Halacha for Monday 3 Adar 5784 February 12 2024

“May My Mouth Be Filled with Your Praise”

Today's Halacha is dedicated for the merit and protection of
All Our Dear Soldiers
May Hashem give them strength and courage to vanquish our enemies and may they return home safe and sound amid health and joy. May Hashem protect all the captives and have mercy upon them so that no harm befalls them and may they be released quickly, Amen!
* * * * * * * * * *

Question: If I mistakenly put food in my mouth without reciting a blessing, how should I proceed?

Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 50b) states: “Rav Yehuda said in the name of Rav: If one forgot and put food into one’s mouth without reciting a blessing, one should move it to one side and recite the blessing.” This means that one should move the food to one side of one’s mouth, recite the blessing, and continue eating.

The Gemara (ibid.) quotes three Baraitot regarding this issue which seem to contradict one another. One Baraita states that one should swallow the food one place in one’s mouth without reciting a blessing. The second one states that one must spit out the food since it is forbidden to eat without reciting a blessing. TThhe third states that one should move the food to one side of one’s mouth and recite a blessing, in accordance with Rav Yehuda’s opinion. Our Sages explain that these Baraitot do not, in fact, contradict one another, as follows:

The Baraita that states that one should swallow without reciting a blessing refers to beverages, in which case one cannot recite a blessing with a drink in one’s mouth. Therefore, one should just swallow and if there is more beverage remaining, one should recite a blessing and drink more. The second Baraita which states that one should spit out the food refers to a food which will not be repulsive when spat out, such as a candy. Thus, one should spit out the food, recite a blessing, and the put it back in one’s mouth. The third Baraita which states that one should move the food to one side of one’s mouth and then recite a blessing refers to a food which would be repulsive if spat out, in which case, one should move the food to the side of one’s mouth and recite a blessing like so since there is no other choice.

The Gemara explains that the reason why we do not apply this law of moving the food item to the side of one’s mouth and reciting a blessing like that by all foods is because the verse states, “May my mouth be filled with your praise,” indicating that one’s entire mouth should be filled with Hashem’s praise (i.e. while empty) and it is therefore inappropriate for there to be food in one’s mouth while one recites a blessing. However, when there is no other recourse, the Sages allowed one to move the food to the side of one’s mouth and then recite the blessing.

Halachically speaking, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 172) rules in accordance with the Gemara that if one put a beverage in one’s mouth without first reciting a blessing, one should swallow without reciting a blessing. On the other hand, the Rama rules that one should recite the blessing immediately after swallowing the beverage, for since one remembered immediately while drinking, it is still appropriate to recite the blessing afterwards. It would seem that Ashkenazim, who usually follow the rulings of the Rama, should follow this one as well, were it not for the Mishnah Berura writing that a majority of the Poskim side with Maran regarding this law. Therefore, even according to the Ashkenazi custom, one who put a beverage in one’s mouth without having recited a blessing should swallow and may not recite a blessing after swallowing.

Certainly, however, if one wishes to continue drinking, one must recite a blessing before doing so and have in mind to exempt what he has swallowed already.

If one mistakenly puts food into one’s mouth without first having recited a blessing, if this food will not be repulsive if spat out, one should spit it out, recite the blessing, and continue eating. If it will be repulsive, one should move the food to the side of one’s mouth, recite the blessing, and continue eating.

Summary: If one mistakenly put a beverage into one’s mouth without having recited a blessing, one should swallow. If one wishes to drink more, one should recite a blessing and have in mind to exempt what one had swallowed already as well. If this happened with food that would not become repulsive if one spit it out, one should spit it out, recite a blessing, and then resume eating. If the food would become repulsive by doing so, one should move the food to the side of one’s mouth, recite a blessing, and then continue eating.

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