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Pas Yisroel During Aseres Y’mei Teshuvah

Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Updated August 2023

In the times of the Mishnah, Chazal forbade us from eating bread-like items that were baked exclusively by non-Jews. [The bread-like items are referred to as pas and that term will be defined more clearly below]. If, however, a Jew participated in any part of the baking process, the food items are permitted and are known as pas Yisroel. In later years, Chazal partially retracted this prohibition because the baking ovens were controlled and/or owned by non-Jews, and the aforementioned restriction made it overly difficult for Jews to obtain “kosher” pas.

In partially retracting the prohibition, Chazal created a new class of pas, “pas paltar”, whose literal translation is “baker’s pas”. Pas baked by a non-Jew in his home remained forbidden, but pas sold in a bakery or other commercial setting where the non-Jewish baker and the Jewish customer have no personal contact, was now permitted even if there was no Jewish participation in the baking. However, there are two opinions in the Rishonim as to how this retraction was structured.

– Some say that since the prohibition was only retracted due to the difficulty in obtaining pas Yisroel, pas paltar is only permitted when pas Yisroel is not readily available. However, in situations where pas Yisroel can be purchased, the original halacha applies and pas paltar is forbidden.

– Others hold that the retraction applies to all cases, and pas paltar is permitted even when pas Yisroel is readily available.

The accepted practice is to follow the latter, more lenient, opinion but there are those who have the commendable practice of following the stricter approach (and some do so on Shabbos – see Mishnah Berurah 242:6). To help these consumers, the cRc strives that all “pas” served at cRc certified restaurants and caterers are pas Yisroel year-round, and also makes efforts that commercially produced items should also meet that standard. In all cases, it is best not to assume a food is pas Yisroel, and one should speak to the Mashgiach, or check the packaging, to see whether it qualifies.


The time of year when most people are machmir regarding pas Yisroel is during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Aseres Y’mei Teshuvah), based on Shulchan Aruch 603:1 who records such a custom. During those 10 days, Jews who otherwise rely on the lenient opinion that permits pas paltar in all cases, are careful to only eat pas Yisroel when it reasonably available. It is worth noting that in this context, Mishnah Berurah’s (603:1) defines “reasonably available” as requiring less than 72 minutes of travel to obtain.

Which Foods are Pas
As noted, the term “pas” refers to bread-like foods, and to qualify as pas the food must meet the following criteria:

  1. It must contain one or more of the 5 major grains – wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt. Thus, rice cakes, corn flakes, and most corn tortillas cannot possibly require pas Yisroel as they are not made from these grains. Although granola bars are made from oats, most Poskim are of the opinion that they do not qualify as pas (and the bracha rishona is ha’adamah) due to technicalities regarding how they are produced which are beyond the scope of this article. On the other hand, breads made from “sprouted wheat” are most definitely pas.
  2. It must have tzuras hapas / the “form” of bread. There is much discussion as to how to define this term, but (a) all bread, bagels, cake, crackers, cookies, pies, pizza, soft pretzels and most hard pretzels have tzuras hapas, and (b) pasta does not. There are differences of opinion as to whether very small hard-pretzels, blintzes, very thin wafers and wraps have tzuras hapas. Rav Schwartz zt”l ruled that wraps are considered “pas”, but Cheerios-like cereals are not, since they do not have tzuras hapas.
  3. Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 168:13) cites two opinions as to whether pas is limited to items which are baked (or fried in a minimal amount of oil), or if it even includes doughnuts and similar items that are made with a bread-like batter but are cooked or deep-fried.


Food Requires pas Yisroel?
Bagel Yes
Blintzes Difference of opinion
Bread Yes
Breakfast cereals
Cheerios No
Corn flakes No
Rice Krispies No
With 5 grains Depends on cereal
Without 5 grains No
Cake Yes
Challah Yes
Cheerios No
Cookie Yes
Corn flakes No
Corn tortillas No (Assuming they don’t contain wheat flour; if they do, see Wraps)
Crackers Yes
Bread crouton Yes
Mandel type Difference of opinion
Doughnuts Difference of opinion
Ezekiel Bread Yes
Flour Tortillas Yes
Granola bars No
Hard pretzels Yes (Some say very small hard pretzels don’t)
Matzah Yes
Pancakes Difference of opinion
Pies Yes
Pita Yes
Pizza Yes
Pretzels Yes (Some say very small hard pretzels don’t)
(soft & hard)
Rice cakes No
Rice Krispies No
Soft pretzels Yes
Sprouted-wheat bread Yes
With wheat flour Difference of opinion
Without flour No
Wafers (thin) Difference of opinion
With wheat flour Yes
Without flour No