Washing for Mezonot

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
Is it proper/imperative to wash my hands (ritually) and recite birkat ha-mazon (“bentsch”) when I have half a pita (mezonot) at my desk which I would regard as ‘lunch’ and not simply as a quick snack.
Many thanks

Dear Peter
Thank you for your very practical question.
This subject is much discussed in the contemporary halakhic literature. The tendency in America is to be strict in this area and to regard the “mezonot roll/pita/bread” as a misnomer and a contradiction in terms. (See https://oukosher.org/blog/consumer-kosher/the-mezonos-roll-is-it-a-piece-of-cake/#fn154122048750cf4c8bedf80 for an example.)
However, you will find that kosher airline food from Israel and Europe includes a notice that the rolls are mezonot. My flight from Baltimore included a tuna sandwich with a similar notation. Years ago, the OU changed their policy to disallow mezonot rolls in their airline food, but Chassidic hechsherim still go with the lenient position.
In the UK, LBD, Federation, Kedassia, SKA, and Manchester Beth Din all endorse the mezonot roll/sandwich phenomenon. Nevertheless, for my first 10 years (or so) in London I did not rely on this for DD’s sandwiches or similar. However, after a few years in the Beth Din (observing distinguished rabbis eating DD’s sandwiches and similar) I eventually adopted a more permissive approach.
Bottom line: There are certainly valid grounds on which to adhere to a stringent approach (as per the link above) but the prevalent custom in the UK is to be lenient. IMO you may rely on this.
I hope this is helpful.
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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