SECTION 183 How the Leader of Grace Should Conduct Himself with the Cup of Blessing Over Which Grace Is Recited. (1–15)

קפג הַמְבָרֵךְ הַאֵיךְ יִתְנַהֵג בְּכוֹס שֶׁל בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, וּבוֹ ט"ו סְעִיפִים:

1 Ten factors were recommended with regard to the cup of blessing. It should be: a) washed out; b) rinsed; c) “alive;” d) full; e) and adorned; [one should]: f) robe oneself when reciting the blessing; g) receive it with both hands; h) then place it in his right hand; i) raise it a handbreadth [above the table)]; and j) look at it.1

Other authorities say that one should also send [the cup] as a complimentary gift, conveying it as a dignified gift to his household, i.e., his wife,2 even if she did not eat together with them, [doing so, in order] to bring blessing to his household.3

א עֲשָׂרָה דְּבָרִים נֶאֶמְרוּ בְּכוֹס שֶׁל בְּרָכָה: טָעוּן הֲדָחָה, וּשְׁטִיפָה, חַי, וּמָלֵא, עִטּוּר, וְעִטּוּף, מְקַבְּלוֹ בִּשְׁתֵּי יָדָיו, וְנוֹתְנוֹ לִימִינוֹ, וּמַגְבִּיהוֹ טֶפַח, וְנוֹתֵן עֵינָיו בּוֹ.א,1

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים אַף מְשַׁגְּרוֹ בְּמַתָּנָה דֶּרֶךְ דּוֹרוֹן וַחֲשִׁיבוּת לְאַנְשֵׁי בֵּיתוֹ,1 זוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ,ב,2 וַאֲפִלּוּ לֹא אָכְלָה עִמָּהֶם,ג כְּדֵי לְהָנִיחַ בְּרָכָה לְבֵיתוֹ: ד,3

2 Washing out and rinsing: Washing out refers to washing out the inside of the cup, while rinsing refers to rinsing its outer surface. In this way, the cup of blessing will be appealing internally and externally. If it is clean inside and out and does not contain remnants, i.e., the remnants of wine in which one steeped bread, or if one wiped it well with a cloth, that is sufficient, since it is appealing internally and externally.

ב "הֲדָחָה וּשְׁטִיפָה" – הֲדָחָה מִבִּפְנִים, וּשְׁטִיפָה מִבַּחוּץ,ה,1 כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא כּוֹס שֶׁל בְּרָכָה יָפֶה מִבַּיִת וּמִחוּץ. וְאִם הוּא נָקִי מִבַּיִת וּמִבַּחוּץ, וְאֵין בּוֹ שִׁיּוּרֵי כּוֹסוֹת,ו דְּהַיְנוּ שִׁיּוּרֵי יַיִן שֶׁשָּׁרָה בּוֹ פַּת,ז אוֹ שֶׁקִּנְּחוֹ יָפֶה בְּמַפָּה – דַּיּוֹ, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהוּא יָפֶה מִבַּיִת וּמִבַּחוּץ: ח

3 “Alive”: There are some who interpret this to mean that one should pour the wine into the cup undiluted. When he reaches the blessing over the land [of Eretz Yisrael],4 he should mix water into it, for the optimum manner of fulfilling the mitzvah for every cup of blessing is to have [water] mixed [into the wine],5 so that it is pleasant tasting.

Why is this mixing performed at the blessing for Eretz (Yisrael)?In order to make known the praise of Eretz (Yisrael), that its wines are strong and must be diluted. Although the one reciting this blessing [may be reciting it] in the Diaspora, since he does not mix [water into the wine] until the blessing recited over Eretz (Yisrael), it is evident that this is an expression of praise for Eretz Yisrael. Nevertheless, if the wine is not strong and is pleasant-tasting even when it is undiluted, it need not be diluted at all. In some places, it is customary to dilute all wine for esoteric reasons.

ג "חַי" – יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםט שֶׁיִּתֵּן מֵהַיַּיִן חַי לְתוֹךְ הַכּוֹס, וּכְשֶׁמַּגִּיעַ לְבִרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ4 – יִתֵּן לְתוֹכוֹ מַיִם, שֶׁכָּל כּוֹס שֶׁל בְּרָכָה מִצְוָה מִן הַמֻּבְחָר שֶׁיְּהֵא מָזוּג,י,5 כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא עָרֵב. וְלָמָּה בְּבִרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ? לְהוֹדִיעַ שֶׁבַח הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁיֵּינוֹתֶיהָ חֲזָקִים וּצְרִיכִים מְזִיגָה.יא וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַמְבָרֵךְ בְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ, מֵאַחַר שֶׁאֵינוֹ מוֹזֵג עַד בִּרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ – מוּכָח הַדָּבָר שֶׁשֶּׁבַח אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא בָּא לְהַרְאוֹת.יב מִכָּל מָקוֹם, אִם אֵין הַיַּיִן חָזָק, שֶׁהוּא עָרֵב בְּלֹא מְזִיגָה – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְמָזְגוֹ כְּלָל.יג וּבִקְצָת מְקוֹמוֹת נוֹהֲגִין לִמְזֹג כָּל יַיִן עַל פִּי הַקַּבָּלָה: יד

4 Others interpret “alive” as meaning fresh, i.e., that it should be drawn from the barrel directly before the recitation of Grace. In these countries where we do not have wine in abundance [and most households do not keep wine in barrels], there is no need to do more than pour it [directly] from the bottle in which the wine is kept just before [reciting] the blessing. There is no need to draw it from the barrel at this time, unless one is sending [a messenger] to a storekeeper to purchase wine. In such a case, he should send him close to the recitation of Grace, so that the wine will be fresh from the [storekeeper’s] barrel.

Still others interpret “alive” as referring to the cup [into which the wine is poured, i.e., that the cup] should be whole, for the breaking of a container is its death.6 Even if the base of the cup is broken, it is invalid, except in a pressing situation. When possible, it is preferable to give weight to all the interpretations.

“Full” is interpreted simply, that it be filled to capacity.7 Nevertheless, if one is concerned that if [the cup] will be overly full and the wine will spill over,8 which will be deprecating [to the wine],7 and, [he therefore,] leaves the top of the cup slightly empty, there is no need for concern, for it is still considered as full.

ד וְיֵשׁ מְפָרְשִׁיםטו "חַי" בִּלְשׁוֹן אַשְׁכְּנַז פְרִי"שׁ, שֶׁיּוֹצִיאֶנּוּ מֵהֶחָבִית מִיָּד סָמוּךְ לַבְּרָכָה. וּבִמְדִינוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁאֵין לָנוּ יַיִן הַרְבֵּה – אֵין צָרִיךְ אֶלָּא לְשָׁפְכוֹ מֵהַקַּנְקַן שֶׁמַּחֲזִיקִין בּוֹ יַיִן סָמוּךְ לַבְּרָכָה, וְלֹא מֵהֶחָבִית,טז אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן שׁוֹלֵחַ לַחֶנְוָנִי לִקְנוֹת, אֲזַי יִשְׁלַח סָמוּךְ לַבְּרָכָה, שֶׁיִּהְיֶה חַי מֵהֶחָבִית.יז

וְיֵשׁ מְפָרְשִׁיםיח "חַי", שֶׁיְּהֵא הַכּוֹס שָׁלֵם, שֶׁשְּׁבִירַת הַכֵּלִים זוֹ הִיא מִיתָתָן.יט,6 וַאֲפִלּוּ נִשְׁבַּר בָּסִיס שֶׁל מַטָּה – פָּסוּל, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן בִּשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק.כ וְטוֹב לָחוּשׁ לְכָל הַפֵּרוּשִׁיםכא כְּשֶׁאֶפְשָׁר.כב

"מָלֵא" – כְּמַשְׁמָעוֹ, שֶׁיְּהֵא מָלֵא עַל כָּל גְּדוֹתָיו.כג,7 וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אִם חוֹשֵׁשׁ שֶׁאִם יְהֵא מָלֵא הַרְבֵּה יִשְׁפֹּךְ8 וְיִתְבַּזֶּהכד,7 וּמַנִּיחַ קְצָת רֵיקָן לְמַעְלָה – אֵין לָחוּשׁ, שֶׁעֲדַיִן שֵׁם מָלֵא עָלָיו: כה

5 “Adorned” [is interpreted in two ways]:9 One Sage interprets it as “adorned with students,” that one should seat his students around him while he is reciting the blessing. Another Sage interprets it as “adorned with [other] cups,” that one should place attractive cups around it, to glorify it. At present, the custom of adornment is not practiced.

ה "עִטּוּר"9 – יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהָיָה מְעַטְּרֵהוּ בְּתַלְמִידִים, שֶׁהָיָה מוֹשִׁיב תַּלְמִידָיו סְבִיבוֹתָיו בִּשְׁעַת הַבְּרָכָה.כו וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהָיָה מְעַטְּרֵהוּ בְּכוֹסוֹת,כז שֶׁהָיָה מַנִּיחַ כּוֹסוֹת יָפִים סְבִיבָיו לְהַדְּרוֹ בָּהֶם.כח וְאָנוּ אֵין לָנוּ "עִטּוּר": כט

6 “Enrobing oneself” [is also interpreted in two ways]:9 One Sage would enrobe himself in his tallis [while leading Grace]. Another would wrap his turban on his head. At present, the custom of enrobing oneself is not practiced. Nevertheless, every G‑d-fearing individual should not recite Grace while wearing only a cap. Instead, he should wear a proper hat.10 There are those who are meticulous to enrobe themselves with an upper garment [when reciting Grace]. There are authorities who state that, according to Kabbalah, the concept of enrobing oneself applies only in Eretz Yisrael, as an expression of honor for the Divine presence [that is manifest there].

ו "עִטּוּף"9 – יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהָיָה מִתְעַטֵּף בְּטַלִּיתוֹ.ל וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁהָיָה פּוֹרֵס סוּדָרוֹ עַל רֹאשׁוֹ.לא וְאָנוּ אֵין לָנוּ "עִטּוּף".לב וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, כָּל יְרֵא שָׁמַיִם לֹא יְבָרֵךְ בְּמִצְנֶפֶת, רַק יָשִׂים הַכּוֹבַע עַל רֹאשׁוֹ.לג,10 וְיֵשׁ מְדַקְדְּקִין נוֹהֲגִין גַּם כֵּן לְהִתְעַטֵּף בַּבֶּגֶד הָעֶלְיוֹן.לד וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים עַל פִּי הַקַּבָּלָה שֶׁאֵין "עִטּוּף" אֶלָּא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד הַשְּׁכִינָה: לה

7 One should receive the cup with both his hands11 to demonstrate how he cherishes the cup and desires to receive it with all his power. When he begins reciting Grace, he should hold it in his right hand alone and not with both hands, so that it will not appear as a burden for him. The right hand is more important12 [than the left, and thus holding it in that hand] honors the cup. One should not assist [the right hand with] the left hand at all, not even to support the right, even when the left hand is not touching the cup at all.13 There are authorities who permit using the left hand to support the right. One should be stringent unless there is a necessity, e.g., the cup is large [and unwieldy].

If the person reciting Grace is left-handed, he should hold the cup in the hand that is his “right,” i.e., that which is the left hand of all other individuals, for it is more important to him.14

One should not hold the cup while wearing gloves. Instead, he should remove them beforehand.

There is an authority who maintains that, according to Kabbalah, the cup should be placed on one’s palm and his fingers should be raised upward around the cup; one should not hold the cup with his fingers.15 Other authorities, [however,] maintain that the cup should be placed upon the fingers.

ז "מְקַבְּלוֹ בִּשְׁתֵּי יָדָיו"לו,11 – לְהַרְאוֹת חֲבִיבוּת הַכּוֹס, שֶׁהוּא חוֹשֵׁק לְקַבְּלוֹ בְּכָל כֹּחוֹ.לז וּכְשֶׁיַּתְחִיל לְבָרֵךְ – נוֹטְלוֹ בִּימִינוֹ לְבַדּוֹ וְלֹא בִּשְׁתֵּי יָדָיו,לח כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא נִרְאֶה כְּמַשּׂאוֹי עָלָיו, וְהַיָּמִין הִיא חֲשׁוּבָה יוֹתֵר לִכְבוֹד הַכּוֹס,לט,12 וְלֹא יְסַיֵּעַ כְּלָל בִּשְׂמֹאלמ אֲפִלּוּ לִסְמֹךְ בָּהּ יְמִינוֹ, שֶׁאֵין הַשְּׂמֹאל נוֹגַעַת בַּכּוֹס כְּלָל.מא,13 וְיֵשׁ מַתִּירִיםמב לִתְמֹךְ הַיָּמִין בִּשְׂמֹאל. וְיֵשׁ לְהַחְמִיר, אִם לֹא לְצֹרֶךְ, כְּגוֹן שֶׁהַכּוֹס גָּדוֹל.מג

וְאִם הַמְבָרֵךְ אִטֵּר – אוֹחֵז הַכּוֹס בְּיָמִין שֶׁלּוֹ, שֶׁהוּא שְׂמֹאל כָּל אָדָם, שֶׁהִיא חֲשׁוּבָה אֶצְלוֹ.מד,14

וְאֵין לִטֹּל הַכּוֹס בְּבָתֵּי יָדַיִם, רַק יְסִירֵם קֹדֶם.מה

וְיֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵרמו שֶׁעַל פִּי הַקַּבָּלָה יֵשׁ לְהַעֲמִיד הַכּוֹס עַל הַכַּף, וְהָאֶצְבָּעוֹת תִּהְיֶינָה זְקוּפוֹת סְבִיב הַכּוֹס, וְלֹא לֶאֱחֹז בְּאֶצְבְּעוֹתָיו.15 וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםמז לְהַעֲמִיד עַל הָאֶצְבָּעוֹת מַמָּשׁ:

8 If [the person reciting Grace] is sitting on the ground, he should lift the cup16 a handbreadth above the ground. If he is sitting at a table, he should lift it a handbreadth above the table17 so that it will be visible to all those dining, so that they will gaze at it.

ח מַגְבִּיהוֹ16 מִן הַקַּרְקַע טֶפַחמח – אִם הוּא יוֹשֵׁב עַל גַּבֵּי קַרְקַע. וְאִם הוּא מֵיסֵב בַּשֻּׁלְחָן17 – מַגְבִּיהוֹ מֵעַל הַשֻּׁלְחָן טֶפַח,מט כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא נִרְאֶה לְכָל הַמְסֻבִּין וְיִסְתַּכְּלוּ בּוֹ: נ

9 He “should look at it,” so as not to divert his attention from it.11 For this reason, there is an authority who disqualifies a narrow-mouthed cup (called a clug glass) from being used for Grace, because one cannot see the wine inside it. This is incorrect, for one is not required to look at the wine, but rather at the cup, so that he will not divert his attention from it. Nevertheless, as an initial preference, one should recite Grace over another [type of] cup (so that he will be able to drink a reviis at one time, as required by sec. 190[:6];18 this is impossible to do easily when using a cup with a narrow opening). If, however, another cup is not easily accessible, one may recite Grace over such a cup. There is no concern whatsoever that it is unacceptable.

ט וְנוֹתֵן עֵינָיו בּוֹ – כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ.נא,11 וְעַל כֵּן יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁפּוֹסֵל כּוֹס שֶׁפִּיו צַר (שֶׁקּוֹרִין קְלוּ"ג גְּלָא"ז) לְבָרֵךְ עָלָיו, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִתֵּן עֵינָיו בַּיַּיִן שֶׁבְּתוֹכוֹ.נב וְאֵין זֶה נָכוֹן, שֶׁלֹּא הִצְרִיכוּ לִתֵּן עֵינָיו בַּיַּיִן אֶלָּא בַּכּוֹס,נג שֶׁלֹּא יַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ.נד וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, לְכַתְּחִלָּה יֵשׁ לְבָרֵךְ עַל כּוֹס אַחֵר (כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוּכַל לִשְׁתּוֹת רְבִיעִית כְּאַחַת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ק"צ,נה,18 מַה שֶּׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן בְּקַל בְּכוֹס שֶׁפִּיו צַר). אֲבָל אִם אֵין שָׁם כּוֹס אַחֵר בְּקַלּוּת – יְבָרֵךְ עַל זֶה, וְאֵין בּוֹ חֲשַׁשׁ פְּסוּל כְּלָל: נו

10 From the time the person reciting Grace takes hold of the cup to recite the blessings, he should not speak, not even a brief statement of but two or three words,19 [lest his] attention be diverted.13 There are authorities who maintain that the others dining should also not speak once the person reciting Grace takes the cup in hand. It is desirable to give weight to their words as an initial preference.

According to all authorities, once the person reciting Grace begins reciting the blessings, the others dining should also not speak.20 Needless to say, this applies during the time he recites the blessings, for they must listen to the one reciting the blessings and understand what he says. Moreover, even between one blessing and the other, they may not speak, just as the one reciting the blessing is not permitted to speak, for one who listens to a blessing [with the intent of fulfilling his obligation] is equivalent to one who recites it.21

If they transgress and speak between one blessing and the other while the one reciting the blessing [pauses] in silence for a while, they fulfill their obligation. Indeed, even if the one reciting the blessing speaks, he fulfills his obligation.22 If, however, [the listeners] speak while the blessings are being recited, they do not fulfill their obligation.23

Such outrageous conduct is commonly found among the masses. While the one who recites Grace is reciting the blessing, they do not listen to him, but instead, speak of other matters. They callously violate a positive [Scriptural] commandment.24 It would be far more desirable for them not to recite Grace with a zimun, for then each one would recite Grace individually. Instead, by contrast, they make the mistake of thinking that they are fulfilling their obligation with the blessing recited by the leader, when [in fact,] they do not hear what he is saying.

Indeed, it is proper for every person to recite every blessing of [Grace] quietly, word by word together with the one reciting Grace, including also the conclusions of the blessings. [The rationale:] Not every person can have the intent of hearing every word recited by the one reciting Grace. If in the midst [of the blessings], his attention will be diverted and he does not hear one of the words that are imperative [for the fulfillment of his obligation],25 he does not fulfill his obligation. At the conclusion of the blessings, he should hurry to conclude before the person leading Grace does, so that he can answer Amen to his [blessings], as stated in sec. 51[:3] and sec. 59[:4].26

True, a zimun may be recited only when all the participants join together to recite the Grace after Meals at the same time, i.e., one recites Grace on behalf of all of them and not that every person recites Grace alone. The latter situation is not considered zimun at all, as explained in sec. 193.27 Nevertheless, since all [the participants] recite the entire Grace together word-for-word with the one leading Grace until the conclusion of the blessings, this is considered as a single recitation. [Moreover,] they listen to the conclusion of the blessings from the leader of Grace and recite Amen afterwards, just as they would do when one person recites the blessings for all of them. Although the blessings of zimun must be heard from the leader of Grace, as will be explained there,27 nevertheless, due to a lack of concentration, it is proper to conduct oneself in this manner with regard to Grace.

There are authorities who differ with this approach and say that one should not recite a zimun unless one recites a blessing on behalf of everyone and they [do not recite the blessings at all, but merely] listen. At the very least, [the others] must remain silent and listen until the conclusion of the blessing Hazan.28Fundamentally, [this approach should be followed]. After the conclusion of the blessing Hazan, one should follow the first approach because of the pressing issue of a lack of concentration. Until the conclusion of the blessing Hazan, however, it is a prerequisite for the zimun to listen,29 for one does not fulfill the obligation of the zimun at all merely by answering Baruch she’achalnu… (“Blessed be He from Whose bounty we have eaten…”), as stated in sec. 193.30

י מִשֶּׁיֹּאחַז הַכּוֹס בְּיָדוֹ לְבָרֵךְ – לֹא יָשִׂיחַ הַמְבָרֵךְנז אֲפִלּוּ שִׂיחָה קַלָּה ב' וְג' תֵּבוֹת,נח,19 מִשּׁוּם הֶסַּח הַדַּעַת.נט,13 וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםס שֶׁגַּם הַמְסֻבִּין אֵין לָהֶם לְהָסִיחַסא מִשֶּׁנָּטַל הַמְבָרֵךְ הַכּוֹס בְּיָדוֹ לְבָרֵךְ. וְטוֹב לָחוּשׁ לְדִבְרֵיהֶם לְכַתְּחִלָּה.סב

וּלְדִבְרֵי הַכֹּל, מִשֶּׁהִתְחִיל הַמְבָרֵךְ לְבָרֵךְ – לֹא יָשִׂיחוּ גַּם הַמְסֻבִּין.20 אֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוּא מְבָרֵךְ, שֶׁהֵם צְרִיכִים לִשְׁמֹעַ וּלְהָבִין מַה שֶּׁאוֹמֵר הַמְבָרֵךְ, אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ בֵּין בְּרָכָה לִבְרָכָה – אֵין לָהֶם לְהָשִׂיחַ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֵין הַמְבָרֵךְ רַשַּׁאי לְהָשִׂיחַ, שֶׁהַשּׁוֹמֵעַ כִּמְבָרֵךְ בְּעַצְמוֹ.סג,21 וְאִם עָבְרוּ וְשָׂחוּ בֵּין בְּרָכָה לִבְרָכָה בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַמְבָרֵךְ שׁוֹתֵק מְעַט – יָצְאוּ.סד,22 וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם שָׂח הַמְבָרֵךְ בְּעַצְמוֹ – יָצָא.סה אֲבָל אִם שָׂחוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוּא מְבָרֵךְ – לֹא יָצְאוּ.סו,23

וְשַׁעֲרוּרִיָּה זוֹ מְצוּיָה בֵּין הֶהָמוֹן, שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהַמְבָרֵךְ בְּזִמּוּן מְבָרֵךְ – אֵין שׁוֹמְעִין לוֹ, וּמְדַבְּרִים דְּבָרִים אֲחֵרִים, וְעוֹבְרִים עַל עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל תּוֹרָה בִּשְׁאָט נֶפֶשׁ.24 וְטוֹב מְאֹד הָיָה שֶׁלֹּא לְבָרֵךְ כְּלָל בְּזִמּוּן, שֶׁאָז הָיָה כָּל אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְעַצְמוֹ, מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן עַכְשָׁו, שֶׁטּוֹעִים לוֹמַר שֶׁיּוֹצְאִים בְּבִרְכַּת הַמְבָרֵךְ, וְהֵם אֵינָם שׁוֹמְעִין מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר.סז וְגַם לְכָל אָדָם נָכוֹן שֶׁיֹּאמַר בְּלַחַשׁ מִלָּה בְּמִלָּה עִם הַמְבָרֵךְ כָּל בְּרָכָה וּבְרָכָה, וַאֲפִלּוּ הַחֲתִימוֹת, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין כָּל אָדָם יָכוֹל לְכַוֵּן לִשְׁמֹעַ כָּל תֵּבָה וְתֵבָה מִפִּי הַמְבָרֵךְ,סח וְאִם בְּאֶמְצַע יִפְנֶה לְבָבוֹ וְלֹא יִשְׁמַע אֵיזוֹ תֵּבָה הַמְעַכֶּבֶתסט,25 – לֹא יֵצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ. וּבַחֲתִימוֹת יְמַהֵר לְסַיֵּם קֹדֶם שֶׁיְּסַיֵּם הַמְבָרֵךְ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוּכַל לַעֲנוֹת "אָמֵן" אַחֲרָיו,ע כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן נ"אעא ונ"ט.עב,26

וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין מְזַמְּנִין אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁמִּצְטָרְפִין לְבָרֵךְ כֻּלָּם בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן בְּבַת אַחַת, דְּהַיְנוּ שֶׁאֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם, וְלֹא כְּשֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְעַצְמוֹ, שֶׁאֵין כָּאן זִמּוּן כְּלָל, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קצ"ג,עג,27 מִכָּל מָקוֹם, כֵּיוָן שֶׁכָּל בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן עַד הַחֲתִימָה אוֹמְרִים כֻּלָּם יַחַד מִלָּה בְּמִלָּה עִם הַמְבָרֵךְ בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן – הֲרֵי זֶה כַּאֲמִירָה אַחַת, וְגַם הַחֲתִימוֹת הֵם חוֹזְרִים וְשׁוֹמְעִים מִפִּי הַמְבָרֵךְ וְעוֹנִים "אָמֵן" אַחֲרָיו, כְּמוֹ כְּשֶׁאֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם מַמָּשׁ.עד וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבִּרְכַּת הַזִּמּוּן צְרִיכִים לִשְׁמֹעַ מִפִּי הַמְבָרֵךְ דַּוְקָא, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר שָׁם,27 מִכָּל מָקוֹם, בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן מֵחֲמַת חֶסְרוֹן כַּוָּנָה – יֵשׁ לִנְהֹג כֵּן.עה

וְיֵשׁ חוֹלְקִיןעו עַל זֶה וְאוֹמְרִים, שֶׁאֵין מְזַמְּנִים אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם וְהֵם שׁוֹמְעִים, וּלְכָל הַפָּחוֹת צְרִיכִים לִשְׁתֹּק וְלִשְׁמֹעַ עַד סִיּוּם בִּרְכַּת "הַזָּן".עז,28 וְכֵן עִקָּר.עח וּמִסִּיּוּם בִּרְכַּת "הַזָּן" וָאֵילָךְ יֵשׁ לִנְהֹג כַּסְּבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָה מֵחֲמַת דֹּחַק חֶסְרוֹן כַּוָּנָה,עט אֲבָל עַד סִיּוּם בִּרְכַּת "הַזָּן" הַשְּׁמִיעָה מְעַכֶּבֶת הַזִּמּוּן,29 שֶׁאֵין יוֹצְאִים יְדֵי זִמּוּן כְּלָל בַּעֲנִיַּת "בָּרוּךְ שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ" לְבַד, כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קצ"ג: פ,30

11 There is an authority who maintains that, during Grace, the laws governing initiating [and responding to] greetings to and from one who commands fear and one who ought to be honored are the same as those that apply during Shemoneh Esreh, i.e., that one may not make an interruption unless there is concern for a life-threatening danger.31 They are not the same as [the laws] which apply during the recitation of the Shema and its blessings, in which instance, leniency was granted to [initiate greetings to] someone who commands fear and [respond to greetings from] someone who ought to be honored.32

([The rationale is that] with regard to the recitation of the Shema, it is written:33 “And you shall speak of them.” From this verse, our Sages extrapolated34 that one has license to speak of another matter during its recitation.35 According to Scriptural Law, there is no obligation to recite the entire [Shema] in one sequence. That is a Rabbinic obligation and the Sages allowed leniency with regard to [initiating and responding to greetings to and from] one who commands fear and one who ought to be honored. They did not find it appropriate to rule more stringently with regard to the blessings of the Shema, which are fundamentally of Rabbinic origin, than with regard to the Shema itself.

With regard to Grace, by contrast, the necessity to recite the blessings in one sequence as an initial preference is of Scriptural origin. For this is the implication of the verse:36 “When you have eaten and are satiated, you shall bless G‑d, your L‑rd for the good land that He gave you,” i.e., to bless [Him] for the land, for sustenance, and for Jerusalem37 in one blessing38 without any interruption in the interim. Nevertheless, after the fact,this is not a prerequisite, since the term והיו39 (“and they shall be”) is not mentioned with regard to Grace. It is, however, mentioned with regard to the recitation of the Shema. On that basis, our Sages inferred40 that they [i.e., the words of the Shema] shall be, [i.e., they must be recited] as they are[written in the Torah]. As stated in sec. 64[:1, this implies that] they may not be read in an improper sequence.)41

יא יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵרפא שֶׁלְּעִנְיָן לִשְׁאֹל בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן מִפְּנֵי הַיִּרְאָה אוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַכָּבוֹד דִּינָהּ כִּתְפִלָּה, שֶׁאֵין מַפְסִיקִין בָּהּ אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי חֲשַׁשׁ סַכָּנָה,פב,31 וְלֹא כִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבִרְכוֹתֶיהָ שֶׁהֵקֵלוּ בָּהֶן מִפְּנֵי הַיִּרְאָה וְהַכָּבוֹד.פג,32

(לְפִי שֶׁבִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע נֶאֱמַר: פד,33 "וְדִבַּרְתָּ בָּם", וְדָרְשׁוּ חֲכָמִים: פה,34 מִכָּאן שֶׁיֵּשׁ לְךָ רְשׁוּת לְדַבֵּר בָּם דְּבָרִים אֲחֵרִים,35 וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לִקְרוֹתָהּ כֻּלָּהּ בִּתְכִיפָה אַחַת מִן הַתּוֹרָה, אֶלָּא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים, וְהֵם אָמְרוּ לְהָקֵל מִפְּנֵי הַיִּרְאָה וְהַכָּבוֹד, וְלֹא רָאוּ לְהַחְמִיר בְּבִרְכַּת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁעִקָּרָן מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים יוֹתֵר מִבִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע עַצְמָהּ. אֲבָל בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן צָרִיךְ לִהְיוֹת לְכַתְּחִלָּה בִּתְכִיפָה אַחַת מִן הַתּוֹרָה,פו שֶׁכֵּן הוּא מַשְׁמָעוּת הַפָּסוּק:36 "וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ הַטּוֹבָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָךְ", לְבָרֵךְ עַל הָאָרֶץ וְהַמָּזוֹן וִירוּשָׁלַיִםפז,37 בִּבְרָכָה אַחַת38 בְּלֹא הֶפְסֵק בֵּינְתַיִם,פח אֶלָּא אֵין זֶה מְעַכֵּב בְּדִיעֲבַד,פט הוֹאִיל וְלֹא נֶאֱמַר בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן39 "יִהְיוּ"צ – בַּהֲוָיָתָן יִהְיוּ,40 כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע לְעִנְיַן קְרָאָהּ לְמַפְרֵעַ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ס"ד) צא:41

12 One must recite Grace while seated. [This ruling applies] whether one was walking in one’s home while eating, or he was eating while standing or while reclining. When he reaches Grace, he must sit13 so that his concentration will be enhanced. He should not recline, for this is a haughty position. Instead, he should sit with awe.

The above applies not only to the person reciting Grace, but to all those dining. They should not sit in a frivolous manner, but with awe. [Nevertheless,] if one did not conduct himself in this manner, even if he recited Grace while walking, he fulfilled his obligation after the fact.

All the above applies when a person is at home. When, however, a person is traveling on a journey and eats while he is walking, he is not required to sit to recite Grace. [The rationale:] His mind will not be relaxed when he sits, because he will be anxious about the delay in his journey and he will not be able to concentrate properly.42

יב צָרִיךְ לֵישֵׁב בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ, בֵּין אִם הָיָה מְהַלֵּךְ בְּבֵיתוֹ כְּשֶׁאָכַל, בֵּין שֶׁאֲכָלוֹ מְעֻמָּד אוֹ (מֵסֵב), כְּשֶׁמַּגִּיעַ לְבָרֵךְ – צָרִיךְ לֵישֵׁב,צב,13 כְּדֵי שֶׁיּוּכַל לְכַוֵּן יוֹתֵר,צג וְלֹא יְהֵא מֵסֵב, שֶׁהוּא דֶּרֶךְ גַּאֲוָה, אֶלָּא יֵשֵׁב בְּאֵימָה.צד וְלֹא הַמְבָרֵךְ בִּלְבַד, אֶלָּא כָּל הַמְסֻבִּין לֹא יֵשְׁבוּ בְּקַלּוּת רֹאשׁ, אֶלָּא בְּאֵימָה.צה אַךְ אִם לֹא עָשׂוּ כֵּן, אֲפִלּוּ בֵּרַךְ מְהַלֵּךְ – בְּדִיעֲבַד יָצָא.צו

וְכָל זֶה בְּבֵיתוֹ, אֲבָל הַמְהַלֵּךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְאוֹכֵל דֶּרֶךְ הִלּוּכוֹ – אֵין צָרִיךְ לֵישֵׁב וּלְבָרֵךְ, לְפִי שֶׁאֵין דַּעְתּוֹ מְיֻשֶּׁבֶת עָלָיו אִם יֵשֵׁב, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיִּקְשֶׁה בְּעֵינָיו אִחוּר דַּרְכּוֹ, וְלֹא יוּכַל לְכַוֵּן יָפֶה: צז,42

13 The stringency of reciting the blessing while seated applies only with regard to Grace, since it is a Scriptural Commandment. There are authorities who maintain that this law also applies to the one blessing that encapsulates three [that is recited over foods from the seven species for which Eretz Yisrael is praised]. Although it is of Rabbinic origin,43 since it is a composite of the three blessings required by Scriptural Law, [one should be stringent with regard to it as well]. Weight should be given to their words.

יג לֹא הֶחְמִירוּ לְבָרֵךְ מְיֻשָּׁב אֶלָּא בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, הוֹאִיל וְהִיא מִן הַתּוֹרָה.צח וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםצט שֶׁהוּא הַדִּין לִבְרָכָה אַחַת מעין ג' אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים,ק,43 הוֹאִיל וְהִיא מעין ג' שֶׁל תּוֹרָה. וְיֵשׁ לָחוּשׁ לְדִבְרֵיהֶם: קא

14 It is forbidden to perform work while reciting Grace,44 because it appears that one is reciting Grace in a casual and haphazard manner. It is even forbidden to perform a small task, although that activity does not prevent one from concentrating on Grace. Needless to say, one should not involve himself in a matter that requires concentration, even if it concerns a mitzvah, e.g., Torah study, for then one’s attention is diverted from concentrating on the blessing.45

[Indeed,] as an initial preference, [such conduct] is improper even when reciting other blessings, for all authorities agree that all the blessings require concentrated intent as an initial preference.46 [Refraining from activities that require attention] is also required with regard to the recitation of the Shema, even from the second passage onward.47 Performing work with one’s hands, by contrast, was only proscribed during the recitation of the first passage of the Shema.48

יד אָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלָאכָה בְּעוֹדוֹ מְבָרֵךְ,קב,44 מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנִּרְאֶה כִּמְבָרֵךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ עֲרַאי וּמִקְרֶה.קג אֲפִלּוּ תַּשְׁמִישׁ קַל אָסוּר לַעֲשׂוֹת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מוֹנְעוֹ מִלְּכַוֵּן.קד וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲסֹק בְּדָבָר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לָשׂוּם לִבּוֹ אֵלָיו, וַאֲפִלּוּ הִיא דְּבַר מִצְוָה, כְּגוֹן עֵסֶק הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁנִּמְצָא פּוֹנֶה לְבָבוֹ מִכַּוָּנוֹת הַבְּרָכָה.קה,45

וְזֶה אֵינוֹ נָכוֹן לְכַתְּחִלָּה גַּם בִּשְׁאָר בְּרָכוֹת,קו שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁכֻּלָּם צְרִיכִים כַּוָּנָה לְכַתְּחִלָּה לְדִבְרֵי הַכֹּל.קז,46 וְכֵן בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע אֲפִלּוּ מִפֶּרֶק שֵׁנִי וָאֵילָךְ,קח,47 מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן מְלָאכָה בַּיָּדַיִם לֹא מָנְעוּ אֶלָּא בְּפֶרֶק א' שֶׁל קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע: קט,48

15 Only a generous person49 should be given [the honor] of reciting Grace with the cup of blessing.50 [This refers to people who] despise money and perform deeds of kindness with their resources, as indicated by the verse:51 “A generous person will be blessed.” [Our Sages taught:]52 “Do not read, ‘will be blessed,’ read ‘will bless.’”

טו אֵין נוֹתְנִים כּוֹס שֶׁל בְּרָכָהקי,50 לְבָרֵךְ אֶלָּא לְטוֹב עַיִן,קיא,49 שֶׁהוּא שׂוֹנֵא בֶּצַע וְגוֹמֵל חֶסֶד בְּמָמוֹנוֹ,קיב שֶׁנֶּאֱמַרקיג,51 "טוֹב עַיִן הוּא יְבֹרָךְ", אַל תִּקְרָא "יְבֹרָךְ" אֶלָּא "יְבָרֵךְ": קיד,52