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Shabbat, 8 Cheshvan 5778 / October 28, 2017

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Berachot - Chapter Four, Berachot - Chapter Five, Berachot - Chapter Six

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Berachot - Chapter Four

1

Everyone who recites grace or the single blessing that includes the three [blessings of grace] should recite these blessings in the place where he ate. If he ate while walking, he should sit down where he concluded eating and recite the blessings. If he ate while standing, he should sit down in his place and recite grace.

If a person forgets to recite grace and remembers before his food becomes digested, he may recite grace in the place where he remembers. If he intentionally [did not recite grace in the place where he ate], he should return to his place and recite grace. Should he recite grace in the place where he remembers, he fulfills his obligation.

Similarly, a person who recites grace while standing or while walking fulfills his obligation. Nevertheless, at the outset, a person should not recite grace or the single blessing which includes the three [blessings of grace] except when he is seated in the place where he ate.

א

כל המברך ברכת המזון או ברכה אחת מעין שלש צריך לברך אותה במקום שאכל אכל כשהוא מהלך יושב במקום שפסק ויברך אכל כשהוא עומד יושב במקומו ויברך שכח לברך ברכת המזון ונזכר קודם שיתעכל המזון שבמעיו מברך במקום שנזכר ואם היה מזיד חוזר למקומו ומברך ואם בירך במקום שנזכר יצא ידי חובתו וכן אם בירך כשהוא עומד או כשהוא מהלך יצא ידי חובתו ולכתחלה לא יברך ברכת המזון ולא ברכה שמעין שלש אלא כשהוא יושב ובמקום שאכל:

2

A person who is in doubt whether he recited the blessing hamotzi or not should not repeat the blessing, because it is not required by the Torah.

A person who forgets to recite hamotzi should recite the blessing if he remembers before he completes his meal. If he remembers after he completed his meal, he should not recite the blessing.

ב

מי שנסתפק לו אם בירך המוציא או לא בירך המוציא אינו חוזר ומברך מפני שאינו מן התורה שכח לברך המוציא אם נזכר עד שלא גמר סעודתו חוזר ומברך ואם נזכר לאחר שגמר אינו חוזר ומברך:

3

[The following rules apply when] a person was eating in one house, interrupted his meal, and went to another house, or when a friend called to him and he went out the doorway of his house to speak to him: When he returns, he is required to recite grace after what he originally ate, and to recite hamotzi again because he changed his place. [Only] after this, may he complete his meal.

ג

היה אוכל בבית זה ופסק סעודתו והלך לבית אחר או שהיה אוכל וקראהו חבירו לדבר עמו ויצא לו לפתח ביתו וחזר הואיל ושינה מקומו צריך לברך למפרע על מה שאכל וחוזר ומברך בתחלה המוציא ואחר כך יגמור סעודתו:

4

[The following rules apply when] friends joined to eat a meal together and [interrupted their meal to] go out to greet a groom or a bride: If they left an old man or a sick person [in the place where they ate], they may return to their place and complete their meal without having to recite a second blessing.

If they did not leave an old man or a sick person [in the place where they ate], when they depart they are required to recite a blessing after eating. When they return, they must recite a blessing before [beginning to eat again].

ד

חברים שהיו יושבים לאכול ויצאו לקראת חתן או לקראת כלה אם הניחו שם זקן או חולה חוזרין למקומן וגומרין סעודתן ואינן צריכין לברך שנייה ואם לא הניחו שם אדם כשהן יוצאין צריכין ברכה למפרע וכשהן חוזרין צריכין ברכה לכתחלה:

5

Similar laws apply when people drink together as a group or eat fruits together. Whenever one changes one's place, it is considered as if he interrupted his eating. Therefore, he must recite a blessing after what he ate and must recite a second blessing before partaking of any other foods.

A person who changes his place from one corner to another in the same room need not recite another blessing. In contrast, a person who ate on the east side of a fig tree and goes to eat on the west side of the fig tree must recite another blessing.

ה

וכן אם היו מסובין בשתיה או לאכול פירות שכל המשנה מקומו הרי פסק אכילתו ולפיכך מברך למפרע על מה שאכל וחוזר ומברך שנייה לכתחלה על מה שהוא צריך לאכול והמשנה מקומו מפינה לפינה בבית אחד אינו צריך לחזור ולברך אכל במזרחה של תאנה ובא לאכול במערבה צריך לחזור ולברך:

6

When a person recites a blessing on bread, it also includes the appetizers eaten together with bread - e.g., cooked food or fruit. Reciting a blessing on these foods, however, does not include bread.

Reciting a blessing on cooked grains includes cooked food. Reciting a blessing on cooked food, however, does not include cooked grains.

ו

בירך על הפת פטר את הפרפרת שאוכלין בהן הפת ממיני התבשיל ופירות וכיוצא בהן אבל אם בירך על הפרפרת לא פטר את הפת בירך על מעשה קדירה פטר את התבשיל בירך על התבשיל לא פטר את מעשה קדירה:

When a person recites a blessing on bread, it also includes - This halachah has raised questions among the commentaries. TheKessef Mishneh, the Lechem Mishneh, and others interpret this halachah as referring to the blessings before eating. Thus, with regard to bread, it is to a large part analogous to Halachah 11.

In this context, the Kessef Mishneh asks why the Rambam did not mention these laws in the context of Chapter 3, Halachot 5-7, which state the rule that the blessing on primary foods includes secondary foods. The Kessef Mishneh answers that those halachot describe a situation where the person has no desire to eat the secondary food in its own right and eats it only because of the primary food. In this halachah, the Rambam is speaking about an instance in which one desires to eat the other foods; nevertheless, they are included in the blessing recited over bread because bread includes all other foods.

The Rishon LeTzion offers a different interpretation, which appears more appropriate to the context in which the laws are discussed. Here, the Rambam is speaking only about the blessing recited after eating.

the appetizers - In his Commentary on the Mishnah,Berachot 6:5 (the source for this halachah), the Rambam defines the term פרפרת as לפתן, which is generally translated as "relish." Note the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 176:1), which offer a different interpretation of the term פרפרת.

eaten together with bread - This does not refer only to instances when these foods are eaten while placed on bread, but also to times when they are eaten at a meal at which bread is served.

e.g., cooked food or fruit. - Because the main element of a meal is considered to be bread, reciting a blessing upon it - either before or after partaking of it - includes the other foods that are eaten together with it.

Reciting a blessing on these foods, however, does not include bread. - The commentaries question why this clause is necessary according to the Rambam's definition of פרפרת. It is obvious that bread would not be considered secondary to any other foods.

Reciting a blessing on cooked grains - Our translation is based on the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (loc. cit.) and on Chapter 3, Halachah 4.

includes cooked food. - Since the cooked grains are considered "sustaining food" and have been granted a special blessing which includes (in synopsis) all the blessings of grace, reciting a blessing over them includes other cooked dishes eaten with them.

The Rishon LeTzion emphasizes that this applies to cooked foods that are eaten together with the grains. Otherwise, it would be difficult to understand how the blessing for the grains could cover foods that require other blessings. Note also the Kessef Mishneh, which offers an alternate explanation.

Reciting a blessing on cooked food, however, does not include cooked grains. - Since these cooked foods are not as satisfying as grains, the blessing recited over them cannot include grains.

Several commentaries have raised the question that from Berachot 42b, it appears that the Rambam's decision follows the School of Shammai and not the School of Hillel. The clearest resolution of the difficulty is offered by the Rishon LeTzion, who explains that the Rambam's decision is based on the Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 6:5). When the passage from the Babylonian Talmud is studied in the light of the passage from the Jerusalem Talmud, the Rambam's ruling is no longer difficult.

This relates to a concept frequently discussed by students of the Rambam: Does the Rambam accept the principle that when there is a difference of opinion between the Babylonian Talmud and the Jerusalem Talmud, the Halachah follows the Babylonian Talmud, or not?

7

A person who decides not to continue eating or drinking, and afterwards changes his mind and [desires to] eat or drink, must recite another blessing although he has not changed his place. If he did not decide [to cease] eating or drinking and had in mind to continue - even if he made an interruption for the entire day - he is not required to recite a second blessing.

ז

גמר בלבו מלאכול או מלשתות ואח"כ נמלך לאכול או לשתות אף ע"פ שלא שינה מקומו חוזר ומברך ואם לא גמר בלבו אלא דעתו לחזור לאכול ולשתות אפילו פסק כל היום כולו אינו צריך לברך שנית:

A person who decides not to continue eating or drinking - The Kessef Mishneh cites Pesachim 103b, which states that once a person diverts his attention from drinking wine, he must recite another blessing when he begins drinking again.

The Ra'avad notes that the passage from Pesachim (loc. cit.) mentions only drinking and does not discuss eating, and on that basis protests against the Rambam's equation of the two. From Berachot 42a, however, it appears that similar principles apply with regard to eating.

and afterwards changes his mind and [desires to] eat or drink, must recite another blessing - before partaking of the food or drink. He is not, however, required to recite a blessing after the first food or drink. Rather, he is required to recite only a single blessing after he completes eating.

although he has not changed his place. - As mentioned in Halachot 3-5, a person who changes his place while eating must recite both a blessing after the food he has eaten previously and a blessing over the food he plans to eat in his new place.

Many authorities do not accept the Rambam's decision with regard to a meal that includes bread. When a person sits down to such a meal, he is considered to have fixed his attention on eating. People frequently become drawn into eating more than they originally intended at such meals. Thus, a person's decision not to continue eating is not considered final, since it is quite possible that he will change his mind and decide to eat again. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 179:1).

Based on these principles, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 179:1) rules that, although once a person has decided to cease eating or drinking a new blessing is generally required, when partaking of a meal it is not sufficient to make a mental decision, and a person must wash before grace to be considered to have ceased eating.

If he - remained in the place in which he ate originally, and

did not decide [to cease] eating or drinking and had in mind to continue - eating at a later time

even if he made an interruption for the entire day - The Rambam's terminology appears to be a stylistic exaggeration. If a person waits long enough for the food he has eaten to digest, it would appear that he is required to recite another blessing before beginning to eat again (Kin’at Eliyahu).

he is not required to recite a second blessing - before partaking of more food or drink.

8

When people who are sitting together and drinking say "Let us recite grace," or "Let us recite kiddush," they are forbidden to continue drinking until they recite grace or kiddush. Should they desire to drink more - although they are not permitted to do so - before reciting grace or kiddush, they are required to recite the blessing borey pri hagafen before drinking. In contrast, should they say, "Let us recite havdalah," they are not required to recite a blessing [should they continue drinking].

ח

היו שותין ואמרו בואו ונברך ברכת המזון או בואו ונקדש קידוש היום נאסר עליהם לשתות עד שיברכו או יקדשו ואם רצו לחזור ולשתות קודם שיברכו או יקדשו אף ע"פ שאינם רשאים צריכים לחזור ולברך תחלה בורא פרי הגפן ואחר כך ישתו אבל אם אמרו בואו ונבדיל אין צריכין לחזור ולברך:

When people who are sitting together - after having completed a meal

and drinking say - This refers to a consensus agreed to by all the participants, and not a mere suggestion raised by a single individual.

"Let us recite grace," or "Let us recite kiddush," - i.e., they were eating on Friday afternoon or the afternoon before a festival. From sunset onward, it is forbidden to continue eating until one recites kiddush. It is, however, possible to recite kiddush early (see Hilchot Shabbat 29:11). Once the people agree to recite kiddush, they may no longer continue their meal (Kessef Mishneh).

they are - considered to have diverted their attention from drinking, as mentioned in the previous halachah. Hence, they are

forbidden to continue drinking until they recite grace or kiddush. - The Turei Zahav 179:2 states that, according to the authorities who differ with the Rambam on the previous halachah, if one's desire to drink stems from having eaten, one may continue to drink at this point.

Should they desire to drink more - although they are not permitted to do so - i.e., they are obligated to recite grace orkiddush before drinking. Should they desire to ignore that obligation and drink immediately,

before reciting grace or kiddush, they are required to recite the blessing borey pri hagafen before drinking - because, as mentioned in the previous halachah, the blessing they recited originally does not cover any drink consumed after they concluded drinking.

In contrast, should they say, "Let us recite havdalah," they are not required to recite a blessing [should they continue drinking]. - The difference between kiddush and havdalah is that kiddush initiates the Sabbath. Accordingly, the respect due to the Sabbath adds importance to the diversion of our attention from drinking implied by the statement, "Let us recite kiddush." In contrast, havdalah marks the beginning of the week, which we are not required to treat with such distinction. Thus, as Hilchot Shabbat 29:12 states, a person is not required to interrupt his meal at nightfall on Saturday, but may continue and recite havdalah when he concludes eating (Radbaz).

24. Berachot 59b emphasizes that this blessing is recited only when one drinks in a company. When one drinks alone, this blessing should not be recited, because it praises God for "being good" - i.e., to me - and "doing good" - for others (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 175:4).
25. Tosafot, Berachot (loc. cit.) notes that the Sages instituted this blessing only for different types of wine and not for different types of bread or meat, since wine has two positive qualities: It satisfies a person's appetite and lifts his spirits.
26. Rashi, Berachot (loc. cit.), states that this blessing should be recited only when the second type of wine is better than the first. If the first type of wine is better, no blessing should be recited. The commentaries maintain that the Rambam differs and maintains that the blessing should be recited whenever one changes types of wine. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 175:2-3) rules that if one knows that the second type of wine is of a lesser quality than the first, the blessing should not be recited.

9

When a company who gathered together to drink wine were served another type of wine - e.g., they were drinking red wine and black wine was brought, or they were drinking fresh wine and aged wine was brought - they need not recite a second blessing over wine. They should, however, recite the following blessing: "Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who is good and does good."

ט

היו מסובין לשתות יין ובא להן מין יין אחר כגון שהיו שותין אדום והביאו שחור או ישן והביאו חדש אינן צריכין לברך ברכת היין פעם שנייה אבל מברכין ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם הטוב והמטיב:

10

A person should not recite a blessing over any food or drink until it is brought before him. If he recited a blessing, and then the food was brought before him, he must recite a second blessing.

When a person took food in his hand and recited a blessing, but [before he could eat it] it fell from his hand and was burned or washed away by a river, he should take other food and recite another blessing. [This applies] even when the food is of the same species. He should also say, "Blessed be the Name of Him whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever" for the first blessing, so that he will not be considered to have recited a blessing in vain.

A person may stand over a stream of water, recite a blessing, and drink. Although the water that was before him at the time he recited the blessing is not the water he drinks, this was his original intention.

י

אין מברכין על אוכל מן כל האוכלין ולא על משקה מן כל המשקין עד שיבא לפניו ואם בירך ואח"כ הביאו לפניו צריך לחזור ולברך נטל אוכל ובירך עליו ונפל מידו ונשרף או שטפו נהר נוטל אחר וחוזר ומברך עליו אע"פ שהוא מאותו המין וצריך לומר ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד על ברכה ראשונה כדי שלא להוציא שם שמים לבטלה עומד אדם על אמת המים ומברך ושותה אף על פי שהמים שהיו לפניו בשעת הברכה אינם המים ששתה מפני שלכך נתכוון תחלה:

A person should not recite a blessing over any food or drink until it is brought before him. - The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 206:4) states that a person should hold the food in his right hand before reciting the blessing for it.

If he - ignored the above directive and

recited a blessing, and then the food was brought before him - The blessing is considered to be in vain, and before partaking of the food,

he must recite a second blessing. - There are some authorities who maintain that even though the food was not before one at the time the blessing was recited, if one was absolutely sure that it would be brought before him immediately, he can rely on that blessing (Mishneh Berurah 206:19).

When a person took food in his hand and recited a blessing, but [before he could eat it] it fell from his hand and was burned or washed away by a river - or in any other way became inedible

he should take other food and recite another blessing - i.e., the first blessing is no longer in effect ,and a second blessing must be recited before eating.

[This applies] even when the food is of the same species. - The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 206:6) adds, "and even if the other fruit was before him when he recited the blessing originally." The Ramah (based on the Hagahot Maimoniot) differs, and maintains that if he originally intended to partake of the other fruit as well, it is included in the first blessing and he should eat it without hesitation so that the blessing will not have to be repeated.

He should also say, "Blessed be the Name of Him whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever" for the first blessing, so that he will not be considered to have recited a blessing in vain. - See Chapter 1, Halachah 15, which discusses the seriousness of reciting a blessing in vain. See also Hilchot Sh'vuot 12:9-11, where the Rambam discusses related concepts, concluding:

The Torah has adjured us "to fear [His] glorious and awesome name." Included in this fear is that it should not be mentioned in vain. If, because of a slip of the tongue, one mentioned God's name in vain, one should immediately praise and laud... it.

A person may stand over a stream of water, recite a blessing, and drink. - The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 6:1) mentions this instance as a contrast to the previous law.

Although the water that was before him at the time he recited the blessing is not the water he drinks, this was his original intention. - He knew that the water would continue to flow. When he recited the blessing on the water, his intent was on water from the stream and not on the particular water before him at the time he recited the blessing.

11

Foods that are eaten within the meal, because of the meal, do not require a blessing beforehand or afterward. Rather, the blessing hamotzi that is recited in the beginning and the grace recited afterward include everything, because everything is secondary to the meal.

Foods that are eaten within the meal, but do not come because of the meal, require a blessing before partaking of them, but do not require a blessing afterward.

Foods that are eaten after the meal, whether because of the meal or independent of the meal, require a blessing beforehand and afterward.

יא

דברים הבאים בתוך הסעודה והן מחמת הסעודה אינן צריכין ברכה לפניהם ולא לאחריהם אלא ברכת המוציא שבתחלה וברכת המזון שבסוף פוטרת הכל שהכל טפלה לסעודה ודברים שאינן מחמת הסעודה שבאו בתוך הסעודה טעונין ברכה לפניהם ולא לאחריהם ודברים הבאים לאחר הסעודה בין מחמת הסעודה בין שלא מחמת הסעודה טעונין ברכה לפניהן ולאחריהם:

Foods that are eaten within the meal, because of the meal. - The Rambam's statements are quoted, with slight changes, from Berachot 41b. In his commentary on this passage, Rashi defines this first category of foods as relishes eaten with bread. He explains that other foods - e.g., cereals or vegetables - although they are eaten as part of a meal, require an independent blessing.

Tosafot differs, and maintains that any food that is eaten as part of a meal - e.g., the foods mentioned by Rashi, meat or fish - is included in this category. Even if they are not eaten with bread, merely at the same meal, they

do not require a blessing beforehand or afterward. - The commentaries question whether the Rambam's position follows that of Rashi or Tosafot. The following sentence (which is the Rambam's addition to Berachot, loc. cit.) sheds light on the question.

Rather, the blessing hamotzi that is recited in the beginning and the grace recited afterward include everything, because everything is secondary to the meal. - This sentence explains the rationale for this ruling. These foods are not eaten casually during the day, but rather are eaten only as part of a meal, with the intent of satiating one's appetite. Accordingly, they are considered as secondary to bread, which is the primary element of the meal (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 177:1). Accordingly, we follow the ruling mentioned in Chapter 3, Halachah 5, that the blessing on primary foods includes secondary foods.

This explanation appears to indicate that the Rambam followsTosafot's interpretation. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 171:1) also rules accordingly. The Magen Avraham 177:1, however, postulates that it is logical to assume that this ruling applies only when bread is eaten throughout the meal. If only a small amount of bread is eaten at the beginning of a meal, and no bread is eaten while the main course is being eaten, it is questionable whether the blessing over the bread covers these foods.

Foods that are eaten within the meal, but do not come because of the meal - This refers to fruits and the like, which are not satisfying food and are eaten throughout the day, frequently outside the context of a meal, but at times within the context of a meal. This indicates that they are not necessarily connected with the meal and, therefore, are not included in the blessing hamotzi. Accordingly, they

require a blessing before partaking of them, but do not require a blessing afterward. - Since they are eaten within the meal, they also satisfy a person's appetite. Accordingly, they are included in the blessing that is required by the commandment, "When you have eaten and are satiated, you shall bless...."

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:1,3, based on Rabbenu Asher's commentary on Berachot, loc. cit.) mentions two instances when fruit is included in the blessing hamotzi:

a) When the fruits are eaten on bread itself,
b) When one eats a meal of fruit - i.e., the fruit is served to satiate one's appetite.

Foods that are eaten after the meal, whether because of the meal - i.e., foods served to satiate one's appetite

or independent of the meal -fruits, desserts, or drinks

require a blessing beforehand and afterward. - Tosafot (Berachot, loc. cit.) states that this law does not apply at present. Our eating habits have changed, and bread is constantly before us during a meal, and it is customary to partake of it at all times.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:2) accepts Tosafot's position. The Magen Avraham 177:7 adds that even at large feasts, when it is customary to eat desert without eating bread, a new blessing is not required because, in Talmudic times, bread and the main course were served on a small table, which was then removed, and dessert was served on a new table. Thus, the dessert appeared as a separate meal and required separate blessings. In contrast, at present, desert is served on the same table on which the bread was served. Hence, it is still considered a continuation of the same meal and does not require a separate blessing.

12

On Sabbaths, on festivals, at the meal after one lets blood or leaves the bath, and the like, when a person makes wine a primary element of his meal, if he recites a blessing on wine before eating his meal, that blessing includes the wine that he drinks after the meal, before he recites grace. In contrast, on other days, a person should recite another blessing on wine that is drunk after the meal.

If wine is served to a company in the midst of the meal, each person should recite a blessing by himself, because one's mouth may not be empty to recite Amen. [This blessing] does not include the wine that is drunk after the meal.

יב

בשבתות ובימים טובים ובסעודת הקזת הדם ובשעה שיצא מן המרחץ וכיוצא בהן שאדם קובע סעודתו על היין אם בירך על היין שלפני המזון פטר את היין ששתה לאחר המזון קודם שיברך ברכת המזון אבל בשאר הימים צריך לחזור ולברך בתחלה על היין של אחר המזון בא להן יין בתוך המזון כל אחד ואחד מברך לעצמו שאין בית הבליעה פנוי שיענו אמן ואינו פוטר את היין שלאחר המזון:

Berachot - Chapter Five

1

Women and slaves are obligated to recite grace. There is a doubt whether their obligation stems from the Torah, since [this is a positive mitzvah] that is not linked to a specific time, or whether their obligation does not stem from the Torah. Therefore, they should not fulfill the obligation of grace on behalf of others. Children, however, are obligated to recite grace by virtue of Rabbinic decree, in order to educate them to perform mitzvot.

א

נשים ועבדים חייבין בברכת המזון וספק יש בדבר אם הן חייבין מן התורה לפי שאין קבוע לה זמן או אינם חייבין מן התורה לפיכך אין מוציאין את הגדולים ידי חובתן אבל הקטנים חייבין בברכת המזון מדברי סופרים כדי לחנכן במצות:

Women and slaves - whose Torah obligations are equivalent (Chagigah 4a)

are obligated to recite grace. - There are opinions that state that a woman does not have to recite the part of grace that blesses God for "Your covenant that You have sealed in our flesh, and for Your Torah that You have taught us," since women are not obligated to fulfill these mitzvot. Nevertheless, in practice, it is agreed that women should mention both these mitzvot, because the ultimate fulfillment of the creation of both men and women is when they marry. Therefore, a man and his wife are considered a single unit (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 187:7).

There is a doubt whether their obligation stems from the Torah, since [this is a positive mitzvah] that is not linked to a specific time - Women are not obligated to fulfill such mitzvot. See Kiddushin (1:7). Since the obligation to recite grace is constant, whether one eats during the day or at night, it would appear that women are obligated. Some commentaries point to Sefer HaMitzvot (Positive Commandment 19) and the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Berachot 3:3 and Kiddushin, loc. cit.) as indications that the Rambam supports the view that a woman's obligation for grace stems from the Torah.

or whether their obligation does not stem from the Torah. -Berachot 20b explains this hypothesis: Since Deuteronomy 8:10, the proof-text requiring us to recite grace, states: "You shall bless God, your Lord, for the good land that He gave you," one might think that only those who were given an inheritance in Eretz Yisrael are required to recite grace, thus excluding women who were not given an inheritance.

Therefore - i.e., because of this doubt

they should not - endeavor to

fulfill the obligation of grace on behalf of others. - Since, as stated in Chapter 1, Halachah 11, a person can only recite a blessing on behalf of another person if he shares an equal obligation himself.

Children - Boys below thirteen and girls below twelve, or individuals above that age who have not demonstrated signs of physical maturity.

however, are obligated to recite grace - This expression appears to indicate that the Sages placed the obligation on the child himself. See also Hilchot Sukkah 6:1 and Hilchot Lulav 7:19, where the Rambam uses similar expressions. (In Hilchot Tefillin 4:13 and Hilchot Chagigah 2:3, however, the Rambam states that the obligation to train a child to fulfill these mitzvot lies on the father.)

The hypothesis that the obligation lies on the child is supported by Halachah 16, which states that a child may fulfill the obligation of grace for a person who did not eat to the point of satisfaction (and, therefore, is obligated to recite grace only by Rabbinic decree). Were the Sages to have placed the obligation to educate the child on his father and not on the child himself, the child would not be able to fulfill the mitzvah on behalf of another person.

Nevertheless, it is possible to explain that the Sages placed the obligation on the father. This obligation, however, encompasses the child and, hence, causes him to be considered as obligated in the mitzvah (Likkutei Sichot, Vol. 17).

by virtue of Rabbinic decree - until a child reaches intellectual maturity, the Torah itself places no obligations upon him (Pesachim 116a).

in order to educate them to perform mitzvot.

1. Zimmun is related to the word להזדמן, which means "to come together" (Rashi, Berachot 45a).
2. Berachot (loc. cit.) derives this obligation from Psalms 34:4: "Exalt God with me, and let us extol His name together." Rashi notes that the use of the plural form of the word "exalt" implies the presence of at least two people and the expression, "with me," the presence of a third.
3. The Magen Avraham 192:1 cites the Zohar (Vol. III, 186b), which states that the person reciting grace should call the attention of the participants in the meal. Therefore, it is customary for him to begin, "Gentlemen, let us recite grace," and for the others to reply, "May the name of God be blessed forever and ever."
4. The Tur (Orach Chayim 192) states that between zimmun and grace, the participants say, "Blessed be He and blessed be His name." This is the custom in many Ashkenazic communities.
5. The person who recites the zimmun should recite grace with the intention of fulfilling the obligation on behalf of the others, and they should have the intention of fulfilling the mitzvah by listening to his blessings. (See the commentary on Halachah 15.)

At present, it is customary for each person to recite grace by himself after hearing the zimmun (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 183:7). It is feared that one will lose concentration in the midst of the blessings (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 183:10).

6. This enhances the importance of the blessings.
7. The Rambam's text states, לא-להינו, which is a direct quote from Berachot 7:3. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 192:1) states that the ל should be omitted, because it is not proper usage.
8. There are several differences between the rules governing this addition and those governing the recitation of the wedding blessings. (See Chapter 2, Halachot 9-11.) First, the addition, "in whose abode is joy," is recited both before and after the time when the wedding blessings are recited. Secondly, there is no need for "new faces."

At present, the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 62:7) writes that a marriage feast is not unique compared to other celebrations. Therefore, this addition is made only in the seven days of the wedding celebrations.

9. Rav David Avudraham explains that this refers to the angels in heaven, who recite songs of praise. This heavenly rejoicing is mentioned at the time of a wedding, one of the most significant worldly celebrations.
10. The Chelkat Mechokeik 62:7 states that the addition of "in whose abode is joy" is made only in an instance when when others join the wedding party and not when only the immediate family are present.
11. Our translation is based on Arachin 4a, which interprets the word הכל as referring to priests, Levites, and Israelites.
12. Arachin (loc. cit.) explains that since the priests partake of the sacrifices in order that the people who bring them should receive atonement and not because they desire to eat a meal, one might think that they would not be required to recite this blessing.
13. Arachin (loc. cit.) explains that since the Israelites are not allowed to partake of the terumah eaten by the priests, one might think that it would not be considered as if they ate together as a group. This law has ramifications in the present age in situations when people eating a fleishig meal join others eating a milchig meal at the same table (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 196:7).

2

When three people eat [a meal including] bread together, they are obligated to recite the blessing of zimmun before grace.

What is the blessing of zimmun? If there were between three and ten participants in a meal, one recites the blessing, saying, "Let us bless Him of whose [bounty] we have eaten."

Everyone responds: "Blessed be He of whose [bounty] we have eaten and by whose goodness we live." The one [reciting the blessing] then repeats: "Blessed be He of whose [bounty] we have eaten and by whose goodness we live."

ב

שלשה שאכלו פת כאחד חייבין לברך ברכת הזימון קודם ברכת המזון ואי זו היא ברכת הזימון אם היו האוכלים משלשה עד עשרה מברך אחד מהם ואומר נברך שאכלנו משלו והכל עונין ברוך שאכלנו משלו ובטובו חיינו והוא חוזר ומברך ברוך שאכלנו משלו ובטובו חיינו:

3

Afterwards, he recites, "Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who sustains the entire world in His goodness..." until he completes the four blessings [of grace]. The others answer Amen after each blessing.

ג

ואח"כ אומר ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם הזן את העולם כולו בטובו עד שגומר ארבע ברכות והן עונין אמן אחר כל ברכה וברכה:

4

If ten or more people eat together, the zimmun should be recited with God's name. What is implied? The one reciting the blessing declares, "Let us bless to our God of whose [bounty] we have eaten."

The others respond: "Blessed be our God of whose [bounty] we have eaten and by whose goodness we live." The one [reciting the blessing] then repeats: "Blessed be our God of whose [bounty] we have eaten and by whose goodness we live." He then begins reciting grace.

ד

היו האוכלין מעשרה ולמעלה מזמנין בשם כיצד המברך אומר נברך לאלהינו שאכלנו משלו והן עונין ברוך אלהינו שאכלנו משלו ובטובו חיינו והוא חוזר ואומר ברוך אלהינו שאכלנו משלו ובטובו חיינו ומתחיל ברכת המזון:

5

When eating in the home of a bridegroom from the time when the preparations for the wedding feast have begun until 30 days after the wedding, the one reciting the blessings should say, "Let us bless Him in whose abode is joy, of whose bounty we have eaten," and the others respond, "Blessed be He in whose abode is joy, of whose bounty we have eaten...."

If ten people are present, he says, "Let us bless our God in whose abode is joy, of whose bounty we have eaten..." and the others respond, "Blessed be our God in whose abode is joy, of whose bounty we have eaten...." Similarly, whenever a feast is held because of the wedding for twelve months after the wedding, one should include the phrase, "in whose abode is joy."

ה

הסועד בבית חתנים משיתחילו להתעסק בצרכי סעודת נישואין ולהכינה עד שלשים יום אחר הנישואין מברך נברך שהשמחה במעונו שאכלנו משלו והם עונים ברוך שהשמחה במעונו שאכלנו משלו וכו' ואם היו עשרה מברך נברך לאלהינו שהשמחה במעונו שאכלנו משלו והם עונין ברוך אלהינו שהשמחה וכו' וכן סעודה שעושין אותה אחר הנישואין מחמת הנישואין עד שנים עשר חדש מברך שהשמחה במעונו:

6

All men are obligated in the blessing of the zimmun as they are obligated in grace, even priests who partook of sacrifices of the most sacred order in the Temple Courtyard. Similarly, priests and Israelites who ate together are required to recite the zimmun as they are required to recite grace, although the priests partook of terumah and the Israelites ordinary food.

ו

הכל חייבין בברכת הזימון כדרך שחייבין בברכת המזון אפילו כהנים שאכלו קדשי הקדשים בעזרה וכן כהנים וישראלים שאכלו כאחד ואכלו הכהנים תרומה וישראל חולין חייבין בזימון כחיובן בברכת המזון:

7

Women, servants, and children are not included in azimmun. They may, however, make a zimmun among themselves. Nevertheless, for the sake of modesty, there should not be a company that consists of women, servants, and children [together]. Instead, women may make a zimmun alone, as may servants and as may children. They should not, however, mention God's name.

An androgynous may make a zimmun among his own kind, but should not be included among a zimmun either of men or of women. A tumtum should not be included in a zimmun at all.

A child who understands Whom is being blessed may be included in a zimmun, although he is merely seven or eight years old. He may be counted among either a group of three or a group of ten for the purpose of zimmun. A gentile may not be included in a zimmun.

ז

נשים ועבדים וקטנים אין מזמנין עליהן אבל מזמנין לעצמן ולא תהא חבורה של נשים ועבדים וקטנים מפני הפריצות אבל נשים מזמנות לעצמן או עבדים לעצמן ובלבד שלא יזמנו בשם אנדרוגינוס מזמן למינו ואינו מזמן לא לנשים ולא לאנשים מפני שהוא ספק והטומטום אינו מזמן כלל קטן היודע למי מברכין מזמנין עליו ואע"פ שהוא כבן שבע או כבן שמונה ומצטרף בין למנין שלשה בין למנין עשרה לזמן עליו והעכו"ם אין מזמנין עליו:

Women, servants, and - very young

children are not included in a zimmun. - i.e., if there are two adult males and one of these three types of individuals, it is impossible to make a zimmun. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 199:7) states that when women eat together with men who make a zimmun, they are obligated to answer.

They may, however, make a zimmun among themselves. Nevertheless, for the sake of modesty - If any two of these three categories of people eat together, there is a possibility of undesirable results. In order not to encourage such meals, the Sages did not impose the obligation of zimmun.

The Rambam mentions modesty only as a reason why women and servants should not join in a zimmun. Significantly, other authorities explain that it is for reasons of modesty that women should not be counted in a zimmun together with men.

there should not be a company that consists of women, servants, and children [together]. - Nor should a company consist of two of these three categories.

Instead, women may make a zimmun alone - There is, however, no obligation for them to do so (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 199:7). Rabbenu Asher considers them as obligated to make azimmun. Nevertheless, even among the Ashkenazic community, most authorities do not accept his ruling.

as may servants and as may children. They should not, however, mention God's name. - The mention of God's name causes the recitation of grace to be considered "a holy matter." As stated in Hilchot Tefillah 8:6, prayers of this nature can be recited only when a quorum of ten adult males is present (Kessef Mishneh).

An androgynous - A person who possesses both male and female sexual organs

may make a zimmun among his own kind, but should not be included among a zimmun either of men or of women - since he is not a member of either sex.

A tumtum - a person who has flesh covering his genitalia, making it impossible to determine whether he is a male or a female

should not be included in a zimmun at all. - He should not be counted among men or women, because we are unsure of his sex. Furthermore, unlike androgynouses a group of tumtumim cannot make a zimmun of their own.

In the case of an androgynous, the doubt is how to define his halachic status properly. Hence, they are considered a separate category. In contrast, a tumtum is either a male or a female, and it is his physical condition that prevents us from determining his sex. Thus, a group of tumtumim may include both males and females, and hence they are not allowed to be counted in a zimmun at all (Kessef Mishneh).

A child - The Magen Avraham 199:6 states that this applies to only one child, but not two or more.

who understands Whom is being blessed may be included in a zimmun, although he is merely seven or eight years old. - Rav Yitzchak Alfasi mentions an age of nine or ten. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 199) states that all authorities agree that a child below the age of six may not be counted in a zimmun.

He may be counted among either a group of three - to recite the zimmun together with two adult males

or a group of ten - to include the mention of God's name together with nine adults

for the purpose of zimmun. - The Magen Avraham, loc. cit., explains why such a decision is granted with regard to a zimmun and not with regard to kaddish, barchu, kedushah, and the like. The latter prayers are obligations incumbent on a person each day, and may be fulfilled only with a quorum of adult men. In contrast, since each person may fulfill his obligation to recite grace without a zimmun, leniencies were granted in counting the people included.

Rabbenu Asher and the Ramah (Orach Chayim 199:10) do not accept this distinction, and rule that a child may not be counted in a zimun until he is thirteen years of age and has exhibited signs of physical maturity.

A gentile may not be included in a zimun - even when we are certain that he will bless God.

In his Commentary on the Mishnah (Berachot 7:1, based on Berachot 47b), the Rambam states that this refers to a gentile who has already made a decision to convert and has been circumcised for that reason. Nevertheless, if he has not immersed himself in the mikveh, he is not considered a Jew, and may not be included in a zimmun.
14. This ruling is not accepted by many other authorities, including Rabbenu Yitzchak Alfasi and Rabbenu Asher. Because of the difference of opinion, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 197:3) rules that, at the outset, an attempt should be made to follow the Rambam's decision. If, however, the third person does not desire to eat bread, he may be included in the zimmun as long as he partook of ak'zayit of other foods.
15. The commentaries note that the Rambam does not quote Berachot 48a (the source for this halachah) exactly. The Talmud states "dipped his food in brine with them." The Rambam's choice of phraseology is particularly difficult since, as the Rambam himself writes in Hilchot Sh'vitat Asor 2:5, brine is generally not eaten alone as a food.
16. The commentaries have noted the apparent redundancy in the Rambam's expressions. The Kol ben Levi offers a possible resolution, explaining that, in the opening clause, the Rambam states that these people are not required to make a zimmun. In the final clause, he states that they are not allowed to do so.
17. Tosafot, Berachot 47a, writes that if they have already decided to recite grace, the third person may not be included in azimmun with them. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 197:1) accepts this ruling.
18. According to the Rambam's opinion mentioned in the previous halachah, the third person must partake of bread. According to the other opinions mentioned above, if the third person partakes of other foods, the first two may include him in a zimmun.
19. Berachot 47a relates that Rav Simai bar Chiyya joined Rav and Shemuel in a meal after the latter had completed eating. They ate another side dish together with him, and then recited the zimmun.
20. Note the Be'ur Halachah 197, which states that they are obligated to recite the zimmun.
21. He may, however, convey this privilege on another person if he desires (Tosafot, loc. cit.; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 201:1).

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.) mentions that if a guest is present, he should be given the privilege of reciting thezimmun, so that he will be able to recite a blessing for the host, as mentioned in Chapter 2, Halachah 7.

The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:2) also mentions that a priest who is a Torah sage should be given the privilege of reciting the zimmun. (See Hilchot Klei HaMikdash 4:2 and Hilchot Tefillah 12:18.)

22. Although a sufficient number of people to recite grace with azimmun will remain, each individual is personally obligated to participate in the zimmun and may not recite grace alone.
23. Enough people remain in each group to allow them both to recite grace with a zimmun. There is, however, no obligation to separate. If the people desire, they may recite grace in a single group (Ramah, Orach Chayim 193:1).
24. Until there are twenty people, separation will prevent - at the very least - the people who separate from reciting grace with God's name.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 193:1, based onBerachot 50a) states that, at a meal attended by many people, if there is a difficulty or inconvenience preventing an individual from participating in the zimmun in which God's name is mentioned, he may recite grace with a zimmun of three.

8

Only those who ate at least an amount of bread equal to the size of an olive should be included in a zimmun.

When seven people partake of bread and three eat vegetables or brine and the like with them, the latter may be included in the zimmun, so that God's name may be mentioned, provided the one reciting the blessings partook of bread. In contrast, should six people partake of bread and four eat vegetables, the latter may not be included. There has to be a distinct majority of people who partook of bread.

When does the above apply? With regard to [a zimmun of] ten. Regarding three, however, they should not recite the zimmun unless each one of them eats a portion of bread the size of an olive.

ח

אין מזמנין אלא על מי שאכל כזית פת ולמעלה שבעה שאכלו פת ושלשה אכלו עמהן ירק או ציר וכיוצא בהן מצטרפין לזמן בשם והוא שיהיה המברך מאוכלי הפת אבל ששה שאכלו פת וארבעה ירק אין מצטרפין עד שיהיו אוכלי הפת רוב הניכר בד"א בעשרה אבל בשלשה צריך שיאכלו כל אחד ואחד מהן כזית פת ואחר כך מזמנין:

9

[The following rule applies when] two people eat together and complete their meal, and afterward, a third person comes and eats. If the others can eat any food [- they need not partake of bread -] together with him, he should be included [in the zimmun] with them.

The sage of the greatest stature among those dining should recite grace, although he arrived at the end of the meal.

ט

שנים שאכלו וגמרו מלאכול ובא שלישי ואכל אם יכולין לאכול עמו כל שהוא ואפילו משאר אוכלין מצטרף עמהן וחכם גדול שבמסובין הוא שמברך לכולן אף על פי שלא בא אלא באחרונה:

10

When three people eat together, they may not separate [and recite grace without a zimmun]. The same applies to four and five people. Between six and ten people may separate [and recite grace in two groups].

If more then ten people are present, they may not separate until [their number reaches] twenty. [The governing principle is that a group may separate only if] the blessing of the zimmun will be the same for both groups if they separate.

י

שלשה שאכלו כאחד אינן רשאין ליחלק וכן ארבעה וכן חמשה וששה יש להם ליחלק עד עשרה מעשרה ולמעלה אינם רשאים ליחלק עד עשרים שכל זמן שיחלקו ותהיה ברכת הזימון לכל חלק וחלק כזימון הכל יש להם ליחלק:

11

When three people who each came from a different group of three [join together], they should not separate [without reciting grace with a zimmun]. If each of them already participated in a zimmun, they may separate. They are not obligated to participate in a zimmun again, because a zimmun was already recited including them.

When three people sit down [together] to eat bread, they may not separate even though each person eats from his own food.

יא

שלשה בני אדם שבאו משלש חבורות של שלשה שלשה אינן רשאין ליחלק ואם כבר זימן כל אחד ואחד מהן בחבורה שלו רשאין ליחלק ואינן חייבין בזימון שכבר זימנו עליהן שלשה שישבו לאכול פת אע"פ שכל אחד ואחד אוכל משלו אינן רשאין ליחלק:

When three people who each came - It is possible to explain that this is referring to three individuals who each began eating with a separate group in the same large room. Afterwards, they joined together and ate at the same table.

Alternatively, the halachah is speaking about three groups that ate on the same table, and one remained from each group (Merchevat HaMishneh), or the three individuals came from different groups, but left their original group inadvertently or because of forces beyond their control (Mishnah Berurah 193:25).

from a different group of three - and thus were each personally obligated to participate in a zimmun (Rashi, Berachot 50a)

[join together], - even when they themselves do not eat together (loc. cit.). According to the Kessef Mishneh, this applies when they eat together. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 193:5) states that, in either instance, the following law applies.

they should not separate [without reciting grace with a zimmun]. - Ideally, they should not have separated from their first company. See the Rishon LeTzion; Ramah, Orach Chayim 193:6). After the fact, since they all have still not recited grace and are all obligated to participate in a zimmun, they should do so.

If each of them already participated in a zimmun - i.e., although they desired to continue eating, they responded to thezimmun and listened to the first blessing of grace (Tosafot, Berachot, loc. cit.; Ramah, Orach Chayim 200:1)

they may separate. They are not obligated - The Shulchan Aruch (193:5) states, "They cannot..."; i.e., it is forbidden for them to participate in a zimmun again.

to participate in a zimmun again - Even if the latter group of three eat together, since they did not begin their meal with the intention of eating as a company, they are not obligated to recite grace with a zimmun.

because a zimmun was already recited including them. - This expression implies a different concept. If a fourth person joined the two remaining in the original group and a zimmun was recited, the obligation of a zimmun is no longer incumbent on the person who left the group. Therefore, a zimmun may not be recited in the new group of three (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 193:6).

If the three people in the new group eat together as a company, they may recite a zimmun (Mishnah Berurah 193:33).

When three people sit down [together] to eat bread, they may not separate - even though one of the three desires to recite grace before the others, they must recite the zimmun as a group (Mishnah Berurah 193:28).

even though each person eats from his own food. - It is the intent to sit down together at a single table that establishes them as a company, and not the fact that they share food.

25. This halachah describes a large feast, at which many people eat at different tables. Nevertheless, they all came together for the same purpose, and thus are considered a single group. (See the Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 7:5; and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 195:2).

In contrast, in a restaurant, although many people eat in the same room, since they did not come with the intention of eating together, they are considered as a single group. 26. The Rambam is quoting the Mishnah (Berachot 7:5). Rabbenu Asher and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 195:1) state that the same principles apply if the feast is held in two separate rooms (or houses), as long as they are not separated by a street.
27. Similarly, if a single group is large enough to prevent the words of the blessings from being heard, people should recite the zimmun in smaller groups (Kessef Mishneh; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 193:1).
28. He must also respond (Berachot 45b; Mishnah Berurah 194:6).
29. He fulfills his obligation for zimmun, but not for grace.
30. It is only proper that God's name be mentioned when the ten people are in the same room (Berachot, loc. cit.).
31. If, however, two people from a group of three recite grace alone, a zimmun may not be recited (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 194:1).
32. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 194:1) states that this law only applies when the individual has not answered to a zimmun previously. If, however, he answered to the zimmun of a previous group, he may not be included in this zimmun.
33. He should respond as usual.
34. Zimmun should precede grace. Once a person has recited grace, he can no longer fulfill his obligation for zimmun

.
12

[The following rules apply when] two groups eat together in the same building: When part of one group can see part of the other group, they may join together in a single zimmun. If not, they should each recite a zimmun separately.

If there is a single attendant who serves both of these groups, they may join in a single zimmun, even though none of the people in the two groups see each other, provided both groups can clearly hear the words of the person reciting the blessings.

יב

שתי חבורות שהיו אוכלין בבית אחד בזמן שמקצתן רואין אלו את אלו מצטרפין לזימון אחד ואם לאו אלו מזמנין לעצמן ואלו מזמנין לעצמן ואם יש שמש אחד ביניהם שהוא הולך ומשמש מחבורה זו לחבורה זו מצטרפין לזימון אחד אף על פי שאין מקצת אלו רואין את אלו והוא שישמעו שתיהן כל דברי המברך בביאור:

13

When three people ate together and one went out to the marketplace, he should be called to pay attention to what they are saying. He may be included in the zimmun while he is at the marketplace, and thus fulfill his obligation. Afterwards, when he returns to his house, he should recite grace alone. In contrast, when ten people eat together and one goes out to the market place, the zimmun may not be recited until he returns to his place.

יג

שלשה שאכלו ויצא אחד מהן לשוק קוראין לו כדי שיכוין לשמוע מה שהן אומרים ומזמנין עליו והוא בשוק ויוצא ידי חובתו ולכשיחזור לביתו יחזור ויברך ברכת המזון לעצמו אבל עשרה שאכלו ויצא אחד מהן לשוק אין מזמנין עליו עד שיחזור למקומו וישב עמהן:

14

When three people eat together and one recites grace alone before the others, the zimmun can be recited with him and the other two fulfill their obligation. He, however, is not considered to have fulfilled his obligation, because the zimmun cannot be fulfilled retroactively.

יד

שלשה שאכלו כאחד וקדם אחד מהן ובירך לעצמו מזמנין עליו ויצאו השנים ידי חובת זימון והוא לא יצא בזימון זה שאין זימון למפרע:

15

When two people eat together, each person should recite grace by himself. If one knows [how to recite grace] and the other does not, the one who knows should recite the grace out loud, and the other person should recite Amen after each blessing. In this manner, he fulfills his obligation.

A son may recite grace for his father, a servant for his master, and a woman for her husband - and thus enable the person to fulfill his obligation. Nevertheless, our Sages said, "May a curse come on a person whose wife or children recite grace for him."

טו

שנים שאכלו כאחד כל אחד ואחד מברך לעצמו ואם היה אחד מהן יודע ואחד אינו יודע זה שיודע מברך בקול רם והשני עונה אמן אחר כל ברכה וברכה ויוצא ידי חובתו ובן מברך לאביו ועבד מברך לרבו ואשה מברכת לבעלה ויוצאין ידי חובתן אבל אמרו חכמים תבא מארה למי שאשתו ובניו מברכין לו:

16

When do the statements that [it is possible to] fulfill one's obligation [in this manner] apply? When they have not eaten to the point of satiation. Therefore, their obligation is only Rabbinic in origin, and can be fulfilled by [listening to] a minor, a servant, or a woman.

If, however, they ate to the point of satisfaction, and thus are obligated according to the Torah itself to recite grace, they cannot fulfill their obligation by [listening to] either a woman, a minor, or a servant. Anyone who is obligated according to the Torah to perform a mitzvah can have his obligation fulfilled only by another person who is also obligated from the Torah [to fulfill this mitzvah] as he is.

טז

במה דברים אמורים שיצאו ידי חובתן בזמן שאכלו ולא שבעו שהן חייבים לברך מדברי סופרים ולפיכך מוציאין אותן קטן או עבד או אשה מידי חובתן אבל אם אכל ושבע שהוא חייב בברכת המזון מן התורה בין אשה בין קטן או עבד אין מוציאין אותן שכל החייב בדבר מן התורה אין מוציאין אותן מידי חובתן אלא החייב באותו דבר מן התורה כמותו:

17

[The following rules apply when] a person enters [a room where] others are reciting the blessing of zimmun]: If he [enters when] the person reciting the blessings says, "Let us recite grace," he should respond, "Blessed is He, and may He be blessed." If he [enters when] the others reply, he should say Amen afterward.

יז

הנכנס אצל אחרים ומצאן מברכין בברכת הזימון אם מצא המברך אומר נברך הוא עונה ברוך הוא ומבורך ואם מצא האוכלים עונין ברוך שאכלנו משלו הוא עונה אחריהן אמן:

Berachot - Chapter Six

1

Anyone who eats bread over which the blessing hamotzi is recited must wash his hands before and after partaking of it.This applies even when the bread one eats is not sacred food.

Although a person's hands are not dirty, nor is he aware that they have contracted any type of ritual impurity, he should not eat until he washes both his hands. Similarly, before [partaking of] any food dipped in liquid, one must wash one's hands.

א

כל האוכל הפת שמברכין עליו המוציא צריך נטילת ידים תחלה וסוף ואע"פ שהיא פת חולין ואף על פי שאין ידיו מלוכלכות ואינו יודע להן טומאה לא יאכל עד שיטול שתי ידיו וכן כל דבר שטיבולו במשקין צריך נטילת ידים תחילה:

Anyone who eats bread over which the blessing hamotzi is recited - The commentaries explain that the modifying clause is added to include two types of grain products mentioned in Chapter 3, Halachah 9, that resemble bread, but do not require the blessing hamotzi unless they are eaten as the basis for an entire meal. When the blessing hamotzi is recited over them, the ritual washing of the hands is also required. Otherwise, it is not (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 158:1).

must wash his hands - This washing is not intended for the purpose of cleanliness. Indeed, as explained in the commentary on Halachah 4, one's hands must be clean before washing them. Rather, it is a ritual matter and, therefore, requires adherence to all the particular laws mentioned in this chapter.

before - Shabbat 14b, 15a states that the washing of the hands before partaking of sacrificial offerings was instituted by King Solomon. Hillel and Shammai extended the practice to include terumah, and Rabbi Eleazar ben Arach widened its scope to include even unconsecrated foods (Chulin 106a).

The latter decree was also intended to remind the priests to keep their hands ritually pure while partaking of terumah. It was, however, instituted not only for the priests, but for the nation as a whole (even though non-priests may not partake of terumah), so that it would be a universally accepted practice.

Even after the destruction of the Temple, when it was no longer possible to practice ritual purity, this mitzvah was continued in the hope that the Temple will soon be rebuilt, and the priests will resume continue their previous obligations (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 158:1; Mishnah Berurah 158:1).

and after partaking of it. - This washing, referred to asmayim acharonim, is discussed in Halachot 2 and 3.

This applies even when the bread one eats is not sacred food. - terumah or sacrificial offerings.

Although a person's hands are not dirty - See the commentary, Halachah 4.

nor is he aware that they have contracted any type of ritual impurity - Note the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Tohorot 7:8), where the Rambam explains that "'hands are busy' - i.e., frequently touching [objects] - and it is possible that one touched an impure substance without realizing it." See also Chapter 7, Note 17.

he should not eat until he washes both his hands.

Similarly, before [partaking of] any food dipped - or washed (Mishnah Berurah 158:12). This requirement applies whether one dips food into liquid while eating, or whether it was dipped into liquid beforehand and left undried. If, however, it was dipped in liquid and the liquid dried, there is no need to wash before partaking of it.

in liquid - Liquid in this instance refers to wine, honey, olive oil, milk, dew, and water. It does not include fruit juices or other oils (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 158:4).

one must wash one's hands. - This practice was instituted in respect for the terumah separated from olive oil and wine. It was extended to all liquids because the laws governing the contraction of ritual impurity by liquids are more severe than those involving other foods (Rabbenu Yonah, Levush, Orach Chayim 158:3).

Tosafot, Pesachim 115b, explains that after the destruction of the Temple, the practice of washing before partaking of fruits dipped in liquid was discontinued because we are all ritually impure. Although most authorities do not accept this position, they respect it to the extent that they state that a blessing should not be made before such a washing. In practice, however, there are many who are not precise in washing in these circumstances. There is, nevertheless, one instance when this practice is observed universally. At the Pesach seder, we wash before dipping the karpas in salt water.

2

Whenever a person washes his hands - whether before eating, before the recitation of the Shema, or before prayer - he should recite the following blessing beforehand: "[Blessed are You...] who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the washing of hands."

This is a Rabbinic mitzvah that we have been commanded by the Torah to follow, as [Deuteronomy 17:11] states: "[Do not stray...] from all the laws that they direct you." A blessing should not, however, be recited before washing after eating, for this was instituted only as a protective measure. This rationale, however, obligates a person to be more careful in the observance of this practice.

ב

כל הנוטל ידיו בין לאכילה בין לקריאת שמע בין לתפלה מברך תחלה אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על נטילת ידים שזו מצות חכמים שנצטוינו מן התורה לשמוע מהן שנאמר על פי התורה אשר יורוך ומים אחרונים אין מברכין עליהן שאינם אלא מפני הסכנה ולפיכך חייב אדם להזהר בהן ביותר:

Whenever a person washes his hands - whether before eating - The Rambam requires that a blessing be recited in both the instances mentioned in the previous halachah. As mentioned in the commentary, our practice is to recite a blessing only before partaking of bread, and not before partaking of foods dipped in liquids.

before the recitation of the Shema - See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 3:1.

or before prayer - See Hilchot Tefillah 4:2-3.

The Radbaz (Vol. IV, Responsum 1365) states that although the Rambam requires that we wash before the afternoon and evening services, a blessing should be recited only when washing before the morning service. This opinion is reinforced by the fact that, when counting the hundred blessings recited each day (Hilchot Tefillah 7:14), the Rambam enumerates only one blessing for washing for prayer.

he should recite the following blessing beforehand - Rabbenu Manoach notes that the Rambam's phraseology implies that the blessing should be recited before washing one's hands. This is also indicated by Chapter 11, Halachah 7, which states:

There is no mitzvah for which the blessing is recited after its fulfillment except the immersion of a convert.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 158:11, based onTosafot, Berachot 51a) states that it is not customary to recite the blessing before washing, lest one's hands be dirty. At present, Ashkenazic custom (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 158:16; Mishnah Berurah 158:41) is to recite the blessing after washing, but before drying one's hands.

"[Blessed are You...] who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the washing of hands." - The word "washing" is not a precise translation of the Hebrew נטילת. Rabbenu Asher (Berachot, Chapter 9) explains that this term was used because in Talmudic times, the utensil with which it was customary to wash one's hands was called נטלא. The Sages phrased the blessing in this manner to emphasize that the mere rinsing of one's hands is insufficient and one must use such a utensil.

This - With the following sentence, the Rambam is explaining why a blessing is recited, despite the fact that this commandment was instituted by the Sages and not by God, Himself.

is a Rabbinic mitzvah that we have been commanded by the Torah to follow - In Chapter 11, Halachah 3, the Rambam interprets the blessing recited over Rabbinic commandments as follows: "who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to follow the instructions of the Sages who commanded us concerning...."

as [Deuteronomy 17:11] states: "[Do not stray...] from all the laws that they direct you." - Note the explanation of this proof-text in Hilchot Mamrim 1:1-2.

A blessing should not, however, be recited before washing after eating - Although the Ra'avad protests strongly the Rambam's ruling, it is accepted by the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 181:7). (The difference between the Ra'avad and the Rambam revolves around the rationale for this washing. See Note 3 below.)

for this was instituted only as a protective measure. - as mentioned in the following halachah. (See also Chapter 11, Halachah 4.)

This rationale, however, obligates a person to be more careful in the observance of this practice - for as Chulin 10a states, "Danger is more serious than a prohibition."

1. This washing, referred to as mayim emtzayim, is mentioned in Chulin 105a,b and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, Chapter 173). At present, this practice is generally not followed.
2. There are no fruits that are eaten as terumah according to Torah law. (It is wine and oil, not grapes and olives, which carry such an obligation.) Therefore, the Sages did not impose an obligation to wash before eating from such food if it was not consecrated (Rabbenu Yonah, Berachot 8).
3. The Tur (Orach Chayim 181:1), the Ra'avad, and others offer a different rationale for this washing, quoting Berachot 53a's interpretation of Leviticus 11:44: "'Make yourselves holy,' this refers to the first washing; 'And you shall be holy,' this refers to the second washing." They explain that this washing is necessary as a token of respect to clean one's hands before reciting grace.
4. Note Hilchot Melachim 6:13, which mentions other Rabbinic prohibitions that are relaxed in wartime.

See also Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 158:8) which draws parallels to these laws and frees a person in a desert or in another dangerous situation from the obligation to wash his hands.

3

Washing hands between one course and another is a matter of choice. If one desires, one may wash; if not, one need not.

There is no obligation to wash before partaking of unconsecrated fruit, whether before eating or afterward. [On the contrary,] whoever washes his hands before partaking of fruit is considered among the haughty.

Whenever bread [is eaten] with salt, it is necessary to wash one's hands afterward, lest it contain Sodomite salt or salt that resembles Sodomite salt, and [after eating,] one [inadvertently] pass one's hands over one's eyes and blind them. This - [the possibility of acrid] salt - is the reason why we are obligated to wash after eating.

In an army camp, [the soldiers] are not obligated to wash before eating, because they are involved in the war. They are, however, obligated to wash afterwards because of the danger involved.

ג

נטילת ידים בין תבשיל לתבשיל רשות רצה נוטל רצה אינו נוטל ופירות של חולין אינן צריכין נטילת ידים בין בתחלה בין בסוף וכל הנוטל ידיו לפירות הרי זה מגסי הרוח כל פת שהמלח בו צריך נטילת ידים באחרונה שמא יש בו מלח סדומית או מלח שטבעו כמלח סדומית ויעביר ידיו על עיניו ויסמא מפני זה חייבין ליטול ידים בסוף כל סעודה מפני המלח ובמחנה פטורים מנטילת ידים בתחלה מפני שהן טרודים במלחמה וחייבין באחרונה מפני הסכנה:

4

To what point should one's hands be washed? To the wrist. How much water should be used? A [minimum of a] revi'it for each pair of hands.

Anything that is considered an intervening substance [and thus invalidates] a ritual immersion is also considered an intervening substance with regard to washing hands. All liquids that may be included in the measure of a mikveh may be included in the measure of the revi'it [necessary for the washing of hands].

ד

עד היכן היא נטילת ידים עד הפרק וכמה שיעור המים רביעית לכל שתי ידים וכל שחוצצים בטבילה חוצץ בנטילת ידים וכל העולה למדת מקוה עולה לשיעור רביעית:

To what point should one's hands be washed? To the wrist. - Although Rabbenu Asher maintains that it is only necessary to wash to the point of connection between the fingers and the hand, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 161:4) accepts the Rambam's decision. Nevertheless, when a person has only a limited supply of water, he may rely on Rabbenu Asher's opinion (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 161:8; Mishnah Berurah 161:22).

How much water should be used? A [minimum of - It is preferable to pour a generous quantity of water over one's hands (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 158:10). Rav Chisda would say: "I wash with a full handful of water and [God] grants me a full handful of goodness" (Shabbat 62b).

a] revi'it - one fourth of a larger measure known as a log. In contemporary measure, a revi'it is equivalent to 86.6 cc according to Shiurei Torah, and 150 cc according to the Chazon Ish.

A revi'it is significant in this context because immersion in a revi'it of water is enough to restore ritual purity to a utensil according to Torah law. The Rabbis, however, obligated the use of a mikveh of 40 se'ah for all ritual immersions.

for each pair of hands. - The Rambam's decision differs from that of the Ra'avad, Rashi, the Rashba, and many other authorities. The other authorities maintain that as long as the vessel from which the water is poured contains a revi'it, two people may have their hands washed from it. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 160:13) accepts the latter view.

Significantly, the Rambam mentions washing the hands only once before partaking of food. In Hilchot Mikveot 11:3, where he mentions the washing of the hands within the context of ritual purity, he mentions the need to wash hands twice: once to purify the hands, and once to wash off the water used to purify them. (See Halachah 10 and commentary.) In these halachot, he makes no mention of a second washing, seeming to imply that it is unnecessary to do so. (Rav Kapach adds that it is customary in certain Yemenite groups to wash only once before meals, and bases this practice on the Rambam's decision.)

The Shulchan Aruch and the Ramah (Orach Chayim 162:2) mention washing the hands two or three times before partaking of a meal. This is the accepted practice in almost all communities at present.

Anything that is considered an intervening substance [and thus invalidates] a ritual immersion - In Hilchot Mikveot 1:12, the Rambam provides this general rule:

Any substance that intervenes [between one's flesh and the water] and disturbs one nullifies the immersion, even if it covers only a minor portion of one's flesh.... Any substance that covers the major portion of one's flesh nullifies the immersion, even though it does not disturb one.

In Chapter 2 of those halachot, the Rambam mentions a long list of particular substances that nullify immersions, including filth, mud, and dough.

is also considered an intervening substance with regard to washing hands. - This implies that one should clean one's hands before washing them for this ritual purpose. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim, 161) discusses the particular laws regarding intervening substances.

All liquids that may be included in the measure of a mikveh - This includes substances like ice and snow, which can be used to make up the measure of a mikveh (Hilchot Mikveot 7:3).

may be included in the measure of the revi'it [necessary for washing hands]. - Note the Shulchan Aruch and the Ramah (Orach Chayim 160:12), which discuss the use of wine, beer, and fruit juices for washing hands.

5. I.e., whether before a meal or in preparation for prayer.
6. The Kessef Mishneh explains that this expression indicates that it is not necessary to wash one's hands a second time (see the commentary on the previous halachah) or to dry them before partaking of the food. When washing one's hands for food, this is required because the water used for the first washing that remains on the hands becomes ritually impure. In contrast, the water that remains on one's hands after immersion in a mikveh is pure. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 159:19.)
7. A mikveh must have at least 40 se'ah of water that has flowed into it by natural means. In contemporary measurements, 331 liters according to Shiurei Torah, and 648 liters according to the Chazon Ish.

The Kessef Mishneh notes that this applies only to water that does not emanate from a natural spring. When a person immerses his hands in such a spring, all that is necessary is that there be sufficient water to cover his hands. (See also Hilchot Mikveot 9:8.)

Significantly, Rabbenu Yonah maintains that it is acceptable to immerse one's hands in a mikveh containing even less than 40 se'ah. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 159:14) accepts this view, although the Ramah favors the Rambam's position.

8. The Ra'avad objects to the Rambam's ruling, and maintains that one may immerse one's hands in water poured into a pool in the ground. He supports his position by referring to the immersion of a ba'al keri (see Hilchot Tefillah 4:4-5), which is acceptable even in such pool. (See the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Mikveot 8:1.) Nevertheless, most authorities accept the Rambam's decision. (See Shulchan Aruch HaRav 159:23; Be'ur Halachah 159.)
9. See Halachot 7-9.
10. See Halachot 4 and 10.
11. See Halachot 11-12. The Rashba quotes the Halachot Gedolot as explaining that it is necessary to wash with a vessel, because the washing of hands is derived from the sanctification of the priest's hands in the Temple.
12. See Halachot 13-14.
13. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 160) states that this concept is derived from the laws of the ki'or (the basin in the Temple from which the priests washed their hands). If its water changed color, it could no longer be used.
14. E.g., ink or another coloring fell into it.
15. It became rusty from a metal container. Note, however, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 160:1 and the Mishnah Berurah 160:22, which state that water that has become murky from mud or dirt is acceptable, because even this is often the color of natural stream water.

If after water was disqualified because of an abnormal color, its color reverts to the norm, it can be used to wash one's hands (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 160:1; Mishnah Berurah 160:5).

16. See Hilchot Rotzeach USh'mirat HaNefesh 11:6-16, which discusseshe prohibition of water left uncovered. This prohibition was enacted out of fear of the possibility that a poisonous snake or the like released venom into the water.
17. Avodah Zarah 30b states that washing with such water could be dangerous lest the venom seep into cuts or sores or even through the body's pores. The Tur (Orach Chayim 160) notes that since the presence of poisonous snakes and the like is no longer widespread, the prohibition against drinking - and hence, washing with - such water need not be observed at present. This ruling is accepted by the later authorities.
18. The Rambam is implying that the water in a mikveh or in a natural stream remains acceptable for washing although it was used for other tasks (Kessef Mishneh).
19. If, however, the bread fell into the water accidentally, the water is not disqualified (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 160:2; Mishnah Berurah 160:8).
20. The Ramah (Orach Chayim 160:2) states that even if the baker washed his hands in the water, the water does not become unacceptable. The Turei Zahav (160:3) refutes this ruling. His opinion is accepted by the later authorities.
21. Slightly murky water is acceptable, as mentioned above. The determining factor is whether or not a dog will drink from the water.
22. Since a mikveh containing such water is acceptable for the immersion of one's entire body, it is surely acceptable for the immersion of hands, which is only a Rabbinic commandment.
23. These hot springs have a high mineral content and are very bitter.
24. The Kessef Mishneh interprets this as referring to a stream that was diverted into a trench that does not contain forty se'ah. Although logically, this would be acceptable for the immersion of hands, the Sages forbade using such water, lest one also immerse one's hands in a container of water. Significantly, in his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 160:7), Rav Yosef Karo adds a further point, that the water was cut off from its source.
25. I.e., the washing before partaking of bread.
26. I.e., the washing after the meal (see Halachah 17); alternatively, the second pouring of water over one's hands, as mentioned in the commentary on Halachah 4. Note the explanation of the Kessef Mishneh.
27. In both instances, one must pour at least a revi'it of water over one's hands in a single pouring. In the first instance, while the water is being poured one gradually moves one's hands under the water, while in the second instance, one pours hurriedly, but forcefully, over the entire hand at once.
28. I.e., several people stand with their hands outstretched, and a person passes in front of them pouring water over their hands.
29. Although the water first passes over the hands of one person, it is still acceptable for the person whose hands are held below, because as long as it contains the required quantity and comes in one continuous stream, it does not become impure.

Nevertheless, Shulchan Aruch HaRav 160:16 and the Mishnah Berurah 160:68,72 state that the two people must originally have the intention to wash their hands as one, and must hold their hands close together. Otherwise, it is considered as if the second person washed with the water that was rendered impure by the first person's washing.

30. Note the difference of opinion on this issue between the Rambam and the other Halachic authorities mentioned in the commentary on Halachah 4.

5

Whoever had to wash his hands and [instead] immersed them in the water of a mikveh need not do anything else. If he immersed them in a body of water that does not have the required measure of a mikveh, or in water that has been poured onto the ground, he has not accomplished anything. Water that is poured [by man] can purify hands only when it is poured over them.

ה

כל הצריך נטילת ידים והטביל ידיו במי מקוה אינו צריך דבר אחר ואם הטבילן במים שאין בהם שיעור מקוה או במים שאובין שבקרקע לא עשה כלום שאין המים שאובין מטהרין את הידים אלא בנטילה:

6

Everyone who washes his hands must show concern for four matters:
the water itself - that it not be unacceptable for washing hands,
its measure - that there be a revi'it for each pair of hands,
the container - that one wash from a container,
the individual pouring - that the water come from the power of a person who pours it.

ו

כל הנוטל ידיו צריך להזהר בארבעה דברים:

במים עצמן שלא יהיו פסולין לנטילת ידים ובשיעור שיהיה בהן רביעית לכל שתי ידים ובכלי שיהיו המים שנוטלין בהן בכלי ובנוטל שיהיו המים באין מכח נותן:

7

There are four matters that render water unacceptable: a change in its color, its being left open, its having been used for work, and its becoming spoiled to the point that an animal would not drink from it.

What is implied? Water whose color changes becomes unacceptable whether it is contained [in a pool] in the ground or in a container, or whether it changed because of something that fell into it or because of the place where it is contained.

Similarly, if the water was left uncovered in a manner that causes it to become forbidden to be drunken, it is unacceptable for washing hands.

ז

ארבעה דברים פוסלין את המים שינוי מראה וגלוי ועשיית מלאכה בהן והפסד שמונע את הבהמה מלשתות מהן כיצד מים שנשתנו מראיתן בין בכלים בין בקרקעות בין מחמת דבר שנפל לתוכן בין מחמת מקומן הרי אלו פסולין וכן אם נתגלו גלוי האוסר אותן משתייה נפסלו לנטילת ידים:

8

Any water that was used for a task is considered as sewage water and is unfit to use for washing hands. What is implied? Water that has been drawn from its source, which was used to wash utensils, to dip one's bread in, or the like, whether [it was stored] in a container or [in a pool] in the ground, becomes unacceptable for washing hands.

If one uses the water to wash clean utensils or new ones, it does not becomes unacceptable. Water in which a baker dips crackers is unacceptable. In contrast, water from which [he removes some] to baste the dough when kneading it is acceptable. It is the water that he removes that was used for a task; the water from which he removed it remains acceptable [as before].

ח

כל מים שנעשה בהן מלאכה נעשו שופכין ופסולין לנטילת ידים כיצד מים שאובין שהדיח בהן כלים או ששרה בהם פתו וכיוצא בזה בין בכלים בין בקרקעות פסולין לנטילת ידים הדיח בהן כלים מודחין או חדשים לא פסלן מים שהנחתום מטבל בהן את הכעכים פסולין ושהוא חופן מהן בשעת לישה כשרים שהמים שבחפניו הן שנעשו בהן מלאכה אבל המים שחפן מהם הרי הן בכשרותן:

9

All water that becomes unfit for a dog to drink - e.g., bitter [water], salty [water], very murky [water], foul-smelling [water] - which is contained in a vessel may not be used for washing hands. If [such water] is [contained in a pool] in the ground, one may immerse one's hands in it.

[The following rules apply to] the hot springs of Tiberias. In their [natural] place, one may immerse one's hands in them. If, however, one removed them with a container or diverted a stream of them into another place, they may not be used for either the first or the final washing of the hands, because they are not fit for an animal to drink.

ט

וכל מים שנפסלו משתיית כלב כגון שהיו מרים או מלוחים או עכורין או ריח רע עד שלא ישתה מהן הכלב בכלים פסולין לנטילת ידים ובקרקעות כשרים להטביל חמי טבריא במקומן מטבילין בהם את הידים אבל אם נטל מהן בכלי או שהפליג מהן אמה למקום אחר אין נוטלין מהן לא ראשונים ולא אחרונים מפני שאינן ראויין לשתיית בהמה:

10

One may pour water over one's hands a little at a time until one has poured out the entire amount. If, however, one poured out the entire revi'it at one time, it is acceptable.

Four or five people may wash with a single pouring while they are standing next to each other or with their hands above each other's, provided:

a) they leave space between their hands for the water to enter, and
b) there is enough water in that pouring to provide each one with a revi'it.

י

יש לנוטל ליתן על ידיו מעט מעט עד שיתן כשיעור ואם נתן הרביעית כולה בשטיפה אחת כשר נוטלין ארבעה או חמשה זה בצד זה או יד זה על גבי זה בשטיפה אחת ובלבד שירפו ידיהן כדי שיבא ביניהן המים ויהיה באותה השטיפה כדי רביעית לכל אחד ואחד:


11

One may not use the following to wash one's hands: the sides of vessels, the base of a samovar, pieces of earthenware, or the covering of a jug. Should one modify such a covering to use for washing, it is acceptable. Similarly, a wine-pouch that was modified may be used for the washing of hands.

In contrast, a sack or a basket - [although] they have been modified - may not be used to wash hands. One may not hold water in one's hands and pour it over a colleague's [hands], because one's hands are not a vessel.

Vessels that have been broken to the extent that the laws of ritual impurity no longer apply to them may not be used to wash hands, because they are considered to be broken vessels.

יא

אין נוטלין מים לידים לא בדפנות הכלים ולא בשולי המחץ ולא בחרסים ולא במגופת החבית ואם תיקן המגופה לנטילה נוטלין ממנה לידים וכן החמת שתיקנה נוטלין ממנה לידים אבל שק וקופה שנתקנו אין נוטלין מהן לידים ולא יתן לחבירו בחפניו שאין חפניו כלי וכלים שנשברו שבירה המטהרת אותן מידי טומאה אין נותנין בהם לידים מפני שהן שברי כלים:


This halachah revolves around the third rule mentioned in Halachah 6, that one must wash one's hands from a vessel.

One may not use the following to wash one's hands - because they are not vessels and were not made with the intent of containing water (Kessef Mishneh):

the sides of vessels - Broken shards of an earthenware container that are still capable of holding water. The Tur (Orach Chayim 159) states that if a broken vessel can still hold a revi'it when it stands unsupported, it is not disqualified for use. The later authorities (see Shulchan Aruch HaRav 159:6; Mishnah Berurah 159:12) favor the Rambam's ruling.

the base of a samovar - Our translation is based on Rav Kapach's interpretation of the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah (Yadayim 1:2 which is the source for this halachah).

pieces of earthenware - Although some commentaries state that this also refers to shards, others, to avoid redundancy, state that it is referring to unshaped pieces of earthenware.

or the covering of a jug. - These usually contain a handle on their top, and thus cannot stand erect when turned upside down.

Should one modify such a covering - by breaking the handle so that it could stand erect

to use for washing, it is acceptable. - Although the covering was not originally made to contain liquid, since it was modified with that intention and, in its present state, it can contain a revi'it without being supported, it is acceptable.

Similarly, a wine-pouch that was modified - by having a stand erected for it (Sefer Mitzvot Gadol)

may be used for the washing of hands. - The Bayit Chadash (Orach Chayim 159) questions why any modification is necessary for a wine-pouch, since it is also originally made with the intention of containing liquids. It explains that generally, if left uncovered, without a stand, a pouch will not be able to contain water. Hence, unless a stand is made for it, it is unacceptable.

In contrast, a sack or a basket - [although] they have been modified - and the holes in them filled with tar to prevent water from flowing out

may not be used to wash hands. - The Bayit Chadash (loc. cit.) explains the difference between these and the former two instances:

The purpose for which a covering of a jug and a wine pouch are made is related to the containing of liquids. Accordingly, although without modification they cannot serve that purpose in a manner acceptable for use in washing hands, once they are modified they are acceptable. In contrast, a sack or a basket is never used to contain liquids. Therefore, even after modification, it is unacceptable.

One may not hold water in one's hands and pour it over a colleague's [hands], because one's hands are not a vessel. - See Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 159:6).

Vessels that have been broken to the extent that the laws of ritual impurity no longer apply to them - Hilchot Keilim, Chapters 6, 11, and 19, relates the following general principle: Once a vessel is broken to the point that it can no longer serve its original purpose, it is no longer considered a vessel and can no longer contract ritual impurity.

Chulin 107a mentions that a vessel that is used for containing liquids becomes disqualified when it contains a hole large enough to allow liquids to enter when the vessel is placed within them.

may not be used to wash hands, because they are considered to be broken vessels. - In his Kessef Mishneh, Rav Yosef Karo states that the Rambam would consider a vessel acceptable if the hole is on the side and the portion of the vessel below the hole contains more than a revi'it of liquid.

In contrast, in his Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 159), he explains that the Rambam would disqualify such a utensil because even though it can still contain a sufficient amount of liquid, it is a broken vessel and, as such, unsuitable for use for this mitzvah. In his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 159:1), he rules that a hole on the side disqualifies a vessel unless one is able to pour water through the hole.

12

All vessels, even those made from cow dung or earth, may be used to wash hands, provided they are whole.

A vessel that cannot contain a revi'it or a vessel that does not contain a revi'it may not be used for the washing of hands.

יב

בכל הכלים נוטלים לידים ואפילו כלי גללים וכלי אדמה והוא שיהיו שלמים כלי שאינו מחזיק רביעית או אין בו רביעית אין נותנין ממנה לידים:



All vessels, even those made from cow dung or earth - e.g., utensils made from mud without being fired in a kiln

may be used to wash hands - Although utensils made from these substances are not categorized as "vessels" with regard to the laws of ritual impurity, they are acceptable for this purpose.

provided they are whole. - as mentioned in the previous halachah.

A vessel that cannot contain a revi'it - i.e., is too small to contain this amount of water

or a vessel that - is of sufficient size to contain this amount, but at the present time

does not contain a revi'it may not be used for the washing of hands. - This refers to pouring the first amount of water over one's hands. According to our custom of pouring water twice (or three times) over our hands, the second pouring need not contain a revi'it. (See Hilchot Mikveot 11:8.)

13

All people are acceptable to pour water over one's hands, even a deaf-mute, a mentally incapable person, or a minor. If no one else is present, one should hold the vessel between one's knees, and thus pour it out over one's hands; lean a jug over so that the water will fall out over one's hands; or pour the water over each of one's hands individually.

It is acceptable if a monkey pours water over one's hands.

יג

הכל כשרין ליתן לידים אפילו חרש שוטה וקטן אם אין שם אחר מניח הכלי בין ברכיו וצק על ידיו או יטה החבית על ידיו ויטול או נוטל ידו אחת וצק בזו על זו וחוזר וצק בראשונה על השנייה והקוף נוטל לידים:

14

When a person pours water into a trough by hand or by using a pulley, and afterwards the water flows out from it through an irrigation channel that brings the water to vegetables or to animals, it is not acceptable for one to place one's hands in the trough and have the water pass over them, because the water is not coming from "the power of a giver." If one's hands were close to the place where the bucket is poured out so that the water passes over one's hands because of the power of a human being, the washing is acceptable.

יד

השוקת שדולה אדם בידו או בגלגל ונותן לתוכה והמים נמשכין ממנה באמה והולכין ומשקין הירקות או הבהמה והניח ידיו בשוקת ועברו המים ושטפו על ידיו לא עלתה לו נטילה שהרי אין כאן נותן על ידיו ואם היו ידיו קרובות לשפיכת הדלי עד שנמצאו המים שטפו על ידיו מכח נתינת האדם עלתה לו נטילה:

15

When there is a doubt with regard to the water [used to wash one's hands] - e.g., whether it had been used for other tasks or not, whether it contained the required quantity or not, whether it [the water itself] is ritually pure or not, and, similarly, when a person has a doubt whether he washed his hands or not, [in all these instances,] his hands are considered to be pure. In all instances where doubt arises concerning the ritual purity of hands, the hands are considered to be pure.

טו

מים שנסתפק לו אם נעשה מהן מלאכה או לא נעשה אם יש בהן כשיעור או שאין בהן אם הן טהורין או טמאין ספק נטל ידיו ספק לא נטל ידיו ספיקו טהור שכל ספק שבטהרת ידים טהור:

16

When washing before eating, a person should raise his hands upward so that that water will not flow past the wrist, and then return and make the hands impure. In contrast, when washing after eating, a person should hold his hands downward so that all the power of the salt should be rinsed away off one's hands.

Before eating, one may wash into a container or onto the ground. After eating, one should wash only into a container. Before eating, one may wash with hot water or with cold water. After eating, one should not wash with hot water - i.e., water that will scald one's hands. It will not [serve the purpose of] removing filth, because one cannot rub one's hands together with it. If the water is merely warm, it may be used for washing after eating.

טז

מים הראשונים צריך שיגביה ידיו למעלה עד שלא יצאו מים חוץ לפרק ויחזרו ויטמאו את הידים ואחרונים צריך שישפיל ידיו למטה כדי שיצא כל כח המלח מעל ידיו מים ראשונים ניטלים בין על גבי כלי בין על גבי קרקע ואחרונים אינן ניטלין אלא על גבי כלי מים ראשונים ניטלין בין בחמי האור בין בצונן ואחרונים אינן ניטלין בחמין והוא שיהיו חמים שהיד סולדת בהן מפני שאין מעבירין את הזוהמא שאינו יכול לשפשף בהן אבל היו פושרין נוטלין מהן באחרונה:

17

A person may wash his hands in the morning and stipulate that [the washing will be effective] for the entire day. Thus, he will not have to wash before each time he eats. [This rule applies] only when he does not divert his attention from his hands. If, however, he diverts his attention from them, he must wash them whenever it is required.

יז

נוטל אדם ידיו שחרית ומתנה עליהן כל היום ואינו צריך ליטול את ידיו לכל אכילה ואכילה והוא שלא יסיח דעתו מהן אבל אם הסיח דעתו מהן צריך ליטול ידיו בכל עת שצריך נטילה:

18

A person may wrap his hands in a cloth and eat bread or food dipped in liquid although he did not wash his hands.

A person who feeds others need not wash his hands. The person who eats, however, must wash his hands, although another person puts food into his mouth and he does not touch the food at all. Similarly, a person who eats with a fork must wash his hands.

יח

לט אדם את ידיו במפה ואוכל בהן פת או דבר שטיבולו במשקה אע"פ שלא נטל ידיו המאכיל לאחרים אינו צריך נטילת ידים והאוכל צריך נטילת ידים אף על פי שאחר נותן לתוך פיו ואינו נוגע במאכל והוא הדין לאוכל במגריפה שצריך נטילת ידים:

19

It is forbidden to feed someone who did not wash his hands even if one puts the food directly into his mouth.

It is forbidden to treat the washing of hands with disdain. Our Sages have authored many commands and warnings about this manner. Even when one has a minimum amount of water to drink, one should wash one's hands with a portion, eat, and drink the remainder.

יט

אסור להאכיל מי שלא נטל ידיו ואף על פי שהוא נותן לתוך פיו ואסור לזלזל בנטילת ידים וצוויים הרבה צוו חכמים והזהירו על הדבר אפילו אין לו מים אלא כדי שתייה נוטל ידיו במקצתן ואחר כך אוכל ושותה מקצתן:

20

[After washing,] a person must dry his hands before eating. Anyone who eats without drying his hands is considered to have eaten impure bread.

Similarly, whenever a person washes his hands after eating, he should dry them and then recite grace. One should recite grace directly after washing one's hands. No interruptions should be made. It is even forbidden to drink water after washing one's hands after eating until one recites grace.

כ

צריך אדם לנגב את ידיו ואח"כ יאכל וכל האוכל בלא ניגוב ידים כאוכל לחם טמא וכל הנוטל ידיו באחרונה מנגב ואח"כ מברך ותכף לנטילת ידים ברכת המזון לא יפסיק ביניהם בדבר אחר אפילו לשתות מים אחר שנוטל ידיו באחרונה אסור עד שיברך ברכת המזון:

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