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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: –  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
From (very limited) personal experience, I just sit silently, not saying anything. Usually from my experience, the Christian grace is said by one person, and everyone else just listens then says some affirmation. I remain silent throughout. –  eliyahu-g Jul 29 '14 at 3:53
As a hospital chaplain, I have gone out for lunch with my Christian colleagues a number of times. Presumably in deference to being a group that wasn't only Christian, those praying offered a prayer that could still include me, directed to "G-d" or "Holy One". I had no trouble saying "Amen" at the end. I also said the appropriate bracha, though quietly. –  Ze'ev Felsen Aug 26 at 17:51

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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I have heard that only mentioning Christ is an issue, as jesus is just a name –  Baby Seal Aug 28 '14 at 16:17
@BabySeal - Agreed. Jesus is a common name in some countries. But when used in prayer, Jesus refers to a אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים and is surely forbidden. –  Danny Schoemann Aug 31 '14 at 7:45
If you say "Thank you Jesus for this food", either you are giving thanks to the Christian deity, or you are saying there is a guy named Jesus who provided you with the food in some way (he grew it, or cooked it, or bought it for you, etc). And unless it is really obvious that you mean the latter, it very much looks like the former, which is a problem. –  Ze'ev Felsen Feb 23 at 6:04
Correction: When Christians say "Father" we are not talking about the Messiah, but about God (the God of Avraham, Yitzak, Ya'akov). –  Judah Himango Jul 13 at 21:24

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