Questions about short prayers called b'rachos ("benedictions" or "blessings"), generally said to thank God for specific events.

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19
votes
7answers
2k views

Washing hands for eating pizza

How many slices are required to make you responsible to wash on Pizza?
18
votes
2answers
4k views

Bracha for Quinoa

What Bracha do you make on Quinoa?
18
votes
4answers
379 views

תהלת ה' ידבר פי - what's the origin?

In between the 'Shir HaMaalot' that precedes birchat hamazon and the the blessings themselves, there are a few psukim beginning תהלת ה' ידבר פי . Some people add these, and some don't. What's the ...
18
votes
1answer
618 views

Blessing the Children on Friday Night

I have noticed that many families (including my own) have the custom for the father to bless all the children on Friday night before kiddush. When and where did this custom originate, and by whom, ...
16
votes
3answers
376 views

Why are there two different forms of the mitzvah brachot (“l-” and “al”)?

Some mitzvah brachot are of the form ...vitzivanu "l'X" ("to X", infinitive verb), and others are of the form "al X" ("upon X", gerundive verb). I particularly noticed this during Sukkot with two ...
16
votes
3answers
765 views

What Bracha should you say on a Hurricane?

What Bracha should you say on a hurricane? Oseh Ma'aseh Vereishis? You say Birchas Gomel if you travel over the sea; do you also say it if the sea travels over you?
15
votes
2answers
358 views

Bringing wallet with benscher into bathroom

If someone has one of the small "pocket benschers" that slide into his wallet, is it a problem for him to walk into the bathroom with his wallet in his pocket?
15
votes
2answers
386 views

Can anyone explain the meaning of this amulet / inscription?

Right before my grandfather went away to fight in WWII, a rabbi in Munkács (מונקאטש) gave him a small cloth container that had a piece of parchment in it, as a kind of amulet. The piece of paper has ...
14
votes
3answers
267 views

A rabbi asked me to light candles before weekday Mincha/Ma'ariv. Is this customary? Is there a bracha?

Last night, I was pulled in off the street to help an unfamiliar shul make a minyan for Mincha/Ma'ariv. The rabbi greeted me, and when he learned I do not speak Hebrew, he gave me a very nice blessing ...
14
votes
4answers
262 views

How to say go-al Yisroel before Shacharis Amida

When the leader gets to just before the Shacharis Amida, how should he say the blessing go-al Yisroel: aloud or saying the word Yisroel so the end of it cannot be heard?
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What Bracha do you make on Sushi?

What Bracha do you make on Sushi? Is the rice the main part and therefore a mezonos, or is it just a toful (less-important ingredient) in which case I guess a shehakol?
14
votes
4answers
11k views

Proper recitation of Hamakom Yenachem

Is the proper phrase to console a mourner always the plural המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים or should it be changed depending on whom it is said to (singluar, feminine, etc.)?
14
votes
4answers
652 views

Why aren't Purim and Channuka considered a violation of לֹא תֹסִפוּ?

It says in Devarim 4:2: לֹא תֹסִפוּ עַל הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם וְלֹא תִגְרְעוּ מִמֶּנּוּ לִשְׁמֹר אֶת מִצְוֹת יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם ...
14
votes
3answers
359 views

How long can you say Asher Yotzar if you forgot?

If you forgot to say Asher Yotzar and remember a while later, is there a time limit as to when you are allowed to say it?
14
votes
2answers
563 views

Should you say HaGomel after a flight?

Should someone say the HaGomel blessing after taking an airplane flight? I seem to remember this being the practice, but honestly the average commercial airplane flight these days is 10 times safer ...
14
votes
1answer
274 views

Rainbow in water spray

You can often see a rainbow in a spray of water such as from sprinkler irrigation. Is the brocha for a rainbow applicable in that case? Also, does a rainbow that comes from a prism get a brocha too?
14
votes
3answers
354 views

December 25 Greetings

Is it permitted say any of the following to a Christian colleague: 1) Merry Christmas 2) Happy Xmas 3) Happy Holidays I am specifically referring to initiating a greeting not responding to such a ...
13
votes
3answers
380 views

I heard not to say “Good Shabbos” after mincha. Is it true, and what defines mincha?

I heard from somewhere that, on Shabbos, one does not say "Good Shabbos" after mincha. I am not sure whether it's in a halacha sefer somewhere (I tried looking) or just a minhag. First of all, is ...
13
votes
3answers
205 views

Relationship between wearing a kippa and reciting a blessing

Before I started wearing a Kippa all the time, the people around me and I had the reflex to cover our head when saying the name of G-d or when reciting anything holy. Since the mitzvah is to wear it ...
13
votes
1answer
238 views

Who knows science?

On whom does one recite the blessing "ברכת שנתן מחכמתו לבשר ודם" (the blessing recited on non-Jewish scientists)? Does he have to be a Ph.D? Does he have to have inventions to his name? Did he have ...
12
votes
6answers
798 views

Mezonos ? Bread

Is there such a thing as Mezonos bread?
12
votes
3answers
482 views

Do we say a mitzvah bracha before reading Kohelet? What about other (non-Purim) megillot?

I had been under the impression that for all five of the megillot you say a bracha before the reading, and this is the practice I've observed. When preparing for Shabbat chol hamoed Sukkot this year ...
12
votes
1answer
150 views

Bracha after an earthquake

Per the Artscroll Siddur after an earthquake we make a Bracha "Oseh Maaseh Breishis". Up to how long after the earthquake can you make this Bracha? (sources please)
12
votes
6answers
2k views

Why don't we thank God for making us men/women?

In the brachos we say every morning, men thank God for "not making them a woman" (and women thank God for "creating them according to their needs"). Why don't both men and women just thank God for ...
12
votes
2answers
463 views

Polyphasic Sleep and Halacha

I recently read an article on polyphasic sleep and I'm quite interested in experimenting with it. The article advises the Uberman approach which advocates 20-30 minute naps every four hours, meaning ...
12
votes
2answers
721 views

Is it inappropriate to say Baruch Dayan Haemes on a Ben Noach? Why or why not?

Is it inappropriate to say Baruch Dayan Haemes on a Ben Noach? What about someone who may have been an oved avoda zarah? Someone who is definitely such? I'm asking because I've seen such discussion ...
11
votes
4answers
843 views

Why do we say Shelo Asani Goy?

In Birchas HaShachar we thank God for not making us gentiles by saying "shelo asni goi". Why do we use the negative formation instead of thanking God for making us Jews by saying "she-asani Yehudi" ...
11
votes
3answers
738 views

Peanut butter Bracha

What Brochah or Blessing is said when eating plain Peanut butter? Does the chunky variety (with pieces) versus regular make a difference? I am referring to a case where it is eaten on a spoon, with ...
11
votes
3answers
780 views

Where did the “different bracha for mishloach manos” idea come from?

Rambam and Shulchan Aruch say you can send two types of meat as mishloach manos on Purim. Yet somehow I (and many other people, apparently) were taught that the two different items have to be in two ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

Am I a body with a soul or a soul with a body?

I've always thought that our true essence, who we actually are, our personalities are our souls. To me, bodies are just temporary "homes" for the soul. My body can perish, but my soul will continue ...
11
votes
1answer
444 views

What Blessing Does One Make on a Solar Eclipse?

What Blessing Does One Make on a Solar Eclipse? I will be in Nevada next week and would like to make a blessing over the May 21 Solar Eclipse. Thanks!
11
votes
3answers
454 views

Shalom Aleichem in Kiddush Levanah

Why do we say Shalom Aliechem in Kiddush Levanah? And what should one do if there are no other people around (or not enough people around)?
11
votes
1answer
375 views

Should I say “amen” to a malformed bracha?

If I hear somebody substantially mispronounce a bracha, should I say amen anyway (recognizing the intent) or remain silent? I'm not talking about nuances like pronouncing 'ayin or distinguishing ...
11
votes
2answers
366 views

Why a formulaic greeting on ליל ראש השנה?

On Rosh Hashana night, it is customary to greet one another with "לשנה טובה תכתב (ותחתם)‏" (Rama 582:9, MB). People (in my experience) and machzorim (Rosh Hashana prayer books) treat this as ...
11
votes
2answers
431 views

What is the bracha on “cookies and cream” flavor ice cream?

I saw here that Rav Belsky holds the following: One of the flavors of Klein's parve ice cream is "Cookies and Cream" which contains cookie crumbs or bits which are sprinkled through areas of ...
11
votes
2answers
135 views

Should one make a bracha on food if only a child is eating?

I think it is common to make a bracha (blessing) when giving a small child food so that they learn the common brachot and learn to say "amen". Is this appropriate to do if you are not eating the food ...
11
votes
1answer
190 views

Making a Bracha on disliked foods

If you, for some reason, must eat food you despise and will gain no enjoyment from it do you still need to make a bracha?
11
votes
1answer
152 views

Why is the beracha on meat 'only' שהכל?

The order of berachot before eating foods are as follows (Mishna Berurah 211:35): HaMotzei, Mezonot, Hagafen, HaEtz, HaAdama, and Shehakol. I seems as though the more חשוב the food is, the greater ...
11
votes
2answers
186 views

Pool and Tzitzis

Do I need to make another Bracha on putting on tzitzis after I get out of the pool?
11
votes
2answers
231 views

Hefsek in being yotzei besamim in havdallah

This past motzei Shabbos, in the Shul where I davened, there were a number of young men who were lining up to be included in the communal havdallah done at the end of Maariv. The person making ...
10
votes
5answers
653 views

Can I wash and say “please pass the salt”?

After washing one's hands before eating bread, one is not supposed to talk until he has made Hamotzi and partook of the bread. I understand that general chatter is not allowed. But what about for ...
10
votes
4answers
390 views

Source for pairing l'chaim with alcohol?

What is the source or reason that a l'chaim is often said over a drink of alcohol instead of any other beverage, or over other foods, or even over no food at all?
10
votes
3answers
419 views

What Bracha did they make on the Mahn?

Did the Jews make a Bracha on eating the Mahn? Which Bracha did they make?
10
votes
3answers
475 views

Halachic status of kamut

Khorasan wheat, often known by one popular brand name thereof, KAMUT®, is an ancient grain that is related to modern-day wheat, but has a number of differences. Does it have the halachic status of ...
10
votes
1answer
180 views

Upon whom would one make this blessing?

Upon whom today would you make the bracha - Baruch Attah Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam She’chalak Mei’chochmaso Li’rei’av, that He bestowed of His wisdom to those who fear Him (Gemara Brachos 58a)? ...
10
votes
2answers
205 views

Bracha for the transit of Venus?

Venus is transiting today for the last time until 2117 (or 5878, if you prefer). Is there a specific bracha that should be made upon witnessing this spectacular event?
10
votes
2answers
180 views

“שליט״א” only for certain people

Living people sometimes have "שליט״א" added after their respective names. This means, roughly, "may he live a good, long life". That seems like a nice blessing for anyone; yet, in my experience, only ...
10
votes
4answers
169 views

Maple syrup bracha

What is the bracha on maple syrup and why? Being that the trees are probably planted specifically for the purpose of the syrup, it's not so far off to think it might be ha'eitz. After all, I've ...
10
votes
1answer
184 views

Making Bracha on Channukah Candles in Jail

Someone who is in jail and is able to light Channukah candles, can/should he make a bracha? I don't know if being in Jail is considered to be like having a home that someone would have a chiyuv to ...
10
votes
2answers
467 views

Do married men stop saying a bracha on their *tallit katan*?

This question concerns the Ashkenazic practice. I was always told that the tallit katan (worn under clothing, every day, starting in preschool years) got the bracha of al mitzvat tzitzit, but the ...