Halacha for Monday 25 Av 5779 August 26 2019

Explanation of the “Boreh Nefashot” Blessing

There are certain foods and drinks which require recitation of the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing after eating or drinking them.

For instance, if one eats more than an olive’s volume (approximately twenty-seven grams) of vegetables, one must recite the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing after eating.

Clearly, if one ate vegetables within a bread meal, one would not recite any blessing on the vegetables, neither before eating nor after eating. The above applies only when the vegetables were eaten outside of a bread meal.

Similarly, if one eats fruits that are not one of the Seven Species the Land of Israel was praised with, such as an apple or peach, one must recite the “Boreh Nefashot” after-blessing when one is finished eating.

The following is the text of the “Boreh Nefashot” blessing:

Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Boreh Nefashot Rabbot Ve’Chesronan Al Kol Mah She’Barata Le’Hachayot Bahem Nefesh Kol Chai, Baruch Chai Ha’Olamim.”

Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim explains the meaning of this blessing according to the Kabbalah in his Sefer Ben Ish Hai. According to the Mekubalim, souls are sometimes reincarnated (a deep topic which we do not fully comprehend) in vegetation or wildlife. When one recites a blessing on any given food, one repairs and uplifts the souls reincarnated in it. This is what is meant by the first part of the blessing “Boreh Nefashot Rabbot Ve’Chesronan Al Kol Mah She’Barata,” meaning that as a shortcoming of the souls, they are later reincarnated into other objects which You created and thus, through this blessing, “Le’Hachayot Bahem Nefesh Kol Chai,” we must rectify any living soul reincarnated into the food. Therefore, “Baruch Chai Ha’Olamim,” meaning that we are praising Hashem for this truly wonderous occurrence being executed through us.

Nevertheless, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l explains the meaning of this blessing according to its simple approach based on the words of the Tosafot (Berachot 37b):

Boreh Nefashot Rabbot Ve’Chesronan”- Hashem creates souls and what they are lacking, i.e. bread and water which are life’s basic necessities without which one cannot survive.

Besides for these things, Hashem has also created “Al Kol Mah She’Barata Le’Hachayot Bahem Nefesh Kol Chai,” meaning things which the world could continue to exist without even if Hashem would not have created them and thus, Hashem only created them for our pleasure, such as all types of fruits and the like. (See Ben Ish Hai and Halichot Olam, Parashat Matot)

Fortunate is one who pays attention to these concepts while reciting these blessings and in this way, one’s entire life takes a more spiritual turn for the better.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The “Mechaye Ha’Metim” Blessing

In the previous Halacha we have explained that one who sees a truly dear friend or relative after thirty days f not seeing him and is happy to see him recites the “Shehecheyanu” blessing upon seeing him. The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who se......

Read Halacha

Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing Upon Seeing a Dear Friend or Loved One

Question: If one travels overseas, returns home more than thirty days later, and is happy to see his wife or a dear friend when he returns, must one recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 58b) states: “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: One who sees his frie......

Read Halacha

Giving Birth on Shabbat

Question: If a pregnant woman knows that there is a reasonable chance that she will be giving birth on Shabbat (for instance, if her due date is on Shabbat) and as a result, if she begins experiencing contractions on Shabbat, Shabbat will have to be desecrated on her behalf by travelling to the hosp......

Read Halacha

The Law Regarding Eggs or Garlic that were Left Peeled Overnight

Things Forbidden Because of the Danger they Pose The Gemara (Niddah 17a) states in the name of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai that if one does any one of five specific things, one takes his life into his own hands (meaning that one is endangering himself). One of these things is eating an egg, garlic, or ......

Read Halacha


The Forbidden Work of Building on Shabbat

Question: May one sweep the dirt and small rocks in the front yard of one’s home on Shabbat? Answer: One of the thirty-nine forbidden works on Shabbat is building, as the Mishnah (Shabbat 102b) states, “One who builds on Shabbat, even if it is a small addition to an existing edifice, ......

Read Halacha

Tu Bishvat Customs

Tonight, Sunday night, marks Tu Bishvat. There are unique customs observed on the night of Tu Bishvat, as we shall explain. The Prohibition of Fasting and the Customary Reading of the Zohar It is forbidden to fast on the day of Tu Bishvat. Some customarily hold an order of learning on the eve of......

Read Halacha

Disassembling Doors and Windows on Shabbat

Question: May one remove a door from its hinges or a window from its frame on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that one of the works forbidden on Shabbat is building. However, just as it is forbidden to build something or add anything to a standing edifice on Shabbat, it......

Read Halacha

Baby Monitors on Shabbat

Question: May one place a baby monitor (intercom) in a baby’s room on Shabbat in order to be able to hear if the baby cries and to be able to adequately care for his/her needs? Answer: At first glance, it would seem that the baby monitor is similar in the way it works to a microphone which ......

Read Halacha