I was taught that Jews do Grace After Meals (birchas/birkat hamazon) and that it is only done if there are three or more men.

But what if it’s just the husband and wife, in public or at home? Are we obligated to do the Grace After Meals as a couple (no kids, just the two of us)?

Do we recite the blessings over the different foods included in the meal and that’s it?

Or can we do an abridged version of the Grace After Meals ?

Finally, if we don’t do the Grace After Meals what can we do instead?

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    What do you mean by "Birkat haMazon"? Please edit to clarify
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 15:12
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    @IsaacMoses I share DoubleAA’s confusion as to what precisely this question is asking (noting the tag chosen as well) and I see that it has already attracted two close votes for lack of clarity. I prefer to wait a little for the OP to clarify before writing an answer
    – Joel K
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 15:29
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    I am not sure why the OP is being pressed for being אינו יודע לשאול? His question seems clear enough given that he seems to be misunderstanding something he learned regarding zimun but regardless of the particulars his question could be addressed by a basic review of the halachos.
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 15:48
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    @Yirmeyahu (Q&A sites aren't well designed for אינם יודעים לשאול.) In this case, since he probably has some mistaken assumptions, he should just state what the assumptions are so people can identify which are mistaken. That's the only way the question can make sense. Cramming it all into two sentences won't work. That's how the site is designed. We don't take unclear posts and expect people to give full literature reviews to maybe end up clarifying something. (I didn't vote to close fwiw)
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 15:51
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    I think what you mean is a zimun,. If so, the answer is "no" if the husband and wife are the only two people there. Zimun requires a minimum of 3 men. (As for how those 3 are formed, that's a separate complexity.)
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 8, 2019 at 17:25

1 Answer 1


There seems to be some confusion regarding your question, as seen in comments above. So let me try and clarify what should be done in the situation you describe of two adults having a meal.

If your meal includes bread, in which case it starts with washing and the blessing of hamotzi, then you do not say the zimmum with the short introduction to birkat hamazon (which is said when three or more men over the age of 13 eat together - or optionally three women). But you do say the entire birkat hamazon.

If your meal doesn't include bread, then you end with the appropriate final blessings depending on the food you have eaten. See here for a summary of these laws and the appropriate blessings.

There are additional complications (e.g., if you eat enough break-like products like pizza, you will also require birkat hamazon) so consult a rabbi for any specific case.

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    Thank you. That’s all I needed to know. I’ve tried to make my question as simple as possible. All I wanted to know was do we do the whole Grace After Meals if it’s just my wife and I? Yes or no ? What was confusing about THAT?!?
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 23:03
  • @Ben yes, the whole grace after meals, even if you eat solo. The three-man thing is to make it a "group" grace after meals, with an introductory call-and-response. (It starts "Gentlemen, let's bless!")
    – Shalom
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 2:07
  • @Ben glad it was helpful. What was confusing was the fact you spoke of 3 or more men - which is connected to the zimmun/introduction - while you really wanted to know about Birkat Hamazon itself. Incidentally did you know that Birkat Hamazon is one of only two blessings prescribed in the Torah itself (vs. oral law for the rest of the blessings). Feel free to look around for more answers interested to you or ask further questions
    – mbloch
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 3:50
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    Until I got married, I always had meals with 3 or more men, so I grew up starting the Grace After Meals with “Gentlemen, let us...”. However, the last time I did Grace After Meals was 19 years ago. I would like to continue that prayer with my wife but wasn’t sure the wording or the customs.
    – Ben
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 3:06

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