Birkas Hamazon

Some info about: Birkas Hamazon (AKA: Birkat Hamazon or Grace After Meal or Birkhas Hamazon or Birkhat Hamazon, Bentchin’ or Bentching or Bentch) , birkat hamazon with translation

Posted on June 29, 2009. Filed under: Bentch, Bentchin’, Bentching, Birkas Hamazon, Birkat Hamazon, birkat hamazon translation, birkat hamazon with translation, Birkhas Hamazon, Birkhat Hamazon, Grace After Meal, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, The Truth, Torah, Torah is THE Truth, True, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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We’ve been getting some questions, requests and searches regarding Birkas Hamazon (AKA: Birkat Hamazon or Grace After Meal or Birkhas Hamazon or Birkhat Hamazon, Bentchin’ or Bentching or Bentch) and  birkat hamazon with translation

So, we’ve searched the Net for some information that we’d like to share with you as follows:

We found the following texts on AskMoses.com (Http://www.AskMoses.com):

What is Grace after Meals?

by Rabbi Mendy Hecht

A. Hey, just ate something? Feelin’ good? Go ahead—say “Thank you!” to G-d for lubricating the ecosystem that got that stuff on your plate. Birkat Hamazon (pronounced BEER-kaht hah-MAH-zone), commonly translated as Grace After Meals, is what Jews say when they’re done chowing down. Thanking G-d for what you eat is Positive Mitzvah #19. However, Grace after Meals is a faulty phrase in that it sounds too religious. There’s no mindless obeisance in Judaism, and the appreciation expressed to G-d after a hearty meal would be better simply titled just that: Appreciation.

B. Birkat Hamazon is a series of prayers to G-d recited in Hebrew, from a Siddur, (for online text: http://www.chabad.org/media/pdf/92404.pdf) and only after a meal that contains bread. When a group of three or ten people eat together, introductory statements are recited as well. Also known as bentching, from the Yiddish bentch, or bless, Birkat Hamazon takes about three minutes to do.

…if you do lunch at Frank’s and the food is funky and the fried fish is fabulous, you’ll say, “Thanks, Frank—the food was funky and your fried fish is fabulous!”

C. Birkat Hamazon has almost as many nus’chaot, or formats, that one find in Tefillah, or prayer. However, they all follow the same essential layout, consisting of around nine paragraphs.

1. How do I thank G-d after I eat?

Luckily, The Rabbis asked that question long before you did, and they answered it as well! They instituted a four-section set-format thank-you to be recited after every meal.1 Birkat Hamazon may be easily found in your Siddur’s Table of Contents.

2. The Idea Behind It

If you do lunch at Frank’s, you’ll thank Frank when you leave: you’ll say, “Thanks, Frank!” If you do lunch at Frank’s and the food was funky, you’ll say, “Thanks, Frank—the food was funky!” And if you do lunch at Frank’s and the food is funky and the fried fish is fabulous, you’ll say, “Thanks, Frank—the food was funky and your fried fish is fabulous!” Bottom line is, the more you enjoy it, the more details you add. And that’s why Birkat Hamazon is not a one-liner—there’s a lot to thank G-d for.

3. What It’s All About

In Birkat Hamazon, one will find many expressions of gratitude for having food to eat, as well as for the land of Israel, the Exodus from ancient Egypt, our Jewishness, the Torah, the good things in life that we have, and of course, the food. And while you have your host’s ear, you may as well as for a couple of favors. That’s why the majority of Birkat Hamazon actually consists of prayers for redemption, the return to Israel, the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple, health and well-being, sustenance, and dignified self-sufficiency.

Also read about ‘What is the Prayer Al HaMichyah’

Who composed the Grace after Meal?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

The obligating to express gratitude to G-d after eating a satiating meal is stated clearly in the Torah—“and you will eat and be sated, and you shall bless the L-rd, your G-d, for the good land He has given you.”1

The Talmudic Sages2 extrapolated3 from this verse that the grace must contain three components.  It must include gratitude to G-d for

a) the food consumed,

b) the Holy Land, and

c) Jerusalem.4

Thus the first three blessings of the Grace are a biblical obligation.5 Originally, however, every person worded these blessings in whichever manner he saw fit. There was no standard text, or even a set general structure for these blessings.

When the construction of the First Temple was completed, King Solomon added to this blessing mention of the Temple; Jerusalem’s crown jewel

Structure – i.e. which general concepts must be included – was added to the first three blessings in stages:

•    When the Manna first came down from heaven, Moses developed the first blessing—thanking G-d for sustenance.

•    When the Jewish people entered Israel, Joshua structured the second blessing—thanking G-d for the Land.

•    When King David was coronated in Jerusalem, he composed the basic outline of the third blessing—thanking G-d for Jerusalem. When the construction of the First Temple was completed, King Solomon added to this blessing mention of the Temple; Jerusalem’s crown jewel.

When the Men of the Great Assembly instituted a standard prayer text, they did the same with the Grace After Meals. They developed a basic text for these three blessing, the text which is in use to this very day.

The fourth and final blessing of the Grace is wholly rabbinic and was instituted – structure and text – by the Sanhedrin in the city of Yavneh in 3908 (148 CE). This blessing, praising G-d for being “good and beneficent” was instituted to commemorate the tremendous miracle which occurred when the Romans allowed the dead of Beitar to be buried. See What is Tu b’Av? for an account of this miracle.

Footnotes

  • 1. Deuteronomy 8:10.
  • 2. Berachot 48b.
  • 3. See “What exactly is the Oral Torah?”(http://www.askmoses.com/en/article/230,2065791/Who-composed-the-Grace-after-Meal.html)
  • 4. Although Jerusalem isn’t mentioned by name in the Five Books of Moses, it seems that the biblical obligation is to thank G-d for choosing a city wherein He would rest His Name—a concept mentioned numerous times in the Pentateuch. Eventually it became clear that this hitherto nameless city was Jerusalem.
  • 5. There is an opinion that the requirement to recite three blessings after eating food is not biblical—the biblical mitzvah is satisfied by saying one blessing. Rather, it is a rabbinic institution which received added credence when the biblical verse was found to allude to this requirement (Beit Yoseph Orach Chaim 191).

Can you tell me the blessings we recite on different foods?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

Index:
Food made of flour from wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oats: 1-2.
Wine/grape juice: 3.
Fruit: 4.
Vegetables: 5.
Everything else: 6.

1. Before eating bread, Challah or Matzah we say:1

Baruch Atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Hamotzee lechem meen ha-aretz.
[Blessed are you, L-o-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.]

The Grace After Meals is recited at the conclusion of the meal. (Click here for an online translation, transliteration or Hebrew/English PDF).
2. Before eating a food (other than bread) which was made of wheat, barley, spelt, rye or oats – such as cake, cookies, crackers, pasta or cereal – we say:

Baruch atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Bo-re mee-nay me-zoh-not.
[Blessed are you, L-o-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who creates various kinds of foods.]

Afterwards we recite the “Abridged” Grace After Meals; a.k.a. the “Al HaMichyah.” (Click here for online translation or Hebrew/English PDF (blessing on p. 96))
3. Before drinking wine or grape-juice we say:

Baruch Atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Bo-re pe-ree ha-ga-fehn.
[Blessed are you, L-o-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.]

Afterwards we recite a slightly different version of the “Abridged” Grace After Meals; a.k.a. the Al Hagefen. (See above links).
4. Before eating fruit of a tree we say:

Baruch Atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Bore pe-ree ha-etz.
[Blessed are you, L-o-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.]

Afterwards we say:

Baruch Atta Ado-nay Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Bore ne-fa-shot ra-bot ve-ches-ro-nan al kol mah she-ba-ra-ta le-hacha-yot ba-hem ne-fesh kol chai. Baruch chey ha-o-la-meem.
[Blessed are you, L-o-rd our G-d, King of the universe, Creator of numerous living beings and their needs, for all the things you have created with which to sustain the soul of every living being. Blessed is He who is the Life of the worlds.]

This after-blessing is for all fruit aside for grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. Since the Torah praises the Land of Israel with these fruits (Deuteronomy 8:8), we recite for them a special after-blessing–yet another version of the “Abridged” Grace After Meals, a.k.a. the Al Haperot. (See above links).
5. Before eating vegetables we say:

Baruch Atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, Bore pe-ree ha-ada-mah.
[Blessed are you, L-o-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.]

The after-blessing for vegetables is the same as the after-blessing for fruit.
6. Before eating all other foods or drinks – e.g. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, water, juices, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks – we say:

Baruch Atta Ado-noy Eh-lo-hay-nu Me-lech ha-oh-lam, She-ha-kol nee-hi-yah bee-de-varo.
[Blessed are you, L-o-rd our G-d, King of the universe, by whose word all things came to be.]

The after-blessing is the same as for fruit and vegetables.

Footnotes

  • 1. When we recite this blessing over a piece of bread/Matzah at a meal it covers all the other food/drink we will eat during that meal, with the exception of wine/grape juice and dessert.

Why do we wash our fingertips before Grace after Meals?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

Prior to Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals), one is obligated to wash Mayim Acharonim, the “Last Waters.”  Before blessing G-d, we sanctify ourselves by washing our hands, removing any food remnants which may have remained from the meal.

In times of old, many Jews were illiterate. Furthermore, prior to the invention of the printing press, even those who were literate often lacked even the most basic books, such as a Siddur. Therefore, when people ate together, it was common practice for one person to read the Birkat Hamazon, while everyone else would listen and answer Amen after each blessing, thus fulfilling the Mitzvah of Birkat Hamazon.

Since the primary reason for washing Mayim Acharonim is sanctification before blessing G-d… it is proper for every person to be meticulous in the observance of this washing

Since these people would not actually utter G-d’s name in blessing, it would seem that they would be exempt from Mayim Acharonim. The Rabbis instituted, however, that the listeners, too, should wash Mayim Acharonim, due to the pernicious “Sodomite salt” which was prevalent in the foods of olden times. This salt caused serious injury when it came in contact with the eyes.

Today, Sodomite salt is not to be found in our foods. Therefore, there are those who are lenient with regards to washing Mayim Acharonim. However, since the primary reason for washing Mayim Acharonim is sanctification before blessing G-d – and the Sodomite salt reason is the reason why the listeners must wash – it is proper for every person to be meticulous in the observance of this washing.

[Rabbi Jacob Emden, renowned 17th century scholar, writes that in Talmudic times people generally ate with their fingers. Today however, since most people eat with flatware, Mayim Acharonim isn’t as obligatory as it was then.

He concludes by saying, “perhaps this is why women today do not wash Mayim Acharonim, for they are more careful than their male counterparts in eating with spoons [forks and knifes]!”]

See also How do I wash Mayim Acharonim?

How do I wash Mayim Acharonim?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

– Water is poured once on the fingers of each hand. The waters should reach at least the second joint of the fingers (the joint closest to the knuckles) – for that is the area which becomes dirtiest during the meal. The fingers should be pointed (slightly) downwards during the washing.

– Chabad custom is to wipe the lips of the mouth with the still-moist fingers.

– Birkat Hamazon should immediately follow Mayim Acharonim, without any interruption. It is, however, permitted to utter two or three words between Mayim Acharonim and Birkat Hamazon.

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

Http://www.AskMoses.com

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