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Texts and Laws of Blessings After Eating

Texts and Laws of Blessings After Eating


After eating at least a k'zayit of food (approximately one ounce) or a revi'it of liquid (approximately four ounces), a bracha acharonah (after-blessing) is said. After-blessings should be said as soon as possible after one finishes eating. There are three different after-blessings. The text of these can all be found in any siddur (prayer book).

In order to say the after-blessing, the above-mentioned minimum amount of food should be eaten within approximately six minutes. If it takes longer, such as when slowly sipping a hot drink, it is questionable whether one is allowed to recite the after-blessing.

Borai Nefashot

This brief blessing is said after eating a variety of foods.

  • It is said after eating one or more foods belonging to the categories of ha-aitz (fruit), ha-adamah (vegetables), and shehakol.
  • When more than one food requiring Borai Nefashot is eaten at one sitting, the after-blessing is said only once. Examples are meat and vegetables, potato chips and milk, coffee and eggs.

Bircat Main Shalosh

Bircat Main Shalosh is a short paragraph with variations in wording that adapt it to the following three categories:

  • "Al hamichya" is said after foods made of any of the five grains - wheat, barley, rye, oat, spelt;
  • "Al hagafen" is said after wine and grape juice;
  • "Al ha-aitz" is said after one or more of the five fruits with which Israel is blessed - grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives or dates.

When more than one of these foods is eaten, the after-blessing is said only once, incorporating the appropriate sections as indicated in the prayer book. On Shabbat, Yom Tov, or Rosh Chodesh, an additional sentence mentions the special day.

If a food or foods requiring the after-blessing of Borai Nefashot are eaten along with those requiring Bircat Main Shalosh, then Bircat Main Shalosh is said before Borai Nefashot.

Two exceptions are:

  • After drinking wine and other liquids, say only the after-blessing on wine. Borai Nefashot need not be said for the other liquids.
  • After eating one or more of the five fruits of Israel together with other fruits, say only the after-blessing on the fruits of Israel.

Bircat Main Shalosh should be recited while seated, immediately after eating, in the same place where one ate.

Bircat Hamazon (Grace After A Meal)

This special blessing is said after concluding a meal in which a k'zayit (approximately one ounce) of bread was eaten. It contains several paragraphs originally instituted by some of our great sages thanking G‑d for giving us food. No other after-blessing need be said. Reciting the Bircat Hamazon is known as bentching, from the Yiddish word bentch, to bless.

  • Bircat Hamazon should be recited seated at the same place where you ate, unless at the time of saying hamotzi you intended to complete the meal elsewhere.
  • Before saying Bircat Hamazon, should rinse your fingertips and lips slightly. The water used for this is called mayim achronim (final waters). This may be done at the sink, but is often done at the table, using a special vessel. The water should be removed from the table before beginning the Bircat Hamazon.
  • When three or more over the age of Bar Mitzvah (13) recite Bircat Hamazon together, this is known as a mezuman. A short introductory paragraph is recited.
  • On Shabbat, Yom Tov, Chanukah, Purim and Rosh Chodesh, there are special additions inserted in the Bircat Hamazon.
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Kate Seattle November 3, 2014

Portable handbook of blessings after foods Where can I buy a small booklet of blessings after meals that I can carry with me?
Thank you Reply

Anonymous Baltimore October 8, 2017
in response to Kate:

You can copy and paste it under your cell phone contacts on an iPhone under the notes section
Copy and paste prayers into "Notes" located on cell phone
Take photos of the prayers with cell and keep in a photo album on cell Reply

Sam Perrin Portland, OR December 28, 2011

Insert for Chanukkah It would be nice if there was a transliteration of the part of the birkat hamazon that is recited on hanukkah. Reply

Anonymous Baltimore October 8, 2017
in response to Sam Perrin:

You can find English translation via Google Reply

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