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Can a Jew join Christians in saying grace before meals? I'm asking about any text, from the religious texts here to "This food smells good".

Also does whether Jesus is invoked make a difference?

This question is assuming there is no problem with the food's kashrus.

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Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/4676 –  msh210 Aug 11 '13 at 16:15
A common christian grace not only mentions but attributes status to Jesus. I expect that to be a problem at the very least... –  Monica Cellio Aug 11 '13 at 16:43
@msh210 I feel the link does not really answer the question. I am not a christian but my family is and i am 100% uncomfortable sitting in their table and praying to JC before a meal. Am i allowed to even eat with them? I do not know how to deal with this as my family has insisted that they would not change their ways because of my Judaism. –  Banjamin Aug 12 '13 at 13:02
I don't know what's allowed for Jews, but my family is Christian, as are some of my friends, and I'm not anymore. I would not join in any prayer that might be 'in Jesus' name' or whatever. I'm saying this just to give a practical suggestion: often when I am with my family at a formal meal where everyone prays together, I just say I will pray. I just pray in English to God, and they are okay with it. (Note: on second thoughts, it might be wrong at least for Jews and maybe also for me to do that, considering where my family might direct their prayers towards in their minds?) –  Annelise Aug 12 '13 at 13:41
To Vezu (and this may also answer my last parenthesis), a rabbi I often eat with on Friday nights is fine with inviting Christians to the Shabbos meal, they have had a few of my friends come. They pray in Hebrew with Christians there, and eat together with them. I think it is common practice in Judaism to allow this. So the only question is whether we can join in a meal that was prayed for with a Christian grace (which is idolatrous in some strong sense at least). –  Annelise Aug 12 '13 at 14:02

1 Answer 1

It's forbidden to mention the names of foreign deities as it states in Shemoth 23:13

וְשֵׁם אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים לֹא תַזְכִּירוּ, לֹא יִשָּׁמַע עַל-פִּיךָ

So mentioning Jesus or Christ is definitely forbidden.

I'd venture to say that even mentioning "Lord" and "father" would be forbidden as these prayers do not refer to Hashem but to J.C. and/or whatever else the Christians pray to.

I don't see what could be wrong with saying "This food smells good" unless you are pretending to be praying and in fact saying something else.

That would be a problem of deceiving others, which is forbidden, and also a problem of seemingly doing something wrong, Mar'it HaAyin and possibly causing others to sin as they don't realize what you're doing.

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