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I would love to start saying brachos (blessings) before and after food. What resources would you recommend for learning the blessings, and for knowing which ones to select in what order? (Yes, “ask your Rabbi,” I know, but what additional resources do you like?)

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If you are looking for an English guide to the laws of berachot, I would recommend the Yalkut Yosef Saka Edition Volumes 4-6 (especially for Sephardim). I would also recommend the Feldheim Halachos of Brochos (especially for Ashkenazim).


The laws are extensive. The below is a quick guide of many of the main facts one should keep in their head in the laws of berachot, as well as a short introduction to other main areas of laws one should be aware exist, and will help them when they learn the laws from the books and their rabbi.

It is important to speak to one's rabbi for learning how to make berachot, as soon as possible — for help with important custom-specific pronunciation, and guidance on which other particulars one should follow according to one's custom, and going through the laws, and for other reasons. Don't use this guide without also consulting your rabbi.


Basic Guide to Brachot (for food and drink*)

Basic rules about which berachot apply to which foods/drinks are listed, but they should not be relied on. As one starts, it's important to keep consulting one of the comprehensive berachot lists (such as the OU Guide in Shmuel's answer), which list most foods/drinks for most things. One will get to learn them (although we all will rely on lists from time to time). Picking a list is best done with one's rabbi as they will find the right list applicable to one's custom.


Before-Berachot (Link to generic texts, translations and transliterations)

There are six main before-berachot to know. They are said in order when multiple apply to one meal, and therefore listed in that order. Some exceptions noted. The procedure which must be followed is to say the beracha with concentration, and then immediately, without doing anything in between, eat/drink even a small amount of the applicable food/drink (including swallowing it), and then when ready move on to the next beracha, and repeat. Each before-beracha begins the standard way בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְ‑יָ אֱ‑לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם - Baruch Atah Ado-nai Elo-heinu Melech Ha'Olam....

הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ - HaMotzi Lechem Min Ha'Aretz

Said on: Bread1 (and, uniquely among the before-berachot, covers everything else in the meal, except wine/grape juice, dessert, and other minor variations2). Is said first, and therefore other berachot should not be said (exceptions listed in footnotes).
After beracha: Birchat HaMazon (bentching), which covers everything else eaten/drank at the meal.

1 - There are many breads that HaMotzi is not said on. Kosher bread will always list whether it is HaMotzi, Mezonot or Shehakol. Some Sephardim will say HaMotzi on something that counts as Mezonit (see below), if they are eating a certain amount, and many will say it on Mezonot foods if they are sitting down to eat them formally. CYLOR.
2 - There are different customs about what counts as dessert, and there are some other customs about fruit and nuts etc; one should learn these with one's rabbi.


בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי מְזוֹנוֹת - Boreh Mineh Mezonot/Borei Minei Mezonos

Said on: Specific, generally grain-based items not covered by HaMotzi, and some other basic sustenance items like rice.1
After beracha: Al HaMichiya, minor exceptions like rice would be Boreh Nefashot/Borei Nefashos

NOTE: There are important rules to learn, which are specific to one's own customs (ask a rabbi), about when to say HaMotzi and/or Birchat HaMazon, instead of the above, such as when sitting down for a meal, or eating a certain large amount.

1 - Many kosher products will say on the packet if they are HaMotzi, Mezonot, or Shehakol. One should be familiar with the general rules for how this works, such as when fruit juice is used instead of water etc.


בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן/הַגֶּפֶן - Boreh Peri HaGefen/Borei P'ri HaGafen

Said on: Wine and proper grape juice.
After beracha: Al HaGefen

NOTE: This is sometimes said before HaMotzi, such as on Shabbat and Yom Tov, when it is used to make Kiddush.


בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָעֵץ - Boreh Peri Ha'Etz/Borei P'ri Ha'Eitz

Said on: Fruits1,2.
After beracha: Boreh Nefashot/Borei Nefashos or Al Ha'Etz/Al Ha'Eitz (see below)

When to say Al Ha'Etz/Al Ha'Eitz
  • Upon having eaten the requisite amount (See below, in the Amounts section) of one or more of the following 5 fruits from Israel: grapes, figs, dates, olives and/or pomegranates.
When to say Boreh Nefashot/Borei Nefashos
  • All other fruit

בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה - Boreh Peri Ha'Adamah/Borei P'ri Ha'Adamah

Said on: Vegetables1,2.
After beracha: Boreh Nefashot/Borei Nefashos

1 - One should look up and try to learn every item on the list of fruits and vegetables, as common sense can't be relied on (banana is not counted as a fruit, some berries and nuts are etc.), and it is very custom specific so ask your rabbi
2 - If they are processed in certain ways, the bracha might be Shehakol. Consult the packet (many kosher products list the beracha under the kosher symbol), guides, and/or one's rabbi to know the general rules, and individual cases.


שֶׁהַכֹּל נִהְיָה בִּדְבָרוֹ - SheHakol Nihiya/Nihiyeh Bidvaro

Said on: Everything else.
After beracha: Boreh Nefashot/Borei Nefashos


After Berachot (see Shmuel's answer for links to generic texts, translations and transliterations)

There are 3 main after-berachot (with 2 variations) to know for most situations. Apart from the first, bentching, which covers everything eaten/drank, one might combine the others if multiple are needed to cover everything (although each after-beracha can only be made once, covering everything that is applicable to it). One generally has a time limit after eating to say them, generally 30–72 minutes (ask your rabbi).

Birchat HaMazon (Bentching)

  • A long, sit-down beracha, said after eating a requisite amount of bread (and a few other exceptions), composed of four main berachot and many additional supplications.
  • Additional supplications are added in various situations like when there are more than 3 men, when it is a Yom Tov or Shabbat, or at various simchas. There are a lot of additional customs to become familiar with.
  • One should say it where one ate, and laws about leaving the place, changing place, and many others are explained in the halachic works that one should learn.

Me'En Shalosh (Al HaMichiya, Al HaGefen, Al HaEitz)

  • A single beracha covering the seven fruits/grains of Israel (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives, dates and pomegranates), as well as wine and mezonot/mezonos foods.
  • The text will explain how to combine the words when multiple of the above have been eaten/drank. In all these cases, only one beracha is said, but the extra parts are included within it. There are also variations for Shabbat, Yom Tov etc. listed.
  • The laws of location are similar to bentching.

Boreh Nefashot/Borei Nefashos

  • A short beracha for everything else.
  • One can generally change location. Ask your rabbi and learn the laws.

Other Points

  • עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם - Netilat Yadayim/Netilas Yadayim - There are laws about washing with a cup before bread, including how much bread one plans to eat, and whether to say the beracha for netilat yadayim (which one will do in most cases), and not talking between saying it etc. that everyone should know.
  • Tofel and Ikar - There is an important set of laws on tofel and ikar, that one should be familiar with. It is about deciding if one food is in some way subservient to another, and therefore only one beracha is made - on the main food (ikar), not the subservient (tofel). One normally wouldn't say a beracha on ketchup, if it's being eaten with chips/fries, for example.
  • What is covered - For HaMotzi and Mezonot/Mezonos, they cover more items, such as items not in the room, or not on one's mind etc. For the others, it might not do so. A few rules here, custom specific (such as variation between at one's own home and as a guest in someone else's home), to become familiar with.
  • The procedure is important - There are laws about what to do and not do before, during and immediately after the beracha, including laws of cleanliness, concentration on the meaning, holding the food with one's right hand, and not doing anything between the beracha, and eating/drinking without delay within a few seconds.
  • Amounts - There are laws on amounts, e.g. one makes a before-beracha on any amount (with some exceptions), but an after-beracha on (usually) at least a volume known as a kezayit for food (approximately 33g for Sephardim, more complicated for Ashkenazim) and the majority of a revi'it for drink (approximately 75-81cc) in a certain time frame (e.g. according to some, 9 minutes for food, a single or couple of quick gulps for drink), that one should know. One's rabbi will guide them how to measure and estimate these. They are custom specific.
  • When not to say - one generally doesn't say it on things unless they count as bona fide foods, so not on medicines for example (some customs would say it on certain medicines, CLYOR), nor when one is not eating in a normal way, nor when eating something one finds repulsive. One is also not allowed to say it in an unclean or immodest place, nor when one is not dressed. See also: Tasting food whilst cooking.
  • Mistakes - There are laws about what to do when one said the wrong beracha (some cover others after the fact, like Boreh Peri Ha'Adamah will cover fruit in these cases, SheHakol covers most things etc.) or forgot to say it, or took too long to eat. When to say it again, when not etc.
  • Hashem's Name - It is important to know how serious it is to say Hashem's name - even though we never pronounce it the way it is written, and instead say "Ado-nai" ("Elo-heinu" is similarly serious) - as well as how serious it is to not say a beracha when one is obligated to, and therefore making berachot properly is very important. There are also laws on this, such as what to do in doubt, what to do if one said Hashem's name in a mistaken beracha etc. In many cases, a partial remedy for the mistake is to say "baruch shem kevod malchuto le'olam va'ed".
  • Pronunciation - Very important also is pronunciation, and this is custom specific, so relying on the transliterations given are not ideal. One's rabbi will help with that, and will offer advice about concentration and language barrier issues, if applicable.

There is even more than this - including laws on saying Amen. Just click on the Blessing tag and see the variety of questions. There's plenty to learn. But the most important laws are quickly mastered, so it's not as daunting as it seems. The rewards are worthwhile!

* These berachot for deriving physical enjoyment from the world are not just limited to food and drink, e.g. there are other berachot for fragrances, witnessing wonderous natural phenomena (like mountains, comets etc), witnessing great people like royalty, and much more.

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  • I did a long look on this site for other questions this answer might be appropriate for (as well as if someone has given a similar answer) and couldn't find. If anyone does, please feel free to link it there or inform me if I would ideally move it there. TY
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 12, 2023 at 12:29
  • @RabbiKaii: Impressive guide! Do you actually have rabbinical ordination, as your username suggests? Jun 29, 2023 at 21:49
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    @unforgettableidSupportsMonica yes, doesn't mean I am any good :) Thanks for the tlc
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jun 30, 2023 at 0:35
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Regarding "Resources on learning brachas on food"

In answer to your question, "What resources would you recommend for learning the blessings and knowing which ones to select in what order?" in reference to "saying brachas before and after food":

Brachot: https://halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Brachot

List of Brachot on food: https://halachipedia.com/index.php?title=List_of_Brachot_on_food

Order of Brachot: https://halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Order_of_Brachot

I hope you find this helpful! Be well, Naomi

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Hi Sarah and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Great to have you learning with us.

There are several articles that will show you what bracha to say when consuming different kinds of drinks and/or foods.

Chabad.org has some good options.

OUKosher has a detailled and long list. OUKosher has 9 categories from which you can choose and it will show you different brachos.

  • Baked Goods
  • Beverages
  • Dairy Foods
  • Desserts & Snacks
  • Fruits & Nuts
  • Grains & Grain Products
  • Meat, Fish, & Eggs
  • Soups
  • Vegetables & Herbs

Concerning the order of brachos, Halachipedia has a nice page discussing this. Here's a example:

When there’s a dispute about the Bracha of a food, one should make the Bracha on that one first in order that one doesn’t fulfill their obligation with another food. For example, one should make the Shehakol on orange juice before HaEtz on an orange, since once an HaEtz was made on the orange, some say that the juice was covered, and one wouldn’t be able to make another Bracha. Additionally, one should make Shehakol on chocolate before making HaEtz on a fruit. [26; Vezot HaBracha (pg 127)]

See also this page from Aish written by Rabbi Shraga Simmons and Rabbi Yair Spolter

Concerning Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals), I would recommend this page, also from Chabad.org. It has the brachos transliterated and also in English (if needed). It also includes the Al Hamichyah (Blessing of special foods) and Borei Nefashot (ice for example)

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