Some people have a custom of adding “Birshut Baal Habayit hazeh” in the Zimun. Can the wife be included?

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    Do you have any reason to think it might be prohibited? No worse than saying Birshut R2D2 or skipping the line entirely – Double AA May 7 '19 at 17:39
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    Incidentally what if the Baalat HaBayit isn't a wife? – Double AA May 7 '19 at 17:47
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    Didn't someone just ask this – robev May 7 '19 at 17:47
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    @Ben It's hard to find sources permitting something there is no reason to prohibit – Double AA May 7 '19 at 17:59
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    @robev someone asked should a wife be mentioned. this asks can she. Both are kind of silly since the whole practice under discussion is entirely optional and subject to absolutely zero halakhic regulation. – Double AA May 7 '19 at 18:01

R' Shlomo Aviner was asked this question, and his response-- published on his website-- was that this WOULD be permissible for two reasons:

1) The wording isn't an essential part of benching

הנוסח הזה הוא לא מעיקר הזימון

That wording is not the essence of the zimun.

The "birshus" is merely an addition. Sephardim, Ashkenazim, Yemenites, Yiddish-speaking people-- each of these people have their own versions for this portion.

2) מעיקר הדין, Women DO have an obligation of zimun

מעיקר הדין, נשים חייבות לזמן לעצמן כשיש שלוש נשים ופחות משלושה אנשים. וכשאנשים מזמנים, נשים עונות. אמנם נשים נהגו לא לזמן לעצמן משום צניעות (ע' שו"ע או"ח קצט, ו-ז. מ"ב שם. ערוך השולחן שם ס"ב. שו"ת תשובות והנהגות ד נא), אבל צניעות אינה מבטלת את עיקר הדין.

א"כ, לא נהגו להוסיף "ברשות אמי" או "ברשות בעלת הבית", אבל מותר, וכ"ש שבודאי אין למחות על אחרים שאומרים.

Women are obligated to summon themselves when there are three women and fewer than three people. And when men lead zimmun, women answer. It is true that women do not normally lead benching out of modesty (Shulchan Aruch, OC 199: 6-7, ibid. etc), but modesty does not nullify the essence of the halachah.

Therefore, while it was not customary to add "in the authority of my mother" or "in the possession of the landlady", it is permitted to do so, and all the moreso one should not protest against others who say it.

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    #2 is an esp. interesting take. This would directly explain the concept of "asking permission" of the Mrs. I've heard one person include all the children as well. Basically, it was a way of thanking everyone who was involved in preparing the meal, including the tots who helped mom bake or pick out the groceries. Why not acknowledge everyone? They deserve it. – DanF May 7 '19 at 22:16

We had this topic discussed on a Shiur from R' Ben Tzur (IIRC) in our Kollel a couple of years ago. He said:

  1. Because Zimun is a "stand-alone mitzvah", in addition to the obligation of Birkas Hamozoyn, it is a Zchus to perform it.

  2. Because only one person can do that, it goes automatically to the host or to the most knowledgeable Rabbi (or a Cohen) according to rules of precedence. If someone else is Mezamen, he has to ask for an explicit Reshus (permission) from that person to have the merit of this Mitzvah.

  3. Technically, if the Mezamen person is lower in precedence that several other people, all of them must be asked in that order.

  4. Simce the host's wife does not have the right to be Mezamen, she is not/can not be asked for permission, just as the people lower than him (like his own kids) can not be asked.

  5. However, eventually, people forgot the original reason for asking permission and imagined that it is a matter of appreciation (as @Danf said "Basically, it was a way of thanking everyone who was involved in preparing the meal") and started to add whatever they imagined. While it is not a Halachic problem on its own, it shows a lack of understanding of the reason for asking that permission in the first place.

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  • This post skips an important step which belies its lack of understanding of the practice: what if, as in the vast majority of cases, there is a tie? – Double AA May 7 '19 at 23:07
  • @DoubleAA The reason for Reshus is the precedence of Zchus, not appreciation. Theoretically a humble person can ask Reshus from all people he considers smarter (or higher on this scale) than him, but a woman can't bentch, she's not on the list in any way. – Al Berko May 7 '19 at 23:10
  • of course it's not appreciation. In a woman's house she has the right to determine who leads even if she didn't eat. Similarly in a man's house if he didn't eat with the guests. The whole idea of a list is a joke in that context and the whole idea that you have to be a part of the zimmun to have rights to determine what happens under your roof is even more ridiculous. This is just made up nonsense to protest what some think is a dangerous feminist breach of Minhag. Save your fight for something that matters, I say – Double AA May 7 '19 at 23:12
  • @DoubleAA Maybe in America. Here in Israel we follow the Halachah. Women decide what's cooking, but not what's been said and by whom. – Al Berko May 7 '19 at 23:14
  • So you are agreeing that all you said is nonsense and it just so happens that in your community it's not expected ettiquete that she'd be in charge of things outside her kitchen. In such communities indeed thered be no point in asking her permission. נהרא נהרא ופשטיה it just depends on the local customs. – Double AA May 7 '19 at 23:16

i've innovated: birshus ba'al habayis u'bizchus ba'alas habayis. i hope that is satisfactory to all without implying that the woman is asked to defer her priority to lead the benching... and it is the zchus of the female head of the household that enables the meal + the benching. acknowledgment of her integral contribution is imho also warranted for the sake of shalom bayis.

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  • A) iv heard this before. B) this might be unfortunately a disparagement to the zimun as an extraneous interruption – Naftali Tzvi Apr 14 at 0:13
  • @Naftali only in the sense that I "might" be an animate watermelon. there can't be an interruption in something that isn't halakhicaly meaningful – Double AA Apr 14 at 2:31
  • @DoubleAA According to a prominent rabbi [who I dont name :) ] the introduction is part of zimun and "lchvod baalat habayit" is a disrespectful digression. Also, according to Ben Ish Hai the Reshut section of Zimun actually has mystical significance. – Naftali Tzvi Apr 17 at 3:56
  • @Naftali goes to show how little prominence is worth these days :) it can't be a part of zimmun if no one said it till the last couple centuries and it factually still isn't required. anyone can make up what they think is respectful or not, but let's not misrepresent halakhic categories to disguise our personal pet peeves – Double AA Apr 17 at 4:01
  • I personally view the Torah informed sensitivities of Talmidei Chachamim as Daat Torah and not pet peeves. Also, according to Ben Ish Hai it is mandatory – Naftali Tzvi Apr 17 at 4:04

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