Where have all the crackers gone?

Recently I had occasion to be at Adass Yisrael Shule (the Charedi Shule in Melbourne) for Shabbos Davening, as we has some Simchos to attend. After Davening there is a nice Kiddush. Generally speaking, my taste buds have been infused with the cuisine from Poland, and proudly so. All I need is some Schmaltz Herring, Whisky, and crackers for Mezonos.

At Adass, I noticed for the second time, that there was no pure Mezonos except for the cakes (and no, I’ve never understood how cream cakes crept into our Kiddushim when there is Herring on offer ๐Ÿ™‚

Nobody, not even a Hungarian born on the border with Czechoslovakia would eat herring with cake. Yuck She-Be-Yuck, you’d have to agree.

Looking for Mezonos, all I could find were baskets of this

Melba Toast

Now, there is nothing wrong with the taste of Melba Toast, and it would taste good with the Herring, no doubt. As my Mazel would have it, I was also sitting over the produces of this toast, and he overheard my whinge that there was no plain Mezonos that one could use. I couldn’t see a cracker anywhere. He, and others, responded that’s it’s fine, it’s not really bread, it’s “Mezonos” bread and so on. True enough, it isn’t a fresh roll, made with juice and not water, and it’s hard to tell the difference between these and a standard roll or wrap, but at the end of the day, I argued that these were bread masquerading as bread. I was advised that the Badatz allow it, and my memory recollects that this is indeed the case. I retorted that the OU (specifically Mori V’Rabbi Rav Schachter (and Rav Belsky) had problems with this produce and believes one should make HaMotzi.) For those interested, you can see why it’s called Melba toast (an Aussie connection!) and how it’s made here. This is, if I’m not mistaken also the position of Rav Gedalya Dov Schwartz of the cRc. I asked then, why Adass had to enter into a Safek Brachos, and didn’t use a true and tried standard cracker. Okay, I didn’t insist on Eyer Kichel (they are outrageously expensive).

I have to give credit where credit is due. Soon enough, someone had Rachmonus on me and ย found a pack of crackers. This was magnanimous. My blood pressure lowered, and I enjoyed my interaction with the menagerie of different Chassidim and the non Chassidim.

PS. A pet peeve of mine is that people don’t wait for the Rabbi (Roov/Rov) to say Kiddush. This happens everywhere.ย I don’t understand why. So, you wait 5 minutes, at worst 10 minutes. This is Kavod HaTorah, especially for a clearly elderly Rov, who doesn’t exactly move in a sprightly fashion.

PPS. You will notice that Kosher Australia doesn’t take a stand on this (which I think is the right thing to do) on their airline meals and makes pareve statements in regards to this bread. Mind you, on a plane, I think one should be meikel because of Kavod Habriyos and not bother the fellow travellers.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

6 thoughts on “Where have all the crackers gone?”

  1. I share your pain. I always thought the “Melba toast” things were a way for Haymisha to use up stale bread; is that not the case?

    The whole “mezonos bread” thing troubles me. Caterers at Jewish events have taken to serving hotdogs and hamburgers in “mezonos rolls”. How are the people eating them not being kovea seuda? It really wouldn’t be hard to supply water for washing, and the extra hygeing would be an added benefit.


  2. Interestingly OU airplane meal policy is to provide hamotzi bread roll to avoid entering shaylo of mezonos roll. The question is hiw many people are nichshal by not washing fir bread roll…


      1. This is also not so poshut. The Alter Rebbe paskens that this doesn’t help. The heter for eating without washing by means of a spoon or knife, or a cloth, is only for tibulei bemashkeh (and even then not for things that are normally eaten with the hands), not for bread. There’s a lenient opinion if there is no water available, and won’t be for over an hour, and even then he writes that one should not rely on this opinion. But on a plane, where there is plenty of water available, there is no heter in the first place.

        ืื‘ืœ ืœืื›ื•ืœ ืคืช ืื™ืŸ ืฉื•ื ืฆื“ ื”ื™ืชืจ ื‘ืขื•ืœื ืœื ืขืดื™ ื›ืฃ ื•ืกื›ื™ืŸ ื•ืœื ืขืดื™ ืžืคื”. ื•ื™ืฉ ืžืงื™ืœื™ื ืœืžื”ืœืš ื‘ื“ืจืš ื•ืื™ืŸ ืœืคื ื™ื• ืžื™ื ืขื“ ื™ื•ืชืจ ืžื“ืณ ืžื™ืœื™ืŸ ืœื›ืจื•ืš ืฉืชื™ ื™ื“ื™ื• ื‘ืžืคื” ื•ืœืื›ื•ืœ ื•ื™ืดื— ื•ื”ืžื—ืžื™ืจ ืชืขืดื‘.

        The instructions in the OU meals say explicitly that if one can’t wash then one should save the roll for later. They don’t say anything about a serviette. The only people who are nichshal are those who don’t bother to read the hechsher, and really they’ve got worse problems to worry about. How do they know the meal is even kosher?


  3. I think the reason crackers are less issue than Mezonos bread is because as opposed to mezonos bread, people don’t generally koveah seuda on crackers. I doubt anyone would be more koveah seudah on these toast than on crackers. I can’t see much difference.


  4. I know that I am coming in late to this discussion, but as I recall, when bread is baked for the purpose of making Melba Toast (which is bread that has been baked a second time to come to a cracker-like form) or for making into croutons, then the bracha on the final product is mezonot, since these are not bread in the normal sense. Also, one of the interpretations of “pat haba’ah bekisnin” is, simply put, crackers – hence Sephardim make mezonot on matza throughout the year.


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