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Berachot - Chapter Two

Berachot - Chapter Two

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Halacha 1

This is the order of the blessings of the grace after meals:
The first blessing [thanks God for providing our] sustenance;
The second blessing [thanks God for granting us] Eretz [Yisrael];
The third blessing [praises God as] "the builder of Jerusalem"; and
The fourth blessing [praises God as] "He who is good and does good."

The first blessing was instituted by Moses, our teacher; the second blessing by Joshua; the third by King David and his son, Solomon; and the fourth by the Sages of the Megillah.

Halacha 2

When workers are employed by an employer and eat a meal of bread, they should not recite a blessing before eating. Similarly, they should recite only two blessings after eating so that they do not neglect their employer's work.

[In such an instance,] the complete text of the first blessing should be recited. In the second blessing, they should begin with the text of the blessing for Eretz Yisrael, include aspects of the blessing for the building of Jerusalem, and conclude using the standard conclusion of the second blessing.

If they do not receive a wage, but only meals in return for their services or if they eat together with their employer, they should recite the full text of the four blessings as others do.

Halacha 3

The blessing for Eretz Yisrael should include an acknowledgement of thanks [to God] at its beginning and at its conclusion. It should conclude: "[Blessed are You, God,] for the land and for the sustenance." Whoever does not include the phrase "a precious, good, and spacious land" in the blessing for Eretz Yisrael does not fulfill his obligation.

A person must mention the covenant [of circumcision] and the Torah [in this blessing], mentioning the covenant before the Torah. [The reason for this order is] that the covenant mentioned in the blessing for Eretz Yisrael refers to the covenant of circumcision, concerning which thirteen covenants [are mentioned in the Torah]. In contrast, [the Torah mentions only] three covenants with regard to the Torah, as [Deuteronomy 28:69] states: "These are the words of the covenant... in addition to the covenant He established with you at Chorev," and [Deuteronomy 29:9-11] states: "You are standing... to establish a covenant."

Halacha 4

The third blessing begins as follows: "Have mercy on us, God, our Lord, and on Israel, Your people, on Jerusalem, Your city, and on Zion, the abode of Your glory..." Alternatively, it begins: "Comfort us, God, our Lord, with Jerusalem, Your city...."

One should conclude: "[Blessed are You, God,] who will build Jerusalem," or "...who will comfort His people Israel with the building of Jerusalem." For this reason, this blessing is referred to as "the blessing of comfort."

Whoever does not mention the kingdom of the House of David in this blessing does not fulfill his obligation, because it is an essential element of the blessing. There will be no complete comfort until the return of the sovereignty to the House of David.

Halacha 5

On Sabbaths and on the festivals, one should begin with the concept of comfort and conclude with the concept of comfort and, in the midst of the blessing, mention the sacred quality of the day.

How should one begin? Either with, "Comfort us, God, our Lord, with Zion, Your city..." or "Have mercy on us, God, our Lord, and on Israel, Your people, on Jerusalem, Your city...." One should conclude with: "[Blessed are You, God,] who will comfort His people Israel with the building of Jerusalem" or "... who will build Jerusalem."

On the Sabbath, in the midst [of the blessing], one should say:

Our God, and God of our fathers, may it please You, God, our Lord, to strengthen us through Your mitzvot and through the mitzvah of this great and holy seventh day. For this day is great and holy before You for us to refrain from work and rest on it with love in accordance with the commandment of Your will. In Your good will, God, our Lord, grant us tranquility and prevent distress, evil, and sorrow on the day of our rest.

On the festivals, one should include the prayer Ya'aleh v'yavo in this blessing. Similarly, on Rosh Chodesh and on Chol HaMo’ed, one should include the prayer Ya'aleh v'yavo in the third blessing.

Halacha 6

On Chanukah and Purim, one should add the prayer Al hanisim in the blessing for Eretz Yisrael, as one adds in the Shemoneh Esreh.

When a festival or Rosh Chodesh falls on the Sabbath, one recites R'tzey vahachalitzenu first, and then Ya'aleh v'yavo. Similarly, when Rosh Chodesh Tevet falls on the Sabbath, one recites Al hanisim in the blessing for Eretz Yisrael, and R'tzey vahachalitzenu and Ya'aleh v'yavo in the blessing of comfort.

Halacha 7

In the fourth blessing, one must mention God's sovereignty three times.

When a guest recites grace in the home of his host, he should add a blessing for his host in this blessing. What should he say? "May it be Your will that [my] host not be disgraced in this world or shamed in the world to come." He may add to the blessing for [his] host and extend it [as he desires].

Halacha 8

When grace is being recited in the house of a mourner, the following addition should be made in the fourth blessing:

The Living King who is good and does good, the true God, the true Judge who judges justly, the absolute ruler of His world who may do as He chooses. We are His people and His servants and we are obligated to thank Him and bless Him for everything.

He should request mercy for the mourner to comfort him in the matters that he desires. [Afterwards,] he concludes, Harachaman....

Halacha 9

The blessing for the bridegroom is recited after these four blessings at each meal eaten in the place of the wedding celebration. This blessing should not be recited by servants or by minors.

Until when is the blessing recited? When a widower marries a widow, it is recited only on the first day. When a groom who has never married before marries a widow or when a bride who has never married before marries a widower, it is recited during all the seven days of the marriage celebrations.

Halacha 10

The blessing that is added at the place of the wedding celebration is the final blessing of the seven blessings recited at the wedding.

When does the above apply? When [all] the people who eat there were present [at the wedding] and heard the wedding blessings being recited. If, however, other people were present who had not heard the wedding blessings at the wedding, the seven wedding blessings are recited for them after grace, just as they are recited at the wedding itself.

The above applies when [a quorum of] ten are present. The groom can be counted as part of this quorum.

Halacha 11

These are the seven blessings:

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of man.
Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who created all things for His glory.
Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who created man in His image, in an image reflecting His likeness, [He brought forth] his form and prepared for him from his own self a structure that will last for all time. Blessed are You, God, Creator of man.
May the barren one rejoice and exult as her children are gathered to her with joy. Blessed are You, God, who makes Zion rejoice in her children.
Grant joy to these loving companions as You granted joy to Your creation in the Garden of Eden long ago. Blessed are You, God, who grants joy to the groom and the bride.
Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who created joy and happiness, bride and groom, gladness, song, cheer, and delight, love and harmony, peace and friendship. Soon, God, our Lord, may there be heard in the cities of Judah and the outskirts of Jerusalem, a voice of joy and a voice of happiness, a voice of a groom and a voice of a bride, a voice of grooms rejoicing from their wedding canopies and youths from their songfests. Blessed are You, God, who grants joy to the groom together with the bride.

Halacha 12

[The following rules apply when a person who is reciting grace] on a Sabbath or a festival [concludes the third blessing and] forgets to mention the aspect of holiness connected with the day: If he remembers before he begins the fourth blessing, he should recite the following:
On the Sabbath: Blessed [are You, God...] who has granted rest to His people Israel as a sign and a holy covenant. Blessed are You, God, who sanctifies the Sabbath.
On the festivals: Blessed [are You, God...] who has granted festivals to His people Israel for rejoicing and for happiness. Blessed are You, God, who sanctifies Israel and the seasons.

Afterwards, one should begin the fourth blessing and conclude grace. If he [does not] remember [the omission of the special passages until after] he begins the fourth blessing, he should cease [his prayers] and return to the beginning [of grace], the blessing for sustenance.

Halacha 13

[The following rules apply when a person who is reciting grace] on Rosh Chodesh [concludes the third blessing and] forgets to recite Ya'aleh v'yavo:

If he remembers before he begins the fourth blessing, he should recite the following: "Blessed [are You, God...] who granted Rashei Chadashim to His people Israel as a remembrance." The blessing does not include a chatimah. Afterwards, he should begin the fourth blessing and conclude grace. If he remembers after beginning the fourth blessing, he should complete it [without making any additions]. He need not repeat [the entire grace]. The same rules apply on Chol HaMo’ed.

[When a person reciting grace] on Chanukah or on Purim forgets to mention the uniqueness of the day in grace, he need not repeat [the grace].

Halacha 14

[The following rules apply to] a person who ate and forgot to recite grace: If he remembers before his food becomes digested, he should return and recite grace. If he remembers after his food becomes digested, he should not return and recite grace.

If a person forgets and is unsure whether he recited grace or not, he must return and recite grace, provided his food has not become digested.

Commentary Halacha 1

This is the order of the blessings of the grace after meals: The first blessing [thanks God for providing our] sustenance; - Deuteronomy 8:10 states: "When you have eaten and are satiated, you shall bless God, your Lord...." Berachot 48b states that this command obligates us to recite the blessing thanking God for our sustenance.

The second blessing [thanks God for granting us] Eretz [Yisrael]; - The above verse continues, "for the good land which He has granted you." Berachot (loc. cit.) interprets this as an obligation to add a special blessing thanking God for Eretz Yisrael.

The third blessing [praises God as] "the builder of Jerusalem"; - Berachot (loc. cit.) interprets the modifier "good" in the above verse as a reference to Jerusalem and the Temple. This allusion implies an obligation to add a blessing thanking God for these gifts.

and The fourth blessing [praises God as] "He who is good and does good." - As the Rambam explains, this blessing was a later addition. The Rambam includes the full text for these blessings in "The Order of Prayers for the Entire Year," which is found at the end of this text.

The first blessing was instituted by Moses, our teacher -Berachot (loc. cit.) explains that Moses instituted this blessing when the manna descended. The manna serves as a clear sign of God's beneficence in granting sustenance to His creations.

the second blessing by Joshua - Berachot (loc. cit.) continues, relating that when the Jews entered Eretz Yisrael and began to benefit from its produce, Joshua instituted the second blessing of grace.

the third by King David - who solidified the kingdom of Israel and conquered Jerusalem. He instituted the blessing thanking God, "for Israel, Your people, and Jerusalem, Your city" (Berachot, loc. cit.).

and his son, Solomon - who built the Temple and added to the blessing instituted by his father, acknowledgement of "the great and holy house on which Your name is called" (Berachot, loc. cit.).

There is a slight difficulty with these statements. The first three blessings are considered to have been instituted by the Torah. If so, how can the authorship of the latter two of them be attributed to Joshua, David, and Solomon, who lived in later generations?

The Ramban in his Hasagot explains that, although the fundamental obligation to recite these blessings originates in the Torah, the basic form of the text of these blessings was ordained by each of these prophets in his time. Beforehand, each person would recite the grace in his own words. (See also the commentary on the following halachah.)

The Ramban also explains that, after the destruction of the Temple, a prayer that it be rebuilt was included in the third blessing. In this context, it is also worthy to question whether Ezra and the Men of the Great Assembly also made any changes in the grace when they arranged all the prayers and blessings, as mentioned in Chapter 1, Halachah 5 and commentary. (See Kochba d'Shavit.)

and the fourth by the Sages of the Megillah. - Berachot (loc. cit.) relates that the Sages instituted this blessing on the day the Romans granted permission for the dead of Beitar to be buried. This city had served as the capital of Bar Kochba's revolt against Rome and had exacted a heavy toll of legionnaires while making a valiant defense. When the city finally fell, the Romans slew hundreds of thousands mercilessly, the extent of the carnage staggering all chroniclers. As a further measure of punishment to its inhabitants, they refused to allow them to be buried.

Years passed before such permission was granted. When the Romans finally granted the Sages permission to bury these people, they were amazed at the wondrous miracle their eyes beheld. The corpses had remained whole. They had neither rotted, nor been eaten by predators. In appreciation of this Divine kindness, the Sages instituted this blessing, praising God for being "good" (for preventing them from rotting) and "doing good" (for allowing the corpses to be buried).

Commentary Halacha 2

When workers are employed by an employer and eat a meal of bread, they should not recite a blessing before eating. - The obligation to recite the blessing before eating is Rabbinic in origin. In certain situations, the Sages did not institute such a requirement.

Similarly, they should recite only two blessings after eating - combining the second and third blessings and omitting the fourth.

Tosafot, Berachot 16a, states that although the third blessing is required by the Torah, it is not recited because the Sages have the power to withhold the fulfillment of a Torah precept. The Kessef Mishneh offers a different rationale, explaining that the Rambam did not state that the Torah requires that a specific number of blessings be recited for grace.

The Rishon LeTzion clarifies the matter further, explaining that the Rambam maintains that the Torah requires us to mention three concepts in grace: appreciation for the sustenance God grants us, appreciation for Eretz Yisrael, and appreciation for Jerusalem. According to the Torah, it does not matter how these three concepts are mentioned, whether in one blessing (as in al hamichyah), two blessings (as in this law), or three blessings (as is the usual case).

so that they do not neglect their employer's work. - From this we learn two concepts:
a) that it is forbidden to work while reciting grace (Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 2:5; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 183:12);
b) how important it is for a worker to devote himself faithfully to his work. See the conclusion of Hilchot Sechirut.

[In such an instance,] the complete text of the first blessing should be recited. - Rashi, Berachot (loc. cit.), explains that this distinction is made because the latter two blessings resemble each other, and hence can be combined with little difficulty. In contrast, the first blessing focuses on a different theme.

In the second blessing, they should begin with the text of the blessing for Eretz Yisrael, include aspects of the blessing for the building of Jerusalem - One should recite:

We offer thanks to You, God, our Lord, for having granted our ancestors a precious, good, and spacious land, and Jerusalem, Your city. May You rebuild it speedily in our days (Rabbenu Manoach).

It may be presumed that one should also include the aspects of the second and third blessings that Halachot 3 and 4 consider as absolute requirements (Kinat Eliyahu).

and conclude using the standard conclusion of the second blessing.

If they do not receive a wage, but only meals in return for their services - their responsibility to their employer is less, and they are required to recite all the blessings.

or if they eat together with their employer, they should recite the full text of the four blessings as others do. - The fact that their employer joins them can be interpreted as license to take the leisure of reciting the full text of grace.

At present, it is assumed that employers allow their workers greater leniency and, in all instances, workers are required to recite the entire grace (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 191:2).

Commentary Halacha 3

The blessing for Eretz Yisrael should include an acknowledgement of thanks [to God] at its beginning and at its conclusion. - In "The Order of Prayers for the Entire Year," the Rambam relates that this blessing begins, "We offer thanks to You, God, our Lord..." and states, shortly before its conclusion, "For all these, God, our Lord, we give thanks to You." An omission of the second mention of thanks, however, does not require the repetition of grace (Shulchan Aruch HaRav 187:4).

It should conclude: "[Blessed are You, God,] for the land and for the sustenance." - This is a single expression of thanks, acknowledging God's gift of "a land which produces sustenance" (Berachot 49a).

Whoever does not include the phrase "a precious, good, and spacious land" - This expression is a combination of the praises of Eretz Yisrael mentioned in Jeremiah 3:19 and Exodus 3:8.

in the blessing for Eretz Yisrael does not fulfill his obligation. - Unless one mentions these qualities, one has not adequately expressed one's appreciation for Eretz Yisrael. The omission of this phrase requires the repetition of the grace. See Halachah 12.

A person must mention the covenant [of circumcision] - Rashi (Berachot 48b) explains that the mitzvah of circumcision is connected with God's promise of Eretz Yisrael to Abraham, as Genesis 17:8-10 states: "I will give you and your descendants... the entire land of Canaan.... You shall keep My covenant.... Circumcise every male."

and the Torah [in this blessing] - Rashi (loc. cit.) notes that a similar connection applies with regard to the Torah, as Deuteronomy 8:1 states: "Observe all the mitzvot which I am commanding you... so that you will... inherit the land that God promised to your ancestors."

The phraseology used by the Rambam indicates that he does not require the repetition of the grace if either of these points is omitted. Other authorities (including the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 187:3) differ and require the repetition of grace in such an instance.

mentioning the covenant before the Torah. [The reason for this order - which gives priority to the covenant

is] that the covenant mentioned in the blessing for Eretz Yisrael refers to the covenant of circumcision, concerning which thirteen covenants [are mentioned in the Torah]. - Note the conclusion of Hilchot Milah, where the Rambam enumerates these thirteen expressions.

In contrast, [the Torah mentions only] three covenants with regard to the Torah, as [Deuteronomy 28:69] states: "These are the words of the covenant... in addition to the covenant He established with you at Chorev," and [Deuteronomy 29:9-11] states: "You are standing... to establish a covenant." - The Lechem Mishneh notes that there are several other verses that refer to a covenant with regard to the Torah. These three, however, are unique in that they refer to the establishment of a covenant regarding the bond between the Jews and the Torah.
1. Berachot 49a mentions both these possibilities. In "The Order of Prayers for the Entire Year," the Rambam quotes the former expression.
2. The beginning of a blessing must share the same theme as its conclusion. Nevertheless, the rebuilding of Jerusalem shares a connection with God's showing mercy to the people of Israel, since the rebuilding of Jerusalem is an expression of God's mercy to the Jewish people (Berachot, loc. cit.).
3. Although Berachot (loc. cit.) mentions that two different concepts should not be mentioned in the conclusion of a blessing, this version of the blessing does not contradict that rule. The intent is a single request that Israel be granted the ultimate comfort, the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
4. Rashi, Berachot 48b, mentions another reason for the mention of the House of David. It was David who conquered Jerusalem and established the holiness of the city.
5. Since an integral element of our celebration of the Sabbath and festivals is eating festive meals, the sacred element of the day should be mentioned in the grace recited after partaking of those meals. Nevertheless, the uniqueness of the day does not require a blessing in its own right, nor is it made the essential element of the third blessing. Therefore, one begins and concludes that blessing in the same manner as is done during the week (Rashi, Tosafot, Berachot 48b).
6. The order in which these alternatives are mentioned in this halachah is the reverse of that mentioned in the previous halachah. It can be explained that in the previous halachah, the Rambam mentioned the text he considered most appropriate first. The order he mentions in this halachah, however, is closer to the expression used by our Sages in Berachot (loc. cit.), the source for this halachah.
7. Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. With regard to Rosh HaShanah, see the commentary on Halachah 13.
8. Shabbat 24a explains that since an additional sacrifice (korban musaf) is offered on these days, they possess an element of sanctity that is worthy of mention. As obvious from the contrast of Halachah 12 to Halachah 13, however, there is a difference between the obligation to mention these days and the obligation to mention Sabbaths and festivals.
9. Since Chanukah and Purim are Rabbinic holidays which are not associated with an additional sacrificial offering, they are not mentioned in the third blessing. The second blessing is more appropriate for the mention of the miracles of these holidays, since it is an expression of thanks to God (Shabbat 24a).

The Kessef Mishneh and the Lechem Mishneh note that from Shabbat (loc. cit.), it would appear that while permission is granted to mention Chanukah and Purim in the second blessing, it is not an obligation to do so. In contrast, the Rambam requires that they be mentioned. They explain that since the Sages of the Talmud were wont to mention these holidays in grace, and the Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 7:6) considers their mention a binding obligation, the Rambam established their mention as a requirement. See also Halachah 13 and commentary.
10. Precedence is given to the Sabbath because it occurs more frequently than the festivals and is on a higher spiritual level (Kessef Mishneh).
11. "Blessed are You, God, our Lord, 16King13 of the Universe, the God, who is our Father and our 16King13... the 16King13 who is good." The reason for this stress on God's sovereignty in this blessing is that the blessing recited previously mentions the sovereignty of the House of David, and the Sages wanted to emphasize how all earthly kings are subordinate to a higher authority (Berachot 49a).
12. The blessing mentioned is quoted from Berachot 46a. That source also contains additions to the blessing that Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi would recite.
13. The Rambam's words are quoted from Berachot 46b, which relates that Mar Zutra recited this blessing.

The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 379:14) relates that this blessing should be recited throughout the seven days of mourning by the mourners and by all who recite grace together with him when there is a zimun. Other opinions (based on Ketubot 8a) state that this blessing should be recited only when ten people recite grace together. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:7 writes that it is Ashkenazic custom to rely on this opinion, and hence, this blessing is generally not recited.
14. Berachot (loc. cit.) relates several additions Mar Zutra made on the above occasion.
15. In "The Order of Prayers for the Entire Year," the Rambam includes several requests beginning with the word Harachaman (May the Merciful One...) in his text of grace. These requests were additions to the grace made by the Geonim, who lived in the era subsequent to the Talmud.
16. This refers to the final blessing quoted in Halachah 11.
17. Nisu'in (marriage) is marked by the entry of a bride and groom into a private chamber together. This ceremony is referred to as chuppah and is accompanied by a celebration. See Hilchot Ishut, Chapter 10, and commentaries.

As mentioned at the conclusion of the following halachah, according to the Rambam this blessing is recited only when ten adult males are present. The Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 62:4) differs and maintains that it should be recited even when fewer than ten people are present. Note the Ramah (Even HaEzer 62:7) who states that today this blessing is never recited alone. If "new faces" - people who had not attended the wedding celebrations previously - are present, all seven blessings are recited. If no "new faces" are present (although ten males are), the meal is considered like a meal eaten by the bridegroom alone, and the blessing is not recited.
18. The same laws applying to a widow or widower apply to a person who has been divorced. Significantly, in Hilchot Ishut 10:12, the Rambam states that even if a woman has been married before, her husband should celebrate with her for three days.
19. Surely, this also applies when neither the bride nor groom have been married before. Hilchot Ishut (loc. cit.) states: "The Sages ordained that everyone who marries a maiden should celebrate with her for seven days."

The differences between the time limits mentioned in this halachah and those mentioned in Chapter 5, Halachah 5, are worthy of comparison. See the commentary on that halachah.
20. Ketubot 8a states that after the first day of the wedding celebrations, Rav Ashi would recite the wedding blessings only when "new faces" were present. In his responsa, the Rambam's son states that his father required only two "new faces." Note the Beit Shmuel 64:7 who requires only one "new face." The Hagahot Maimoniot write that on the Sabbath the presence of new guests is not necessary, since the Sabbath itself is considered as "guests."
21. Ketubot 7b derives this rule from the account of the wedding between Ruth and Boaz. Ruth 4:2 relates that Boaz invited ten men to witness the marriage.

22. Only six blessings are mentioned below; the seventh blessing is the blessing over the wine. (See Hilchot Ishut 10:4.)
23. Rashi (Ketubot 7b) explains that this blessing is in praise of the creation of Adam, the first man.

In Hilchot Ishut, where the text of the wedding blessings is repeated, this blessing follows the blessing "who has created all things for His glory." This order is the sequence in which these blessings are recited today. It appears more appropriate, particularly according to Rashi's commentary (loc. cit.), which explains that the blessing "who has created all things..." is not directly connected to the wedding itself, but rather is recited in appreciation of the guests who have come to celebrate together with the new couple.

[The repetition of the text of the blessings in two separate halachot, something very out of character for the Rambam in the Mishneh Torah, has aroused the attention of the commentaries. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the text of the blessings here was added by the printers, and not by the Rambam himself.]
24. Despite the fact that this blessing follows two (or three) blessings which begin with "Blessed...," it also begins with "Blessed...." Among the explanations offered is that the first blessings are short, and if the line "Blessed..." were not mentioned, they would appear as a single blessing (Tosafot, Ketubot, loc. cit.).
25. Rashi (loc. cit.) interprets this as a reference to the creation of woman, who was created from man ("his own self"), and gives him the potential for reproduction ("a structure that will last for all time").
26. "The barren one" refers to Jerusalem. Psalms 137:6 states: "Let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not place Jerusalem above my highest joy." Thus, at the height of the wedding celebration, we recall the holy city and pray that it be rebuilt.
27. This is a prayer that the bride and groom enjoy the happiness experienced by Adam in Eve before the first sin.

Several manuscripts and early printings of the Mishneh Torah mention a different conclusion for this blessing, "Blessed are You, God, who brings joy to His people, Israel, and rebuilds Jerusalem." (In this context, note the commentary of the Lechem Mishneh.)
28. The blessing joins our wishes for the happiness of the particular couple with our hope for the Messianic redemption and the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The ultimate marriage relationship is the bond between God and the Jewish people, which will be realized in the Messianic age. Thus, the two themes, marriage and redemption, share an intrinsic link.
29. Rashi, Ketubot 8a, explains the difference between the last two blessings. The fifth of the blessings concludes with a request that the bride and groom enjoy a lifetime of happiness and success together. The sixth and final blessing concludes with a request that they find happiness in each other, that their wedding joy be extended throughout their lives. Alternatively, the final blessing is a blessing for the Jewish people as a whole who find fulfillment in married life.

Commentary Halacha 12

Having mentioned the additions to grace connected with special occasions, the Rambam returns to the subject of grace on Sabbath and festivals.

[The following rules apply when a person who is reciting grace] on a Sabbath or a festival [concludes the third blessing - More precisely, mentions God's name in the conclusion of the third blessing. If he remembers his omission before he mentions God's name, he should add the special passage, and then repeat Uvneh Yerushalayim. Once he mentions God's name, however, he should complete the blessing, "boneh Yerushalayim. Amen," and then add the blessing mentioned below.

and] forgets to mention the aspect of holiness connected with the day: - See Halachah 5.

If he remembers before he begins the fourth blessing - Shulchan Aruch HaRav 188:9 interprets this to mean: before he mentions even a single word of the blessing. The Mishnah Berurah 188:23, however, differs and maintains that even after mentioning God's name, one may still continue, "who has granted rest...."

he should recite the following: On the Sabbath: - Significantly, throughout this halachah, the Rambam does not differentiate between the first two meals of the Sabbaths and festivals and any subsequent ones. As will be explained, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 188:8) does make such a distinction with regard to the repetition of grace. Nevertheless, if a person remembers his omission in time to add the special blessing, even the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:7) requires it to be recited after any and all meals on Sabbaths and festivals.

Blessed [are You, God...] - Our text follows the position of the Lechem Mishneh, who emphasizes that this blessing contains God's name and the phrase "King of the universe," as do other blessings. This view is not shared by the Rishon LeTzion and several other commentaries, who point to the fact that neither Berachot 49a nor the Rambam explicitly mentions God's sovereignty. Nevertheless, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:6) shares the Lechem Mishneh's position.

who has granted rest to His people Israel as a sign and a holy covenant. Blessed are You, God, who sanctifies the Sabbath. - The Sabbath was sanctified by God on the seventh day of creation.

On the festivals: Blessed [are You, God...] who has granted festivals to His people Israel for rejoicing and for happinesss. Blessed are You, God, who sanctifies Israel and the seasons. - The sanctification of the festivals is dependent on the Jews, who fix the monthly calendar. (See Beitzah 17a.)

Afterwards, one should begin the fourth blessing and conclude grace - without any further changes.

If he [does not] remember [the omission of the special passages until after] he begins the fourth blessing, - i.e., even if he merely mentions the first word, Baruch, as explained above

he should cease [his prayers] - Based on Berachot 49b, the Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:8) mentions a difference between the first two meals on the Sabbath and festivals and any subsequent ones. We are obligated to eat only two meals that require grace on these holy days. One may fulfill his obligation for the third meal with other foods, without eating bread on the Sabbath, whereas on festivals one is not obligated to eat a third meal at all.

Accordingly, although there is a dimension of holiness connected with all the Sabbath and festival meals, the need to mention this dimension in grace is considered significant enough to require repetition of all the blessings only when an omission is made in the first two meals of the day.

It must be noted that neither the Rambam nor Berachot (loc. cit.) make such a differentiation explicitly. This has led the Rishon LeTzion and others to postulate that the Rambam maintains that an omission of the Sabbath or festivals in grace is sufficient to require repetition of the blessings in any meal eaten on these holy days.

and return to the beginning [of grace], the blessing for sustenance. - If three people ate together and made the same omission, however, they do not repeat the zimmun (Shulchan Aruch, loc. cit.:9).

The Ra'avad challenges the Rambam's decision, calling attention to a law quoted by the Rambam in Hilchot Tefillah 10:10. When a person omits Ya'aleh v'yavo in the Shemoneh Esreh, he is required to repeat the entire Shemoneh Esreh. Nevertheless, if he is accustomed to recite prayers of supplication after Shemoneh Esreh before withdrawing from his place of prayer, and remembers while in the midst of those supplications, he is not required to repeat Shemoneh Esreh. All that is necessary is to return to the blessing R'tzey.

Similarly, the Ra'avad argues, the blessing Hatov v'hametiv resembles the supplicatory prayers recited after Shemoneh Esreh. Accordingly, one should return to the third blessing of grace and not recite the other two.

This opinion, although respected for its sound reasoning, is not accepted by most authorities. The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.:6) and others quote the Rambam's view.

Commentary Halacha 13

[The following rules apply when a person who is reciting grace] on Rosh Chodesh [concludes the third blessing and] forgets to recite Ya'aleh v'yavo - as required in Halachah 5:

If he remembers before he begins the fourth blessing - as mentioned in the commentary on the previous halachah, this means after one has recited even a single word of the blessing.

he should recite the following: "Blessed [are You, God...] who granted Rashei Chadashim to His people Israel as a remembrance."

The blessing does not include a chatimah. - Many blessings begin: "Blessed are You, God, King of the universe...," and conclude, "Blessed are You, God...." The latter concluding phrase is referred to as a chatimah. (See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:7.)

Berachot 49a mentions that the Sages were unsure of whether this blessing should include a chatimah or not. Therefore, to avoid the possibility of mentioning God's name in vain, the chatimah is omitted.

Afterwards, he should begin the fourth blessing and conclude grace - without any further changes.

If he remembers - the omission

after beginning the fourth blessing, he should complete it - the fourth blessing

[without making any additions]. He need not repeat [the entire grace]. - Berachot 49b explains that although in prayer (see Hilchot Tefillah 10:10), the omission of Ya'aleh v'yavo warrants a repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh, on Rosh Chodesh its omission does not warrant a repetition of grace. The difference between the two is that prayer is an obligation, while eating a meal of bread is not. Since there is no obligation to recite grace on Rosh Chodesh, failing to mention it in grace is not sufficient cause to warrant its repetition.

The same rules apply on Chol HaMo’ed - since we are not obligated to eat a meal of bread on these days.

Within this context, it is worthy to mention the laws regarding the recitation of Ya'aleh v'yavo on Rosh HaShanah. Neither the Rambam nor the Talmudic sources which deal with this subject (Berachot 49a-b and Shabbat 24a) mention adding Ya'aleh v'yavo to grace on Rosh HaShanah. Nevertheless, the Magen Avraham (188:7) takes it for granted that such an addition should be made.

Furthermore, if one becomes conscious of the omission of that addition before beginning the fourth blessing, one should add a special blessing to mention Rosh HaShanah. If, however, one has already begun the fourth blessing, one should continue grace without mentioning Rosh HaShanah, since there is no obligation to eat festive meals on that day. On the contrary, fasting is allowed.

[When a person reciting grace] on Chanukah or on Purim forgets to mention the uniqueness of the day in grace - Al hanisim, as mentioned in Halachah 6.

he need not repeat [the grace]. - The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 7:6) requires grace to be repeated for such an omission. Nevertheless, since there is no indication in the Babylonian Talmud of such an obligation (indeed, Shabbat 24a does not require even the recitation of Al hanisim), the Rambam does not accept that ruling.

It has, however, become customary to add Al hanisim among the paragraphs beginning Harachaman at the conclusion of grace if one forgets to recite it in its proper place (Ramah, Orach Chayim 187:4).

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