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A step-by-step guide to the blessings recited on the various food groups. Includes Hebrew, English and transliterated texts.

Basic Blessings on Food Guide

Basic Blessings on Food Guide

The Berachot


1. Why a Blessing?

The Sages ordained that "one should not derive benefit from this world without first reciting a blessing." Making a blessing before eating is tantamount to "asking permission" from G‑d, acknowledging that "the world, and everything in it, is G‑d's" (Psalms 24:1) and G‑d is the true source of all the gifts of life. It imbues the mundane act of eating with a spiritual awareness--awareness of the true Source of our sustenance, and of the purpose of eating.

We make different blessings for different food types before eating, and after-blessings when the repast is complete. See more blessing guidelines here.

2. Bread

Bread made from the five species of grains identified by our sages (wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oat) require the blessing "Hamotzi". In order to be considered bread, the liquid ingredient has to be primarily water and it has to be baked. Dough that uses more oil or fruit juice than water (like pastries), or dough that is fried or cooked (like pasta) is not regarded as "bread."

In addition to the blessing made on food, bread has the special requirement that we ritually wash our hands before partaking of it. Fill a large cup with water and pour it three times over your right hand, then three times over the left. Lift your hands and rub them together, and as you do so recite the following blessing:

Listen to this blessing

Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.
Blessed are You L-rd our G‑d King of the universe Who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us on the washing of the hands.

Then dry your hands thoroughly.

The blessing on bread:

Listen to this blessing

Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam Hamotzi lechem min haaretz.
Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

3. Foods Eaten with Bread

When eating a meal that includes bread, begin your meal by washing, making the "Hamotzi" blessing, and eating a piece of bread. The Hamotzi blessing will "cover" everything you eat as part of the meal (except for dessert and wine). "Grace After Meals," recited after the meal, will cover everything you've eaten.

When eating foods outside of a meal with bread, individual food types get their own blessing before and after eating, as specified below.

4. "Mezonot"

Food that is made from grain but is not bread gets the blessing mezonot. This includes cakes and pastries, most crackers and cereals, pasta and other cooked grain products like farfel and couscous.

The blessing:

Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam borei minei mezonot.

Blessed are you L-rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, Who creates various kinds of sustenance.

Listen to this blessing

5. Wine

Wine has special significance and uses in Jewish law, so it gets its own blessing. Make this blessing when drinking wine or grape juice:

Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam borei pri hagafen.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.

Listen to this blessing

6. Fruits

Fruits get the "Ha-aitz" blessing. In Jewish law, a fruit is defined as something growing from a perennial tree that does not renew its stem and does not grow too close to the ground. Thus, apples, grapes, nuts (except peanuts) and figs are fruit, but strawberries, watermelon and bananas are not.

Here's the blessing:

Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam borei pri ha-aitz.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree.

Listen to this blessing

7. Vegetables

"Fruits of the ground" include vegetables, legumes, peanuts, and the "fruit" excluded from the ha-aitz blessing above: melons, bananas, pineapples, some berries.

On all these, make the "ha-adamah" blessing:

Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam borei pri ha-adamah.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe who creates the fruit of the earth.

Listen to this blessing

8. "Shehakol"

All foods that do not fall into the preceding specific groups get the blessing "shehakol." This includes animal products: meat, chicken, fish, and eggs; water and all other drinks (except for wine) and soups; and miscellaneous foods like mushrooms, candy, etc.

The Blessing:

Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam shehakol nihiyah bed'varo.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, by Whose word all things came to be.

Listen to this blessing

9. Grace After Meals

"And you shall eat, and be sated, and bless the L-rd your G‑d" (Deuteronomy 8:10). In addition to the before-eating blessings instituted by the sages, we have a biblically-mandated obligation to thank and bless G‑d after eating, expressing our gratitude to the One who "nourishes the entire world with His goodness, with grace, with benevolence and with compassion" (from "Grace After Meals").

Grace After Meals consists of four primary blessings -- the first composed by Moses when the manna came down from heaven in the desert, the second by Joshua when the Children of Israel ate from the first harvest after entering the Holy Land, the third by Kings David and Solomon, and the fourth by the Sages in mishnaic times.

The full "Grace" is recited only after partaking of a meal that includes bread, and covers everything eaten during the meal.

See the transliterated version here.

10. Al Hamichyah

An "abridged" version of Grace After Meals that incorporates elements from its first three blessings is said after eating certain foods. There are three versions of this abridged after blessing:

  1. "Al Hamichyah" is said after eating foods (not bread) prepared from the five grains. Anything that gets the fore-blessing "Mezonot" gets the after-blessing "Al Hamichyah."

  2. "Al Hagefen" is recited after drinking wine or grape juice.

  3. "Al Haaretz v'al Hapeirot" for the special fruits with which the Land of Israel was blessed: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

Listen to this blessing

11. After Other Food

We make the after-blessing "Borei Nifashot" on all food not included in the above categories. This includes anything upon which we make the fore-blessings "Ha-adamah" or "Shehakol" (fish, meat, eggs, drinks-except wine, candy) plus all fruits not included in the special fruits of the Land of Israel.

When finished your repast over the above foods, recite the blessing:

Baruch atah ado-nai elo-hai-nu melech haolam borei nefashot rabot v’chesronan al kol ma she’barata l’hachayot bahem nefesh kol chai baruch chei ha’olamim.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the universe, Creator of numerous living beings and their needs, for all the things You have created with which to sustain the soul of every living being. Blessed is He who is the Life of the worlds.

Listen to this blessing

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Discussion (31)
February 8, 2017
Re: Pizza?
Most pizza dough is made like bread and is therefore hamotzi. But sometimes they will use fruit juice instead of water for the dough, making it mezonot. However, many rabbis are of the opinion that even that type of of dough, when being eaten as a full meal, should be hamotzi.
Eliezer Zalmanov
February 3, 2017
For pizza, I think of the crust as a bread-like substance, so should I say hamotzi? Or is it not quite a bread and thus menzonot?

Also, reading this I realize I'm not been using the correct blessing for grapes. I've been saying Hagafen since I figured if it was right for grape juice, it would be right for grapes. Oops!
January 23, 2017
Thank you for providing the audio to the blessings. This is so helpful.
December 8, 2016
Q. Which fruits have a special after blessing? Why...

Possible Answer?
Is the answer "wine" or "the seven species" (Deut 8:8)? Thanks Rabbi
May 9, 2016
In many cases, candy would require no bracha achrona, since less than a kezayis is eaten, or b/c a kezayis is not consumed within four minutes.
January 11, 2016
To Anonymous
The blessing for sweets such as candy and water is shehakol
Baruch atah A-donay, Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam shehakol nihiyah bed'varo.

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, by Whose word all things came to be. Staff
January 11, 2016
Sweets & Water?
What's the prayer for sweets and water?
September 21, 2015
Re: Sandwich
Generally, when eating a sandwich, one should recite the Hamotzi blessing before eating it (regardless of what is inside), and make the "full" after blessings (presuming you ate the amount needed for an after blessing). For more on this see Texts and Laws of Blessings After Eating
Yehuda Shurpin for
September 19, 2015
If I am eating something like a sandwhich, containing bread, but is a "mixture" of foods, would I say the Hamotzi blessing to cover the whole sandwhich/meal preceded by handwash OR would I say the Shehakol for the sandwhich as a whole containing bread? Similarly, would I say the "full grace" because it had bread or instead would I say the Borei Nifashot, because the bread was part of a "mixture"? Thank you.
Valerie Bastian
August 10, 2015
Thanks for the Blessings
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