Pat ‘Akum (Bread of Non-Jews) / Putting Tefilin on for the First Time & Having Family Members Wrap the 7 Windings

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Sunday, 02 May 2010 | AP | Bar-Misva, Kashrut/Food

19 Iyar 5770 – May 3, 2010. – Perashat Behar/Behuqotai
‘Omer: 34th day, 4 weeks and 6 days


Magen Abot – e”H Ribi Mordekhai Lebhar s”t
Customs of Kashrut

14. Pat ‘Akum – Bread of Non-Jews

It is forbidden to eat bread baked by a non-Jew, lest one come to socialize too much with gentiles and be tempted to marry them. However, if no Jewish bread is available, one may eat bread made by a professional non-Jewish baker, as long as one can be certain that no non-kasher ingredients are used in the baking. This leniency applies only to bread made by the non-Jew in order to sell, since there is little concern that buying bread from gentiles would cause one to socialize excessively with them. Bread made by a non-Jew in his home without intention to sell may not be eaten under any circumstances, as here there is a real concern that one may intermingle inappropriately with the gentiles.

Some (Netibot haMa’arab included) write that the minhag in North Africa and other places [1] was to permit purchasing bread from non-Jews even when Jewish bread was available [2], as long as it was known that no non-kasher ingredients were used in the baking [3]. However, more strict/careful individuals would make sure to participate in the baking by throwing some of the wood into the fire of the bakers’ ovens each week [4], as then the bread would not be considered non-Jewish bread (Pat ‘Akum).

[1] E.g. Baghdad; see Ben Ish Hai (Second Year, Perashat Huqat 2)
[2] See Ribi Yosef Messas zt”l (Osar haMikhtabim 2:1287).
[3] See Maran haHida, Mahaziq Berakha 84.
[4] This was the minhag in some places in Morocco (see Ribi David ‘Ovadia, Nahagu ha’Am, section on Foods Cooked by Non-Jews), Tunisia (see Sho-el veNish’al 4:42) and, for a time, Egypt (see Ribi Refael Aharon Ben-Shim’on, Nahar Misrayim, Maakhalot Asurot 13).

Netibot haMa’arab – e”H Ribi Eliyahou Bitton s”t

Customs of the Bar-Misva

7. On the morning that we put the tefilin on the Hatan haBar-Misva, the relatives and close family friends come to the house and he blesses Birkot haShahar in front of everyone. We then put on the talet and tefilin with the help of his teacher. The father puts the Shel Rosh on him, and some have the custom that the father puts the Shel Yad and his Ribi puts on the Shel Rosh. This is all done in a loud voice and in public in order to strengthen the importance of the misvot in the heart of the boy, therefore, everybody comes together to show the boy their love for the misvot, and through the importance placed upon them the boy will incorporate this into his own life. See Yahadut Morocco p. 231.

9. We give honour to family members to wrap one of the seven windings of the Tefilin Shel Yad, each person wrapping one. This while everyone sings and the women do the “Youyou.” Some have the custom to honour the Ribi by letting him tighten the tefilin on the forearm and complete that first winding. This is for the love of the misva, see the reason for number #7. See Osar haMikhtabim (Heleq 2, Siman 9) and Yahadut Morocco p. 231.


Our holy sages, Hazal, teach us that “one who studies [at least two] Halakhot daily is guaranteed a portion in ‘Olam Haba (the world to come).” -Masekhet Meghila 28b


  1. Murilo Laredo
    3 May %I:%M %p

    I always read darkeabotenou in my mail and never seen this new beatiful site. Kol Hakavod!

    These Bar-Mitzva’s custom are great and, in Manaus, if they were a little forgoten, they will return with your help.

    Thanks and congratulations for your iniciative of writing the custom and ways that we have seen all life through, but with a halachic and tecnical perspective.

    Murilo Laredo

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