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

“Theft Prosecutes First”

The Mishnah (Yoma 85b) states that Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya expounded the following verse regarding Yom Kippur, “For on this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you, from all your sins shall you be clean before Hashem”- Yom Kippur atones for sins committed between man and Hash......

Read Halacha

A Thief Who Wishes to Repent-Continued

In the previous Halacha, we discussed the enactment of our Sages which dictates that when a thief comes to return a stolen object, one must refuse to accept it so that thieves do not become disheartened from repenting. Nevertheless, there are several details associated with this law, as we shall now......

Read Halacha

A Thief Who Wishes To Repent

Question: A few years ago, someone stole a certain sum of money from me. This individual has now approached me wishing to return this sum of money but he is crying to me about how it is possible that he will be able to return all the money he has stolen from so many people. What should I do? Answ......

Read Halacha

Establishing Times for Torah Study During the Days of Selichot

We have already mentioned in previous Halachot the words of the great Acharonim as well as Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l that the main goal for us during the month of Elul and the Ten Days of Repentance in our generation is to repent for our sins. Emphasis should not be placed solely on fas......

Read Halacha


The Obligation for Every Individual to Repent-An Incident Regarding Maran zt”l

Question: Why must one ask for forgiveness from Hashem for sins one has committed unknowingly? We know that there is no such thing as even a righteous man who does not sin at all and it is impossible for one not to sin even unknowingly sometimes! Why must we then repent for even sins of this nature?......

Read Halacha

Question: If one sins and it is difficult for one to repent and one has not yet done so, is there any benefit in one’s Mitzvah observance or is there no point at all?

Answer: It is well-known that the Teshuva process is usually categorized by “Desist from evil and do good,” i.e. one must first repent for all the sins one has committed against Hashem and only then should one perform Mitzvot and other good deeds which will stand to one’s merit. In......

Read Halacha

Wearing a Kippa on the Beach- Covering One’s Head While Reciting a Blessing

Question: Must one wear a Kippa on one’s head at the beach? (Obviously, this refers to a situation where being present at the beach poses no modesty concerns, such as in Israel where there are kosher, separate beaches for men and women.) Similarly, when one wishes to recite a blessing, is plac......

Read Halacha

Fasting on Shabbat

Question: Is there anything halachically wrong with starting the Shabbat day meal in the afternoon? Answer: We have already explained above regarding the laws of “the Mitzvah of enjoyment of Shabbat” that one is fully obligated to enjoy Shabbat through eating and drinking, as the vers......

Read Halacha