כ״ח באלול ה׳תשע״ב (September 15, 2012)

Berakhot 45a-b: Grace After Meals

After the blessings of enjoyment were discussed in the previous perek, the seventh perek of Massekhet Berakhot, which begins on today’s daf is devoted to the blessing recited after the meal – Birkat HaMazon . This blessing is unique and more significant than the blessings of enjoyment, as it is a mitzva by Torah law. Its component parts are also longer and more numerous than the formula of the blessings of enjoyment, and its halakhot are also numerous. Therefore, an entire chapter was devoted to it.

Although there was also a discussion of Grace after Meals in the previous chapter, there it dealt with the question: “What are the foods that obligate one to recite Grace after Meals?” This chapter deals primarily with the prayer aspect of Grace after Meals. It also deals with the practical ramifications of the principle, which was accorded the authority of halakhah, that blessings should not be recited over items that have been corrupted from a moral standpoint. The verse: “The covetous one who recites a blessing has blasphemed the Lord” (Tehillim 10:3, according to the interpretation of one of ), alludes to that fact and it is clear that reciting a blessing over any food whose consumption is prohibited is not a mitzva but quite the contrary. It is necessary to determine with regard to which food items these prohibitions apply.

Grace after Meals is fundamentally a blessing over the meal, as it is stated: “You will eat, and be satisfied, and bless the Lord” ( 8:10). As one often dines in the company of others, the Gemara deals with various questions with regard to the procedure through which people dining may unite by means of the blessing of zimmun. The zimmun is a special blessing recited when several individuals happen to dine together. The opening Mishna of the perek discusses who is obligated in zimmun, what food creates such an obligation and how much must be eaten. These topics will be examined throughout the perek.

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