Written by Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights
It is the prevailing custom in many Jewish communities for each participant to recite Hamotzie on their individual slice of challah or bread when sitting down to a meal – and not meeting their obligation by being included in the host’s brachah.
This practice is beneficial, generally, in reducing the hefsek that may occur between saying the brachah and eating the food. But there are times when becoming accustomed to making a brachah immediately before eating a slice of bread, we come upon a problem, as related in the following scenario:
Dovid is invited to his grandparents’ home for Shabbos. Recently bar mitzvah, Dovid is honored by his grandfather with his own Kiddush cup and lechem mishneh. After washing, Dovid sits down, lifts the covered loaves and says, “Baruch…hamotzie lechem min ha’aretz.” Carefully slicing the challah roll with the sharp breadknife, he dips a fat wedge into the salt three times and brings it to his lips. “Baruch ata ado-noi—”
Oh, no! I already made a brachah! Now I’ve said Hashem’s name in vain! I also made a hefsek. What should I do?
I was taught to end an unnecessary brachah with the words “lamdeini chukecha” – so I complete a full verse from Tehillim, which circumvents saying Hashem’s name in vain. But wouldn’t that be adding to the hefsek now?
Generally, if I make the wrong brachah, I try to compensate by stating, “Baruch shem kevod malchuso leolam va’ed” – but that is also a hefsek! Should I just finish with Hamotzie…, saying the brachah again?!
Yes, Dovid should complete the brachah of Hamotzie. This “correction” will ensure that the brachah (his second one) is made directly – without interruption – before eating his challah.