem sufficient for satisfying the second reason, it is advisable, writes the Mishneh Berurah (Orach Chaim 80:2 in Sha’arei Zion 3), for the first reason to leave over a quantity of bread suitable for feeding the poor visitor.

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