Halacha for Thursday 27 Tishrei 5781 October 15 2020

Speaking Between Washing One’s Hands and the “Hamotzi” Blessing

Question: Is one permitted to speak between washing one’s hands and reciting the Hamotzi blessing?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (42a) states: “Immediately following hand-washing, one must recite the blessing.” The Rishonim disagree as to the explanation of this Gemara: The Rambam explains that the words of the Gemara refer to Mayim Acharonim (“Final Waters”) which follow the meal and this means that one may not interrupt between Mayim Acharonim and Birkat Hamazon. However, between Netilat Yadayim and the Hamotzi blessing, one may speak according to the Rambam’s opinion.

Some explain that the Gemara refers to Netilat Yadayim prior to the meal and thus, the Hamotzi blessing must immediately follow the hand-washing without any interruption of speech in between them. The Tur (authored by Rabbeinu Yaakov son of Rabbeinu Asher) writes that his father, the Rosh, was accustomed not to speak even between the initial hand-washing and the Hamotzi blessing.

The Talmud Yerushalmi states: “If one does not interrupt between washing his hands and blessing, the Satan does not prosecute regarding that meal.” The simple meaning of the Yerushalmi seems to be referring to interrupting between the hand-washing before the meal and the Hamotzi blessing, for it says there that “the Satan does not prosecute regarding that meal,” which seems to imply that it is referring to the meal one is about to begin, i.e. that this refers to interrupting between the hand-washing before the meal and the Hamotzi blessing. Nevertheless, the phrase, “The Satan does not prosecute regarding that meal,” can also be understood as referring to the previous meal, meaning that one will not be harmed by the foods one has already eaten. There are sources for this explanation in several places throughout the Talmud Yerushalmi.

After quoting the words of the Poskim and the Talmud Yerushalmi regarding this topic, Maran Ha’Bet Yosef (Chapter 166) concludes, “It is therefore preferable to be careful with regards to the hand-washing prior to the meal as well.” His words, “It is therefore preferable to be careful,” seem to imply that according to the letter of the law, the Halacha follows the view of the Rambam that one may speak between Netilat Yadayim and the Hamotzi blessing. Nevertheless, it is preferable not to speak at all between Netilat Yadayim and the Hamotzi blessing. This is indeed the ruling of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l.

Ask the Rabbi


הלכה יומית מפי הראש"ל הגאון רבי יצחק יוסף שליט"א

דין ברכת שפטרנו מעונשו של זה
לחץ כאן לצפייה בשיעורים נוספים

Recent Halachot

"תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא"

נדה ע"ג א'

8 Halachot Most Popular

Question: May one eat bread without washing one’s hands if one does not touch the bread with one’s hands directly and instead holds it with a napkin and like?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (107b) states: “The Sages permitted a cloth (i.e. they permitted eating bread without first washing one’s hands by wrapping one’s hands in a cloth) for those eating Terumah (meaning that during the time when the Bet Hamikdash still stood, befo......

Read Halacha

Salt on the Table

Question: Is there a halachic necessity to have salt placed on the table before reciting the Hamotzi blessing and is it necessary to observe this custom on weekdays as well? Answer: The Gemara (Berachot 40a) states: “Rava bar Shmuel said in the name of Rav Chiya: One may not recite the Hamo......

Read Halacha

Eating without First Washing One’s Hands

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one may not be lenient and nullify the edict of washing one’s hands prior to eating bread; even if one does not touch the bread with one’s hands directly and merely holds it with gloves or a napkin, one may still not defy this edict. If one......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Washing One’s Hands for a Bread Meal

The Enactment of Washing One’s Hands for a Bread Meal There is a rabbinic enactment to wash one’s hands before sitting down to eat a bread meal. The Mishnah in Masechet Eduyot (Chapter 5) relates that Rabbi Eliezer ben Chanoch was excommunicated for having raised doubts about the necess......

Read Halacha


The “Asher Yatzar” Blessing vs. Birkat Hamazon

Question: In the previous Halacha, we have discussed if one becomes obligated to recite an after-blessing on food and before he does so, he uses the facilities and becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, one should recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing first and......

Read Halacha

Question: If one becomes obligated to recite an after-blessing after eating any food (for instance, by eating a Kezayit, approximately twenty-seven grams, of fruit) and before reciting the after-blessing, one used the facilities and becomes obligated to recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing, which blessing must one recite first: Should one first recite the “Asher Yatzar” blessing or the after-blessing on the food one ate?

Answer: This question has already been discussed by the Maharshal (Rabbeinu Shlomo Luria, one of the foremost Acharonim who lived approximately five-hundred years ago in Eastern Poland and authored the Sefer Yam Shel Shlomo and others) in his responsa (Chapter 97) and writes that if one becomes obli......

Read Halacha

A Power Outage on Shabbat

Question: Last Shabbat, there was a power outage and for six hours, we had no electricity. Later on in the day when the problem was repaired, the Plata (electric hotplate) turned back on. Is it permissible to eat the foods that were warmed on the hotplate? Answer: Regarding the aforementioned mat......

Read Halacha

Reciting Birkat Hamazon in the Place One Has Eaten

Question: Is one obligated to recite Birkat Hamazon specifically where one has eaten bread or may one recite this blessing elsewhere? Answer: One who eats a bread meal must recite Birkat Hamazon in the place where one has eaten and one may not go to a different place and recite the blessing there......

Read Halacha