In addition to the biblically mandated Grace After Meals, 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.
Different blessings are recited before eating different types of food. All
begin with the words, "Blessed are You, L-rd our G‑d, King of the World...." We
For bread: "... who brings forth bread from the earth." (In addition,
meals including bread are preceded with the ritual washing of the hands and the
blessing "....who sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us
regarding the washing of the hands.")
For other foods made with grain: "....who creates types of food."
For wine: "....who creates the fruit of the vine."
For fruit: "....who creates the fruit of the tree."
For vegetables: "....who creates the fruit of the ground."
For everything else: "....by whose word everything came into being."