278. A Dvar Torah

42:4 One should not display anger while eating as this may cause his guests and the members of his household to become too embarrassed to eat, thinking that he is upset or angry at them. (Also, this will discourage the members of his household from giving food to the poor – Mishnah Brurah 170:18.)

42:5 One should not talk while eating because of the danger of choking if his food should go down the wrong pipe. This applies even to words of Torah and to saying “gesundheit” to one who has sneezed. While not actually eating, it is a mitzvah to say words of Torah at the table and people should take this matter seriously. A good custom is to say Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”) after eating the bread over which hamotzi was said. After the meal, the custom is to say Psalms 137 (“By the rivers of Babylon...”) on weekdays and Psalms 126 (“Shir HaMaalos”) on Shabbos and holidays. If one studies at the table from a book, he should be careful that bookworms don’t fall out into his food.