"You will eat and be sated, and you shall bless G‑d"—Deuteronomy.

Enjoyed the meal? Don't forget to thank the host. You are the host? No, no…you are the guest—in G‑d's world. So when you're finished eating, don't forget your Grace after Meals, a.k.a. Birkat Hamazonand commonly called bentching.

Now what constitutes a meal? For Birkat Hamazon purposes, anything that includes bread is a meal. How much bread? The size of a large olive. Generally, bread that size weighs 0.9 ounces.

Now say the actual Birkat Hamazon, loud and clear. You're happy you ate, right?Didn't eat bread? Dined on meat and potatoes instead? Just grabbed a granola bar and energy drink? We've got shorter blessings for all those cases.

The Procedure:

Stay seated where you ate. Ideally, some bread remains on the table.

Click here to find the text of the Birkat Hamazon. Before the actual blessings come some warm-up verses. Then wash your fingertips (some pass the wetted fingers over their lips).

Now say the actual Birkat Hamazon, loud and clear. You're happy you ate, right? Say it in Hebrew or any language you understand. There are actually four blessings: The first was composed by Moses, the second by Joshua, the third by Kings David and Solomon, the fourth by the Council of Yavneh after the Bar Kochba revolt. We sign off with a series of brief prayers and a collection of verses.

More Details:

  • If three or more adult men ate together, one formally invites the others to join him in Birkat Hamazon. This is known as zimun. Often the leader will hold a cup of wine.
  • Watch out for the special inserts for special days.
  • You can say Birkat Hamazon as long as the meal is still digesting—approximately 72 minutes after you finish eating.
  • For small children, there's a real short version: "Blessed is G‑d, our G‑d, King of the universe, Master of this bread."