On Shabbat evening, while studying about bread and Torah the fragrance of fresh baked challa wafted through the air. It had been prepared just before Shabbat at the bakery.
Only man sincerely loves bread and considers it central to meals. The Gemarah says that when The Holy One Blessed Be He told Adam, “Thorns and thistles will grow for you to eat” tears came from his eyes. He asked Master of the Universe my donkey and I will eat from the same feeding bin? When it was added, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread” He was calmed.
The fragrance, taste and texture of bread are very special. This is very different from all other foods. Bread is completely central to Jewish meals. Bread is often used as a blanket word for food.
Bread is so special that it has its own Special Bracha – Blessing of “Hamotzi Lechem Min Haaretz – He who brings bread forth from the land.” The only other food that has a special Bracha is wine.
The Bracha of Hamotzi is based on a pasuk in Tehilim. It is in “Barchi Nafshi” which is read at the beginning of every month on Rosh Chodesh, “Who causes the grass to spring up for the cattle, and herb for the service of man; to bring forth bread out of the earth”. (Tehlim 104 – 14)
Ibn Ezra who was born in Spain around 1089 explained the pasuk, “A plant which one can use to prepare bread, The reason why it states ‘for the service of man’ is that when man will work the ground it will produce an honorable plant (of wheat).”
The Rada”k was born around 1160 and explained our Pasuk, “and herb for the service of man refers to herbs specific for human consumption because those are the plants which grow when man farms them. It was ruled on Adam ‘through the sweat of your face you shall eat bread’. However, food for animals grows by itself…. Bread is a blanket word for all human foods since it is central in the meal.”
Although neither wine nor bread grows from the ground the end product of these agricultural products is bread and wine. The general rule in Brachot is that we make the special bracha on produce that is edible. Another example of this is that you only make “Boreh Pri Haadama – He who creates fruits of the ground” on cooked potatoes and not on raw, unedible ones.
It is a point of discussion in the Gemarah whether one needs to say “Hamotzi” which means “one who brings forth” in the past or just “Motzi” which means that he will bring bread out of the ground in the future.
Many believe that having guests into your home is central to Judaism. Some people will go to great length to invite people over. We have learned this from none other then Araham Avinu. In our old Drash found at http://milknhoney.co.il/culinaryjudaism/avraham_avinu_tongueinmustard.html and http://milknhoney.co.il/torah/vayera_having_guests.html we find Avraham toiling to serve three men who came past his tent. Avraham had offered the minimum required of Bread and Water, however, he actually prepared a vast feast. This is the minumum required of anyone, even the poor, to give a guest.
Later Avraham sent his maidservant Hagar away from his home because their son Ishmael was a disturbance to Yitzchak Avinu. When Avraham Avinu sent Hagar away he gave her bread and water. ( Br 21 14)
The Amoni Nation that no longer exists was totally excluded from the Jewish people. Even if they choose to convert we would not accept them. This is because they refused to even give water or bread to the Wondering Jews in the Desert. (Devarim 23 5)