Jewish law commands us to make a short blessing on food items before we eat them. In addition to this, the Torah also commands us to make a blessing after we eat. It may seem excessive to say Grace twice, but this additional blessing after meals is actually very significant. Our Sages take this idea a step further by explaining that the Grace After Meals is not just about being thankful, but about being humble.
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This blessing which is actually a series of blessings is mandated for use following any meal in which bread has been eaten, since according to Jewish law, eating bread officially constitutes a meal. Birkat Hamazon can be said sitting at the same table or in view of the same table where the meal was eaten. At weddings or Shabbat meals, it is often said communally. Scroll down to listen to the Birkat Hamazon. Reciting the blessing after the meal is a mitzvah written in the Torah.
Before saying Birkat Hamazon, many people recite a psalm recalling the destruction of the Temple. On other days, Psalm , which mourns for the Jewish people during the Babylonian exile , is sometimes recited. When three or more people for traditional Jews, three or more men have eaten together, a short back-and-forth invitation, called a zimmun , precedes the prayer. The leader invites everyone present at the meal to recite the blessing, and they respond with words of praise for God.
At a wedding meal, additional lines of praise are added. There is also a custom of saying Birkat Hamazon over a cup of wine when 10 people, or more, eat communally. Structurally, Birkat Hamazon is composed of four blessings. The first blessing , also called birkat hazan , praises God for sustaining life and providing food for all creatures.
Often when a group has eaten together this blessing is sung out loud. It recapitulates Jewish history from the Exodus to the conquering of the land of Canaan. The blessing also mentions that just as God sustained the Jewish people in the desert, so too God currently sustains them and will do so in the future.
In this second blessing, additional paragraphs are added during Purim and Hanukkah. The third blessing , b irkat Yerushalayim , begs God to be merciful and continue to support the Jewish people. Whereas the first two blessings praise God, this blessing changes tone, adding a plea to God to quickly rebuild Jerusalem. Each of these asks for a particular gift from God.
One beseeches God to eternally stay the ruler of the Jewish people. Another requests that God grant the speaker an honorable livelihood, send the messiah , and bestow special blessings for others at the table. Words are added to the four main blessings, and some phrases are reordered, added, or omitted. The greatest range of variation appears after the four main blessings, in the harahaman section.
The four main blessings were written down in the Talmud tractate Berakhot. Traditionally the first blessing is attributed to Moses , the second to Joshua , the third to David and Solomon , and the fourth to the rabbis from Yavneh. Yet the exact wording of the blessings is simply hinted at, not explicitly stated. The Talmud only mentions the blessings by their titles and final lines.
These brief, talmudic versions have, in recent times, served as a precedent for shortened texts of Birkat Hamazon.
It has similar text to a shortened version of Birkat Hamazon, touching on all the themes, but with fewer blessings. This can be found in most bentchers , small booklets containing the blessing after the meal and other festive songs.
You can purchase a bentcher online or at your local Judaica store. Birkat Hamazon. Comprised of the Mishnah and the Gemara, it contains the opinions of thousands of rabbis from different periods in Jewish history. Sephardic Food. European Jewish food developed along with the migration of the European Jewish community -- from West to East. Shabbat Meals. This go-to chicken recipe, with a glossy and delicious sauce, is perfect for Rosh Hashanah or Shabbat.
History of the Birkat Hamazon The four main blessings were written down in the Talmud tractate Berakhot. Listen to the Birkat Hamazon courtesy of Mechon Hadar. Join Our Newsletter Empower your Jewish discovery, daily. Sign Up. Discover More. Sephardic Food Sephardic Cuisine An overview of the wide variety of food eaten by the descendants of the Spanish exile.
Daily Blessings: Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) - Short Version
Thank you for this beautiful online bentcher. The reward in shamayim of Chabad is so unbelievably tremendous - thank you for everything you do for the Jewish people. Helpful when am not with Siddur Toda raba Reply. Single women and moms Does a single female or a single mom say the entire blessing herself, including the invitation? If one is alone is it said aloud? One who eats alone does not recite the invitation, the Zimmun.
The Birkat hamazon
Birkat Hamazon is recited after a meal containing bread or similar foods that is made from the five grains , with the exception of bread that comes as a dessert pas haba'ah b'kisanin  and food that does not possess the form or appearance of bread torisa d'nahama ,  in which case a blessing that summarizes the first three blessings birkat me'ein shalosh is recited instead. It is a matter of rabbinic dispute whether birkat hamazon must be said after eating certain other bread-like foods such as pizza. Except when in teaching situations, Birkat hamazon is typically read individually after ordinary meals. Sometimes it's also sung aloud on special occasions such as the Shabbat and festivals. The length of the different Birkat hamazon can vary considerably, from bentsching under half a minute to more than 5 minutes. The scriptural source for the requirement to recite a blessing after a meal is Deuteronomy "When you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the L ORD your God for the good land which He gave you". The process is often referred to as bentsching  ; the word "bentsch" means to bless.
English/Hebrew PDF of Birkat Hamazon
Y'hi shem Adonai m'vorach mei-atah v'ad olam. Birshut hachevrah, n'vareich Eloheinu she-achalnu mishelo. Praised be the name of God, now and forever. Praised be our God, of whose abundance we have eaten. Praised be our God, of whose abundance we have eaten, and by whose goodness we live. Praised be the Eternal God.
What is Birkat Hamazon, or Benching?