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 yourself, or would that be a bracha levatala (a blessing made in vain)?

For example:

A father gets out some cookies, makes a mezonot in front of his three-year old son, who says "amen", and they both eat. No question that it is correct since they both ate the food.

The father then gets out milk and pours it in a cup for the child. He is not planning on having any himself. Should he make a she'hakol so the child can hear the bracha and say amen (chinuch/educational purposes), or would this be wrong since he is not drinking it? Would the answer be different if instead it was his nephew and he thus had no specific obligation to teach him?

  • This reminds me to a place in Pesahim that argues that synagogue attenders are yotzei on kiddush, but say kiddush again at home for their children's and wife's sake.
    – rosenjcb
    Commented Dec 14, 2014 at 13:47

2 Answers 2


The Shulchan Aruch allows one to recite a b'rocha on behalf of a child:

אורח חיים קסז/יט

מי שאינו אוכל אינו יכול לברך ברכת המוציא להוציא האוכלים אבל לקטנים יכול לברך אף על פי שאינו אוכל עמהם כדי לחנכם במצות

Orach Chaim 167:19

One who is not eating may not recite "ha-motzi", but if little ones are eating, one can bless even if not eating with them in order to educate them in the commandments.

The Mishna Berurah adds that this applies to all children, even for those for whom one is not obligated in chinuch.


See the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch סימן עו - דיני התפלות בשבת וביום טוב where he says:

סעיף ח'

בִּמְדִינוֹת אֵלּוּ נוֹהֲגִין שֶׁשְּׁלִיחַ הַצִבּוּר מְקַדֵּשׁ בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת בְּלֵילֵי שַׁבָּתוֹת וְיָמִים טוֹבִים (חוּץ מִשְּׁנֵי לֵילוֹת הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁל פֶּסַח). וְכֵיוָן שֶׁהוּא אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא בְּקִדּוּשׁ זֶה, וְאָסוּר לוֹ לִטְעֹם קֹדֶם קִדּוּשׁ, לָכֵן כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא תְּהֵא בִּרְכָּתוֹ לְבַטָּלָה, נוֹתְנִים לִטְעֹם לְקָטָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ לְחִנּוּךְ, וְהַקָּטֹן יִשְׁמַע אֶת הַבְּרָכָה מִמֶּנּוּ וְיוֹצֵא בָּהּ, וְנִמְצָא שֶׁלֹּא בֵּרַךְ לְבַטָּלָה. ‏

Friday night in shul the Chazan makes Kiddush and then a child drinks the wine.

So it seems you can make a Bracha for a young child - so that he can answer Amen - even if you are not going to eat.

The relationship between you and the young child has no bearing on this Halacha.

The Shulchan Aruch also mentions this Halacha at סימן רסט - דין הקדוש בבית הכנסת

א: נוֹהֲגִין לְקַדֵּשׁ בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת, וְאֵין לַמְקַדֵּשׁ לִטְעֹם מִיֵּין הַקִּדּוּשׁ אֶלָּא מַטְעִימוֹ לְקָטָן ‏


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