SECTION 187 Laws Concerning the Wording of Grace after Meals. (1–9)

קפז דִּיּוּקִים בְּנֻסַּח בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, וּבוֹ ט' סְעִיפִים:

1 The order of [the blessings of] Grace [is as follows]: The first blessing is Hazan, the second, the blessing for the land [of Eretz Yisrael], the third, Boneh Yerushalayim.1 All three are Scriptural obligations, as [indicated by the verse:2 “When you have eaten and are satiated, you shall bless [G‑d, your L‑rd for the good land that He gave you.”] “When you have eaten and are satiated, you shall bless” refers to the blessing Hazan,which is recited in appreciation of the food and satiation [we have been granted]. “For the… land,” connotes the blessing for Eretz Yisrael. [Describing it as] “good” refers to Jerusalem, as [alluded to by the phrase:]3 “This good mountain and the Levanon.”

א סֵדֶר בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן: רִאשׁוֹנָה בִּרְכַּת "הַזָּן", שְׁנִיָּה בִּרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ, שְׁלִישִׁית "בּוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם".א,1 וּשְׁלָשְׁתָּן מִן הַתּוֹרָה,ב שֶׁנֶּאֱמַרג,2 "וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ וּבֵרַכְתָּ" – זוֹ בִּרְכַּת "הַזָּן", שֶׁהִיא עַל אֲכִילָה וּשְׂבִיעָה, "עַל הָאָרֶץ" – זוֹ בִּרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ, "הַטּוֹבָה" – זוֹ יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּבד,3 "הָהָר הַטּוֹב הַזֶּה וְהַלְּבָנוֹן":

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2 According to Scriptural Law, one may recite these blessings using any wording he desires, each person [blessing G‑d] according to his understanding and his eloquence. Moshe, Yehoshua, David, and Shlomoh, each in his time, arose and ordained standardized versions for each of these blessings, [highlighting] the additional goodness granted to the Jewish people [during their particular era].

ב מִן הַתּוֹרָה יָכוֹל לְאָמְרָהּ בְּאֵיזֶה מַטְבֵּעַ שֶׁיִּרְצֶה כָּל אֶחָד כְּפִי דַּעְתּוֹ וְהַרְחָבַת לְשׁוֹנוֹ, וּבָאוּ מֹשֶׁה וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ וְדָוִד וּשְׁלֹמֹה וְתִקְּנוּ הַמַּטְבֵּעַ לְכָל בְּרָכָה וּבְרָכָה בִּזְמַנָּם לְפִי מַה שֶּׁנִּתְוַסֵּף טוֹבָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל: ה

3 What is implied? Moshe ordained the wording of the blessing Hazan at the time the manna descended for Israel. Yehoshua ordained the wording of the blessing for the landwhen [the Jews] entered Eretz Yisrael; before the conquest of Eretz Yisrael, they would recite this blessing using different wording.

David and Shlomoh ordained the wording of the blessing Boneh Yerushalayim. David ordained [the recitation of] the phrase al Yisrael amecha ve’al Yerushalayim irecha (“upon Israel Your people and upon Jerusalem Your city”). (Before then, [the blessing was of] a general [nature], asking [for mercy for] “the place that G‑d will choose to cause His name to rest there.”)4 Shlomoh ordained [the addition of] the phrase al habayis hagadol vehakadosh shenikra shimcha alav (“upon the great and holy House upon which Your name was called”).

We do not recite the blessings for the landand Boneh Yerushalayim using the exact same wording as they did. For they would request that He perpetuate the tranquility of the land, the royal house, and the Beis [HaMikdash], while we are petitioning that they be restored to us in the near future.

ג כֵּיצַד? מֹשֶׁה תִּקֵּן מַטְבֵּעַ בִּרְכַּת "הַזָּן" בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיָּרַד הַמָּן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. יְהוֹשֻׁעַ תִּקֵּן מַטְבֵּעַ בִּרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּכְנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ,ו,1 שֶׁקֹּדֶם כִּבּוּשׁ הָאָרֶץ הָיוּ אוֹמְרִים בְּמַטְבֵּעַ אַחֶרֶת.ז וְדָוִד וּשְׁלֹמֹה תִּקְנוּ מַטְבֵּעַ בִּרְכַּת "בּוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם". דָּוִד תִּקֵּן "עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ" (שֶׁקֹּדֶם לָכֵן הָיוּ מְבַקְּשִׁים סְתָם עַל הַ"מָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר ה' לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם"),4 וּשְׁלֹמֹה תִּקֵּן "עַל הַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁנִּקְרָא שִׁמְךָ עָלָיו".

וְאָנוּ אֵין אָנוּ אוֹמְרִים בִּרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ וּ"בוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם" בְּאוֹתוֹ הַמַּטְבֵּעַ מַמָּשׁ, כִּי הֵם הָיוּ מְבַקְּשִׁים לְהַמְשִׁיךְ שַׁלְוַת הָאָרֶץ וְהַמַּלְכוּת וְהַבַּיִת, וְאָנוּ מְבַקְּשִׁים לְהַחֲזִירָם לָנוּ בְּקָרוֹב: ח

4 Anyone who deviates from the wording ordained by the Sages does not fulfill his obligation.5 He is required to recite [the entire blessing] again.6

The fundamental wording that is a prerequisite for the blessing Hazan consists only of the opening and concluding phrases. In the blessing for the land, one must make thankful acknowledgement7 at the beginning and the end [of the blessing], and make mention of the covenant [of circumcision] and of the Torah in the middle [of the blessing].8 [The inclusion of these matters is intrinsically associated with this blessing,] because it was in the merit of circumcision that the land was given to Avraham. [Thus,] the passage concerning circumcision [includes the promise]:9 “I will give the land of your sojourns to you and your descendants after you.” Similarly, it is through the merit of the Torah and its mitzvos that [the Jewish people] took possession of the land, as it is written:10 “[Take heed to perform the entire commandment…] so that you will live and increase and enter and possess the land.” And it is written:11 “He gave them the lands of nations… so that they will keep His statutes and teachings.”

One who mentions thankful acknowledgement fewer times should at least mention it once. Anyone who makes less than one acknowledgement is disgraceful.12 [In this blessing,] one must [also] mention the praise of Eretz Yisrael, that it is “a cherished, good, and spacious land,” for Scripture praises it using these terms, as it is written:13 “to a good and spacious land.” And it is written:14 “I gave you a cherished land.” [In the blessing] Boneh Yerushalayim, one must mention the sovereignty of the House of David, for Jerusalem became sanctified through David[‘s efforts].

If one failed to mention one of the following, e.g., he did not say “a cherished, good, and spacious land,” did not mention the covenant [of circumcision] and the Torah in the blessing for the land,or [failed to recall] the sovereignty of the House of David in [the blessing] Boneh Yerushalayim, he does not fulfill his obligation and must recite Grace again from the beginning, as stated in sec. 188[:9].15 ([His recitation of the blessing is disqualified,] because he deviated from the wording ordained by the prophets.16 Mentioning thankful acknowledgement at the beginning and the end of [the blessing for the land], by contrast, is not an absolute prerequisite, since one concludes [the blessing]: “Blessed are You, G‑d, for the land….”)17

Regarding the blessing Hazan, even if one says: B’rich Rachmana Malka Marei d’hai pita. B’rich Rachmana de’zan kolah (“Blessed is the Merciful One, King, Master of this bread. Blessed is the Merciful One Who sustains everyone”),18 he fulfills his obligation.19 As explained in sec. 66[:12] and sec. 68[:1], since he began and concluded [the blessing as ordained,] even if he skipped all the rest [of the blessing], he is not considered as having deviated from the format ordained by our Sages, provided [he mentioned] the specific terms singled out by our Sages as, i.e., those mentioned above.

Nevertheless, as an initial preference, one must recite the entire wording as ordained. [An exception may be made] for minors younger than eight,20 at which age they should be trained in [the recitation of] Grace, bit by bit ([reciting portions] from every blessing, until they know how to recite all the blessings as ordained). Similarly, [leniency was granted] in a pressing situation, when one is rushed and he would not be able to recite Grace with concentrated intent were he to be required to recite each of the long blessings as ordained. He may shorten them, skipping the portions in the blessings for the landand Boneh Yerushalayim that are not [fundamental] themes in these blessings. Needless to say, [this applies] with regard to the fourth blessing, where the addition to it21 is merely a custom, but not part of the [original] text of the blessing. One should not skip [portions] of the blessing Hazan, by contrast, (for every part of it [is integral to] expressing the theme of the blessing).

ד כָּל הַמְשַׁנֶּה מִמַּטְבֵּעַ שֶׁטָּבְעוּ (חֲכָמִים) – לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ,ט,5 וּמַחֲזִירִין אוֹתוֹ.י,6

וְעִקַּר הַמַּטְבֵּעַ הַמְעַכֵּב בְּבִרְכַּת "הַזָּן", הִיא פְּתִיחַת הַבְּרָכָה וַחֲתִימָתָהּ לְבַד.יא וּבְבִרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בָּהּ הוֹדָאָה7 תְּחִלָּה וָסוֹף, וּבְרִית וְתוֹרָה בָּאֶמְצַע,יב,8 שֶׁעַל יְדֵי בְּרִית נִתְּנָה הָאָרֶץ לְאַבְרָהָם בְּפָרָשַׁת מִילָה: יג,9 "וְנָתַתִּי לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֶיךָ וְגוֹ'", וּבִזְכוּת הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוֹת יָרְשׁוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַריד,10 "לְמַעַן תִּחְיוּן וּרְבִיתֶם וּבָאתֶם וִירִשְׁתֶּם אֶת הָאָרֶץ וְגוֹ'", וְאוֹמֵר: טו,11 "וַיִּתֵּן לָהֶם אַרְצוֹת גּוֹיִם וְגוֹ' בַּעֲבוּר יִשְׁמְרוּ חֻקָּיו וְתוֹרֹתָיו וְגוֹ'".

וְהַפּוֹחֵת – לֹא יִפְחֹת מֵהוֹדָאָה אַחַת. וְכָל הַפּוֹחֵת מֵהוֹדָאָה אַחַת – הֲרֵי זֶה מְגֻנֶּה.טז,12 וְצָרִיךְ לְהַזְכִּיר שִׁבְחָהּ שֶׁל אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁהִיא "אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה",יז מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמָּצִינוּ שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּבְּחָה בָּזֶה הַלָּשׁוֹן,יח שֶׁנֶּאֱמַריט,13 "אֶל אֶרֶץ טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה1 וְגוֹ'", וְאוֹמֵר: כ,14 "וְאֶתֶּן לָךְ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה וְגוֹ'". וּבְ"בוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם" צָרִיךְ לְהַזְכִּיר מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד,כא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעַל יְדֵי דָּוִד נִתְקַדְּשָׁה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם.כב

וְאִם חִסַּר אֶחָד מִכָּל אֵלֶּה, שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר "אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה", אוֹ שֶׁלֹּא הִזְכִּיר בְּרִית אוֹ תּוֹרָה בְּבִרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ, אוֹ מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד בְּ"בוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם" – לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ,כג וּמַחֲזִירִים אוֹתוֹכד לְרֹאשׁ בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן,כה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קפ"חכו,15 (הוֹאִיל וְשִׁנָּה הַמַּטְבֵּעַ שֶׁטָּבְעוּ הַנְּבִיאִים.כז,16 אֲבָל הוֹדָאָה תְּחִלָּה וָסוֹף אֵינָהּ מְעַכֶּבֶת,כח,12 כֵּיוָן שֶׁחָתַם "בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', עַל הָאָרֶץ וְכוּ'").17

וּבְבִרְכַּת הַזָּן, אֲפִלּוּ אָמַר: "בְּרִיךְ רַחֲמָנָאכט מַלְכָּא מָארֵיהּ דְּהַאי פִּיתָּא,ל בְּרִיךְ רַחֲמָנָא דְּזָן כּוּלַּה"לא,18 – יָצָא,19 שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁפָּתַח וְחָתַם בְּ"בָרוּךְ"לב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁדִּלֵּג כָּל הַשְּׁאָר – אֵין זֶה מְשַׁנֶּה מִמַּטְבֵּעַ שֶׁטָּבְעוּ חֲכָמִים, לְבַד מֵהַתֵּבוֹת שֶׁהִזְכִּירוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶם הַקְפָּדָה, כְּגוֹן אֵלּוּ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֲרוּ, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן ס"ולג וס"ח.לד

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, לְכַתְּחִלָּה צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר כָּל הַמַּטְבֵּעַ כְּתִקּוּנָהּ, אִם לֹא לִקְטַנִּים פְּחוּתִים מִשְּׁמוֹנֶה שָׁנִים,לה,20 שֶׁמְּחַנְּכִין אוֹתָםלו בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן מְעַט מְעַט (מִכָּל בְּרָכָה,לז עַד שֶׁיֵּדְעוּ לְבָרֵךְ כָּל בְּרָכָה כְּתִקּוּנָהּ). וְכֵן בִּשְׁעַת הַדְּחָק, שֶׁהוּא נֶחְפָּזלח וְלֹא יוּכַל לְבָרֵךְ בְּכַוָּנָה אִם יִצְטָרֵךְ לְבָרֵךְ כָּל בְּרָכָה אֲרֻכָּה כְּתִקּוּנָהּ – יָכוֹל לְקַצֵּר וּלְדַלֵּגלט בְּבִרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ וּבְ"בוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם" מַה שֶּׁאֵינָן מֵעִנְיְנֵי הַבְּרָכָה. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בִּבְרָכָה רְבִיעִית, שֶׁהַהוֹסָפָה שֶׁבָּהּ21 אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא מִנְהָג לְבַד וְלֹא מִטֹּפֶס הַבְּרָכָה.מ אֲבָל בְּבִרְכַּת "הַזָּן" אֵין לְדַלֵּג בָּהּמא (הוֹאִיל וְכֻלָּהּ מֵעֵין הַבְּרָכָה):

5 There are those who are accustomed to [introducing Grace by] saying: “Blessed be He Who satiates the hungry. Blessed are You, G‑d our L‑rd, King of the universe, Who sustains….” This [introduction] should not be recited, because it is not part of the text of the blessing [ordained by our Sages], and one who adds this is, in fact, detracting.22

One should not say: “for His kindness to us is everlasting,” for His kindnesses extend [not only to us, but] to all living beings.23

ה יֵשׁ נוֹהֲגִים לוֹמַר: "בָּרוּךְ מַשְׂבִּיעַ לָרְעֵבִים, בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַזָּן כוּ'". וְאֵין לְאָמְרוֹ, שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִמַּטְבֵּעַ הַבְּרָכָה, וְהַמּוֹסִיף – גּוֹרֵעַ.מב,22 וְלֹא יֹאמַר: "כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ עִמָּנוּ", כִּי חֲסָדָיו הֵם עִם כָּל חַי: מג,23

6 In the blessing for the land, one should not say, “for giving to our fathers as a heritage a cherished, good, and spacious land, the covenant, and the Torah.” For, [shortly thereafter,] he will say: “for Your covenant that You sealed in our flesh and for Your Torah that You taught us.” One [mention of these concepts] is sufficient. [Our Sages’] statement that one must recall the covenant [of circumcision] and Torah24 does not mean [that he must state] the exact words [“circumcision” “and Torah”], but the concepts.

ו בְּבִרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ לֹא יֹאמַר: "עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה בְּרִית וְתוֹרָה", שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר: "עַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּנוּ", וְדַי בְּפַעַם אֶחָת.מד וּמַה שֶּׁאָמְרוּ שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְהַזְכִּיר "בְּרִית וְתוֹרָה" – לֹא הַתֵּבוֹת מַמָּשׁ, אֶלָּא הָעִנְיָן: מה

7 There are authorities who maintain that women should not say “for Your covenant that You sealed in our flesh.”25 [Also,] women and bondmen should not say “for Your Torah that You taught us,” because they are not commanded to study the Torah.26 [Nevertheless,] at present, the custom is [for them] to recite the entire text of the blessing. [The rationale:] A man is not called a man unless he has a wife, as [indicated by] the verse:27 “He created them, male and female, and called their name ‘man.’” Thus a male and a female are one body. Therefore [women] may say concerning the covenant [of circumcision performed on their] male [counterpart]: “that You sealed in our flesh.”

Similarly, they say “for Your Torah that You taught us,” for [the Torah] studied by the males. Also, women must study the mitzvos they [are obligated to observe] in order to know how to perform them and how to eschew all the prohibitive commandments in the Torah, for they are obligated in their observance [equally] as men, as explained in sec. 47[:10].28

ז יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים שֶׁהַנָּשִׁים אֵין לָהֶם לוֹמַר: "עַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ",מו,25 וְנָשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים אֵין לָהֶם לוֹמַר: "וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּנוּ",מז שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵין מְצֻוִּים עַל תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה.מח,26 וְעַכְשָׁו נָהֲגוּ לוֹמַר הַכֹּל, לְפִי שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין נִקְרָא "אָדָם" אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ אִשָּׁה, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַרמט,27 "זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בְּרָאָם, וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שְׁמָם אָדָם", הֲרֵי הַזָּכָר וּנְקֵבָה הֵם גּוּף אֶחָד, לְפִיכָךְ יְכוֹלוֹת לוֹמַר עַל בְּרִית הַזְּכָרִים: "שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ",נ וְכֵן "תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִּמַּדְתָּנוּ" עַל לִמּוּד הַזְּכָרִים.נא וְעוֹד, שֶׁגַּם הַנָּשִׁים צְרִיכוֹת לִלְמֹד מִצְוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶן, לֵידַע הַאֵיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹתָן, וְהַאֵיךְ לִזָּהֵר מִכָּל לֹא תַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁהֵן מֻזְהָרוֹת בָּהֶן כַּאֲנָשִׁים,נב כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן מ"ז: נג,28

8 On Chanukah and Purim, the passage Al hanissim should be recited in the blessing for the land.29If one did not recite it, he is not required to repeat Grace, as will be explained in sec. 683 and sec. 695.30 Nevertheless, he can [remedy this omission and] recite [this passage] among those beginning HaRachaman,31i.e., he should say: “May the Merciful One perform miracles and wonders32 on our behalf as He did for our fathers in those days, in this season…” [and then continue Bi’ymei Matisyahu or Bi’ymei Mordechai v’Esther]. This practice should be followed.

ח בַּחֲנֻכָּה וּפוּרִים אוֹמְרִים בְּבִרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ: "עַל הַנִּסִּים".נד,24 וְאִם לֹא אֲמָרוֹ – אֵין מַחֲזִירִין אוֹתוֹ,נה כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן תרפ"ג ותרצ"ה.נו,30 וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, יָכוֹל לוֹמַר בְּתוֹךְ "הָרַחֲמָן",31 שֶׁיֹּאמַר: "הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה לָנוּ נִסִּים וְנִפְלָאוֹתנז,32 כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בִּזְמַן וְכוּ'". וְכֵן יֵשׁ לִנְהֹג: נח

9 There are those who follow the custom of saying lo chisar lanu v’al yechaseir lanu (“He did not cause us to lack [food] and He shall never cause us to lack [food]”). Others follow the custom of saying lo chasar lanu v’al yechsar (“we have not lacked [food] and may we never lack [food]”).33

[One should say] befi kol chai (“in the mouths of all living beings”) and not befeh (in the mouth), because it is adjacent to the words kol chai (“all living beings”).34

ט יֵשׁ נוֹהֲגִים לוֹמַר: "לֹא חִסַּר לָנוּ, וְאַל יְחַסֵּר לָנוּ".נט וְיֵשׁ נוֹהֲגִיםס לוֹמַר: "לֹא חָסַר, וְאַל יֶחְסַר".33 "בְּפִי כָּל חַי", וְלֹא "בְּפֶה", לְפִי שֶׁהוּא סָמוּךְ לְ"כָל חַי": סא,34