SECTION 189 The Text of the Fourth Blessing [of Grace] and the Laws Governing It. (1–8)

קפט נֻסַּח בְּרָכָה רְבִיעִית וְדִינֶיהָ, וּבוֹ ח' סְעִיפִים:

1 The fourth blessing begins with “Blessed…,” because it is not [considered] as coming in sequence to a previous blessing,1 since it was [originally] not part of the Grace after Meals, but only added later. When permission was granted to bury the martyrs of Beitar,2 the Sages ordained [that we bless G‑d] with the blessing of Hatov vehameitiv (“He Who is good and grants goodness”). HaTov [praises G‑d for the miracle that their corpses] did not become rancid; vehameitiv, for [the fact that permission] was granted to bury them. [The Sages] ordained its recitation in Grace, because Grace is entirely an expression of thanks. It was positioned next to the blessing Boneh Yerushalayim, because when Beitar was destroyed, the standard of Israel was cut down, and it will not return [to its former glory] until the descendant of David [Mashiach] comes.3

[G‑d’s] sovereignty must be mentioned three times in this blessing: once for its own sake and twice for the [previous two] blessings, the blessing for the Land of Israel, and the blessing Boneh Yerushalayim,in which G‑d’s sovereignty was not mentioned.4 Although they follow in sequence to the [first] blessing, Hazan,in which [G‑d’s] sovereignty is mentioned,5 nevertheless, since the sovereignty of the House of David is mentioned in the blessing Boneh Yerushalayim, it would be improper not to mention G‑d’s sovereignty in that [blessing] as well. However, [the Sages] did not desire to mention G‑d’s sovereignty in proximity to [the mention of] the sovereignty of the House of David.6 Therefore, they ordained that instead His sovereignty be mentioned [a second time] in the blessing Hatov vehameitiv. And since they ordained the mention of His sovereignty for the blessing Boneh Yerushalayim, they ordained that it also be mentioned for the blessing for the Land of Israel. The three mentions of G‑d’s sovereignty [in this blessing] are: “King of the universe,” “our Father, our King,” and “the benevolent King.”

The Midrash7states that this blessing must include three mentions of [G‑d’s] benevolence and three mentions of [His] generous recompense. The three mentions of [G‑d’s] benevolence are: “the benevolent [King],” “Who grants goodness,” “He has shown benevolence, shows benevolence, and will show benevolence to us.”8 The latter three are considered as one. This is the popularly observed custom. There are those who follow the custom of saying: “He has shown benevolence to us; He shows benevolence to us; and He will show benevolence to us,” in the same manner as it is said with regard to the three mentions of generous recompense: “He has granted us generous recompense; He grants us generous recompense; and He will grant us generous recompense.”

א בְּרָכָה רְבִיעִית פּוֹתַחַת בְּ"בָרוּךְ"א שֶׁאֵינָהּ כִּסְמוּכָה לַחֲבֶרְתָּהּ,ב,1 לְפִי שֶׁאֵינָהּ מִכְּלַל בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן אֶלָּא אַחַר כָּךְ נִתְוַסְּפָה,ג כְּשֶׁנִּתְּנוּ הֲרוּגֵי בֵּיתָר לִקְבוּרָה2 תִּקְנוּ בִּרְכַּת "הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב", "הַטּוֹב" – שֶׁלֹּא הִסְרִיחוּ, "וְהַמֵּטִיב" – שֶׁנִּתְּנוּ לִקְבוּרָה,ד וּקְבָעוּהָ בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, שֶׁכֻּלָּהּ הוֹדָאָה,ה וּסְמָכוּהָ אֵצֶל "בּוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם", לְפִי שֶׁכְּשֶׁנֶּחְרְבָה בֵּיתָר נִגְדְּעָה קֶרֶן יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאֵין עֲתִידָה לַחֲזֹר עַד שֶׁיָּבֹא בֶּן דָּוִד.ו,3

וְצָרִיךְ לוֹמַר בָּהּ ג' מַלְכֻיּוֹת, אַחַת שֶׁלָּהּ וּשְׁתַּיִם בִּשְׁבִיל בִּרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ וּ"בוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם", שֶׁלֹּא הִזְכִּיר בָּהֶן מַלְכוּת.4 וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן סְמוּכוֹת לְבִרְכַּת "הַזָּן" שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ מַלְכוּת,5 מִכָּל מָקוֹם, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִזְכִּיר מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד בְּ"בוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם" – אֵין דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ שֶׁלֹּא יַזְכִּיר גַּם כֵּן מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם בָּהּ, אֶלָּא שֶׁלֹּא רָצוּ לְהַזְכִּיר מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם אֵצֶל מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד,ז,6 לְכָךְ תִּקְנוּ לְהַזְכִּיר כְּנֶגְדָּהּ מַלְכוּת בְּ"הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב", וְאַגַּב שֶׁתִּקְּנוּ מַלְכוּת כְּנֶגֶד "בּוֹנֶה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם" – תִּקְנוּ גַּם כֵּן כְּנֶגֶד בִּרְכַּת הָאָרֶץ.ח,4 וְאֵלּוּ הֵן ג' מַלְכוּת: "מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם", "אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ", "הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב".ט

וּבַמִּדְרָשׁי אָמְרוּ7 שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לוֹמַר בָּהּ ג' הַטַּבוֹת וְג' גְּמוּלוֹת. וְאֵלּוּ הֵן ג' הַטַּבוֹת: "הַטּוֹב" א', "וְהַמֵּטִיב" ב', "הוּא הֵטִיב מֵטִיב יֵטִיב לָנוּ" ג',8 שֶׁהֵן נֶחְשָׁבִין כְּאַחַת, זֶה מִנְהָג הָעוֹלָם.יא וְיֵשׁ שֶׁהָיוּ נוֹהֲגִים לוֹמַר: "הוּא הֵטִיב לָנוּ, הוּא מֵטִיב לָנוּ, הוּא יֵטִיב לָנוּ",יב כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁאוֹמְרִים הַשָּׁלֹשׁ גְּמוּלוֹת, שֶׁהֵן: "הוּא גְּמָלָנוּ הוּא גּוֹמְלֵנוּ הוּא יִגְמְלֵנוּ":

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2 Although [in its present form] it is a long blessing, it does not conclude “Blessed are You…,” [as do other blessings in long form,] because originally, it was ordained that it be recited in a short form,9 merely “Blessed are You, G‑d our L‑rd, King of the Universe, He Who is good and grants goodness.” Afterwards, [the Rabbis] added all these other matters.

ב אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהִיא בְּרָכָה אֲרוּכָה – אֵינָהּ חוֹתֶמֶת בְּ"בָרוּךְ",יג מִפְּנֵי שֶׁמִּתְּחִלָּה תִּקְּנוּהָ בְּמַטְבֵּעַ קָצָר:9 "בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב" בִּלְבַד, וְאַחַר כָּךְ הוֹסִיפוּ בָּהּ כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ: יד

3 One should not say: “The Almighty Who each and every day, He has done good…,” but rather “The Almighty, each and every day….” It is even more appropriate not to mention [G‑d’s name], the Almighty, at all, for one has already said: “The Almighty, our Father.” Moreover, if one seeks to associate G‑d’s benevolence with the name “The Almighty,” it would have been appropriate to say: “The King, the Almighty, He Who is good and grants goodness.”10

ג אֵין לוֹמַר: "אֵל שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם וְיוֹם",טו אֶלָּא "אֵל בְּכָל יוֹם".טז וְיוֹתֵר נָכוֹן שֶׁלֹּא לוֹמַר כְּלָל מִלַּת "אֵל", שֶׁהֲרֵי כְּבָר אָמַר: "הָאֵל אָבִינוּ". וְעוֹד, שֶׁאִם בָּא לְיַחַס הַטֹּבָה לְשֵׁם "אֵל", הָיָה לוֹ לוֹמַר: "הַמֶּלֶךְ הָאֵל הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב": יז,10

4 When there is a non-Jew in the house, it is customary to say: “[Bless] us all together, the members of the covenant,” to exclude the non-Jew from the blessing, for it is forbidden to bless gentiles, as [implied by the commandment]:11 “Do not be gracious to them.”12 It is more appropriate to say: “[Bless us] the members of the covenant, all together,”13 so that the non-Jew will not be included in the blessing for even a moment, as would be true were he to say: “Bless us all together,” before concluding with the phrase: “the members of the covenant.”

Women and bondmen are members of the covenant,14 as it is written:15 “Your children and your women… to have you pass through a covenant.” (Similarly, an apostate is a member of the covenant, for “even though he sinned, he remains Jewish.”16 Therefore, if an apostate is in a home, one should not say: “Bless us all together, the members of the covenant” in order to remove him from the blessing.)

ד כְּשֶׁיֵּשׁ נָכְרִי בַּבַּיִת נוֹהֲגִים לוֹמַר: "כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד בְּנֵי בְּרִית", לְהוֹצִיא הַנָּכְרִי מִכְּלָל הַבְּרָכָה,יח שֶׁאָסוּר לְבָרֵךְ הַנָּכְרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַריט,11 "וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם".12 וְיוֹתֵר נָכוֹן לוֹמַר: "בְּנֵי בְּרִית כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד",13 שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה בִּכְלָל הַבְּרָכָה אֲפִלּוּ רֶגַע, כְּשֶׁאוֹמֵר: "כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד" קוֹדֵם שֶׁמְּסַיֵּם "בְּנֵי בְּרִית".כ

וְנָשִׁים וַעֲבָדִים "בְּנֵי בְּרִית" הֵם,כא,14 כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב: כב,15 "טַפְּכֶם נְשֵׁיכֶם וְגוֹ' לְעָבְרְךָ בִּבְרִית וְגוֹ'".

(וְכֵן הַמּוּמָר בִּכְלָל "בְּנֵי בְּרִית" הוּא,כג שֶׁאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁחָטָא – יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא.כד,16 וְלָכֵן כְּשֶמוּמָר בַּבַּיִת – אֵין לוֹמַר "כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד בְּנֵי בְּרִית", כְּדֵי לְהוֹצִיאוֹ מִכְּלָל הַבְּרָכָה):

5 In the blessing for the master of the house, one concludes:17 ונאמר אמן “Let us say: Amen,” since he cannot dictate: ואמרו אמן, “All shall say: Amen.” In contrast, in the blessing18 עושה שלום במרומיו (“May He Who brings about peace in His lofty realms”), which is the praise of G‑d which all Israel are commanded [to relate], he should say: “All shall say: Amen.” (Even when a person is reciting Grace alone [and there are seemingly none to respond Amen], he uses such wording, because he is [addressing] the angels who [continually] protect him).

ה בְּבִרְכַּת (הַמָּזוֹן) בַּעַל הַבַּיִת, מְסַיֵּם:17 "וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן", שֶׁאֵין יָכוֹל לִגְזֹר אוֹמֵר: "וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן". מַה שֶׁאֵין כֵּן בְּבִרְכַּת18 "עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו", שֶׁהוּא שֶׁבַח שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל מְצֻוִּין, אוֹמֵר: "וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן"כה (וְאַף אִם מְבָרֵךְ לְעַצְמוֹ, אוֹמֵר כֵּן לְהַמַּלְאָכִים הַשּׁוֹמְרִים אוֹתוֹ) כו:

6 Whenever anyone blesses a Jew, it is a mitzvah to answer Amen. Therefore, it is a mitzvah to answer Amen after [the eighth request beginning] HaRachaman.

[In the paragraph that begins either Mimarom or Bamarom,] one should say me’eis HaShem, echoing the wording of the verse:19 “He will receive a blessing from G‑d” (מאת ה').

ו כָּל הַמְבָרֵךְ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל – מִצְוָה לַעֲנוֹת אַחֲרָיו "אָמֵן",כז וְלָכֵן יֵשׁ לַעֲנוֹת "אָמֵן" אַחֵר "הָרַחֲמָן".כח,17

וְיֹּאמַר: "מֵאֵת ה'",כט כִּלְשׁוֹן הַפָּסוּק: ל,19 "יִשָּׂא בְּרָכָה מֵאֵת ה' וְגוֹ'":

7 On Shabbos, festivals, and Rosh Chodesh, it is customary to say ...מגדול ישועות (“He is a Tower of deliverance…”), as stated in the Book of Shmuel.20During the week, one should say ...מגדיל ישועות (“He amplifies deliverance…”), as stated in the Book of Tehillim.21An allusion [to this practice can be found in a verse22 which can be non-literally interpreted as meaning: “On Rosh] Chodesh and Shabbos read Scripture,” i.e., the works of the prophets.

There are some who raise questions regarding the recitation of the various [requests beginning] HaRachaman, maintaining that they serve as an interruption between Grace and drinking the wine [over which Grace was recited]. There are those who justify the custom, explaining that since it has become customary to recite [these requests], they are considered as part of the blessing and they are not considered an interruption.23

ז נוֹהֲגִים לוֹמַר בְּשַׁבָּת וְיוֹם טוֹב וְרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ: "מִגְדּוֹל",לא כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בִּשְׁמוּאֵל,לב,20 וּבְחוֹל: "מַגְדִּיל", כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בִּתְהִלִּים.לג,21 וְסִימָן: לד,22 "חֹדֶשׁ וְשַׁבָּת – קְרֹא מִקְרָא",לה רוֹצֶה לוֹמַר: כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּנְּבִיאִים.

וְיֵשׁ מְפַקְפְּקִיםלו בַּמֶּה שֶׁאוֹמְרִים "הָרַחֲמָן" בְּכַמָּה גְּוָנִים, שֶׁהוּא הֶפְסֵק בֵּין בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן לִשְׁתִיַּת הַכּוֹס. וְיֵשׁ מְיַשְּׁבִין,לז שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ בָּהֶם – נַעֲשׂוּ כְּאִלּוּ הֵם מִטֹּפֶס הַבְּרָכָה, וְאֵינָם חֲשׁוּבִים הֶפְסֵק: לח,23

8 In the house of a mourner, throughout the seven days of mourning, a reference to [his state of mourning] is added in the fourth blessing,24 as stated in Yoreh Deah 379,25 by both the mourner and the others eating and partaking in a zimun with him. In the house of a mourner, the three mentions of G‑d’s benevolence and the three mentions of His granting of generous recompense26 [are omitted. There is] no concern about their omission, because they are not mentioned in the Talmud. Instead, when one reaches the phrase “the benevolent King,” he should say:

The living and benevolent King Who grants goodness, the true G‑d, the true Judge, He Who judges with righteousness and takes souls in judgment, the Absolute Ruler of His world, Who acts therein as He wishes. For all of His ways are just and we are His nation and His subjects. We are obligated to thankfully acknowledge Him and bless Him for all He does. May He Who rectifies the devastation of Israel rectify this devastation, for us and for this mourner, for life and for peace. May the Merciful One….27

ח בְּבֵית הָאָבֵל מוֹסִיפִים בִּבְרָכָה רְבִיעִית מֵעֵין הַמְּאֹרָעלט כָּל שִׁבְעָה,24 כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּיוֹרֶה דֵּעָה סִימָן שע"ט,מ,25 בֵּין הָאָבֵל עַצְמוֹמא שֶׁמְּבָרֵךְ, בֵּין אֲחֵרִים שֶׁאוֹכְלִים עִמּוֹ וּמְבָרְכִים בְּזִמּוּן. וְאֵין חוֹשְׁשִׁין בְּבֵית הָאָבֵל לוֹמַר ג' הַטַּבוֹת וְג' גְּמוּלוֹת26 שֶׁאֵינָן נִזְכָּרִים בַּתַּלְמוּד.מב

אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁמַּגִּיעַ לְ"הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב" אוֹמְרִים: "הָחַי הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב, אֵל אֱמֶת, דַּיָּן אֱמֶת, שׁוֹפֵט בְּצֶדֶק, לוֹקֵחַ נְפָשׁוֹת בְּמִשְׁפָּט, שַׁלִּיט בְּעוֹלָמוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת בּוֹ כִּרְצוֹנוֹ, כִּי כָּל דְּרָכָיו מִשְׁפָּט, וַאֲנַחְנוּ עַמּוֹ וַעֲבָדָיו, וּבַכֹל אָנוּ חַיָּבִים לְהוֹדוֹת לוֹ וּלְבָרְכוֹ, גּוֹדֵר פְּרָצוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, הוּא יִגְדֹּר אֶת הַפִּרְצָה הַזֹּאת מֵעָלֵינוּ וּמֵעַל אֲבֵל זֶה לְחַיִּים וּלְשָׁלוֹם, הָרַחֲמָן וְכוּ'": מג,27