SECTION 213 Whether a Person Who Has Already Fulfilled His Own Obligation May [Recite a Blessing to] Fulfill Another Person’s Obligation. (1–7)

ריג מִי שֶׁיָּצָא אִם מוֹצִיא אֲחֵרִים, וּבוֹ ז' סְעִיפִים:

1 When two or more people eat any type of produce or food other than bread, and drink any beverages other than wine, one person should recite the blessing on behalf of all of them,1 even though they did not recline on couches.2

In the Talmudicera, there was no concept of establishing a fixed setting for a meal for guests eating at a host’s home unless they reclined [on couches], each person with a small table in front of him,3 for [the guests] did not know [the manner] in which they would join together in a fixed setting until they reclined together.4 As long as they did not establish a setting in this manner, one person was not able to fulfill the obligation for another with regard to the blessing for bread or wine. Since these are important foods, a common setting is frequently established to partake of them, due to their importance. Nevertheless, even [in that era], with regard to other [foods or beverages] that were not as important, and [the practice was] not as widespread to partake of them while reclining, one could fulfill the obligation of [reciting the blessing for] another person without reclining. Nevertheless, [for this leniency to apply,] it was necessary that the people sit down and establish a common setting. Standing [together] was not [sufficient].

In the present era, when it is not at all common to [eat while] reclining, there is no difference between bread and wine, and other foods and beverages. When people do not sit down [together in a common setting], one may not [recite a blessing on behalf of another person] for any food. And [conversely,] when [people do] sit [together], one may do so for bread and wine as well. [The above applies] provided the people all sat at one table, or around one tablecloth without a table, and [partook of foods or drinks] that one usually sits down to partake of at a fixed settingwith a tablecloth. With regard to [foods or beverages] for which one sits down to partake of in a fixed setting even without a tablecloth, e.g., wine and the like, such a setting is established when people sit next to each other on benches or on chairs, but not when they sit separately, [dispersed in a room,] one here and one there.

When does the above apply? When one drinks wine as a result of his individual choice. One may, however, recite the blessing over wine for Kiddush and Havdalah and exempt another person, even when [both are] standing. [Moreover,] they need not even be standing in the same location. Even if each person is in his own home and one person recites Kiddush or Havdalah in his home with the intent of fulfilling the mitzvah on behalf of his neighbor as well, and that neighbor listens [to the recitation while in his own home with the intent of fulfilling his obligation], with his cup in his hand, he [may rely on that blessing and] drink. [The rationale:] He is obligated [to perform these mitzvos and they require wine]; thus they do not resemble the blessings recited over the satisfaction that one receives (Birchos HaNehenin),5 as stated in sec. 273[:6, 10].

Even if the person reciting Kiddush or Havdalah already partook of a cheekful of wine and thus the others must partake of the wine merely to fulfill the mitzvah in the optimum manner,6 nevertheless, his blessing covers [their drinking of wine], even though they were standing [when listening to the blessing]. Since they are joined together to fulfill their obligation for Kiddush or Havadalah, they are also joined with regard to their obligation for the blessing over the wine.

There are other authorities who maintain that a person may not fulfill another person’s obligation of a blessing for foods and beverages other than bread and wine, even if [the two] reclined [together on couches.7 The rationale:] Since it is not so common to establish a fixed setting to partake of these foods or beverages, establishing a fixed setting [to partake of them] is not effective unless these foods are served in the midst of a meal.8 In that instance, since by sitting down together, they established a fixed setting with regard to the bread, it is also effective with regard to the other foods and beverages.

Although fundamentally, the halachah follows the first opinion, in deference to the latter opinion, it has become customary in these countries for each person to recite a blessing individually for foods or beverages other [than bread or wine].9 The only exceptions are beer and mead,10 for people frequently sit down and establish a fixed setting to partake of these [beverages] even outside a meal. Accordingly, such a setting is effective for these beverages, just as it is effective with regard to wine.

Nevertheless, even with regard to wine, if two or three people enter another person’s house and he gives them wine to drink in a casual manner,11 each of them should recite the blessing individually, even if they sit around one table. For a person may not fulfill another person’s obligation [to recite blessings] for any matter, except when they sit down and establish a fixed setting, [i.e.,] their intent [is to sit and] not to depart immediately, not even with the intent of reestablishing their fixed setting elsewhere. Needless to say, this applies if they have absolutely no intention to establish a fixed setting, but merely want to drink together in a casual manner.

א עַל כָּל פֵּרוֹת וּשְׁאָר אֳכָלִיםא חוּץ מִפַּת,ב וְכָל מַשְׁקִין חוּץ מִיַּיִן,ג אִם הָאוֹכְלִים אוֹ הַשּׁוֹתִים הֵם שְׁנַיִם אוֹ יוֹתֵרד – אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם,1 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הֵסֵבּוּ עַל הַמִּטּוֹת.2

וַאֲפִלּוּ בִּימֵיהֶם שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה קֶבַע לִסְעוּדָה בְּלֹא הֲסִבָּה, אִם הֵם אוֹרְחִים הַסּוֹעֲדִים אֵצֶל בַּעַל הַבַּיִתה וְכָל אֶחָד שֻׁלְחָן קָטָן לְפָנָיו3 שֶׁאֵינָם יוֹדְעִים קְבִיעוּתָם יַחַד עַד שֶׁהֵסֵבּוּ יַחַד,ו,4 וְכָל זְמַן שֶׁלֹּא נִקְבְּעוּ יַחַד אֵין אֶחָד פּוֹטֵר אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּבִרְכָתוֹז בְּפַת וְיַיִן שֶׁהֵם חֲשׁוּבִים וְדַרְכָּם לִקְבֹּעַ עֲלֵיהֶם בַּהֲסִבָּה מִפְּנֵי חֲשִׁיבוּתָם,ח מִכָּל מָקוֹם, בִּשְׁאָר דְּבָרִים שֶׁאֵינָן חֲשׁוּבִים כָּל כָּךְ וְאֵין דַּרְכָּם כָּל כָּךְ בַּהֲסִבָּה – פּוֹטֵר אֶחָד אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּלֹא הֲסִבָּה. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, צָרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ קְבוּעִים יַחַדט בִּישִׁיבָה וְלֹא בַּעֲמִידָה.

וּבַזְּמַן הַזֶּה שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכֵּנוּ בַּהֲסִבָּה כְּלָליא – אֵין חִלּוּק בֵּין פַּת וְיַיִן לִשְׁאָר דְּבָרִים, שֶׁבְּלֹא יְשִׁיבָה גַּם בִּשְׁאָר דְּבָרִים אֵינוֹ פּוֹטֵר, וּבִישִׁיבָה גַּם בְּפַת וְיַיִן פּוֹטֵר.יב וְהוּא שֶׁיָּשְׁבוּ כֻּלָּם בְּשֻׁלְחָן אֶחָד,יג אוֹ בְּלֹא שֻׁלְחָן בְּמַפָּה אַחַתיד בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ קְבִיעוּת אֲכִילָתָם הִיא עַל הַמַּפָּה, וּדְבָרִים שֶׁדֶּרֶךְ לִקְבֹּעַ עֲלֵיהֶן אַף בְּלֹא מַפָּה, כְּגוֹן יַיִן וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ, מִשֶּׁיָּשְׁבוּ בִּקְבִיעוּת יַחַד עַל הַסַּפְסָלִים אוֹ עַל הַקָּתֶדְרָאוֹתטו,1 זֶה אֵצֶל זֶה – זוֹ הִיא קְבִיעוּתָם, אֲבָל לֹא כְּשֶׁיָּשְׁבוּ זֶה בְּכֹה וְזֶה בְּכֹה.

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בְּיֵין הָרְשׁוּת, אֲבָל בְּיֵין קִדּוּשׁ וְהַבְדָּלָה – פּוֹטֵר אֶחָד אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ אֲפִלּוּ בַּעֲמִידָה. וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵין עוֹמְדִים בְּמָקוֹם אֶחָד, אֶלָּא כָּל אֶחָד בְּבֵיתוֹ, שֶׁאֶחָד מְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹ מַבְדִּיל בְּבֵיתוֹ וּמִתְכַּוֵּן לְהוֹצִיא שְׁכֵנוֹ, וּשְׁכֵנוֹ שׁוֹמֵעַ עַל הַכּוֹס שֶׁבְּיָדוֹ וְשׁוֹתֶה,טז הוֹאִיל וְהִיא חוֹבָה, וְאֵינָהּ כְּבִרְכַּת הַנֶּהֱנִין,5 כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן רע"ג.יז

וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם כְּבָר טָעַם הַמְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹ הַמַּבְדִּיל כִּמְלֹא לֻגְמָיו, וְשׁוּב אֵין הַשּׁוֹמְעִים צְרִיכִים לִטְעֹם אֶלָּא לְמִצְוָה מִן הַמֻּבְחָריח,6 – אַף עַל פִּי כֵן נִפְטָרִים בְּבִרְכָתוֹ אֲפִלּוּ בַּעֲמִידָה, שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ שֶׁהֵם מִצְטָרְפִים יַחַד לָצֵאת יְדֵי קִדּוּשׁ וְהַבְדָּלָה – מִצְטָרְפִים גַּם כֵּן לָצֵאת יְדֵי בִּרְכַּת הַיַּיִן.יט

וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםכ שֶׁבִּשְׁאָר דְּבָרִים חוּץ מִפַּת וְיַיִן אֵין אֶחָד פּוֹטֵר אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ וַאֲפִלּוּ הֵסֵבּוּ,7 שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין דַּרְכָּם לִקְבֹּעַ עֲלֵיהֶם כָּל כָּךְ – אֵין קְבִיעוּת מוֹעֶלֶת בָּהֶם, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן בָּאוּ בְּתוֹךְ הַסְּעוּדָה,8 שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ שֶׁמּוֹעֶלֶת קְבִיעוּת לְהַפַּת – מוֹעֶלֶת גַּם כֵּן לִשְׁאָר דְּבָרִים.כא,1

וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָעִקָּר כַּסְּבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָה,כב נָהֲגוּ בִּמְדִינוֹת אֵלּוּ לְבָרֵךְ כָּל אֶחָד לְעַצְמוֹ בִּשְׁאָר דְּבָרִיםכג,9 לָחֹשׁ לַסְּבָרָא הָאַחֲרוֹנָה, חוּץ מִשֵּׁכָר וּמֵי דְּבַשׁ,10 לְפִי שֶׁרְגִילִין לִקְבֹּעַ עֲלֵיהֶם אַף בְּלֹא סְעוּדָה, לְפִיכָךְ מוֹעֶלֶת בָּהֶם קְבִיעוּת כְּמוֹ בְּיַיִן.כד

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אַף בְּיַיִן, אִם שְׁנַיִם אוֹ שְׁלֹשָׁה נִכְנָסִים לְבֵית אָדָם אֶחָד וְנוֹתְנִים לָהֶם יַיִן לִשְׁתּוֹת דֶּרֶךְ עֲרַאי11 – כָּל אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְעַצְמוֹ,כה אֲפִלּוּ יוֹשְׁבִים בְּשֻׁלְחָן אֶחָד, שֶׁאֵין אֶחָד פּוֹטֵר חֲבֵרוֹ בְּכָל הַדְּבָרִים אֶלָּא בִּישִׁיבַת קֶבַע עַל דַּעַת שֶׁלֹּא לַעֲקֹר מִיָּד מִמָּקוֹם זֶה אֲפִלּוּ לֵילֵךְ לִקְבֹּעַ בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר,כו וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אִם אֵין דַּעְתָּם לִקְבֹּעַ כְּלָל, אֶלָּא לִשְׁתּוֹת בְּדֶרֶךְ עֲרַאי:

2 All of the above applies with regard to the blessing before eating (berachah rishonah),12 when [the group’s] intent is to join together and establish a common setting to eat and drink together. Hence, their coming together in such a setting joins them as one, causing them to be considered as a single unit, and one blessing suffices for all of them.13 With regard to a blessing after eating (berachah acharonah), by contrast, since [the members of the group] have already eaten and they are [in the process of] separating from each other, they are no longer joined together as a single unit. [Accordingly,] each one of them should individually recite a blessing for the satisfaction he personally received.14 Our Sages’ statement:15 “One person should recite a blessing on behalf of all,” applies only with regard to [a meal of] bread over which Grace is recited, and not to blessings recited after partaking of other foods. For [these blessings] are not as important as Grace, [whose importance is demonstrated by] the fact that an invitation for one person to recite the blessing for the group is issued beforehand.16

Nevertheless, after the fact, if one person recited a blessing after eating with the intent of fulfilling the obligation of the others who listened, and they had that intent in mind,17 they fulfill their obligation [with his blessing], provided they sat down in a common setting that is effective in joining them together [as a single unit] for the initial blessing (berachah rishonah).18

[Moreover,] if one [member of the group] does not know how to recite the blessing, he should — even as an initial preference — fulfill his obligation by listening to the blessing [recited by] another person with whom he established a common setting.19

At present, when people at large are extremely careless regarding the blessings after eating, the above guideline should be followed as an initial preference, i.e., one person should recite these blessings aloud [with the intent of] fulfilling the obligation of all those who hear him, even though they know how to recite these blessings themselves.

ב וְכָל זֶה בִּבְרָכָה רִאשׁוֹנָה,כז,12 שֶׁדַּעְתָּם לְהִתְחַבֵּר וְלִקְבֹּעַ עַצְמָן לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת יַחַד – הֲרֵי קְבִיעוּתָם זוֹ מְצָרַפְתַָּםכח לְהֵחָשֵׁב כְּגוּף אֶחָד,כט וּבְרָכָה אַחַת לְכֻלָּם,13 אֲבָל בַּבְּרָכָה הָאַחֲרוֹנָה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁכְּבָר אָכְלוּ וְהֵם מִתְפָּרְדִים זֶה מִזֶּה – אֵינָן מִצְטָרְפִים זֶה עִם זֶהל לְהֵחָשֵׁב כְּגוּף אֶחָד, וְצָרִיךְ לְבָרֵךְ כָּל אֶחָד בְּעַצְמוֹ עַל הֲנָאַת גּוּפוֹ.14 וְלֹא אָמְרוּ15 שֶׁיְּבָרֵךְ אֶחָד לְכֻלָּם,לא אֶלָּא בְּפַת שֶׁמְּבָרְכִים עָלֶיהָ בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן, וְלֹא בִּשְׁאָר בְּרָכוֹת אַחֲרוֹנוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן חֲשׁוּבוֹת כְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן לוֹמַר עֲלֵיהֶם "נְבָרֵךְ" בַּתְּחִלָּה.לב,16

וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, בְּדִיעֲבַד שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֶחָד וְנִתְכַּוֵּן לְהוֹצִיא הַשּׁוֹמְעִים וְהֵם נִתְכַּוְּנוּ לָצֵאת יְדֵי חוֹבָתָם17 – יָצְאוּ,לג אִם הָיוּ קְבוּעִים בַּאֲכִילָתָם קְבִיעוּת הַמּוֹעֶלֶת לְצָרְפָם לִבְרָכָה רִאשׁוֹנָה.לד,18

וְאִם אֶחָד אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לְבָרֵךְ בְּעַצְמוֹ – יוֹצֵא לְכַתְּחִלָּה בְּבִרְכַּת חֲבֵרוֹלה שֶׁקָּבַע עִמּוֹ.לו,19

וְעַכְשָׁו שֶׁהֶהָמוֹן מְזַלְזְלִים מְאֹד בִּבְרָכָה אַחֲרוֹנָה – יֵשׁ לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן לְכַתְּחִלָּה, שֶׁיְּבָרֵךְ אֶחָד בְּקוֹל רָם לְהוֹצִיא כָּל הַשּׁוֹמְעִים, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁיּוֹדְעִים לְבָרֵךְ בְּעַצְמָן: לז

3 It was explained in sec. 167[:23] that a person may not fulfill the obligation of another person for the blessings recited over deriving satisfaction (Birchos HaNehe­nin) unless he is also obligated in this blessing. [This rule surely applies] to a blessing before eating (berachah rishonah) and even to a blessing after eating (berachah acharonah), for the reason explained in sec. 197[:6].20 Even after the fact, if someone who was not obligated to recite such a blessing recited it to enable the listeners to fulfill their obligation, although they intended to fulfill their obligation by listening and, moreover, they also answered Amen, they have not fulfilled their obligation. True, a person who listens [to a blessing being recited is considered] as if he had recited [it himself].21 Nevertheless, since the person’s blessing was recited in vain, the listeners [do not fulfill their obligation, because] they did not hear a proper blessing.22

ג כְּבָר נִתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קס"זלח שֶׁבִּרְכַּת הַנֶּהֱנִין אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְבָרֵךְ לְהוֹצִיא חֲבֵרוֹ יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן גַּם הוּא חַיָּב בִּבְרָכָה זוֹ, בֵּין שֶׁהִיא בְּרָכָה רִאשׁוֹנָה, אוֹ אֲפִלּוּ בְּרָכָה אַחֲרוֹנָה, מִטַּעַם שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קצ"ז.לט,20 וַאֲפִלּוּ בְּדִיעֲבַד, אִם מִי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְחַיֵּב בִּבְרָכָה זוֹ בֵּרַךְ לְהוֹצִיא הַשּׁוֹמְעִים, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּתְכַּוְּנוּ לָצֵאת בִּשְׁמִיעָתָם וְגַם עָנוּ "אָמֵן" – לֹא יָצְאוּ,מ שֶׁאַף שֶׁהַשּׁוֹמֵעַ כְּעוֹנֶה,מא,21 מִכָּל מָקוֹם, כֵּיוָן שֶׁבִּרְכָתוֹ הָיְתָה לְבַטָּלָהמב – הֲרֵי לֹא שָׁמְעוּ בְּרָכָה הֲגוּנָה: מג,22

4 A person does not fulfill his obligation by listening to a blessing, even if he responded Amen, unless: a) he heard the [entire] blessing, from its beginning to its end,23 b) he intended to fulfill his obligation by listening,24 and c) the person who recited the blessing intended to fulfill the other person’s obligation. [If all these conditions are met, then the listener] fulfills his obligation, even if he did not answer Amen.25

(There are authorities who maintain that a person fulfills a mitzvah ordained by the Sages [if he performs the desired act, even if] he did so without intending to fulfill [the mitzvah].26 According to their view, even if the person reciting the blessing did not have the intent to fulfill the obligation of another person and the listener did not intend to fulfill his obligation by listening, [the listener still] fulfills his obligation. [This ruling applies] both with regard to a berachah acharonah and a berachah rishonah. For example, if one held a fruit in his hand, intending to partake of it or [held an article associated with] a mitzvah [in order to] to perform it, and before he was able to recite a blessing, he heard another person recite a blessing for his own purposes, he is not required to recite a blessing.27 Weight should be given to their words, and one should take care that he does not enter a situation where there is doubt whether or not a blessing he recites will be in vain.)

ד אֵין אָדָם יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בִּשְׁמִיעַת הַבְּרָכָה אֲפִלּוּ עָנָה "אָמֵן", אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן שְׁמָעָהּ מִתְּחִלָּתָהּ וְעַד סוֹפָהּמד,23 וְנִתְכַּוֵּן לָצֵאת בָּהּ יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹמה,24 וְהַמְבָרֵךְ נִתְכַּוֵּן לְהוֹצִיאוֹ.מו,21 וְאָז יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ בְּדִיעֲבַד אֲפִלּוּ לֹא עָנָה "אָמֵן".מז,25

(וּלְדִבְרֵי הָאוֹמְרִים שֶׁמִּצְוֹת שֶׁל דִּבְרֵיהֶם אֵין צְרִיכִים כַּוָּנָה,מח,26 אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִתְכַּוֵּן הַמְבָרֵךְ לְהוֹצִיאוֹ וְגַם הוּא לֹא נִתְכַּוֵּן לָצֵאת בָּהּ – יָצָא, בֵּין בִּבְרָכָה אַחֲרוֹנָה בֵּין בִּבְרָכָה רִאשׁוֹנָה,מט כְּגוֹן מִי שֶׁנָּטַל פְּרִי בְּיָדוֹ לְאָכְלוֹ, אוֹ מִצְוָה לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ, וְקֹדֶם שֶׁהִסְפִּיק לְבָרֵךְ שָׁמַע בְּרָכָה זוֹ מִפִּי אַחֵר הַמְבָרֵךְ לְעַצְמוֹ – אֵין צָרִיךְ לְבָרֵךְ.27 וְיֵשׁ לָחֹשׁ לְדִבְרֵיהֶם וְלִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא לִכָּנֵס בִּסְפֵק בְּרָכָה לְבַטָּלָה) נ:

5 [When a person seeks to fulfill his obligation by listening to a blessing recited by another, our Sages] required the person reciting the blessing and the listener [who desires to fulfill his obligation by hearing the blessing] to sit down together in a fixed setting, only with regard to [blessings for the] satisfaction one receives from eating and drinking. [The rationale: In such instances,] each person derives satisfaction individually [and for one to fulfill the obligation of the other, they must join together in a fixed setting]. With regard to fragrant incense, by contrast, everyone derives satisfaction together from the ascending fragrance. Hence, one person may [recite the blessing] on behalf of another even if they are standing and even if they have not established a fixed setting, but rather one is standing in one place, and the other, in another. This also applies with regard to the blessing recited over light on Saturday night.28

([There is an] additional [rationale relevant] with regard to the blessing recited over fire [recited Saturday night]. [This blessing] is not entirely analogous to the blessings recited over deriving satisfaction (Birchos HaNehenin), because the satisfaction one receives is somewhat of an obligation.29 For this reason,30 one may fulfill the obligation of another person for [the blessing for] fragrance on Saturday night31 even when they have not sat down at a fixed setting, even when they smell the fragrance one after another,32 and even when it is being recited at a time other than the recitation of Havdalah.)33

ה לֹא הִצְרִיכוּ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ הַמְבָרֵךְ וְהַשּׁוֹמְעִים קְבוּעִים יַחַד בִּישִׁיבָה אֶלָּא בַּהֲנָאַת אֲכִילָה וּשְׁתִיָּה, שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד נֶהֱנָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ, אֲבָל בְּמֻגְמָר שֶׁכֻּלָּם נֶהֱנִים בְּיַחַד מֵהָרֵיחַ הָעוֹלֶה מִמֶּנּוּ – פּוֹטֵר אֶחָד אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ אֲפִלּוּ בַּעֲמִידָה, וַאֲפִלּוּ אֵינָן קְבוּעִים בְּמָקוֹם אֶחָד, אֶלָּא זֶה בְּכֹה וְזֶה בְּכֹה.נא וְכֵן בְּבִרְכַּת הָאוּר בְּמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת.נב,28

(וְעוֹד, שֶׁבִּרְכַּת הָאוּר אֵינָהּ כְּבִרְכַּת הַנֶּהֱנִין מַמָּשׁ, כִּי הִיא הֲנָאָה כְּעֵין חוֹבָה.29 וּמִטַּעַם זֶה30 גַּם בְּבִרְכַּת הָרֵיחַ שֶׁבְּמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת31 פּוֹטֵר אֶחָד אֶת חֲבֵרוֹנג שֶׁלֹּא בִּקְבִיעוּת יְשִׁיבָה,נד אֲפִלּוּ מְרִיחִים זֶה אַחַר זֶה,32 וַאֲפִלּוּ שֶׁלֹּא בִּשְׁעַת הַבְדָּלָה):33

6 Whenever a person may recite a blessing over deriving satisfaction (Birkas Ha­Nehenin) on behalf of others — whether because they sat down together and established a fixed setting, or because they derived satisfaction at the same time — it is a mitzvah for one person to recite the blessing on behalf of them all, rather than have each person recite the blessing individually, as [indicated by] the verse:34 “The King’s glory is [evident] amidst a multitude of people.”

[Different laws apply,] by contrast, with regard to the blessings over mitzvos. If several people perform a mitzvah individually,35 even though they are observing the same mitzvah, e.g., each of them wraps himself in [a tallis with] tzitzis or puts on tefillin, the choice is left to them. If they desire, one person may recite a blessing for all of them, in order to fulfill the dictum: “The King’s glory is [evident] amidst a multitude of people.” If they desire, however, every person may recite the blessing individually (in order to increase the number of blessings [he personally recites], for a person should always increase the number of blessings he recites when their recitation is required.36

True, one who listens [to a blessing recited by another is considered] as if he had recited [it himself]. Nevertheless, the one who actually recites the blessing is considered as being of primary importance,37 for he serves as the agent for all of them, enabling them to fulfill their obligation, and they all carry out the mitzvah of reciting the blessing through his [speech]. Thus, it is as if they are all reciting a single blessing that is emerging from the mouth of the one reciting the blessing; his mouth is like their mouths. [As a general rule,] it is more appropriate that every person fulfill the mitzvah of reciting the blessing individually, rather than fulfilling it through [the activity of] his agent.38 [Thus,] since every person is individually obligated in the recitation of the blessing, [by reciting the blessing himself, a person] is increasing the number of blessings whose recitation is required. [The recitation of such blessings by an agent] is not comparable to the sheliach tzibbur’s repetition of the She­moneh Esreh,39 or the recitation of a zimun, as explained in sec. 192[:1].40

In contrast, with regard to Birchos Ha­Nehenin, when many people sit down together in a common setting, they are considered as a single body that derives satisfaction. Therefore, one blessing is sufficient for all of them, as stated in sec. 167[:18].41 Consequently, were each person to recite the blessings individually, they would not be considered as required blessings at all, because the satisfaction they all receive is considered as the satisfaction of one body, because they sat down together at a fixed setting. There is, however, an exception: when, at the outset, they sat down with the intent of not being joined together in a single blessing. In such an instance, it is as if they did not sit down together in a common setting, as stated in sec. 193.)42

When, however, people sit down together in a fixed setting without any specific intent, they are considered as a single body, in which instance, there is no great positive virtue in [the recitation of] many blessings. True, [if each one recites a blessing individually in such a situation, he does not transgress] the prohibition against reciting unnecessary blessings, for every individual is obligated in the recitation of the blessing. Moreover, at the time they are listening, they are considered as if they themselves are reciting the blessing.43 Nevertheless, since there is no advantage in many blessings being recited,44 only one person should recite the blessing so as to fulfill the charge: “[The King’s glory is evident] amidst a multitude of people.”

Similarly, when all of those dining derive satisfaction together, it is sufficient for one blessing to be recited for all of them, even when they are not joined in one setting, and there is not that great a positive virtue [in having] many blessings recited [in such a situation].45

Similar concepts apply with regard to the blessings recited over the observance of mitzvos (Birchos HaMitzvos). When many people fulfill a mitzvah together, e.g., listening to the sounding of the shofar46 or the [reading of the] Megillah, it is a mitzvah forone person — either the one sounding the shofar or reading the Megillah or one of the listeners — to recite the blessing[s] on behalf of everyone. The same rule applies when many are sitting in one sukkah.

If, however, each person desired to fulfill the mitzvah individually and recite the blessings himself, he may do so, e.g., each person may read the Megillah himself if ten people are not present,47 or sound the shofar himself. Nevertheless, it is preferable that one person read for all the others to fulfill the charge: “The King’s glory is [evident] amidst a multitude of people,” even though it is not obligatory to do so.48

There is no obligation, however, [to have everyone included in a single blessing], because a person cannot be obligated to have a mitzvah incumbent on him performed through the acts of an agent when he could perform it himself. Similar concepts apply with regard to Kiddush and Havdalah and all analogous situations.

ו כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁאֶחָד פּוֹטֵר אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ בְּבִרְכַּת הַנֶּהֱנִין מִפְּנֵי קְבִיעוּתָם יַחַד, אוֹ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁנֶּהֱנִים בְּיַחַד – מִצְוָה שֶׁאֶחָד יְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם וְלֹא כָּל אֶחָד לְעַצְמוֹ,נה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר34 "בְּרָב עָם הַדְרַת מֶלֶךְ".נו

אֲבָל בְּבִרְכַּת הַמִּצְוֹת, אִם כָּל אֶחָד עוֹשֶׂה מִצְוָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ,35 אַף שֶׁכֻּלָּן מִצְוָה אַחַת, כְּגוֹן שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מִתְעַטֵּף בְּצִיצִיתנז אוֹ לוֹבֵשׁ תְּפִלִּין – הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדָם, אִם רָצוּ – אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם,נח כְּדֵי לְקַיֵּם "בְּרָב עָם הַדְרַת מֶלֶךְ",נט וְאִם רָצוּ – כָּל אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְעַצְמוֹ (כְּדֵי לְהַרְבּוֹת בַּבְּרָכוֹת, כִּי לְעוֹלָם יַרְבֶּה אָדָם בַּבְּרָכוֹת הַצְּרִיכוֹת.ס,36

וְאַף שֶׁהַשּׁוֹמֵעַ כְּעוֹנֶה,סא,21 מִכָּל מָקוֹם, הַמְבָרֵךְ הוּא עִקָּר,סב,37 שֶׁהוּא נַעֲשָׂה שָׁלִיחַ לְכֻלָּם לְהוֹצִיאָם יְדֵי חוֹבָתָן,סג וְכֻלָּם מְקַיְּמִים מִצְוַת הַבְּרָכָה עַל יָדוֹ, וּכְאִלּוּ כֻּלָּם מְבָרְכִים בְּרָכָה אַחַת הַיּוֹצֵא מִפִּי הַמְבָרֵךְ, שֶׁפִּיו כְּפִיהֶם,סד וְרָאוּי יוֹתֵר שֶׁיְּקַיֵּם כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד בְּעַצְמוֹ מִצְוַת הַבְּרָכָה מִשֶּׁיְּקַיְּמֶנָּה עַל יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ,סה,38 שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד חַיָּב בִּבְרָכָה זוֹ לְעַצְמוֹ – הֲרֵי זֶה רִבּוּי בְּרָכוֹת הַצְּרִיכוֹת, וְאֵינָם דּוֹמוֹת כְּלָל לַחֲזָרַת הַשְּׁלִיחַ צִבּוּרסו,39 וּלְבִרְכַּת הַזִּמּוּן, שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קצ"ב.סז,40

מַה שֶּׁאֵין כֵּן בְּבִרְכוֹת הַנֶּהֱנִין, כְּשֶׁכֻּלָּן קְבוּעִים יַחַד שֶׁהֵם נֶחְשָׁבִים כְּגוּף אֶחָדסח נֶהֱנֶה, וְלָכֵן דַּי לָהֶם בִּבְרָכָה אַחַת, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קס"ז,סט,41 אִם כֵּן אִם יְבָרְכוּ כָּל אֶחָד לְעַצְמוֹ – אֵינָן בְּרָכוֹת הַצְּרִיכוֹת כְּלָל, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֲנָאַת כֻּלָּם נֶחְשֶׁבֶת כַּהֲנָאַת גּוּף אֶחָד עַל יְדֵי קְבִיעָתָם יַחַד, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן תְּחִלַּת קְבִיעוּתָם הָיְתָה עַל דַּעַת שֶׁלֹּא לְהִצְטָרֵף לִבְרָכָה אַחַת, שֶׁאָז נַעֲשָׂה כְּאִלּוּ לֹא נִקְבְּעוּ כְּלָל יַחַד, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן קצ"ג).ע,42

אֲבָל כְּשֶׁקָּבְעוּ עַצְמָן סְתָם – נַעֲשׂוּ כְּגוּף אֶחָד, וְאֵין מַעֲלָה כָּל כָּךְ בְּרִבּוּי הַבְּרָכוֹת.עא וְאַף שֶׁאֵין בָּזֶה אִסּוּר בְּרָכָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד חַיָּב בִּבְרָכָה זוֹ, וְגַם עַכְשָׁו שֶׁשּׁוֹמְעִים הֵם כְּעוֹנִים,43 מִכָּל מָקוֹם, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין מַעֲלָה בְּרִבּוּי הַבְּרָכוֹת44 – צָרִיךְ שֶׁיְּבָרֵךְ אֶחָד, לְקַיֵּם "בְּרָב עָם וְכוּ'".

וְכֵן כְּשֶׁכֻּלָּם נֶהֱנִים בְּיַחַד – דַּי בִּבְרָכָה אַחַת לְכֻלָּם, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא נִקְבְּעוּ יַחַד, וְאֵין מַעֲלָה כָּל כָּךְ בְּרִבּוּי הַבְּרָכוֹת.עב,45

וְהוּא הַדִּין בְּבִרְכוֹת הַמִּצְוֹתעג כְּשֶׁכֻּלָּם מְקַיְּמִים הַמִּצְוָה בְּיַחַד,עד כְּגוֹן שְׁמִיעַת קוֹל שׁוֹפָרעה,46 אוֹ מְגִלָּה – מִצְוָה שֶׁאֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם, בֵּין הַתּוֹקֵעַ אוֹ הַקּוֹרֵא, בֵּין אֶחָד מִן הַשּׁוֹמְעִים. וְכֵן אִם יוֹשְׁבִים בְּסֻכָּה אַחַת.

אֲבָל אִם רָצוּ לְקַיֵּם כָּל אֶחָד הַמִּצְוָה בִּפְנֵי עַצְמוֹ וּלְבָרֵךְ לְעַצְמָן – הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדָם, כְּגוֹן שֶׁיִּקְרָא כָּל אֶחָד הַמְּגִלָּה לְעַצְמוֹ אִם אֵין שָׁם עֲשָׂרָה,עו,47 אוֹ שֶׁיִּתְקַע לְעַצְמוֹ. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, טוֹב שֶׁיִּקְרָא אֶחָד לְכֻלָּם, לְקַיֵּם "בְּרָב עָם הַדְרַת מֶלֶךְ",עז אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין חִיּוּב בַּדָּבָר,48 שֶׁאֵין לְחַיֵּב אָדָם שֶׁיְּקַיֵּם הַמִּצְוָה הַמֻּטֶּלֶת עָלָיו עַל יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ כְּשֶׁיָּכוֹל לְקַיְּמָהּ בְּעַצְמוֹ.עח וְכֵן בְּקִדּוּשׁ וְהַבְדָּלָה, וְכָל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן:

7 All the above applies only when each person fulfills a complete mitzvah [on his own]. If, however, a complete mitzvah is performed only through the actions of many people, one person should recite a blessing for all of them in all such instances. The others are not permitted to recite blessings individually. To cite an example: the members of a person’s household are searching for chametz, [each of them searching]in a [different] room of the house. [Their actions are all considered as part of one mitzvah,] because the mitzvah is not completed and the obligation of removing chametz is not fulfilled,until it is removed from all the rooms [of the house].49

(Even when many people perform one complete mitzvah for one person, [i.e., all their actions together fulfill] a responsibility that is incumbent on him, e.g., separating challah from various batches of dough belonging to him,50 affixing mezuzos to the doorways [of his home], or circumcising his [twin] sons at one time,51 they do not have license to separate [the individual mitzvos from each other], but instead, must perform the mitzvah together, so that one person will recite [one] blessing for all of them. Since the person does not fulfill his obligation for this mitzvah until he performs all these actions, the mitzvah has not been completed until all that is necessary for it has been completed. Therefore, one blessing is sufficient. [Indeed,] it is forbidden to cause the recitation of a blessing unnecessarily [by separating the different acts].)

(If, however, the sons of two men are being circumcised, one may make a distinction, circumcising them one after the other, and reciting a blessing over each circumcision individually. [Indeed,] it is proper to do so for the reason explained in [the Shulchan Aruch,] Yoreh Deah, [265:5].)52

ז וְכָל זֶה כְּשֶׁכָּל אֶחָד מְקַיֵּם מִצְוָה שְׁלֵמָה, אֲבָל אִם בֵּין כֻּלָּם נַעֲשֵׂית מִצְוָה אַחַת שְׁלֵמָה – אֶחָד מְבָרֵךְ לְכֻלָּם בְּכָל עִנְיָן, וְאֵין רַשָּׁאִים לְבָרֵךְ כָּל אֶחָד לְעַצְמוֹ, כְּגוֹן בְּנֵי בֵּיתוֹ שֶׁל בַּעַל הַבַּיִת שֶׁבּוֹדְקִין אֶת הֶחָמֵץ בַּחֲדַר הַבַּיִת, שֶׁלֹּא נִשְׁלְמָה הַמִּצְוָה וְלֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבַת בִּעוּר חָמֵץ עַד שֶׁיְּבַעֲרֶנּוּ מִכָּל חֲדָרָיו.עט,49

(וַאֲפִלּוּ רַבִּים שֶׁעוֹשִׂים מִצְוָה אַחַת שְׁלֵמָה לְאָדָם אֶחָד שֶׁכֻּלָּן מֻטָּלוֹת עָלָיו חוֹבָה, כְּגוֹן שֶׁמַּפְרִישִׁין חַלָּה מֵעִסּוֹתָיו,פ,50 אוֹ קוֹבְעִים מְזוּזוֹת בִּפְתָחָיו, אוֹ מָלִין אֶת בָּנָיו בְּשָׁעָה אַחַתפא,51 – אֵין רַשָּׁאִים לְחַלֵּק, אֶלָּא צְרִיכִין לַעֲשׂוֹת בְּיַחַד, כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּבָרֵךְ אֶחָד לְכֻלָּם, שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁלֹּא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבַת מִצְוָה זוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה כֻּלָּם – הֲרֵי לֹא נִגְמַר הַמִּצְוָה עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה כֻּלָּם, וְלָכֵן דַּי בִּבְרָכָה אַחַת, וְאָסוּר לִגְרֹם בְּרָכָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ צְרִיכָה).

(אֲבָל אִם מָלִין ב' תִּינוֹקוֹת שֶׁל ב' בְּנֵי אָדָם – רַשָּׁאִים לְחַלֵּק וּלְמוּלָם בָּזֶה אַחַר זֶה וּלְבָרֵךְ כָּל אֶחָד לְעַצְמוֹ. וְנָכוֹן לַעֲשׂוֹת כֵּן, מִטַּעַם שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּיוֹרֶה דֵּעָה)פב:52