Halacha for Monday 13 Shevat 5778 January 29 2018

The Basis for the Laws of Blessings of Enjoyment and Maran zt”l’s Behavior While Blessing

Question: How should one who put food in one’s mouth without reciting a blessing proceed?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (35a) states: “Our Sages taught: One may not benefit from this world without first reciting a blessing. One who benefits from this world without first reciting a blessing is considered to have benefitted mundanely from consecrated items (for the entire creation belongs to Hashem, as the verse states, ‘To Hashem [belongs] the land and all its contents’).” The Gemara (ibid.) asks that whereas one verse states, “To Hashem [belongs] the land and all its contents,” another verse states, “And He has given the land to human beings.” These verses seemingly contradict one another, for if the land belongs to Hashem, it cannot belong to human beings and if Hashem has given it to human beings, it is not Hashem’s! The Gemara answers that one verse refers to before one recites a blessing and the other refers to after one recites a blessing, meaning that the verse, “To Hashem [belongs] the land and all its contents” refers to when a person has not yet recited a blessing; however, once one has blessed, he is immediately permitted to eat, hence the verse, “And He has given the land to human beings.”

It is thus imperative that one learn the laws of blessings well so that one does not, G-d-forbid, benefit from consecrated items by not reciting a blessing where one is actually required to or by reciting an incorrect blessing. This can also cause one transgress the prohibition of uttering Hashem’s name in vain, which is a terrible sin. On the other hand, if one recites the proper blessing and with proper intention and concentration, he merits great reward. It is also well-known that the Mekubalim write that by reciting a proper blessing, one merits repairing many things; praiseworthy is this individual and his share in the World to Come.

Maran zt”l’s Meticulousness Regarding Blessings
Once, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l was given his Rabbeinu Tam Tefillin instead of his Rashi Tefillin and he proceeded to mistakenly recite a blessing on them. When he realized what had occurred, Maran was upset all day long that he had recited a blessing when he was not supposed to. It is unbelievable how careful Maran was to recite blessings slowly and with concentration unlike some who recite blessings flippantly without any concentration. He would likewise take care and remind others to recite the name of Hashem within the blessing correctly and with the proper punctuation unlike some who customarily recite “Baruch Atadonai” as one word as opposed to two. Maran would also point out that one should not say “Adnai” which results from one reciting the words too quickly.

If One Mistakenly Puts Food in One’s Mouth Without Reciting a Blessing
What should one do if he has mistakenly put food in one’s mouth without first reciting a blessing?

We should first point out that one should preferably not recite a blessing when one already has food in his mouth, for the verse states, “May my mouth be filled with your praises.” Thus, if one has already put food into his mouth without a blessing, the law is as follows:

If the food is not the type that will become repulsive if one spits it out, such as a candy, Halacha dictates that one must spit it out and recite the appropriate blessing over it since one should not recite a blessing when his mouth is filled with food. However, if one is unable to spit out the food because doing so would make the food repulsive, one should move the food to the side of one’s mouth and proceed to recite the blessing.

If one mistakenly begins drinking a beverage without first reciting a blessing (in which case one cannot recite the blessing with the beverage still in his mouth and one cannot spit it out either, for doing so would certainly cause it to become repulsive), one should think the words of the blessing in his mind and then proceed to swallow the beverage. If one would like to continue drinking, one should recite, “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le’Olam Va’ed” and then verbally recite the blessing for what one would like to continue drinking (one should not rely on the fact that he has already thought the words of the blessing in his mind). See Berachot 50b and Shulchan Aruch, Chapter 172.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

One Who Eats Less than a Kezayit of Bread With other Foods- The Halachic Pitfall Present in Some Halls

In the previous Halacha we have explained that one does not recite a blessing on foods eaten during a bread meal, for the “Hamotzi Lechem Min Ha’aretz” blessing recited on the bread exempts them. We have also quoted the words of the Ritba who explains that this is not because of......

Read Halacha

The Blessing on Puffed Wheat and Farina

Question: We would like to partake of all of the Seven Species on Tu Bishvat. We wished to use puffed wheat as one of the species. What is the correct blessing on puffed wheat? Answer: Anything made out of the five types of grain (wheat, barley, oat, spelt, and rye) such as, cakes, cookies, and o......

Read Halacha

Rice Cakes and Puffed Rice Cereal

In the previous Halacha we have discussed that any grain, such as wheat, which is eaten raw requires the “Boreh Peri Ha’adama” blessing. For this reason, the blessing for puffed wheat is “Boreh Peri Ha’adama.” Only if the grains were cooked together until they sti......

Read Halacha

Foods Eaten During a Meal

The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (41a) tells us: “Rav Papa said: The Halacha is that foods eaten during the meal as part of the meal do not require a blessing neither before nor after eating them.” This means that any foods that are eaten during a bread meal, for instance meat, fish, and ......

Read Halacha


The Proper Blessing on Popcorn

Before we begin discussing the blessing on popcorn, let us first introduce this topic with another matter. The Blessing on Fragrant Spices Mixed with Sugar It is well-known that the sugar we use nowadays is produced from sugar canes that grow from the ground. The Rambam explains that the blessin......

Read Halacha

Question: What is the correct blessing for “Baklava”? Also, what is the blessing on a cake that contains only one spoon of flour? Similarly, what is the blessing on soup which contains a small amount of flour?

Answer: In the previous Halachot we have discussed that if a dish consists of several kinds of food, the blessing on the dish is that of the primary food. Thus, we have written that if one eats grape leaves stuffed with rice, one must recite the “Boreh Minei Mezonot” blessing on the rice......

Read Halacha

A Dish Comprised of Several Kinds of Food

Question: What is the correct blessing on stuffed peppers? Similarly, what is the correct blessing on a cake which has just a little flour but the primary ingredients of the cake are fruits and nuts? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that when one eats two different foods requirin......

Read Halacha

Lighting Chanukah Candles on Motza’ei Shabbat and Electric Chanukah Candles

On Motza’ei Shabbat Chanukah, in the synagogue, Chanukah candles are lit first and only following this is Havdala recited in order to delay the departure of Shabbat as much as possible. Although the one lighting the Chanukah candles removes the sanctity of Shabbat from himself, nevertheless, t......

Read Halacha