Across the country, school breakfast programs are offered in order to ensure that students will be properly nourished and capable of putting forth their best efforts during their day of learning. While the origins of the often repeated statement that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is unknown, the wisdom itself is ancient. “Rabbah asked Raba ben Mari: Whence comes the proverbial expression, ‘Sixty runners speed along, but cannot overtake [the one] who breaks bread in the morning?’”

In the Talmud, and throughout Jewish law, the morning meal is referred to as pat shacharit. Pat means bread and shacharit is the name of the morning prayer service. According to the Code of Jewish Law (Shulchan Aruch), one should make certain to have a small repast after the morning prayers. 

The general thoughts of the sages on the importance of breakfast are noted in Sanhedrin 107b:

… 83 illnesses are dependent upon the gall, and all of them may be rendered void by eating one’s morning bread with salt and drinking a jugful of water.

Our Rabbis taught: 13 things were said of the morning bread: It is an antidote against heat and cold, winds and demons; instills wisdom into the simple, causes one to triumph in a lawsuit, enables one to study and teach the Torah, to have his words heeded, and retain scholarship; he [who partakes thereof] does not perspire, lives with his wife and does not lust after other women; and it kills the worms in one’s intestines. Some say, it also expels jealousy and induces love.

These concepts need not be read literally. One who faces a lawsuit, should not depend only on eating breakfast to win the case, but rather should understand that eating breakfast renders one to be more clear-headed and emotionally balanced throughout the day.

— One of the most common breakfast breads is the bagel.Click here to read about the origin of the bagel.

This Treat was last posted on July 31, 2012.

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